FAQ

FAQs for Children/Teens

For Adult FAQs, scroll down to the bottom or click here.

WHEN TO START

  • My child is 7 years old, is she ready for piano lessons?

Yes! An ideal age to begin lessons is 7 or 8 years old, 1st through 3rd grade (kids are used to the routine of school, homework, etc. and their physical coordination is more developed).

SCHEDULING/CALENDAR

  • What days do you teach?

Currently Wednesday through Friday only, in the late afternoon/evenings, until 8 pm and hopefully soon, an additional morning (Friday); I teach Thursday mornings but they are full.
  • Do you have any openings?

Yes, but very limited, contact me here.
  • Do you teach during vacations? Summer?

During the school year, there are no lessons during public-school vacations. In the summer, students take 6 lessons spread out over 10 weeks of summer school vacation. More information on summer lessons is at my Studio Policy page.
  • Do you offer make-ups?

Yes—if you miss a lesson, you can reschedule it if I have an available slot that week, during my regular teaching hours only. If no spaces are available that week, you can “bank” it for later. You can also do a Zoom lesson during your lesson time if your child feels up to it (sickness) or perhaps you just couldn’t get to the studio. I leave it up to parents to remember their bankable reschedules. I also provide parents with a Lesson Swap Sheet so if you know in advance you can’t make a lesson, you can swap with another parent!

Please check out my studio policy page for more info.

TUITION

  • Why is it “tuition”? Aren’t I just paying for a weekly piano lesson?

Think of signing up for my program as similar to enrolling your child in a music school of one; not only are you getting a weekly piano lesson, you’re getting an instructor dedicated to the entire music education of your child who does as much for her students outside the actual weekly lesson as during the lesson. Those lessons include training in technique, theory, and performance.
  •  How much is the tuition?

For more info, please see tuition information at my Studio Policy page.

Please click here for an interesting viewpoint in an article about what your tuition pays for.

PRACTICE

  • How much will my child be required to practice?

For success at the piano, students should strive to practice the length of their lesson time, at least 5 days a week. Students begin with less time per day so that they can first develop the habit of daily practice. And that practice time doesn’t have to be all at once! In fact, sometimes for the student if it isn’t. Splitting it up into 2 or 3 sessions is often more productive, with better concentration and focus, perhaps while waiting to go out for another activity even. Often, it’s easier to get your child over to the piano! A major part of my job is teaching all students how to practice, and helping parents enforce this at home.

Have more questions about practicing? Please visit the On Practice section of my Kids’ Lessons page.

HOME PIANO

  • We’ve only got a keyboard, is this good enough?

As long as you have a digital piano to start out—88 weighted keys and a sustain pedal—if your child is a beginner, or even a transfer student, that will work for a while (3 to 6 months), but if it turns out that your child is dedicated to practice, excited about learning about good technique and how to play the piano well, you will want to invest in an acoustic piano to make that financial investment in lessons truly worthwhile. Each child’s journey is different!
Want to learn more? Click here to read my article on acoustic pianos versus digital keyboards, and why I believe, after 50 years of playing, why it’s better to learn the piano first and then play digital pianos (reverse order).

If you’d like a demonstration on the importance of the difference, contact me below and make an appointment to come to my studio and I am more than happy to demonstrate, as I realize sometimes understanding the difference is tough!
There are also many other articles about the differences. Here’s one, for starters.

  • I want to get my child a piano, but I don’t even know where to start. And I’m not sure I could afford one.

Pianos are expensive but new-used ones only a little more than the best digital pianos. I’m happy to help you with advice about how to get started. If you are looking for a quality used piano (mine is!) think of it as buying a used car, you may need to do some research. I recommend contacting two local excellent piano technicians, right here on Cape Ann, who know more about getting a good piano and where, for a good price. Please don’t run out and buy a piano on Craigslist before you get in touch, come by for a demo, or contact a pro. I also have info over on my Resources page.
  • Okay, but we just don’t have room for one!

If there’s a will there’s a way! An acoustic piano takes up the same amount of space with just inches of difference length-wise and about 2 feet additional width-wise as a digital. Read my article here.

HOW TO START

  • How do I sign up?

Call or email me to set up a meet-and-greet interview, which will be about 20–30 minutes. It’s free of charge and I give a very short “mini” lesson to beginners and assess where your child who wants to transfer is at. Your child can meet their teacher, experience what it’s like to play the piano, and of course see my studio. I’ll also go over my program in more detail with you, including going through my studio policy; it’s a time for you to ask me any questions you might have about piano study so if you can please read about my program on my Studio Policy page ahead of the interview, that’s helpful.

Interested in signing up? Click here.

FAQs for Adults

I’m retired and have always wanted to play the piano. Is it too late?

It’s never too late! If you’ve never played piano, with time to practice (even 30 minutes a day, or most days) and if you’re self-motivated, disciplined, and, most of all, patient!, you will see results soon. And if you’re able to practice even more, you will be a piano player in short order! Beginners generally are able to play an early intermediate classical piece, such as Für Elise by Beethoven, as early as 1-3 years after study, depending on how much you can practice. If you had lessons when you were young, and you’re returning to the piano, you’ll begin to see results right away. If you’re a beginner at the piano and don’t have an acoustic piano, you’ll need an 88-key digital piano to start (if you have questions about getting one, I’m happy to give you advice).

I travel a lot and can’t make it to a regular lesson, is it possible not to come every week?

Yes, indeed! In the scheduling of my adult students, I can be more flexible. You can of course sign up for a weekly lesson (payable in 5 to 10 lesson blocks but a reserved time slot for every week), but I also offer lessons “a la carte.” At present my time slots are Wednesdays through Fridays, late in the day, and evening, or possibly one more morning (Thursday is full). It is tricky finding time to teach adults lessons between roughly 4–8, Wednesday through Friday, during the school year, because it is my “prime-time” for younger students, but I sometimes have a slot during that time period.

What if I don’t want to work on classical, just pop or rock or jazz tunes?

Lessons for adult students are geared toward each student’s individual game plan. Most students want to learn how to play classical music, that is, learn to sightread music, with popular songs included, while others may be more interested in studying beginning jazz piano and improvisation (I do not teach advanced jazz). Many want a combination of the two, and other genres of music as well. And some students want to know more about theory basics, or how to compose their own music. I am a teacher who lays a solid foundation in sightreading and technique, so a “classical” foundation at least in the very beginning will serve you the best.

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