FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
How old should my child be to start piano lessons?
Children may begin piano lessons when they are five years old. However, some children may benefit by waiting until they are six or seven. Each child develops differently and needs to have a certain amount of finger independence to be successful at piano. Children also need to be able to sit and focus for 30 minutes during lessons. If you are unsure whether your child is ready, I recommend scheduling an introductory lesson for evaluation.
What piano methods do you use?
I use different method book series depending on the age and abilities of the child. All of the series I use focus on sight reading and developing proper piano technique. I also use music theory/activity books with students to reinforce concepts. Once the student has developed a basic understanding of note reading, I introduce supplementary books with simplified arrangements of popular and folk songs.
How do you teach adult students?
Beginning students may use an adult method book which presents concepts at an accelerated rate. In less than one year's time, adults can expect to play easy arrangements of some of their favorite songs. For adults with previous piano experience, we discuss their individual goals. I often teach adults to play out of fake books, which consists of playing song melodies with the right hand and chords with the left.
Do you teach classical music?
Yes, all students will learn how to read music and to develop piano technique that will enable them to play classical piano music. However, it's important to realize that even the easiest classical compositions are at an intermediate level. This means that it will take the average student three to five years of study to begin to play classical music in its original form.
How often should my child practice?
Beginning piano students should practice for at least one hour per week. This should be divided into several smaller practice sessions. Quality of practice is much more important than the quantity.
What are the advantages of having lessons in my home rather than at a studio?
There are many benefits from having piano lessons in your home. First, it is very convenient. Instead of spending time driving back and forth to lessons, parents may stay at home to take care of their own responsibilities, such as watching younger children, preparing dinner, home office work, etc. You will save at least an hour per week -- more time for you and less time in traffic! Another advantage is that I can evaluate the student's piano and let you know if any repairs need to be made or if the child would benefit by upgrading his or her instrument. I can also address ergonomic issues such as correct height of the keyboard and bench to ensure that children are comfortable playing. Finally, I taught at neighborhood music centers for twelve years and found that my students were often distracted by the noise coming through the studio. Drums, saxophones, trumpets, and violins all create a cacophony of noise which many young children are unable to tune out. If you inquire at most music stores, you will find that the rooms are not sound proof. Having lessons in your home ensures that the child will have a quiet, comfortable place in which to learn.
How old should my child be to start voice lessons?
Most students should be at least seven years old to begin singing lessons. In certain circumstances when the child shows unusual natural ability, I have started students at five years. Children do better in voice lessons if they have good pitch and can read at an elementary level to follow along with song lyrics.
What do voice lessons entail?
Voice lessons begin with warm-up exercises to improve technique, which includes range, tone, vowel production, and flexibility. Students will also work on songs appropriate for their voice.
What types of songs do you recommend to develop the voice?
Musical theatre and traditional folk songs are very good to develop the singing voice. All students should learn how to move through their vocal registers with ease. More advanced students can study classical or popular music depending on their interests and vocal type.
Do you teach sight singing?
Yes, I teach sight singing to intermediate and advanced students age 10 and up. In order to sight sing successfully, students must be able to sing on pitch, have good rhythm and breath control, and understand basic musical concepts. Sight singing is recommended for students who intend to apply to college music programs, sing professionally, or want to improve choral skills.