Music, School of


Date of this Version

December 2005


This is a “pre-print” version of an article that appears in Music Education Research vol. 8, no. 3(November 2006), pp. 387-406. The published version is available online @


Adults are continuing to pursue a greater quantity and variety of educational opportunities. As evidenced by this study, adults typically have compelling goals from the outset of piano study and maintain clear expectations regarding in¬struction. They found the group environment helpful, underscoring findings from aforementioned studies regarding the success of choir, band, and other group musical activities for adults. More research concerning the social motivation of group music participation is warranted. Further investigation into what factors motivate adults to seek out and continue to pursue music study would help teachers better address the needs and concerns of adult learners. Likewise, since teacher qualities are such strongly motivating factors among all students, more applied research in this area would be helpful. Continuing to delineate effective teaching behaviors and strategies for adult learners and describe how these may be aptly applied to the group instructional setting while taking into account individual learning styles will likely help teachers promote motivation among adult piano students. If we expect to retain adults in group piano settings, we must be sure to address their goals through appropriate teaching strategies. Music instructors should strive to exude traits and behaviors—-such as patience, enthusiasm, knowledge and passion for music, and age-appropriate instructional delivery—-that adults find attractive and beneficial to their learning process.

Providing music education to adult students is a worthy goal, not only because of the benefits that accrue to these adults, but because immersing adults in music has implications for future generations. Bowles (1991) found that children of adults who were involved in music performance and attending concerts were much more likely to become involved in music themselves, and remain interested in music through their adulthood. The more successive generations of families are actively involved in music-making, the more secure the future of music as an art is likely to be.

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