Piano Lessons

Last Updated on 2024-07-04 | Originally Posted on 2017-10-01

Welcome

If you are a prospective piano family looking to see if I might be a good fit, you’re in the right place! If you’re already enrolled in the studio, please visit my Piano Parent Portal page.

I have a studio at Central Rogers, a Methodist church on the corner of New Hope Road and 26th Street. It’s three miles east of the home address I use in my Google My Business page.


In-Person Lessons Location


Who I Teach

Lessons for Children

I teach children from ages five and up. I talk about why I chose that age range, and discuss readiness for lessons in my FAQ section at the bottom of this page. Young kids don’t need to practice a lot, but they need to practice regularly. If you’d like me to assess whether your child is ready to start, and he/she is at least five years old, please contact me.

Lessons for Adults

I teach adults, too, and welcome them into my studio. Often, an adult takes a lesson in an adjacent time slot to his/her child. There’s often a synergy from that experience even though each student has independent goals.

I also teach adults who come on their own. I prefer to teach those adults outside of peak hours since children have very specific times that they can take lessons. Plus, that allows me to offer a bit more flexibility in scheduling.

Lesson Rates – Effective Fall 2024

Full-semester students are billed a monthly rate that follows the fall or spring semester tuition plan. The price of lessons for students who start after the beginning of the semester, or terminate lessons before the end of the semester, is calculated from the base rate.

  • 30 minutes: $120/month, $34 base rate
  • 45 minutes: $172.50/month, $49 base rate
  • 60 minutes: $228/month, $64 base rate

Rates through the end of summer term on Friday, August 9, 2024, can be found on the page Summer Lessons 2024.

Annual Registration Fee

An annual registration fee of $70 is billed on August 1st to school-aged, full-semester students. Adult full-semester students pay the full rate or half of it depending on when they take lessons.

This fee can be waived or reduced by 50% by taking a certain amount of summer lessons before the fall semester in August, as explained in my policy.

This rate also decreases at fixed intervals, as explained in my policy, for students who start after the fall semester begins in August.

Semesters and Summer Term

  • Spring Semester – Early January through Mid-May
  • Summer Term – Late May through Early August
  • Fall Semester – Mid-August through Late December

My policy discusses how each semester works. Made simple, the fall and spring semesters are fixed blocks of lessons with monthly tuition. The summer term is more flexible; it accommodates summer camps, family vacations, and the need for downtime.

Are You Ready to Get Started?

If you’re ready to contact me, please click the blue button. The next section summarizes what I offer, and a bit about me. There is much more information after that if you’d like a long read.





More About What I Offer

Innovation and Tradition

When you watch me teach a lesson, you’d see some of both. A traditional lesson typically focuses on just music reading (playing) and technique. An innovative lesson includes rote playing and improvisation, particularly at the beginner level. For an intermediate student, there may be some lead-sheet playing, an exploration into jazz or pop, or more advanced improvisation leading to composition.

Lessons provide the foundation for lifelong playing. Each student will have different interests and a different path, but it should lead eventually to that same goal. I wrote a blog post about what a lesson looks like for a beginner.

Piano Parties

Piano Parties are held midsemester to give everyone a chance to perform, without the pressure of a formal recital. We have a costume contest at our Halloween party. We did duet playing and silly song writing at our Late Patrick’s Day party.

Recitals

There are formal recitals at the conclusion of each semester. They are scheduled according to the church’s availability, but are typically in mid-December and mid-May. A T-Shirt, Shorts, and Flip-Flops recital is held at the close of the summer term.

Festivals

I encourage many of my students to participate in the spring and fall festivals made possible by my professional affiliations. Students are invited to participate only after they have studied piano for at least a year and are prepared for the experience. If students are not ready, or not interested in participating, that’s okay, too!

Professional Affiliations

I am a member of the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA), the Arkansas State Music Teachers Association (ASMTA), and the local Northwest Arkansas Music Teachers Association (NAMTA). Membership in all of these groups provides you the chance to participate in the festivals listed below. It also provides me with ongoing continuing education opportunities.

I’m also a member of Vibrant Music Teaching, a membership site run by Nicola Cantan of Dublin, Ireland. It provides lots of teaching resources, like the games I send to help students with concepts. Plus, it gives me the chance to interact with a supportive community of innovative music teachers.

I’m also a contributor to the blog Colourful Keys, the public-facing website run by Nicola Cantan. I have participated in her online teaching conferences for the past couple of years as part of my continuing education.

A Little About Me

I am a pianist and organist, and I can play both pretty well. I’m proud to have two music degrees from my home state of New York, including a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Piano from Purchase College and a Master of Music in Collaborative Piano from The Juilliard School.

I’ve always had an interest in teaching, developed early in life, though I didn’t do a lot of it during most of my career due to having a full-time business job and part-time organist job. You can read a lot more about my journey below.

Summary

That’s what I offer, in a nutshell. Please contact me via the button below. If you’d like to read what other piano parents have said, please visit my Teaching Testimonials. My social media reviews are on the bottom of that page. If you’d like more information, there is plenty of it below!



Hadley at Jonesboro festival

Hadley is a pianist, actor, and avid reader. She participated in the June 2024 finals of our state piano festival in Jonesboro.


Student Expectations

Set Goals

Younger students may not be ready to actively set goals like a teenager or adult. However, all students should have some goal, whether it’s to get to the end of a particular method book, prepare and succeed at a music festival, or learn Christmas songs to entertain the family.

Achieve Goals with Practice

While we set goals in the studio, they become realized at home through practicing the piano. Sure, a good teacher can help a lot in that process, but even the best teacher can’t do the work for the student. Three days a week practice is an absolute minimum. Otherwise, piano lessons will be frustrating and unproductive for student and teacher alike.

A good rule of thumb is five days of practice per week in the amount of the lesson time. For beginners taking 30-minute lessons, this would be 20 to 30 minutes per day. As students move to 45-minute lessons, 30 to 45 minutes per day practice is expected. For very young students, the parent can break up practice time into two short daily practice sessions.

Talent vs Hard Work

Please don’t make the mistake of telling a performer after she performs how talented she is. If she’s kind, she will just say thank you. If she’s honest, she will tell you how many nights she spent in solitude practicing! Pareto’s law is at work – it’s 20% talent and 80% hard work! Talent with minimal practice only goes so far. When students hit the wall where they need to step up their practice time, it can be difficult. If they want to continue, they have to make the effort to do so.

Teaching Philosophy

I’ve written a blog post that generically answers this question. Often, I find that prospective students are looking to see if they are a good fit, and that can only be determined by a phone call and/or a trial lesson. I’m glad to offer both. I do charge for a trial lesson, but there is no obligation to continue after that.

You can learn a lot about a teacher just by asking what books they use to teach. I discuss my favorite piano methods on a separate webpage. Flexibility is key to matching the right materials to the needs of the student.

In-Person vs In-Home Piano Lessons

Teaching at a neutral site, like Central Methodist in Rogers, offers several benefits. There is a spacious waiting area, both outside and inside the rooms where I teach. Also, the facility offers formal and informal spaces for events like our piano parties and recitals.

I only offer in-home lessons under certain circumstances. They are more expensive since I add a fee for my transit time on top of the normal lesson charge. These lessons work better for multiple students since I need to bill at least 60 minutes per stop. Plus, these lessons will be scheduled outside of my normal teaching hours at Central Methodist.



Enjoy Ryan’s Winning Performance at the ASMTA Conference!


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is the Right Age to Begin?

Six. If you want an easy answer, there it is! However, if you want a more thoughtful answer, consider your child’s readiness to learn, which includes regular practice at home. Some kids are ready at five; others need a little more time. However, most kids at age six are ready for on-the-bench lessons.

I know my limits, which is why I don’t teach students under age five. There are teachers who are blessed with the ability and committed to teach 3- and 4-year-old students. That’s not me. Lessons look very different than a typical lesson because they include lots of off-the-bench activities. I am prepared to teach children who can focus for 30 minutes on the bench doing a mixture of activities.


Group Music Classes

Group music classes for toddlers and young primary students are a great idea. They are typically cheaper than private lessons while providing meaningful music experiences that make a difference when the child is ready for one-one-one study.

Let’s Play Music offers their flagship program for ages 4 to 6, and also offers Sound Beginnings for ages 0 to 4. Currently, the only instructors offering these classes are based in Centerton and Bella Vista. There is a shortage of early music education in our area.


What If My Child Starts Later Than Normal?

Parents shouldn’t enroll their children in music lessons primarily based on the fear of missing out. A high-potential child will excel even with a later start. A child with average potential will not become a prodigy based on starting lessons at age 3. All children progress based on their current levels of cognitive and physical readiness, which increase dramatically during the primary school years.

The benefits from starting a child early are heightened aural and rhythmic perception versus playing ability. It’s all about brain development, which is why experts also encourage language learning to start in the primary grades instead of high school. For more information about developmental readiness, which includes recommendations by age, please read this article from the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA).

As A Parent, What’s My Role In Lessons and Practice?

My youngest students need the parent watching lessons and reviewing the assignment with their child during the week. This includes structuring regular practice time as well as guiding practice. As the child gets older, the parent may only need to remind the child to practice and spot check that the pages assigned are being practiced. All children become independent practicers eventually. You know your children best, including how involved you need to be in the process.

Do I Teach Teens and Adults?

Yes, I do! I use different materials and am more flexible with my teaching style since teens and adults often have specific goals for taking piano lessons that are different from younger children.

Who Is My Ideal Student?

Each student has her own goals, personality, and willingness to practice. A good teacher guides a student through peaks and valleys, and a good student keeps practicing through ups and downs. Progress is not always linear: There sometimes will be a long plateau followed by a sudden breakthrough. I really enjoy teaching a student who is motivated to learn, as well as motivated to practice!


Am I Your Ideal Teacher?

If you’ve read this far, you’ll probably not be surprised that I’ve also written about finding the right piano teacher. This is the same advice I would give to family and friends.


What is My Piano Background?

I am a pianist and organist, and I can play both pretty well. My bachelor’s degree from Purchase College was in solo piano, and it’s where I also took my first formal organ lessons. I switched to Collaborative Piano for my master’s degree at The Juilliard School.

During my sophomore year at the New England Conservatory of Music, before transferring to Purchase, I studied piano pedagogy – the science of piano teaching – with an amazing professor who was a disciple of Frances Clark. (Frances Clark was a leading piano pedagogue of the 20th century, and her work continues today through the The New School for Music Study.) As a bonus of taking this course, I was assigned a couple of piano students for my first private teaching experience.

In my early 20s, I taught a had a pretty full part-time slate of piano students at the Rockland Conservatory of Music, located in the northern suburbs of New York City. I continued at that school during my first year at Juilliard, but I had to give it up to focus on my studies. After that, I had my plate full with working full-time as a software engineer/data analyst, and part-time as a church organist/music director. I did little private teaching during this time.

What Led Me Back to Teaching?

In the mid-2010s, I left the full-time corporate world and returned to music teaching and performing, along with continuing my church job. Even though I’m a slightly older piano teacher, I’m still learning many things about the business. I embrace the changes that have happened since I studied piano teaching while in conservatory years ago.

Student Photos!

Visit my Piano Studio Photo Gallery page for photos by event.


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