Do I need to own a piano or keyboard to take lessons?
You don’t necessarily need to own a keyboard or piano, but you will still need daily access to one while you take lessons. I often encourage people to reach out through social media to see if anyone has a keyboard they wouldn’t mind lending out. Advancements in manufacturing and technology have made high quality keyboards fairly easy to find at reasonable prices, which means a lot of people own one but aren’t using it! Just be sure whatever keyboard you borrow is full size (88 keys), and weighted. Anything less will be detrimental to your practice.
If acoustic pianos are more your style, try contacting a local music venue, community center, or place of worship to see if they would allow you to practice there. I did this for years back when I was living the “starving artist” life. Often times, the pianos in these public spaces are better maintained than those in private homes. You might even draw in an occasional audience as well. It’s a win-win!
How long should I practice for?
You should practice however long it takes to complete the steps on your practice sheet. If you find that the work on your practice sheet is more than you can manage in one sitting, pick a song or activity to work on for that day and move onto a different one tomorrow. It’s more important that you practice thoroughly and correctly than to cut corners trying to practice everything in one sitting. If you follow your prep steps and practice efficiently, you probably won’t need to spend as much time at the bench anyway!
Do I need to practice every day?
Unfortunately the “quality over quantity” mantra will only get you so far when comes to practice time. If you want to make progress, you need to practice as frequently as possible. Keyboard music is more complex than that of other instruments, so we have to rely on muscle memory a bit more than most other musicians would. Out of the three main types of memory– visual, auditory, and kinesthetic– the kinesthetic memory is the most fleeting. That means your muscle memory needs regular maintenance, or else those notes will start to slip away from you! The more frequently you sit down to practice, the stronger your muscle memory it will be. Think of it like going to the gym. If you want to see results, you need to do it on a consistent basis.
Do you teach adult students?
Yes, students of all ages are welcome to attend the studio. Regardless of age or musical experience, piano study is shown to have positive effects on physical, mental, and social health. While many children have to be coerced into taking piano lessons, every adult had a unique and personal reasons for wanting to take lessons. As such, many find that their lessons become an avenue for self-discovery, some even likening it to a form of therapy. Providing mentorship to such students is one of the most rewarding aspects of my job.
How do I reschedule a lesson?
Please contact me by text or email if you wish to reschedule. There are no fees or other penalties for missing your appointment or changing the time. Luckily, working work from home means that schedule changes don’t inconvenience me that much. I understand you all lead busy lives, so I’m happy to accommodate you whenever I can.
Do you offer any trial lessons for people who want to test the waters before making a commitment?
As with any art form, the experiences you have while studying the piano are personal and unique to you. While I make every effort to ensure your time at the studio is enjoyable, it’s perfectly reasonable to say that the piano just isn’t for you. If you are unsure about beginning lessons, please contact me to set up an appointment for a free trial lesson. If you find that one lesson isn’t enough to help you make up your mind, you may continue taking lessons with the weekly tuition plan for as long as you would like.
How old does my child have to be to start lessons?
Generally speaking, I believe students adapt to the private lesson environment best after having completed kindergarten, at about five to six years of age. By this time, children are quite comfortable following directions and understand how to behave appropriately in an educational setting. For children younger than five years, group music classes can be a wonderful option. Programs like Kindermusik and Music Together cater to preschool children with hands-on and exploratory learning opportunities. These programs have age-appropriate classrooms full of various instruments, noise-makers, and props. Most private music teachers don’t have such abundant resources for the under-five demographic.
With that being said, I have had some special cases when students have started as young as 4. For kids who are struggling to adapt to the school environment, piano lessons can be a positive educational experience during which they can learn at their own pace without the pressures of a group. There are many different reasons why I might accept students younger than five, but I can’t make that judgement without meeting them first. If you’re unsure whether or not your child is ready to start, contact me to schedule a free trial lesson.
Do you accept students with special needs?
Yes. While I don’t have formal training in special education, I’ve had great success working with special needs students in the past. I’m fortunate enough to have a special education professional in the family that I can, and often do, consult with. As long as we can maintain an open line of communication, I believe we can make piano lessons a positive and productive experience for any student, whatever their needs may be. Please be aware however, the studio is located in a private residence that is not currently handicap accessible. If the student has a physical disability that prevents them from using the stairs, please let me know so I can do my best to accommodate them.
Is my child musically talented?
In my experience, parents ask this question for one of two reasons; either they’re naturally curious to see what a professional has to say about their little Mozart, or they want to know if their child has the kind of talent that’s worth investing their time and money in. Regardless of the reason, we should to stop using a loaded and misleading word like “talent” in front of our children! Becoming a great pianist is far more dependent on diligent practice than natural ability. In fact, a recent study showed that children from musical families, (in which one or both parents was a musician or had studied music), were no more successful at piano lessons than their non-musical counterparts. Another study showed that music students who were praised for their talent were more likely to give up after a failure or quit when the difficulty level increased. Conversely, students who were praised for their work ethic were more likely to persevere through challenges, and even reported higher levels of enjoyment from practicing their instrument.
Sometimes after hearing a great performer, we can’t help but think they may be genetically predisposed to play piano, but the truth is no one is able to sound talented without putting in real time and effort. In short, every child has the capacity for music; they just need to practice!
How do I help my child practice?
First, you may find it helpful to read my blog post 10 Way to Maximize Your Child’s Piano Lessons. In short, be supportive and set manageable goals. Studying piano can feel very demanding at times, as it requires continuous effort, patience, and self-discipline. Many children encounter these challenges for the very first time when they start taking lessons. Much like sticking to an exercise plan is easier when done with a friend, sitting with your child while he or she practices can make a significant impact on his or her progress and attitude toward the piano. Regardless of your musical knowledge and background, being mentally and physically present during your child’s lessons and at-home practice time is shown to improve their chances of success. Before you and your child sit down to practice, set clear and distinct practice goals. Making a plan in advance will help your child practice more efficiently and can help them avoid many of the frustrations that piano students commonly face. If you are unsure about how to set appropriate practice goals for your child you are welcome to contact me.
Can I switch to the school year plan to save money?
You may enroll in the school year plan at the beginning of every new school year. Just be sure to let me know before the October 1st deadline! Unfortunately, I can’t allow any plan changes after this date, as the discounted rate of the school year plan is an incentive for making a yearlong commitment to the studio.
Can I take longer or shorter lessons and still keep my school year rate?
Yes, if the budget is too tight for 60-minute lessons and you feel more comfortable taking 45, or you regret not opting for longer lessons, you may switch at the beginning of the month. As long as you continue to take lessons for the duration of the school year, you will receive the school year rate. Please keep in mind, we may need to pick a new meeting time to accommodate this change.
How do I apply for a scholarship?
Scholarships are only available for students with a significant financial need. The student must show a high level of interest in piano lessons, demonstrate his or her willingness to commit to a daily routine of practice, and have a proven record of good attendance at school or work, and the studio. If you think you may qualify please contact me directly.