Former Piano Student Still Interested in Furthering Piano Playing Skills
by Levi Mevis
(Elkhart, Indiana, USA)
Hi, My name is Levi and I have High Functioning Autism, and I am currently 24 years old and I used to when I was younger take Piano lessons from an older woman who had taught piano lessons for 50+ years and she taught piano to kids as young as 4 or 5 years old but then once the student graduated from High School she would drop them as students and expect them to find other means of continuing their piano education beyond that.
My experience with my former piano teacher was actually kind of like how you explain your experience with the young man you teach where I had problems with hand posture, rhythm, having a hard time learning pieces at a steady and building pace etc. My piano teacher though didn't seem to be as patient with me as you are with your students as I'm not sure she really understood how autism worked and how to properly teach someone with autism, as she tried teaching me the same way she taught my sister and her other students who didn't have autism which didn't work well with me, and my mom kind of thought that my lack of interest in practicing my music every once in a while was just me being lazy when in reality it was just that the music books that my piano teacher used for me weren't all that interesting to me, and whenever I tried suggesting that she try finding some books that would be more interesting than the ones that she was using at the time on me, she would pull out books that were basically the same thing as I was already using but from different authors and publishers which her line of thinking was that if it was a different series of books from a different author and publisher that I wouldn't notice the difference but I did and I grew bored of playing the piano after a while to the point that I was about to give it up all together.
Now don't get me wrong I love playing the piano, (and if it were even possible I would also love to learn to play the organ as well but seeing as that line of work is starting to grow a bit scarce its probably not gonna happen) but if only there were some piano teachers out there that taught piano to young adults with Autism because like you and many other people out there with children on the Autism Spectrum, I know that music is the key to working with people with Autism because for some reason (and its not yet known why) people with Autism seem to be more fascinated with music than people without it (and as you may or may not know Mozart was actually believed to of been Autistic as well which was why he was such a great composer and also why he had problems with depression and other issues.)
In fact I'm actually one of those rare cases where I'm so obsessed with music that I have made a hobby out of collecting music of all mediums including Records, tapes, CDs, 8-Tracks, Reel-to-Reel, Sheet Music, Piano Books, Hymnals, Piano Scrolls, you name the medium and I more than likely have music on it in my music collection that spans over 400+ pieces.
I would like to try and find a way to be able to learn how to play the piano well enough so I can play some of my favorite classical piano pieces like Chopin's Funeral March (3rd Movement from his piano Sonata Op. 35 No. 2 in D-Flat Major), or the Op. 13 Piano Sonata by Beethoven also known as the "Pathetique" Sonata in C minor, or the "Moonlight" Sonata (Op. 27 No. 2) in C# Minor, or Beethoven's Famous Fur Elise, and other such famous Keyboard pieces in the Classical Music keyboard Repertoire. I don't expect to be the next Alfred Brendel but it would certainly be nice to be able to perform at a semi-pro level at least if not on the amateur level (amateur as in I wouldn't be touring or anything but I could at least do some local concerts on the side to make a little extra money or to be able to accompany the church congregation if they ever needed a substitute accompanist for Sunday Worship Services, which right now at my current level I play more like someone playing a dirge for a funeral service in Louisiana.)
I hope someone will help me out with some names of some piano teachers who would teach young adults with Autism piano. I already have all the basics down I just need help to apply them and to better them so I can play at a much higher level than I can currently play at and much faster speeds than I can currently play at.
Someone with as much passion as you have will be rewarding for a piano teacher to work with. I wish that I could work with you, but since I can't (being here in Alaska!) you need to keep searching for a compatible teacher.
Whether a person is on the autism spectrum or not, they may have trouble finding a teacher who truly motivates them and can help them solve their musical issues. I'm going to tell you the same thing that I said to someone on my page about finding a teacher:
"Call... these associations and find out what they know. Alternatively, call your local schools and talk to a music teacher and ask that person who he or she would recommend. A local college might also be a good source of information, as they will have students studying music, and child development, and education.
Don't take no for an answer. There are people who will be glad to teach & to help... but you must keep pushing."
You have to keep looking, and keep pushing. Are you unable to afford lessons currently? Go to the local thrift store and look for used copies of method books. Read all the music you can get your hands on. Read the instructions that go with every piece. You are literate, articulate, and passionate, and you have what it takes to reach your goal.
Don't give up -