Frequently Asked Questions
- What criteria should I use in choosing an instrument?
- What is a good age to begin piano lessons?
- How long are your lessons?
- Will you give lessons in my home?
- Do you teach in the evenings?
- How much do you charge for lessons?
- How much practicing do you recommend?
- Can I sit in on my child's lesson?
- How can I assess my child's progress?
- What method books do you use for beginning students?
In addition to learning how to play a musical instrument, taking music lessons as a child provides many physical, mental,
and social benefits. Some of these are readily apparent in childhood while others will only be noticed later in life. Most parents understand the value of music lessons and simply want their child to study music for the sheer enjoyment of it.
With the affordability of many different size keyboards, the piano is simply one of the easiest instruments on which to
start music lessons. Most children can be taught how to play a simple tune by a sibling or friend before actual music
lessons even begin. Children are drawn to the piano as if it were a magnet, and they can't wait to start making "music"
just like an older brother, sister, or friend. Children are intrigued by the piano from a very young age. They love the immediate results they are able to achieve especially when it results in loud noises.
What criteria should I use when choosing an instrument?
What is a good age to begin piano lessons?
Before starting lessons, you'll need to have either an acoustic or digital piano. A keyboard will do at first, but eventually you'll want
to upgrade to a full 88 key instrument. You can arrange an interview lesson prior to the purchase of a piano, but when the lessons
begin, you will need an instrument to practice on.
There are many wonderful and affordable keyboards available in today's marketplace. They take up less space than a piano and are
very portable. They are also fun and entertaining due to the various sounds and rhythms already pre-programmed into the instrument
prior to purchase. A student may also choose to practice while wearing headphones (an advantage for other household members).
First, determine your resources. What are the space requirements? Should you invest thousands of dollars on a new instrument that
will maintain its original value? Do wish to spend a few hundred dollars on a used upright piano or a keyboard? Once you have
answered these questions, you can begin looking for an instrument. Keyboards are readily available in a variety of prices according
to size and accessories. Pianos require some care in choice. I will be happy to preview students' instruments prior to purchase.
How long are your lessons?
The length depends upon the age and needs of the student. A 30 minute weekly lesson is appropriate for most elementary school children.
Whereas a 45 minute weekly lesson is recommended for those in middle school and above. Advanced level students planning a major
in music usually take 60 minute lessons. Adults usually opt for whatever lesson length meets their individual needs.
Will you give lessons in my home?
Do you teach in the evenings?
I have found that lessons in my studio are more successful than those given in the home. Students tend to have more focus in the studio
without the distractions of normal home life.
Yes. Most private instructors work from the time the kids get out of school, through the evening. Although some teachers start earlier
in the day depending on the needs of their students.
How much do you charge for lessons?
My fees are subject to change, so I prefer to quote them by telephone rather than on this website.
Please call me at (707) 421-9895 for my current rates.
How much practicing do you recommend?
As with any skill, the more practice the greater the results. Very young students will not usually concentrate productively for more than 15 - 20 minutes at a time. Older students should be able to handle a 30 - 60 minute practice session. I suggest a least five practice sessions per week at a minimum. Goal oriented practice being more beneficial than watching a clock.The time required to achieve a certain goal is usually greater than the time spent on a minimum practice schedule.
Can I sit in on my child's lesson?
Parents are always welcome to sit in on the lessons. I leave it up to the parent and the child to determine if it is appropriate. Usually parents know whether or not their presence will in any way distract their child. I do ask that parents remain impartial to the responses or the lack thereof that their child might give. If a parent is impatient with a child's response and makes a comment, it could interrupt a moment in the teacher-student rapport that could otherwise be an important learning point. I do respectfully request food and beverages not be brought into the studio, and that mobile phones are set on vibrate and phone conversations do not disrupt the lesson.
How can I assess my child's progress?
One way is to listen to your child's practice sessions to tell whether or not there has been any improvement. Another way is to ask the teacher. Many of our students choose to participate in the Music Teacher's of California annual Certificate of Merit Evaluation which involves the students being tested and compared to other students throughout the state of California in the areas of ear-training, sight-reading, technique, theory and repertoire that includes music from the Baroque, Classical, Romantic/Impressionistic and contemporary periods.
Most of my students participate in the recitals sponsored by the Music Teachers' Association of California (MTAC). Though students are not required or forced to perform publicly, but those who do experience them have heightened their self-esteem and confidence. Participation is optional and depends upon the readiness and willingness of the student. They are encouraged to perform, but are not pressured to do so.
What method books do you use for beginning students?
Over the years I have tried many method books with my students. if a transfer student is more comfortable in one method book over another, we will often use that, at least in the beginning. I then supplement these books with original classics and arrangements of music in many different styles depending upon the interests and goals of my students.
The age of seven seem to be when most children are ready to begin taking piano lessons. By this time, they have the necessary reading and math skills required to read music, and their hand size and coordination allows them to adapt to the piano keyboard. There is no age limit for adults. Many senior citizens find enjoyment in learning to play the piano. Many of our students are in high-school and college, or adults over the age of 50 who have decided to finally make time for themselves so they can learn how to play that beautiful grand piano that is either a recent acquisition or has been in their family for ages.