What about the fees?
Lessons are charged at the basic rate of £28 per hour and this is reviewed annually. A discount is applied when lessons are booked and prepaid for the half-term. Pupils or their parents are given a copy of my terms and conditions for payment and my cancellation policy at commencement of study.
Accompaniment fees will vary, depending on the number of rehearsals/hours required. The minimum fee is £25 for any accompaniment. This may include a short rehearsal. Please refer to Accompaniment page for further details.
Where are lessons held?
In general, students come to my home for lessons. Some students do prefer to be taught in their own home. In such cases, fees may be adjusted to take into account travelling costs, where appropriate.
Is my child too young for lessons? Do you teach adults?
Educational research suggests that early music training has a profoundly beneficial effect on intellectual development and emotional health. I have taught students as young as 6 years old and as old as 80 years young. Having fun, developing the all-important sense of pulse and rhythm, singing and clapping games all form part of early lessons for the very young. The needs of adult beginners or those returning to the piano after some time are assessed individually. Progression will always take place at an appropriate pace for the student.
I use a wide range of resources, some of my own design, to cover all aspects of music learning.
Do we need an acoustic piano?
In an ideal world, I would say, "Yes".
You or your child will certainly not make progress without an instrument on which to practise at home. The technique required to play an acoustic piano is very different from that of an electronic keyboard, certainly. So the first thing is to ensure that whatever keyboard you have has weighted keys, touch sensitivity, a fixed pedal, a robust music stand and a sound that can match a piano. Electric keyboards do not have all of these facilities. However, you might prefer a digital piano because of available space, or so that practice can be done through headphones. Depending on the model, you may also be able to record your performance practice or change the sound options. There are some excellent models around.
The acoustic piano, whether upright or grand, can do really cool things that digital pianos can't, such as capture harmonics when you depress some keys silently and play others. The touch on the acoustic keyboard that you will learn will be far superior to that on a digital instrument. I have played on digital and acoustic and know what I prefer...
Do I have to sit examinations?
No. Many adults, for example, wish to learn pieces for the enjoyment of playing at home. Most children/young adults and their parents want to discuss graded examinations, as they contribute towards points for college entrance/QCF Levels in Music Performance. The decision to enter for an exam or public performance such as a festival will only be taken after discussion and agreement between all parties.
Which books do I need?
If you are a beginner, I will recommend particular tutor books that we can work through in additional to other resources that I provide. Additional repertoire and workbooks for music theory will have to be bought at some stage if you wish to progress beyond a certain level. Adult learners may prefer to bring their own choices of music to work on and are welcome to do so.
How much practice do I need to do?
I like to think of music practice in terms of quality, not quantity. If you sit down and play your pieces through, from the beginning, mistakes and all, for half an hour, then that is not effective practice. If you focus on an aspect of technique,rhythmic challenges or notes in two awkward bars and feel that these have improved, you have managed your time well.
It's all about having a focus; practise well and your playing improves; as you improve, you enjoy playing more; the more you enjoy playing, the more you are likely to practise; and the more you practise...It's a self-fulfilling prophecy!
How do I know if my child is ready for piano study?
If you already have a piano, by all means encourage your child to explore it before embarking on lessons. It will enable them to become familiar with the layout of the keys and how they make sounds. Help them find out what the pedals do! All this will give them more confidence when asked to try something new in their lessons.
Do they know the difference between their left and their right sides? This doesn't just mean which is their right hand and left hand. If your child is aware that they can play something with one hand, then mirror it with the other, they will be developing spatial awareness that will be important as they try new techniques at the piano.
Another issue with the piano:
Right = up = higher sounds!
Left = down = lower sounds!
Take time to recite the music alphabet ABCDEFG forwards AND backwards. Imagine climbing some stairs (or do it with care!) and come back down, reciting the letters in reverse....
Once lessons begin, try to notice what your child is discovering at the keyboard and talk to them openly about what they are working on. It is important to talk with them about what, how and why they are practising. Time management and self-motivation will become increasingly important, the older they become.
It is always appreciated if parents can inform me of anything that might affect their child's learning or ability to practise between lessons. Thanks!