New Student FAQ
Q: I have more than one child interested in lessons. Can they join the same semi-private lesson even if they're not the same age?
A: Absolutely! A lot of my semi-private piano lessons are siblings or carpooling friends. Drop them off for the hour and run an errand! "Semis" actually work better when the ages are mixed.
Q: We aren't sure which instrument to try; what do you recommend?
A: Piano, of course! Truthfully, piano is a great place to start because all instruments use its notation, rhythm, etc. so switching from piano to another instrument is pretty painless.
Q: Do I need a piano at home to start lessons? What do I buy???
A: It's Ok to start lessons before buying an instrument to make sure. I can help with this if you need guidance. See my "instrument help" page.
Q: What is a good age to start a musical instrument?
A: This depends on the instrument; some are harder to hold or blow air into, so you need to be a little older and have bigger hands and lungs. But, piano has no such requirements, and is great for tiny hands! Ear training at a young age is SO VALUABLE also. Perfect pitch can actually be taught if you start young enough. I teach students starting at age 4. Other teachers may start earlier (for example, we do offer mother-and-me (or it should be parent-and-me) toddler classes at the studio), and some will prefer to wait until age 5 or 6, but that's the preference of the teacher, really. I have lots of ideas and strategies for ear training, music training, and finger exercise for young learners. Kids who have been told they aren't "ready" usually have a shorter attention span (TOTALLY normal, and not a problem for me) or delayed motor skills, which is also not a problem. Playing an instrument will actually help both of these issues, and ear training should start as early as possible, just like learning a language. *Another note: I direct a week-long "Intro to Music" Camp for young students who want to try out ALL the instruments and test the waters of music training. Find more info on the "Music Camps" page.
Current Students FAQ
Q: Are there any music apps you recommend?
A: Yes! If you are just beginning, try these: Piano Games, Piano Adventures app, Synthesia (this can connect to your keyboard), and MyNoteGames. If you are more of an intermediate player, try: RiffStation and Synthesia. Students, ask me to show you these during the lesson. They are fun!
Q: I'm stuck. I don't know what to practice/I don't understand my assignment/my kid is way too stressed out about what to do.
A: First, relax. This is supposed to be rewarding! Next, check your binder. I write notes in there about your assignment. If you're still stuck, text me! I love helping students out during the week, because I know they're practicing and working hard. Sometimes I can send a photo of starting position, etc. And lastly, if you tried your best but didn't "get" it this week, it's OK! You won't be in "trouble." I'll just know we need to review it a little bit. Ask me as many questions as you want. My goal is for you to be able to complete your assignment without help, so if that isn't happening, I need to adjust accordingly and figure something out. Talk to me!
Q: I need to take a break from or stop lessons. I know you require 30-day notice to take a break, so how and when should I let you know that I need to stop for a while or possibly even quit?
A: Here's an article by Libby Wiebel on whether you should take a break from formal lessons, and how to exit gracefully: https://www.libbywiebel.com/blog/blog/how-to-quit-piano-lessons. I couldn't have said it better myself. I will add one thing: I can't "freeze" your payments while you're on vacation, just like I can't freeze my own bills. But I can let you take a break if you give me enough (1 month) notice-- I'll be able to use your time while you're gone if I know ahead. If you are ready to move on, that's OK too, I know better than to take it personally! If you can, please give me the opportunity to have a last lesson and enjoy all of our work together.