|     |     |     |     |     |  

     Adult Students


Adult Cello Students

I speak to many people about cello music – most say they just love the sound of the cello. Many feel that it resonates with them because its range matches that of the human voice quite well. As an adult student of the cello, (for many years, and to this day!) I have come to understand many of the challenges involved in taking up an instrument such as the cello later in life. We hear the lovely sounds of “The Swan” as we put bow to string, and find that it is easy to become discouraged when it does not sound exactly like the CD we just purchased. Fear not! My adage for learning music is a version of “Less is more”. It is “Slow is fast”. With slow, patient practice, the sound will develop. We adults understand how the music should sound, and so feel that it should be able to flow from us even from the start. It can in just a short time, but it is important to take on little bits of music.

I heard a wonderful story about a cellist who was in rapture as he sat on his chair playing one note over and over. A fellow musician asked him why he was playing only the one note. He said. “So many people spend so much time trying to find just the right note. Well, I have found mine!”

As with piano, I will help my adult cello students master technique that is appropriate for the music that they wish to perform. I will try to find piano students willing to explore ensemble playing, and to encourage such chamber ensembles to perform at “mini recitals”. My aim is to make sure that my students, adult or younger, enjoy making music from the very first lesson. Adult students wishing to prepare for examinations will be fully supported in their endeavours. Having played in several community orchestras, I can recommend this very highly as a great way to enjoy music and to improve one’s technique and sight-reading.

Adult Piano Students

As an adult student myself, I have come across most of the pitfalls encountered by the “more mature” student! As adults, we have a good idea of how the music should sound. Many of us have listened to radio and recordings of our favourite pianists, and thought, “That sounds not too difficult. With just a little more work on scales, I should be able to do that!” We then rush headlong into “prestissimo” practice, and then the little “technical glitches” settle in. Trust me – I have been there!

One very important lesson I have learned over the years is a corollary to “Less is more”. It is: “Slow is fast!” What I mean by this is that in order to learn to play an instrument as adults, we must practice effectively and efficiently, while not thinking about laundry or the groceries. So I encourage adults to work slowly with little bits of music at a time. I supplement this with the basics of technique and sight-reading. I have several strategies to help adults to work practice into their already busy routines – I have learned some of these from my teachers, and have incorporated them into my own learning. Some of them relate to the “slow is fast” philosophy – even if 20 minutes is available, look at just a few bars of something, working out fingering, rhythms, and practise slowly. Much of the piano repertoire that professionals play is “lento to andante. So why rush?

  |     |     |     |     |     |  
© 2009 Ted Parkinson. All Rights Reserved.