Missed lessons

When you book a lesson you are reserving a fixed weekly time slot exclusively for your use for the duration of the term. I will try to offer alternative times for one lesson missed due to illness only each term. There will be no make-up alternative offered for any other reason other than illness.

Make-up lessons cannot be carried over to the next term. If you choose not to accept a make-up lesson there will be no refund for the missed lesson.

In the case of teacher absence, a make-up lesson will be offered, or a credit placed on the invoice for the next term.

Online lessons

You will need: iPad, tablet, or computer (a phone will also work, however it can limit the effective of some activities); a Skype or Zoom account; paper and pencil.

For piano lessons, it’s best to position your device to the side so I can see the keyboard and your hands.

For singing lessons, it’s great if you can stand up during the lesson, with room to step back from the screen. There’s no need for you to be near a piano during the lessons.

I will provide digital music to be printed or viewed online; music manuscript paper; recordings of accompaniments for duet parts

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Discontinuing lessons

Please provide at least four weeks notice before the end of term if you would like to discontinue lessons.

Books and materials

A mix of books and materials, both paper and digital, will be sourced by the studio. Costs will be added to the invoice, including shipping costs, where applicable.

Bring a folder for loose sheets and books, and a notebook with you to each lesson. Alternatively, bring an iPad or tablet and we can do it all digitally.

Buying a piano or digital piano

For both acoustic and digital pianos it’s essential you have an adjustable piano stool, so that you can play comfortably and with the correct arm/hand position.

Acoustic: try to ensure it is reasonably in tune and can be tuned properly in the future. Pianos need to be tuned regularly, at least once a year. Be aware that older pianos will require more maintenance so check the sound before you buy, and, if you can, have someone check the state of the felt on the hammers. 

Digital: make sure you get a piano with the full complement of 88 keys. They should be weighted, which means you can play the full range of dynamics (loud and soft), depending on how hard you press a key. And that’s it. You definitely don’t need lots of sounds or other bells and a whistles! 

Consider whether you want one with built-in speakers. If not, you will need to buy external speakers and possibly stands for them, too. While it is okay to sometimes play with headphones, ideally you should also play without. 

Some digital pianos have built-in frames but, if not, you will need to buy a stand. Definitely don’t rest your piano on a table! This makes it impossible to play with the right body/arm position.

Practicing at home

It can be hard to find time to practice and to motivate yourself to do it even once you are sitting at the piano. But there are a couple of things you can do to make it easier. The first is to remember that practicing a little bit more often is always going to be of more benefit than finding a bigger chunk of time once a week, especially when you first start. Knowing you only have to concentrate for even just a few minutes will make it much easier to not only find the time but to get started.

It can also be overwhelming thinking you have to practice a whole page or a whole piece. Instead, when you first sit down, tell yourself you only have to practice a small section, even just one line or a few bars, and that’s it. On another day you might begin by running through the whole piece (mistakes and all) and then decide to focus on another section. On another day you could sit down without any music at all and simply enjoy putting notes together to see how they sound, or put your fingers on the keys and practice moving up and down with your eyes shut. Sound easier?

For children, there are a couple of additional things you can try.

  • Schedule practice times throughout the week and try to stick to them.
  • For beginners, keep it short but frequent, and try to make the first session as soon after the lesson as you can, so everything is still fresh in their minds (and fingers).
  • Sit down with your child for some of these times. Ask them to show you what they are playing and offer encouragement.
  • You can also ask them to explain what they are doing, as putting it into words will help them work it out in their own minds.