- Lessons take place in my studio on either a Yamaha or Steinway grand piano, or a Yamaha 605 Clavinola with a built in sequencer. Ample parking is available on both sides of the street.
- Lessons are usually weekly, half hour to forty five minutes for beginners moving up to an hour by high school. Parents of beginners will get the best results if they stay and listen to the lesson in order to support practice at home. After the first year or two, students can be dropped off and picked up. Quiet is expected during lessons and transition times.
- Students are provided with a canvas music bag. Students (not parents!) are responsible for bringing music, notebooks and reading/rhythm cards to every lesson, and for keeping music organized on the piano at home. Sitters or parents may want to check bags for early elementary students until they remember what to bring.
- Lesson etiquette includes coming with the assignment well prepared, having books and materials organized and ready, being focused and actively participating. Early arrivals should let themselves in and wait in the kitchen area.
- At home, students should practice with the music and assignment book on the rack and record practice in their assignment books. Students will also need a metronome in the first year, a clock and an iPad (or CD player or computer) near the piano for practice support and listening.
- Technique and repertoire take up most of the lesson time. Rhythm and sight-reading exercises are covered in the Piano Safari and RCM books. Apps for identifying notes, counting and other skills will be recommended as appropriate.
- Practice techniques are based on Philip Johnston’s writings and a general recommendation is outlined for each student. In the second year, students will begin to learn how to organize weekly assignments into daily tasks so that they come prepared to lessons. A clock on or near the piano helps with time management. Students should try to work up to 30 minutes of daily practice by the 2nd year of lessons in order to make appropriate progress and benefit from private study. Shorter, regular practice is usually better than infrequent longer sessions (e.g., two 15 minute sessions – one in the morning and one in the afternoon), and daily practice is required.
- Video recording is used regularly as an incentive for completing pieces and to compile a portfolio of accomplishments. Videos are maintained for each student and available to parents at any time (please bring a USB drive).
- Group lessons are held prior to performances and exams and occasionally at other times throughout the year.
- Students begin lessons at different ages and progress at different rates. Each student is expected to do their best and learn from setbacks. There is no race to the finish line; it’s better to learn one piece well than ten pieces poorly. However, as part of skill development, students need to learn to practice efficiently so that they can complete several assigned pieces efficiently and accurately.
- Over the course of their lessons, some students will need exposure to different teachers and ideas in order to fully develop as pianists and musicians. Mini-master classes with other teachers will be scheduled on occasion, and participation in community and area events will also introduce families to new experiences. At certain points in their development, it may be appropriate for students to move on to other teachers for the best learning experience. Families are encouraged to explore these opportunities.