I want my child to start having lessons, what do I do and when can we start?
All the information you need is on the 'Expression of Interest' page.
Can we try out piano lessons for awhile before we commit?
You do not have to sign up blindly but once you do enrol, you must give 30 days notice if you decide to quit.
If you are interested in piano lessons we will arrange for you to make a short visit to the studio so that we can meet each other If your child is young I will assess their readiness for lessons through some activities. You can ask any questions and we if you are happy we will go ahead with enrolment.
A non-refundable fee instalment is paid with enrolment. Thirty days notice or one month's tuition fee is required if you decide to quit at any time after enrolment. No refunds will be given. Bear in mind that it takes at least a month to get a feel for lessons.
NOTE: students in grade 11 at school to adult, please see the guidelines under Adult Beginners.
I have two children who want to start lessons. Can they have a lesson together?
Only if they are the same age, are aged between 4 and 8 years old, and are in their first year of tuition. Children of different ages progress at different rates and therefore cannot share a lesson. Older beginners progress quickly and need a full lesson to themselves.
What is the best age to start learning?
A child is more likely to continue tuition, and reach an advanced level earlier, if he/she begins learning by the age of eight. Five to seven year olds are definitely ready to start their musical journey!
I would start at age 5 or 6 so I could do 'My First Piano Adventure' because it is brilliant! ;)
It is a common belief that it is better to wait until your child is a little 'older' and can take lessons 'more seriously', focus themselves, dedicate themselves to practice etc. I do not believe this is true.
I view music as a language that is easier to learn at a young age. Playing technique develops as the child's motor skills develop. Performing becomes a comfortable, normal, natural experience. Practice becomes a daily habit for life. Nerves, exams, and working to meet goals become familiar early on in the child's education.
If you have an older child do not be discouraged. Older students, too, find piano fun and rewarding and can become very knowledgeable skilled pianists :)
What happens if we miss a lesson?
I allow cancelled lessons to be rescheduled to a mutually convenient time. Lessons that are unattended without prior notification may not be rescheduled.
There are detailed guidlines on missed and cancelled lessons in the Studio Policy.
Can my child practice on a keyboard?
Only if it has 88 full size weighted keys. Visit the 'Pianos' page for details.
Does my child have to do exams?
In short, no, but I highly recommend doing them. You may have inaccurate assumptions about what exams involve. See 'Examinations and Assessments' for more information.
Does my child have to learn classical music?
Early level students learn a variety of styles of music including some classical. Advancing students may choose to focus on classical repertoire or not. Classical music is not compulsory. Both classical piano and non-classical piano examinations are offered. By the way, some classical music is really fun and exciting to play!
What can I do to help my child practice?
There are many things you can do to support your child. I have devoted an entire webpage to information about 'Practice'.
Why do you charge a monthly fee instead of a fee per lesson?
Firstly, the 'monthly fee' is actually a calculated annual fee that is paid in monthly instalments. Sudio enrolment is intended to be a year long commitment.
Secondly, I do not only spend your child's lesson time working for you. Hours of preparation, planning, researching, choosing new music, etc. go into running my studio and teaching your child. Money is spent on buying new music, keeping the lending library stocked up, buying your own books, buying teaching materials, piano tuning etc. If you are a student enrolled in my studio I am working for you whether you are here for a lesson or not. If you cancel a particular lesson I am not going to enrol a new student to come and fill your space for one lesson.
Thirdly, it is to your benefit that I allow you to reschedule lessons and that I have allocated 2 extra teaching weeks to my schedule to give you more opportunity to attend your maximum quota of lessons.
What if we don't manage to do our 38 allocated lessons during the year?
There is ample opportunity to reschedule lessons with at least 40 allocated teaching weeks in my calendar with only 38 lessons to fit in, plus I often do catch up lessons in school holidays. You will not be refunded for any lessons you don't manage to schedule and attend.
We are signing up part way through the year, will we get our money's worth?
If you start lessons partway through the year, you pay the regular monthly instalments from the month that you begin lessons. I will inform you of your maximum lesson quota for the year. It is your responsibility to schedule and attend these lessons.
What should I do while my child has their lesson?
There are several options:
When will my child be advanced enough to play in an exam, concert or competition?
When will he/she be able to play a 'real song'?
All performance opportunities available to my students are suitable for ALL students. A student who has had 1 or 2 lessons can already play a 'song' that could be performed to an audience. When it comes to performances, competitions or exams, the emphasis is on participation and experience. The student should aim to play well at their own level. There is no particular standard required.
The earliest exams and assessments are suitable for entry after only 1 - 2 years of tuition.
Does my child HAVE to play in the student concerts?
Learning to perform is a very important part of learning to play piano. Student concerts are a training ground for performance technique. Students are usually proud to demonstrate what they have been learning.
The concerts have a relaxed atmosphere that encourages confidence in the performers. Many students play a student/teacher duet which eases nerves about being on stage alone.
All students are expected to be involved. However, a student who is fearful about performing may like to 'just watch' at the first concert and maybe next time they will feel ready to perform. There is no pressure.