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Motivation and Learning as An Adult.

Bofonic

New Member
Messages
19
Hi all!

I have a few adult learners who struggle with motivation and learning and some who don't.

I've had adults who've come for lessons every couple of weeks then fizzled out and I've had others who are really GUNG-HO that it's refreshing to see!

The group I'm obviously concerned with are the ones who eventually fizzle out (The whole COOL! I'M DOING SOMETHING NEW!!..Then the Novelty of it eventually fades.)

I was hoping the adult learners here could offer their 2 cents on this matter!

As an adult learners what do you feel you're biggest psychological barriers are? Are there any worries/difficulties in particular you have playing the instrument?

Do you find the struggle with time to practise hurts your motivation? How do you stay motivated? (Is it keeping the end goal in sight? i.e Keeping the dream alive?)

What is the "dream" per say ? :)

I'd love to find a way to help people stay on the Wagon!
 
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TheCureFan

Member
Messages
207
Locality
westcountry England
In the early days, first few months, I often felt ridiculous and thought people where laughing at me for being so stupid as to want to learn an instrument. As I got better I thought to hell with them at least I'm doing something worthwhile rather than sitting watching tv. Also for me initially I thought I was never going to get better, and it took buying a mic and recording myself once a week to see that I was actually improving. Now my biggest problem is actually having too much time, think I put this in your other post. I think that's why I decided to take exams and to join a band. This gives me a goal to aim for and a reason to keep playing. The other thing I find helps is trying to avoid playing too often pieces that are within my comfort zone. My teacher helps in this respect by giving me pieces that are well above my current standard, (I'm currently working on grade 5) and to look at plain, easier pieces more 'musically' and add grace notes, vibrato, bends etc to make them less mechanical so to speak. So far it seems to be working, 15 months in and still going strong.
 

Colin the Bear

Well-Known Member
Messages
14,745
Locality
Burnley bb9 9dn
I suppose the key to keeping going lies within the reason for starting in the first place. Some , I'm sure, have taking lessons as the goal, whereas others have being able to play as their goal.

Some are impatient and in a rush and progress is too slow for them. Others are butterflies visiting hobbies like flowers.

I've played and not played and changed instruments all my life. Butterfly brains am I.
 

TheCureFan

Member
Messages
207
Locality
westcountry England
I think I started off as an impatient type mainly I think because in my brain I'm still 18 and therefore should be able to do anything and get frustrated when I can't. Then I remind myself I'm 47 and actually I'm doing ok and that it's actually ok if takes 5,10 years to get good. Praise from friends and family helps immensely with this.
 

Jeanette

Organizress
Cafe Moderator
Messages
27,128
Locality
Cheshire UK
I think having regular lessons has kept me going as has joining an orchestra.

I'm well aware there is a long way to go but at the end of the day I love my sax and despite the fact it often feels like 1 step forward 2 steps back the small sense of achievement I get when something else falls in to place keeps me going.

I think Colin hit the nail on the head some people just like to try lots of things and some will be grabbed by the sax and stick with it others for a whole host of reasons will move on.

If you are worried about losing pupils it may be worth speaking to them or sending a quick questionnaire to ascertain the reasons for packing in.

Jx
 

Targa

Among the pigeons
Café Supporter
Messages
9,455
Locality
KIC 8462852
The group I'm obviously concerned with are the ones who eventually fizzle out (The whole COOL! I'M DOING SOMETHING NEW!!..Then the Novelty of it eventually fades.)

There are 3421 members of the café, no doubt many of them visit but do not post.
The responses which you really want are the ones you are not going to get, those who joined in a burst of enthusiasm when they bought their first saxophone and then disappeared.
(Can Pete tell who has never visited virtually since they joined so how many 'real' members are there?)
 

Bofonic

New Member
Messages
19
Yup I'm just wondering what everyone here first felt when they first started and how they try to keep themselves motivated. I have one student who had a similar first reaction that CureFan did. all his friends were like "Why are you doing that now?" or "You're learning to play WHAT?"

I'm just wondering what everyone's experiences with staying motivated and first picking up the instrument were. Maybe there's a common thread or idea I can use to apply to new students!
 

old git

Tremendous Bore
Messages
5,540
Locality
The Palm Tree strewn Wandle Surf Beach under the o
It is possible that you are not reading your clients properly.

Teachers tend to have a method that they believe works. Everyone is different and therefore react differently and it is your job to stimulate them. It is better to encourage clients to make a discovery so it is theirs, rather than tell them. Your job is to subtly guide them.

Not meant as criticism and you are very brave to even discuss the subject, suggest you read Sir John Whitmore's tome on coaching.
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Café Supporter
Messages
21,912
Locality
Just north of Munich
It is possible that you are not reading your clients properly.

Teachers tend to have a method that they believe works. Everyone is different and therefore react differently and it is your job to stimulate them. It is better to encourage clients to make a discovery so it is theirs, rather than tell them. Your job is to subtly guide them.

Not meant as criticism and you are very brave to even discuss the subject, suggest you read Sir John Whitmore's tome on coaching.
Why no apology? :headscratch:
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Café Supporter
Messages
21,912
Locality
Just north of Munich
Could well be OG's hit the nail on the head (btw my comment about apology is an in joke between us).

As adults we do things of our own will. There isn't a parent insisting that we practice or keep going. We're also a lot more aware of the time and results. Fun or lack of it is another factor. And... We're much more aware of our limitations.

What keeps me playing is the fun factor, and a big part of this is the feeling that I'm making good progress. And a major part of this comes externally from family/friends as well as the teacher. As the teacher is the only 'expert' involved in assessing/leading our development, he or she has a huge effect on our motivation. I've seen the effect of changes in teachers on my kids motivation - and in my own. And it isn't just the teacher - it's the fit between teacher and student - and if this isn't good, then it's really difficult to stay motivated.

Most of the teachers at the music school prefer adult students - because the motivation is really there (remember motivation comes from inside - external factors only affect this). But at the same time they need to be chameleons, adapting themselves to the students needs - and not all are able to do this. Finding the right combination of praise/inspiration and setting the right standards/goals for each student is difficult. But it's made a lot harder by inappropriate/false praise, a stale approach, teaching adults as if they're kids, dogmatism instead of flexibility.

Understanding each adult's real needs, tailoring the teaching to that with mutual agreement, leaving the door open for pupil feedback/changes in direction are really important. Many fail and fall back on their old stuff which just makes things worse....
 

ProfJames

Elementary member
Messages
12,069
Locality
Berkshire, UK
In addition work and other priorities often get in the way. I would love to practice more and have more lessons but "priorities must" as is often stated.
 

Jonesy

Old Fart At Play
Messages
740
Locality
Birmingham, UK
I can echo TheCureFans view about thinking people would laugh at me* for taking up playing an instrument at 61 with no previous indication of any musical leanings.
Especially on an instrument such as tenor sax. Ukulele maybe, or something small, but Saxophone!

I had a lot of time on my hands after looking after my parents almost full time for the last few years, and I was determined to do something to stop me watching telly every night and all weekend. Especially during the winter months when I can't do anything in the garden and greenhouse.

Sometimes I feel I have hit a brick wall, but I've stuck at it virtually every day for 9 months, and it is very pleasing to break through a barrier, suddenly the fingers move of their own accord to the right notes without having to think about it, and the scales fall from the eyes to make a difficult piece seem easy.
When I tried to learn guitar I was impatient because I couldn't play like Eric Clapton in 2 weeks.
I am a bit more patient with the sax, I waited 40 years to get one, and I don't mind if it takes me 30 years to get good.

I don't know whether I will stick with the lessons after the initial course ends next week. Too many interruptions because of illness and holidays to tell whether I have learn anything from them that I didn't already pick up from books and videos.


* Actually, some did.
 

Rock Lobster

Member
Messages
124
In addition to your life getting in the way I think it is inevitable that many will fall be the wayside due to not turning out as good as the Bird as the years go by.

In the daily grind of practice I sometimes feel I am just getting nowhere. When i feel that i have some songs from my first year that i go back to and play, I try to remember that once they seemed impossible and it cheers me up a bit.

Also i think what you want from this needs to be carfully considered, for me once or twice a month getting up at a open mike night and playing the blues is fine, i feel i have made it. Now though i am going to join a big band that play,s for fun. No paid gigs, just for charity etc.

If you want to be as good as the Bird, chances are you will always feel you are failing. Getting back to the teacher I have been lucky to get two really patient people who "re-calibrate" to my level when i pitch up each Sunday. Support and encouragement, a simple well done occasionally get's me a long way.
 

Colin the Bear

Well-Known Member
Messages
14,745
Locality
Burnley bb9 9dn
Perhaps the music is the key. Finding a genre that inspires, entertains and uplifts. The stuff you listen to isn't necessarily the stuff that will do the trick when you play. The pleasure I get from playing certain pieces is better than any drug/medicine and keeps me coming back.

Picking the right saxophone may be key as well. The one we chose isn't necessarily the one that moves, inspires and motivates us. I've never felt the ache of wanting so badly since seeing my Baritone in Rushworths widow at a price that was within my reach.
 

ArtyLady

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,028
Locality
Essex
Hi all!

I have a few adult learners who struggle with motivation and learning and some who don't.

I've had adults who've come for lessons every couple of weeks then fizzled out and I've had others who are really GUNG-HO that it's refreshing to see!

The group I'm obviously concerned with are the ones who eventually fizzle out (The whole COOL! I'M DOING SOMETHING NEW!!..Then the Novelty of it eventually fades.)

I was hoping the adult learners here could offer their 2 cents on this matter!

As an adult learners what do you feel you're biggest psychological barriers are? Are there any worries/difficulties in particular you have playing the instrument?

Do you find the struggle with time to practise hurts your motivation? How do you stay motivated? (Is it keeping the end goal in sight? i.e Keeping the dream alive?)

What is the "dream" per say ? :)

I'd love to find a way to help people stay on the Wagon!

As a tutor of adults I'd love to know the answer to this too! :confused2:
 
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BigMartin

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,963
Locality
Manchester, UK
As adults we do things of our own will. There isn't a parent insisting that we practice or keep going. We're also a lot more aware of the time and results. Fun or lack of it is another factor. And... We're much more aware of our limitations.
Actually, in returning to music in my 50's I've become aware that the limitations I thought i had when I was young were largely in my own mind. For instance I was aware that my sense of pitch was not what it should be as compared with my playing skills. I did badly on ear tests and was very insecure about whether I was playing in tune. I assumed I meant I lacked "talent" and I let it hold me back. (It's a bugbear of mine how our culture emphasises talent these days rather than accomplishment; I'm sure I've mentioned it before). Over the last 4 years I've done a LOT of ear training (just about every day) and it's made a huge difference to what I can hear.
 

gladsaxisme

Try Hard Die Hard
Messages
3,441
Locality
manchester
I'm not sure my input is going to be of much help but here goes anyway.Started learning at 58 am now 65 still learning.I always wanted to learn to play the sax but had no musical knowledge what so ever so it was always going to be a bit of a struggle,I had lots of things going for me, I could afford it, I have a place to play and practice easily without annoying other people, I have the time to do that during the day when I'm alone, I love every moment I have with the sax, I have no real desire to be the best player in the world "some might say this is a disadvantage " but would like to be able to knock out a reasonable tune.
After a disastrous start as far as tutors go, my first a young lady put up with me for about four lessons before giving up the ghost, my second tutor was absolutely brilliant, he made every lesson a joy and great fun, and I looked forward to each visit,yes he even came to me, I think he understood that I was doing it for my own pleasure and wasn't interested in exams and only needed to be shown the basics of music and playing and anything that would make it more interesting and enjoyable for me.
I think the tutor must recognise the aims and goals that the student has and work within that framework and and try to make life as easy and enjoyable as possible for them.
Not every new sax player has it so easy I know and they must all have different objectives but I'm sure the no 1 must be their own enjoyment....hope this helps ........John
 

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