Piano Lessons

Above all, I love to teach!  I love to see the delight in students eyes when they “get” a concept.  I love to see students motivated by music, and I love the interaction between student and teacher.  With a Doctorate in Piano Pedagogy, I hold all of the skills necessary to teach you or your child successfully.  Here are some common questions about my lessons.  If you have any other questions, do not hesitate to ask!

Students of all ages, and all stages are welcome in my studio.

When are lessons?

Fall lessons start the first week in September.  There will be no lessons the week of Thanksgiving, the 2 weeks of Christmas break, and the week of Spring Break. Please visit calendar page for exact information about when lessons begin and end for the semester, and recital and festival dates.

Lessons are scheduled throughout the day.  Current students get top priority in scheduling lessons.

What other concepts do you cover during your lessons?

Throughout the year, I also incorporate theory, improvisation, harmonization, composition, an understanding of musical history, and transposition into each students’ lesson. All students are required to have some sort of theory book or worksheets. The other concepts are incorporated into weekly assignments.

What if I miss a lesson?

With the payment of tuition, a lesson slot is reserved in my teaching schedule for the student every week that the studio is open. As long as tuition is current, the student has the freedom to choose not to come to a lesson, without risk of losing his/her place in the studio. If you miss a lesson, there will be no credits or refunds given.  However, a make-up class offered.  Students are allowed 1 make-up class per semester.  If I have to cancel a lesson for any reason, I will certainly offer an aditional make-up lesson or refund.

I will offer one Saturday per semester as a make-up class day. This will be a fun 60 minute class, separated by age groups.   The class will focus on performing skills and theory skills.

What type of music do you teach?

I assign music to students that is appropriate for their age and interest level. All of my students study the 4 main genres of piano music: baroque, classical, romantic, and contemporary.  I also love to teach pieces that are motivators for students, such as movie pieces, pop pieces, jazz, contemporary Christian, ragtime, etc.  My main goal is for all students to develop a love of playing the piano. I do have students who are at the advanced level and wish to enter competitions and/or study music in college.  For them, I push their skill level a bit harder.  However, are my students picking up music and playing for friends and relatives for the joy of music?  Then I have succeeded.

What type of technology do you use in your lessons?

Technology in my studio is used at almost each lesson, with every age of student. I use a digital piano to help students explore their pieces through different sounds, utilizing recordings on the keyboard for self-analysis, and through use of accompaniments as a metronome device to develop stable rhythm. I also have the capability in my studio to hook my digital piano to my computer, enabling students to record their performances and save them as MP3s for e-mailing or to put on their iPods or other MP3 players. Each of my students does a year round recording project, with a final CD of their performances completed at the end of the school year

On the computer and iPad, I use music theory program to enforce theory concepts, use composition programs to help students realizing the notation of their pieces, and recording software to help students record and orchestrate their pieces.

Festivals, Competitions, and Recitals?

I hold 2 recitals a year for my students, 1 in December and 1 in May. Attendance and participation at these recitals is required.

Students may also elect to participate in local festivals and competitions.

Summer Lessons

From my own teaching experience, I have seen a lot of students who do not take summer lessons digress in their playing abilities. I understand that summer is a busy time for everyone, but scheduling 6 lessons over the summer break is an optimum way of keeping up one’s piano skills. Summer lessons are also a great time to focus on issues that we may not have time to focus on over the school year, such as composition, improvisation, study of music history, learning duets, learning jazz pieces, etc. I also teach pairs lessons over the summer (2 or more students per lesson), and these have always been very rewarding with lots of progress and motivation.

If you do not choose to take summer lessons, your spot for the fall is not guaranteed.

Tuition & Fees

Tuition

  • Tuition is due by the first lesson of the month.
  • Please contact me for my current tuition rates.

Summer Tuition

  • 2 months of lessons can be spread out over June-August to accommodate summer vacations.

What does tuition cover?

  • Tuition covers your private lessons during the school year. Remember that you are not only paying for my time during lessons, but also my time spent planning each lesson, attending professional meetings and national conferences, time spent choosing music for the lessons, professional fees, and maintenance of the studio (piano tuning, purchasing software, utilities, self-employment taxes, etc.)

Are there any other fees?

  • There are optional fees for students wanting to enter local festivals and competitions.
  • There is also a $60 annual enrollment and recital fee due in August.  This fee covers the December and May recitals.
  • Each student is also responsible for purchasing his or her own music books, theory books, and lesson notebooks.

Why does tuition vary so much from teacher to teacher?

  • When pricing piano teachers, take into account their expertise, education, experience, and studio.  Ask about their degrees in music and their experience in education.  Sit in on a lesson, listen to a piano recital, or interview other students and parents themselves.  It is important that you and your child are comfortable with the teacher you choose!  Usually, a relationship with a piano teachers lasts many years.  As a teacher, I try to teach not only the “how-to’s” of piano playing, but also try to instill a love and joy in music making that will last a lifetime.

Practicing

How much should my child practice during the week?

  • The vague answer to this would be enough to accomplish the goals set during the previous lesson. Some teachers like to set a time limit on practicing. I find this to vary from student to student. It is more important that parents’ help make practicing a priority in the home (like homework), and schedule their child’s day to incorporate practicing into it.
  • We all have busy weeks!  Try, as much as you can, to establish piano practicing into your daily routine.  Also, don’t be afraid to make it fun, and offer rewrards or incentives for practice!

Should parents supervise practicing?

  • At the early age, parents should absolutely supervise practicing, as you supervise homework. However, your goal in time should be independence on the child’s part.

What is the parent’s role in piano lessons?

  • Parents are responsible for bringing their children to piano lessons and picking them up in a timely manner, and if need be, supervising practicing throughout the week. Parents should also commit to supporting their children in their participation in recitals, festivals, and competitions. Most importantly, parents should be the ones clapping the loudest, and smiling the widest at the recitsl.  Our job as parents is to tell our children how proud we are of them for learning such a valuable skill such as piano playing.

What is the student’s role in piano lessons?

  • Students are responsible for being prepared at their lessons (bringing the correct music, practicing, etc.). Also, students should exhibit a willingness to learn during their lesson.
  • I hope that all of my students come into their lessons with excitement and leave with a wonderful feeling of acomplishment.  We are learning, but we are also have fun!

Pianos (Acoustic and Digital)

What type of piano should I have at home?

  • Pianos vary in type and price from a few hundred dollars to over $100,000 dollars. A good piano is one that can be maintained (tuned) and used properly (all keys working, etc.). The best person to evaluate a piano is a piano tuner or technician.

Can I have an electronic piano/keyboard for home practice?

  • Absolutely!  Try to meet the following criteria:
  • a) the keyboard has all 88 keys,
  • b) the keys on the keyboard are weighted like a real piano (not mushy to the touch),
  • c) the width of the piano keys are the same as on an acoustic piano.
  • Keep in mind that some keyboard sold at department stores are toys, and are not intended for piano study. Expecting your child to practice and learn from a toy keyboard would be like enrolling them in baseball and giving them a toy plastic bat to use on the team.

What if I am new to piano and want to try it out first before purchasing a piano?

  • If financially, you are not ready to commit to buying a piano, several stores in Austin rent pianos on a month to month basis.

How often should I get my piano tuned and why?

  • Pianos should be tuned at least yearly if not twice a year. Failure to do so would be like never changing the oil on your car. A piano, like a car, needs proper maintenance to extend its life and to perform smoothly.  If you need the name of a piano tuner, I have several wonderful ones that I can recommend!

Get in touch

Send me an email!  I’d love to hear from you.