Adults approach learning differently than children. While a child may accept an authority figure in the classroom imparting knowledge, the adult is not.Often published articles about music instruction and playing refer to children and their psychological and educational development compared to students that do not study music. How an adult learns is an important issue to consider while formulating music instruction.Some areas to contemplate if you are studying music or teach music to adults are:Self-DirectionAdults generally assume independence and expect to take part in the process of developing instruction as well as an active position in the evaluation of their performance. They prefer to work at their own pace in the areas they choose and feel that their “grade” or result should match their expectations of what they should receive.The best avenue of instruction for an adult then is not a large classroom with an authoritative instructor but either through independent study, where they in a sense act as the student and the instructor themselves, or one-on-one with a respectful tutor that facilitates the attainment of knowledge.Level of Physical ComfortKindergarten students may sit around in a circle on the floor or a high school student may concede to sit in a small desk with a hard wooden seat, but adults prefer and demand comfort. Some adults are set in their ways so to speak, they “like it how they like it,”period.To address the desired comfort level of adults either the classroom accommodates, or they choose to hire a tutor to instruct in their home or they learn through an independent course at home. They might also want to consider the instrument they choose in relation to how it is played. For example, a smoker that gets winded quickly might have more success learning the guitar or piano as opposed to a wind instrument like a saxophone or trombone.Insecurity or EmbarassmentSome adults are uncomfortable learning new things or not knowing how to do things. In their employment or at home, they may feel confident about their abilities and problem solving skills but in a new situation, they may feel inadequate or awkward. To counteract these feelings of insecurity, embarrassment or inadequacy adults usually overcompensate by trying to do everything perfectly, they ask the instructor many probing questions to try to focus information and requirements, and take their time to accomplish tasks in order to avoid mistakes.In music instruction, the adult wants all the information they can get a hold of, they are less inclined to try things without some kind of knowledge base. Whereas a child may blow into a trumpet and not worry about how badly it sounds, whether they know how to read the music or where to put their fingers, they do it just for fun, adults want to master it and not “make a fool of themselves.”The instructor or teaching method needs to be able to respond to the adults’ intense need for detail and affirmation. While an adult may do well in a formal education setting for a music theory or history class, when in comes to playing an instrument private instruction is a better choice to put the student at ease and allows for plenty of inquiries.Prior Experience and ApplicationYoung students have few experiences to afford them the ability to imagine a ‘real life’ application of knowledge. Adults may have decades of knowledge and experiences brought into the classroom with them and they can see how information may apply to other aspects of their life or to other areas of study.When an adult is learning to play music, they want to be able to apply their knowledge and experiences. So many adults do not desire to learn music just for the sake of it, but to be able to play at their church or in a band or to compose their own music. They come to learn music with a goal and prior expectations.Adults that desire to learn music are goal oriented, exercise autonomy, and require respect and comfort. So if you are planning to learn a new skill, such as playing the piano, or you are a teacher planning your curriculum consider the unique requirements of the adult student.References:Kearsley, Greg. Explorations in Learning & Instruction: The Theory into Practice Database Andragogy (M. Knowles). http://tip.psychology.org/knowles.html>Lieb, Stephen. Principle of Adult Learning. http://honolulu.hawaii.edu/intranet/committtees/FacDevCom/guidebk/teachtip/adults-2.htm>Smith, M. K. planning your curriculum ‘Malcolm Knowles, informal adult education, self-direction and anadragogy’, the encyclopedia of informal education. http://www.infed.org/thinkers/et-knowl.htm.>
When I grow up, I want to be a sexy seasoned woman. Gail Sheehy, who wrote Sex and the Seasoned Woman: Pursuing the Passionate Life, will be my guide and role model.Easier said than done when, “…most women are still socialized not to expect much after 45 or 50-nothing much except dulling hair, corrugated skin, brittling bones, shriveling sex organs….”Bravo to Sheehy for taking on the old social myth that sex after 50 does not exist and turning it on its head by advocating sex after your prime.For her book, Sheehy candidly interviewed 400 seasoned women from diverse backgrounds and lifestyles. On a hunch, she decided to create a forum for women to express themselves on a taboo topic and was surprised when the proverbial floodgates opened. Women went out of their way to share their experiences with relationships, sex and passion frankly.Sheehy writes, “One major goal of this book is to open a window on the full second half of the female life cycle, which rarely is depicted in popular entertainment as it is actually lived today.”I am not so certain about that. Newsweek magazine recently made Sex & The Single Boomer: The New World of Midlife Romance front page news and wrote, “The 77,702,865 Americans born between 1946 and 1964 came of age in the era of sex, drugs and rock and roll…sex and relationships remain front and center as the oldest boomers turn 60 this year. That’s largely because more boomers are single than any previous cohort….”US Census reported 28.6% of adults 45 to 59 single in 2003, translating to approximately 22,223,019 Baby Boomers looking for love and revving up their sex engines. Giddy up, grandmas!Big business has already done the math and is desperately trying to cash in. Trouble is, their focus thus far has been on sexual dysfunction-do we need to dredge up once more the mind-boggling success of Viagra? Going to a bookstore or searching on the Internet will produce shockingly little information about being over 50 and leading not only a healthy but (gasp) juicy sex life.That leaves a whole lot of seasoned women stuck. These women who are happy and fit have little to no guidance on how to take their sexuality through to the next stage of their life. I have met many of these women and they ooze frustration because their once healthy sexuality has been stopped in its tracks.And then Gail Sheehy comes along and writes this fabulous book declaring, “At 50, one stands on the mountaintop of the life span with a thrilling 360-degree view in all directions. The surge of potential power can be overwhelming.”Powerful indeed when Sheehy says, “An estimated 50 million American women are somewhere in the menopausal transition or postmenopausal…Most American women transit the menopausal passage somewhere between the ages of 40 and 58, with a median age of 52.” Many of the menopausal women Sheehy interviewed were very clear they wanted to have plenty of sex…and many years of it.Thanks to advances in medicine, great sex after menopause is more than just a pipe dream. In fact post-menopausal sex can be the best yet, “A great many women are finding ‘middlesex’ more enjoyable than married life ever was in their thirties and forties, when juggling jobs, motherhood, and what’s-for-dinner guilt made for mostly exhausted sex.”For me, Sex and The Seasoned Woman is a book of hope and of how women’s sexuality is making headway. I almost cried when I read, “…back in the 1970s ‘midlife’ for women could begin in the mid-thirties. The years between 35 and 45 were the passage to middle age, when a woman had to pick up on any deferred dreams to settle for the bed she had made.” Say it isn’t so.Today, the opportunity for women to be sexual and sensual can increase instead of wither as she ages. It is her choice to be, “marinated by life experience,” as Sheehy describes, and be like a complex wine where she can be alternately sweet, tart, sparkling, mellow and committed to living fully and passionately. Freedom 55 never rang so true.If I had one teensy criticism, it would be the book is mostly anecdotal (I am an academic-go figure). It is a book of stories of real women and their struggles with only a smattering of research sprinkled throughout to give the book substance. Nonetheless, Sheehy’s gift is transcribing women’s lives and their sexual identities into beautiful easy-to-read prose.If you are a healthy woman over 50 and want a positive road map for your aging sexuality, run to the bookstore and pick up Sheehy’s book. It truly is a breath of fresh, sexy air.
Sex is for self-expression and for human bonding. I think we can all agree with this.You also want to develop your sexual technique. This article is not about that.In today’s world where so many now can express their sexuality without that much inhibition or moral censure by society, we have opened the gates to freedom of sexual expression.Remember that it was not so long ago that children in families were told not to touch their genitals and were beaten if they were caught masturbating. The young women were also shamed if they got pregnant as teenagers.This was an attack on living the existence of the body based on religions attacking the body to prove that they offered spiritual salvation and control for making people good to enter the afterlife.These mentally unbalanced attitudes have been seen for what they are in modern times: anti-body, anti-existence on earth, anti-passion and anti-feeling, and anti-self-decision making.In today’s world young people should be able to make decisions themselves as to how they express themselves in a body.Sex is self-expression and its is bonding between two human beings. These are its two primary functions. A third would be baby-making, but now only for a few in modern cultures. Sexual expression as a need has gone far beyond baby-making in modern societies.Why do most of us have such an enormous interest in sex, stated or unstated?THE PSYCHOLOGY BEHIND SEXUAL INTEREST
sexual orgasm, especially shared sexual orgasm, often gives one a sense of tremendous vitality and passion and opens the door to shared feelings between two human being.
sexual intercourse together is often taken as the true marriage contract. It is assumed that once a couple starts mating together they are then to remain a couple together, sharing their lives
however, in today’s modern society, to get to experience someone as a possible intimacy partner it is considered important to go to bed together and do some heavy sexual sporting. Thus many use the sexual compatibility and mutual passion as a measure of their being compatible in other ways of sharing life together
we feel in love with someone who may feel in love with us. This is usually interpreted as that we are meant for each other. Love, undefined but felt, is taken as some sort of destiny bonding. Thus most of us are waiting and hoping for the big love to come our way so that we can settle down with the right partner for us
Jungian psychologists have found that falling in love is a big projection of our inner need for unity. We identify usually with the archetype of the genitals we carry and project the opposite archetype onto another person with opposite genitals. Masculine and Feminine. This is all as nature intended. Without sex as the motivator how many would choose to live together in such close proximity as to evoke all the human emotions?
The above points go beyond genital and body fascination. Of course we worship our young years when we had full vitality because we know our vitality is not lasting. We age and we die. Nature wants the next generation produced, and that is done with mutual, sexual orgasm.STAGES OF SEXUAL RELATING AND EXPRESSIONSince sex is such a powerful force in our lives we would do well to make such a force conscious in our lives.
starting out we experience auto-eroticism. We feel good in our bodies, especially with human contact, thus explaining why little children often love the hugging contact with the parents and family members.
we progress from auto-eroticism into co-eroticism. We share sexual intensity and bodily contact with others, whether as football players jumping onto each other in a pile after winning a game or with pairs of humans of either and both sexes mating with each other in genital contact. Co-eroticism gets us relating closely with other human beings.
we develop in co-eroticism relational skills, how to interest someone in being mutual with us, how to release ourselves more and more freely in the sexual embrace, how to share intimacies and other areas of life-expression together.
we develop non-eroticism. Half the adults in modern society do not live with anyone. They have either regressed to auto-eroticism, having been possibly traumatized in co-eroticism experiences, or they have become non-erotic.
non-erotic adults put their creative energies towards achieving goals, projects, achievements. Some also go non-erotic by having dogs as pets, the faithful positive feeling function.
What all this is saying is that sexual expression should be used consciously and well. If you can agree with the above points you can then be more aware in how you make your sexual choices in life.ONE EXAMPLE OF MISUSE OF SEXUALITYOne young man who worked with me would always ask a new woman he met all about her father. He said from this he could tell whether he could seduce her or not.This was a man who was auto-erotic in co-erotic situations. He did not give and receive in mutual sharing with another human being. He was strictly a predator. He did not like my challenging him on this.Yes, misuse of sexuality, his own and the other person’s.It’s not, don’t do things. In an age of self-responsibility and free expression you and I may have done a lot of exploring to see what the world is all about and also ourselves in a body. Yet at some point we need to move beyond unconscious exploration into realistic awareness and take full responsibility for how our self-expression affects others and ourselves.SEXUAL RELATING GUIDELINES
if you are sharing sex with someone be honest about your motives and your experiences, and encourage the other person to be so likewise.
don’t hang onto the sexual experience as the goal of your relating with someone.
there is only one great goal in intimate relating and that is to share lives together with the right person that this is possible to do so with.
therefore in your sexual expression you will need to redefine yourself as seeking a full intimacy with someone you respect, admire and dance well together with, metaphorically and actually.
it is not easy to find a full intimacy person for you, so you need to have a committed focus to do so, even if it takes a few years. If you have sex with a number of people as part of your exploration, be honest about your experience and keep looking for that realistic relationship in which you can both fully share the essentials together.
sex will not get you there to the full relationship, but it certainly is part of the process because of the emotions and vulnerability evoked.
thus holding off on sexual intimacy before marriage is not usually an effective method for finding the right person for you, and you for them. You need physical and emotional experience together and not just a talk relationship.
The other clear point that marriage counselors have found is that you two need to be able to communicate in harmony at several levels. They are as follows. You can use this list to evaluate your own mating behavior and what you are going for in life. You can use this list to see if you are using your sexuality well.-communicate openly and honestly. If you are strangers to each other because one or both of you are hiding your true feelings and instead playing roles, then you should not be together. It’s too defensive a situation to allow for fulfillment of expression and to allow love to flourish.-carry the dance of your interactions into the basic areas of relating. It’s the same as sex in bed to also cook meals together in the kitchen.-have at least five areas of mutual sharing and compatibility. These can include:BASICS OF SEXUAL AND RELATING COMPATIBILITY
relatively the same level of intelligence
the same level of fitness and working at fitness
the same level and way of communication
no blaming, manipulating and demanding with the other person
ability to relax together without being a pressure on the other person
ability to handle together the relationship as also an economic unit of mutual sharing of income and expenses according to each his and her ability
the sharing of vulnerability, mistakes, wounds, fears, traumas from the past
the ability to work through interaction difficulties, including such things as affairs or freedom to be alone, whatever it is that may weaken the relationship you both have chosen
doing chores and other work together so that both of you carry the load pretty equally of work needed to live life together and progress into the future
In a nutshell! Use your sexual attractiveness and expression to form an ongoing intimate relationship, preferably living together, that has all of the above points working for you both.We add also that if you are partnered with somebody and you do not have the relating experiences as indicated above, then why are you both still together? Split up and use your attractiveness and relationship commitment to explore and then find someone else to be with that will allow more fully the above values.SEXUALITY IS FOR BONDINGSexuality is for bonding. Use it well. For more on relating please see Strephon’s podcasts and ebooks.