Lessons from the under 12s

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My Drama students certainly love to 'live in the moment!'

It’s amazing how many adult-beginners have called me looking for piano lessons! Although they don’t all come for lessons, it surprised me how many older people have expressed an interest in learning an instrument. Now, after a few years of teaching I meet adults all the time who seem extremely eager when I tell them what I do. It seems that most people regret giving up or not starting when they were younger. Just yesterday, the elderly lady working at the post office informed me that she’s recently taken up concertina lessons.

“It’s very difficult,” She said.
“But worth it!” I replied.

The thing is that no matter what age you start at, learning an instrument is the same. The problem I’ve noticed that my adult pupils face is that they just want to do it NOW and do it WELL and then it’s DONE. This is so different to the approach of the under 12s. They just take in what I say (usually!) one step at a time and don’t expect to be playing a Beethoven Sonata after five lessons.

If I put a simple piece down in front of a young piano pupil, we work through it step-by-step. We start by looking at the theory and what it tells us about the music. We clap the rhythm to make sure that it’s easy and understandable. THEN we start to play.

We can learn so much from this approach! I honestly believe that whether you’re 8 or 58, you’re learning the same instrument. A good teacher will tailor your lesson to use your strengths and inconspicuously work to improve your weaker points. But no matter who you are or what age you are, don’t race ahead of yourself. Enjoy the journey. Take music that is within your abilities or that challenges you, but mix it up so that you don’t always feel like you are struggling! Surely you want to enjoy your instrumental lessons, and not wait for some golden moment in the future when you can one day enjoy playing!

About corkmusiccollective

Cork Music Collective is a cottage industry music education project which aims to make learning an instrument fun! I teach musicianship and instrumental lessons at all levels. Whether it's as a hobby or for exams, I endeavor to make learning music fun and interesting!
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2 Responses to Lessons from the under 12s

  1. julie says:

    Hmmm this sounds like very good advice whether you’re learning a musical instrument – or how to knit lace!

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