about adult students, beginner and beyond

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about adult students, beginner and beyond

Postby joplus » Wed Oct 31, 2012 4:58 pm

What are your thoughts about teaching adults who are new to viola but not to playing music? Do you think it's possible for an adult beginner to progress to a post-beginner level (say, high-school or even college level), or have the muscles and synapses become too old by then? What do you think about teaching an adult as if he or she were younger - I don't mean repertoire so much as emphasis on fundamentals, like any serious young student would concentrate on?
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Re: about adult students, beginner and beyond

Postby scottslapin » Thu Nov 08, 2012 5:24 pm

Hi joplus,

I've had good experience teaching adults. Those who play other instruments first obviously progress more quickly, depending on which skills they bring with them. I just started teaching a student who already plays the guitar. We work a lot on the bow, but having only started a month and a half ago, he already plays scales that go into third position--- something I'd never have tried so soon with someone entirely new to music.

As to teaching an adult like a serious younger student, I think that depends on the case. I certainly have and have had adult students who I could tell really wanted to progress quickly, so I didn't hold back (lol), and they made a lot of progress. But not every adult student comes with that in mind, and I think it's important to help them with what they are trying to achieve. A long time ago, I had a student who was ultimately interested in playing Irish folk music, something I don't know a whole lot about. I told him I could help him with the basics of violin playing, and then he'd have to move on. It worked out well.... but in this case it wouldn't have made sense to put him through Kreutzer, Rode and fingered octaves, nor did I think he'd have the time (or will) to do that.

There are some advantages to starting young, but adults can come quite far if they have the time to put in.

best,
Scott
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