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  • Writer's pictureJulia Pinckney Jones

But HOW do I "Take Lessons Like a Grownup?"

NOTE: This post originally appeared on our Portland School's website. It has been edited from that version to apply to Desert Home.

Well, first of all, you're taking lessons because you want to, not because your mom or dad told you to. One of the joys of teaching adults is knowing that they actually want to be there! Adult students also tend to have more specific goals in mind when they start taking lessons.

On the other hand, adults tend to get frustrated faster when their progress isn't as swift as they feel it should be. They don't remember how long it took to learn how to read, or do math, or any of the brand new skills they learned as kids. Learning music is like learning a new language, and although it's definitely possible, it will take time and patience.

How does Desert Home Music focus on those differences?

First, Desert Home is based from our actual "desert home," not in a strip mall or business park. There's no waiting in a reception area filled with grade-schoolers. Not to say that we don't welcome kids - we do! But having our studio at home makes it easier for adult students to feel comfortable in their surroundings - you're coming for a visit, a coffee or tea (or whatever) and to play some music. And because we don't have to follow regular business hours, we can work with whatever time you have free - after work, on your day off, even in the morning if you work a later shift.

We also use methods that move along quickly enough to make you feel like you're making progress... and we're always willing to help you work specifically towards your goals - breaking down a step-by-step plan to learn all those Eagles tunes or understand how to read a lead sheet or translate your songwriting/composition ideas into sheet music that any musician will be impressed by... and it'll sound just the way you imagine!

We've found that adult students don't just want to be told how to play, but also why it works that way. Children are used to the "trust me, I'm the teacher - do it now, and you'll understand it later." Adults, on the contrary, like to understand the logic, the physics, and the psychology of why we're asking you to do things the way we do, and the order in which we ask you to do them. Our teachers are capable of (and happy to) explain our methods and what we're working to accomplish with each task. We've developed our techniques over many years of teaching and learning about music pedagogy, and we're thrilled to have someone to discuss it with!

So how should I prepare?

If you're about to start taking music lessons for the first time as an adult, (or if you're coming back to taking lessons after a long 'hiatus'), you can prepare by asking your teacher if there are any materials you should purchase before the first lesson (many "method books" favored by our teachers are available on Amazon Prime; we can often recommend one, or we may choose to wait until after your first lesson). Make sure you have a place where you can practice, and that you own or are renting the instrument you're learning (that sounds obvious, but believe me, there are lots of piano students who ask me if they need to have a piano).

Most of all, though, bring an open mind and a willingness to try new things. Be willing to commit for a couple of months at least, and try to be patient. Practice giving yourself "positive self-talk" - not everything that's worthwhile comes quickly, and it's much harder to learn new things when you're your own worst critic!

We at Desert Home Music School are always happy to welcome new students, of any age, but getting to teach an enthusiastic adult student is a special treat, all the sweeter for being comparatively rare!

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