AFTER HIGH SCHOOL
Many students choose to pursue music education after high school. Some will have studied before, and wish to continue where they left off. Some will have studied something before, but want to try a different instrument now. Some will be total beginners. A music education can and should continue throughout the adult's life. It may not always include weekly lessons, but should include some activity that promotes musical growth: subscribing to a concert series, belonging to a performing ensemble, taking classes at a university, studying music privately, the occasional coaching session, etc.
Pre-Career: Many students leave high school without a clear career path (four-yer college is considered a career path). Parents will usually require (or urge) the student to enroll in a community college to take courses, so that the student is not wasting time. Some students just enter the work force to pass the time during their "finding themselves" years. A student in this situation may want to take beginner lessons, to have something to do, or may want to continue former music education because everything seemed to end with High School. A few select students in this category may actually be considering a career in music, and must continue their musical training in order to prepare an audition to music school.
Early Career: Students who are done with school (whether High School, College or a trade school) will be somewhere on the beginning of their career path. They will usually have a job, and because of this new financial freedom and the fact they still have time (no children), they consider studying music as something to do. Students in this category are studying music solely for appreciation and pleasure, although they may have serious aspirations to participate in a local adult performing ensemble.
Mid-Career: Students who have an established career (often married with children, and own a home) will suddenly decide to pursue music education (either in continuation or as a beginner). Usually, something in the personal life as changed to allow for more time (young kids begin school or the oppostie extreme - the empty nest). Sometimes new parents want to start music lessons so that they are better informed and capable of managing their own children's music education a few years down the road.
Retirment: Many adults reach retirement and realize they have too much time and energy on their hands. They are PRIME candidates for adult music education. There are no deadlines or concrete goals, except the prospect of learning music. Retired adults may have difficulties or may move slowly, but there is no rush and learning something new can be so much fun.