Frequently Asked Questions
When is my child ready for lessons?
For piano I recommend children wait until they are able to read and can focus on one task for a half hour at a time, generally around seven years of age. For guitar, I recommend around third grade.
I’m an adult. Is it too late for me to learn an instrument?
It’s never too late! Adults often progress more quickly than children because they are self-motivated and have more finger strength and coordination.
Are you a home school provider?
Yes! I am a vendor for Raven and IDEA home schools.
How much do lessons cost?
I accept payment two ways: by semester and by month. The semester cost is 7% less than the monthly cost and comes to $27 per half hour lesson. The monthly cost averages out to $29 per half hour lesson. Longer lessons or enrichment opportunities increase the amount per lesson at the same rate. Rock band lessons are $27/$29 per 45 minutes.
Where do you teach?
I teach in a studio located downtown in the Harborview school neighborhood.
What kind of piano or keyboard should I buy?
When starting out a basic 61-key digital keyboard will do just fine. Young children often enjoy the various sounds that these keyboards produce and they are usually sturdy and inexpensive. Check Craigslist before buying new.
As students progress they will need a full-sized 88-key piano with pedals. At this point the question becomes: acoustic or digital?
Acoustic pianos are wonderful instruments and have a sound and feel that cannot be imitated digitally, especially the sustain pedal. However they’re also large, heavy, complex machines that require periodic tuning. For many students the pleasure of playing the real thing is absolutely worth the trouble.
Digital pianos are a good option for students needing an upgrade from a small keyboard but who aren’t’ sure they’re quite ready for an acoustic piano. These often run in the $400-$1000 range, though of course you can spend much more if you desire.
When shopping for pianos Craigslist is often useful and I highly recommend playing and inspecting the piano before purchasing. Taking someone knowledgeable about pianos with you when you inspect it is a good idea too.
What kind of guitar should I buy? In other words: electric or acoustic guitar?
This is largely a personal decision based on what kind of music you or your child are interested in playing.
If a student has a strong interest in country or folk music they may want to begin with an acoustic guitar. Otherwise I recommend beginning with an electric guitar.
Acoustic guitars are considerably more difficult to play than electrics. The strings are under greater tension and they sit farther from the fretboard which requires more strength to fret the chords, and the bodies of acoustic guitars are bulky and can be awkward in a child’s lap. But if the student is motivated by their love of acoustic genres of music this can more than overcome the initial awkwardness!
An electric guitar requires an amplifier to play, but a small amp and electric guitar together cost about the same as an acoustic guitar. Whatever kind of guitar you buy I highly recommend getting a strap (and installing strap buttons if needed). A strap will help the student hold the guitar in a comfortable playing position while sitting and standing up.
How much should I (or my child) practice?
The more you practice the better you’ll get! In general I recommend practicing five days a week for 15-30 minutes, but this varies with the age of the student and their goals.
Your practice time does not need to be in large chunks of time. It’s more beneficial, and often more realistic in our modern lifestyles, to practice for a few minutes at a time throughout the day. This is especially useful when first learning an instrument since your fingers and hands will get fatigued. My best advice is to make practice time a regular part of your routine if at all possible.
Practice time should be divided between playing and perfecting pieces you’ve already learned and working on new material. Both are important and help you become a better musician.
As a parent, do I attend lessons with my student?
This is up to you, and it varies from student to student. Parents are always welcome to sit in on lessons. Some students are able to stay on-task better with a parent present, usually younger children. One the other hand some students like to have their lessons be one-on-one with the teacher, get less nervous without an audience present, and enjoy a little independence.
How do you schedule lessons?
I use a scheduling survey to see when students are available and build a teaching schedule from that. Once you decide to take lessons I’ll send the link. I typically begin teaching the second week of the school year.