As you've probably figured out by now, a great deal of piano teachers specialize in Early Childhood Music Education. Considering that it's where the bulk of the business is at, it obviously makes sense. That said, Adult and Early childhood education are definitely not the same.
What are the key differences?
Well, we can refer to the writings of Malcolm Knowles, a pioneer of adult education who identified 5 key characteristics of adult learners. They are:
Self-Concept As a person matures his/her self concept moves from one of dependency toward self-autonomy. (Adult learners may need guidance, but they certainly don't want to bossed or babied.)
Adult Learner Experience As a person matures he/she accumulates experiences that become increasing resources for learning. (The adult instructor needs to have a clear sense where the student is at, and how the learning process can build upon what the student has already come to know.)
Readiness to Learn As a person matures his/her readiness to learn becomes oriented to the developmental tasks of his/her social roles. (The learning process closely relates to who the person is and what he or she is trying to become.)
Orientation to Learning As a person matures his/her time perspective becomes geared more toward the immediacy of application. As a result, the adult learner expects lessons that are hands on, practical and can be put to work right away.
Motivation to Learn As a person matures motivation becomes intrinsic. The skillful adult teacher pinpoints the core of the student's internal motivation, and builds upon it strategically. If the learner is out of touch with his or her intrinsic motivation, the skillful instructor helps him find it.
The technical term for this theory is "andragogy". The key principal behind it is that adult education requires its own specialists, methods and approaches. The opposite approach is when teachers reflect back what it was like for them to learn music in their own childhood, then begin assuming an juvenile/adult relationship with their adult students, even if the student is much older.
If you've ever found yourself being talked over or down to at a lesson, I hope you'll try a lesson with me today and experience something very different. I'm not just a performer. I specialize in Adult Music Education and if you take a trial lesson, you will experience a totally different dynamic.