I must confess that I much prefer to teach adults! For a start, they’re usually taking lessons for the right (for them) reasons and so have a much clearer idea of what they want to achieve. Often, they will have had lessons as children and, when they stopped taking them, their music-making stopped with them. These prospective pupils are disappointed that they have so little, if anything, to show for their efforts and are ready for a fresh start music tuition.
With all my pupils I endeavour to take a creative and holistic approach to their programme of study but adults, being less pressured by other people’s expectations of them, are better able to relax and enter into the spirit of it. The creative approach isn’t just about improvisation and composition, although we certainly do those things if the pupil is interested. It is also about being able to adapt learning to new situations, being open to new styles, taking a fresh approach to the music at each performance and making it one’s own. If they have had lessons previously, we look at new ways of using whatever skills they already have; we explore what opportunities there are for local music-making and, where appropriate, ways of making music within the family.
Adults often feel it’s too late to begin lessons but, truly it is never too late! They are far better equipped to benefit from tuition than are their young counterparts and, certainly, the benefits of music-making for older people are both great and numerous. So, if you have been secretly envious of your young relations’ music-making, delay no longer and find yourself a teacher!