Teaching the adult piano learner: Two case studies of piano students who return to lessons



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The purpose of this study was to examine the learning experiences of two adults who came back to piano study after having discontinued lessons as teenagers. Selected participants each took a 50-minute private lesson through Zoom each week for 12 weeks during the summer of 2020. Lesson goals and activities were designed centered on students’ learning needs and data was collected through analyses of videos of students’ lessons as well as questionnaires completed by the participants and the instructor throughout the course of the study. From the analysis of data, themes such as the development of effective practicing habits in piano learning, the development of comfort and confidence in musical expression, the importance of enjoyment and well-being in learning, and the importance of the teacher and student relationship emerged to describe the essence of the learning experiences of the two participants. Results show that the teaching of returning adult students can be better informed by understanding the past experiences that led students to initially quit lessons. The use of this knowledge can lead to the creation of effective instructional opportunities that nurture confidence, enjoyment, and ultimately independence in the learning process. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the study was developed in an online setting. Results also suggest that integral components of a healthy and productive learning environment, such as those reflected in the themes that emerged here, can be attained even through piano instruction carried out through an online modality.



Adult Piano Learning, Returning Adult Piano Learners, Development Effective Practicing Habits, Development of Comfort and Confidence in Musical Expression, Importance of Enjoyment and Well-Being in Learning, Importance of the Teacher and Student Relationship