Teaching adults to play the piano can be a very different experience for teachers used to working with young pupils.
While the principles are the same, there are other approaches to keep adult students engaged and motivated. This is, to make them feel comfortable and confident with their piano practice.
Coming up with novel techniques and new things to do can be of massive value.
So, here are a few creative ideas for teaching adults to play the piano and allow everyone involved to see more results.
Consider the Student’s Preference at Each Step
While piano teachers are the ones designing the lessons and setting the tone for the practice, students should also participate in this process. This is especially true for adult students, who are more mature and autonomous.
A teacher may decide, independently, on what to practice and which music to favor during the process. However, when the adult student doesn’t partake in the decision-making, it becomes challenging to keep them motivated.
Allowing the student’s input is a great way to keep engagement high. The degree of their engagements will be decisive to their progress during piano practice, especially for long-term results.
Include technology and Software to Magnify the Experience
In a separate article, we discussed different ways in which technology can enhance piano practice and the benefits to both student and teacher. This is especially noteworthy if you are teaching adults.
Music-related technologies that are widely available can add an exciting layer to the experience of learning to play the piano. A good example is music production, which is an attractive aspect to many adult students who want to play the piano and produce their own pieces. Many of them are going after satisfying a bigger creative goal in the long run.
This, in fact, can alter the entire nature of your teaching practice. By working with music production software, for example, you can draw the attention of young adults with creative interests. You can also break the mental barriers related to classical music and appeal to a wider audience of prospective students.
Encourage Creativity and Improvisation and Composition
Adult students aren’t as easy to get excited as young students, especially children. You need to keep things dynamic and creative in order to get people’s attention.
One powerful way to keep your adult students engaged with their piano practice is allowing and encouraging them to be creative. But how can they exercise their creative muscles?
Music teachers can and should introduce improvisation and composition activities in their lessons. These are opportunities for adult students to explore their styles, skills, and creative capabilities. It can also break the potential monotony of practice lessons and music theory studies.
Design Group Classes that Favor Socializing
Many adults join all kinds of activities in order to meet new people. This is especially true in big cities where a lot of people come and go because of work. Activities outside the house and work became incubators for friendships and other types of valuable, healthy relationships.
And while your adult piano students may not be looking for that in your classes, they will probably appreciate the possibility of organizing social encounters every once in a while.
Individual classes should be the priority for piano teachers but organizing a social gathering once in a while can keep adult students interested, engaged, and motivated. Make sure that these events are still about music but allow and encourage participants to engage with each other and have a good time.
Involve Guest Musicians to Share Their Insights
While researching for this article, we found this very interesting idea for successfully teaching adults to play the piano. It involves inviting an experienced pianist to share a few hours with your students.
How does this work? For example, an experienced musician can come to one of the lessons and play a little bit. He or she can also hold an AMA session (Ask Me Anything) where students ask questions regarding their artistic career.
This can be an immersive experience for all. Adult students have the opportunity to live and breathe art and music. It strengthens the environment in which they study and practice, enriching the air with the experiences of others more accomplished and skilled.
The Bottom Line
Teaching adults to play the piano is an exciting experience for music teachers too. They are working hand in hand with a peer in terms of maturity. They can approach subjects in a more comfortable way. Overall, it gives the music teachers an opportunity to develop greater communication and didactic skills; an opportunity they can’t have with children.
That being said, teachers are still facing creative challenges. They must come up with interesting-enough activities to keep the students engaged. Lessons must be adequate to the adult experience.
Above you found interesting ideas that are worth trying. In the end, as a piano teacher, keep your creative machine always going. Observe the nature, personality, and preferences of each of your adult students and come up with any opportunity to improve the experience and keep progress going.