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“Use the talents you possess, for the woods would be very silent if no birds sang except the best.”

- Henry Van Dyke


Piano, technique and theory for all ages offered (Ages 5+)

Private lessons are $20.00/30 minute session.

Piano Lessons for Adult Beginners

  • Have you always wanted to play the piano?
  • Did you study as a child, but had to take a break due to career or family?
  • Do you wish to have a fulfilling experience learning your favorite music?


Lessons are held in a relaxed atmosphere and each lesson is designed specifically for the individuals style.

The finest teaching encourages a love of music. Music students, regardless of their age or degree of accomplishment, can establish a never-ending cycle of fulfillment. The study of music is a truly rewarding and enriching experience that will remain with your child all his or her life. My goal is to provide each student with a well-rounded piano education in a positive and fun environment.

It is my belief that every student can succeed musically, and that parental encouragement and involvement is a large factor in that success. Teaching is my passion.  Nearly all new students are referral based because of my enthusiasm and unique approach to teaching.  I take a patient, positive, and encouraging approach to teaching the art, and especially the enjoyment of piano playing.  After all, what greater reward can there be than to know that you have influenced your pupils progress, and that you have helped them to grow through a language which ultimately affects everything they do. 
 
 
Experience: Piano Teacher at Kashmir Music since 1999 and The Music Cafe since 2008

Teaching approach heavily based upon the teaching styles of Francis Clark and Richard Chronister

Member of Wisconsin Chapter MTNA (Music Teachers National Association)


Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Will my child be successful in learning to play the piano?

A:  Any person of reasonably normal intelligence CAN learn to play.  As in all areas of life, there are things that come easily to some and not so easily to others.  But personal diligence is a much greater factor in any endeavor than raw talent.

 

Q: What factors make a person successful?

A: Consistency in three areas will contribute to one's success in learning to play: consistent lesson attendance, consistent completion of assignments, and consistent daily practice.

 

Q: How much time per week should my child commit to practicing? How long must s/he study to play reasonably well?

A: Within a few months of study, most students will be able to play simple tunes.  However, the ability to play at an early intermediate level requires quite a bit of commitment.  For most, this may require 5 or more years of study based on 3-5 hours of practice per week depending on his/her level and assignment demands.   A good starting place for determining minimum daily practice times is as follows: 15-20 min. for 1st & 2nd yr. students, 20-30 min. for late elementary students, 30-40 min. for intermediates, and 40-60 min. for advancing students, at least 5 DAYS A WEEK!!  Less than this may significantly compromise a student's progress.  For students to be able to read and play independently with artistry and mastery, 8 or more years of diligent study and practice is not unusual. 

 

Q: How should my child structure his/her practice?

A: Students should use their assignment pages to keep track of what should be practiced, what practice steps to apply to make their time efficient and productive, and the objectives for each item assigned.  The assignment page is laid out in a specific manner that parallels most athletic sport practices beginning with conditioning exercise drills, study pieces, review work, and preparation of new material.  Theory assignments are also included and can be done at any time during a practice session.  Students are urged to work through each assignment element in the order recorded on the assignment page.  This will allow for a natural flow of preparation and application of concepts and technics required by the repertoire.

 

Q: What if my child doesn't want to practice?

A: Accept the fact that most students don't generally want to practice, but realize that without practice, the goal of mastering skills needed to play the instrument will never become a reality.  Piano study is not easy.  It requires discipline, focus, attention to details, thought, determination, and perseverance especially when things become challenging.  These traits are no longer common in our society with “fast” food and “instant” results.  That's why parents must play an active role in supporting their child's piano study.  Simply put, once the commitment to piano study has been made, parents should “expect” their child to practice.  There is never a need to beg, plead, bribe, or fight with their child to practice.  Expecting practice simply means holding your child responsible for doing so and accountable for when s/he doesn't.  Choosing to make piano study part of your child's education places regular practice right behind homework in degree of importance. Treat it as such.

 

Q: Should my child be using the CD's during practice sessions?

A: Most definitely!  At the early elementary level, it is critical for the student to hear a quality performance of their music as well as learn how to apply good practice tools during their practice sessions at home.  Some of these tools involve listening to the piece on the CD while tapping the hands in rhythm.  These practice steps are greatly enhanced when accompanied by available background tracks.  Once a piece is securely “in the fingers,” the student should be performing with the CD nearly every time.  This helps him/her to develop solid “ensemble” playing skills s/he will experience in the future with other musicians. 

 

 

Q: What types of music will my child be learning?

A: During the elementary levels, the music is primarily determined by the method course used.  However, additional supplementary music of a variety of styles may also be included.  Short simple original tunes, traditional folk & children's melodies, and seasonal songs are used as teaching material.  At the intermediate level, classical music will make up the core of repertoire studied.  However, supplementary music in various styles used will be determined by the student as they desire. These styles may include: jazz/blues, ragtime, sacred & hymn tunes, popular standards, current hits, and contemporary styled selections.

 

Q: Will my child be learning theory?

A: Yes!  Theory consists of the knowledge of how music is constructed.  It enables the player to understand and embrace the music s/he is playing more completely.  By using principles learned in theory study, your child will be able to learn repertoire more quickly and perform it with greater stylistic satisfaction.  S/he will also be able to apply his/her theory beyond the printed notes with skills such as: arranging accompaniments, transposing, improvising, and even composing.  Theory is a great aid to memorization as well.  Theory work is a regular part of lessons often with some follow up work to be completed at home as well.

 

Q: What if my child doesn't like a particular piece?

A: No one specific piece of music is crucial to the success or failure of a student.  However, if your child does not like a piece, it is often because it proves difficult in some way and s/he falters in practicing it effectively.  Students often discover that “least favorite” pieces later become “most favorite” pieces after some quality practice.  At the elementary level, most of the music is intended to prepare and reinforce specific pedagogical concepts.  Creating appealing music within the limited confines of a beginner's knowledge and skills is quite challenging.  Most courses do a great job of doing both, but occasionally some pieces are not as musically motivating.  When using a specific method course, it is dangerous to make a habit of “skipping” pieces simply because the student doesn't like them.  This can often communicate that the student's likes or dislikes should dictate what is played or not.  Students are given lots of freedom in choosing additional supplementary repertoire that they would find appealing.

 

Q: What if my child wants to have long fingernails?

A: Unfortunately, short fingernails are necessary to develop a good hand position and fluid technic.  Nails should be flush with the finger tip; no longer.  Parents are urged to stay on top of regular weekly trimmings to avoid using valuable lesson time to trim nails. 

 

Q: Will my child learn to read music?

A: During the elementary level of study, music reading is a primary focus.  However, reading involves more than just being able to identify notes by name.  Rhythm reading, recognizing spatial (intervallic) relationships between notes, and the physical gestures involved in responding to the notes all play a vital role in music reading.  Learning to read music is similar to learning a foreign language; repetition and drill are required for secure reinforcement and recall of the various notations on the score.  This is THE most difficult aspect of piano study for most students and one in which your child may need lots of support and encouragement. 

 

Q: Can my child learn to play on an electronic keyboard?

A: Yes and no.  Yes, s/he can learn to read & play music on an electronic instrument and no, s/he will not be able to develop the correct technic demanded by repertoire written specifically for the piano.  An acoustic piano is a highly responsive instrument to a player's touch due to the complicated mechanisms involved in producing sounds.  An electric keyboard simply reproduces recorded sounds electronically when a key is pressed.  The sounds are sterile and unresponsive on most keyboards.  Full weighted digital keyboards come closer to allowing for various articulations to be produced by the player, but the sounds are still quite sterile.  It's fine for younger students to begin their piano study on either an acoustic piano or a full sized, weighted key, digital keyboard.  However, serious students at the intermediate level intending to continue their piano study must have access to an acoustic piano for their daily practice.

 

Q: How important is it to have my piano tuned?

A: Critically important.  Most acoustic pianos should be tuned at least once every year; often twice.  Playing on an out of tune instrument is one of the most detrimental things a parent can allow.  Everything involved in a student's piano development is compromised when the instrument is not in tune.  Students are rarely motivated to play on a sour sounding instrument day after day.  Not tuning your piano may create a serious impediment to your child's success in piano study.

 

Q: Shouldn't my child be having fun taking lessons?

A: Fun is a tricky concept.  Everyone's idea of fun is different.  Fun is an attitude the student brings to his/her endeavors.  It is important for the teacher to provide opportunities for satisfaction and enjoyment in learning and music making during each lesson.  But the student must also come prepared in order to enjoy the lesson.  A positive attitude and secure preparation are the prime ingredients for enjoyment.  Ill-prepared assignments however, rarely result in the student experiencing enjoyment at the lesson.  Regarding practicing, satisfaction may be a better goal to seek than fun.  When a student works hard to achieve something, they experience pride in themselves as well as achievement.  This moves them toward a feeling of satisfaction with their efforts helping to build their self esteem and confidence.  These traits are much more valuable as motivators than “temporal” fun.

 

Q: How can I help my child succeed in piano study?

A: First, by communicating that you value quality music in every way.  Go to concerts, sing, listen, and make music together as a family.  Surround your child with musical experiences and quality recorded music (esp. classical).  Second, show interest in his/her piano study.  Make sure your child arrives at his/her lessons on time, check his/her assignment pages to see what's to be practiced, and maintain a good relationship with the teacher. Ask about his/her lessons each week and what s/he is learning. Be nearby during practice sessions and see that your child's practice time is not in competition with the TV or computer.  Ask your child to play their assigned pieces for you often followed by hearty applause for a job well done.  Avoid focusing on mistakes or pointing out performance errors; be encouraging instead.  If needed, allow yourself to learn about music too.  And finally, help your child establish a regular habit of practice and hold him/her accountable for preparing assignments thoroughly.