Piano Lessons

Summary

I teach piano at the Shepherd Music School in Rogers, as well as in-home lessons. I’ve condensed the information in the first three topics, and expanded the FAQ section to include details that may or may not be important to you:

Contact Me for more information about piano lessons.

♫ What I Offer As A Teacher

My Piano Background

I am a pianist and organist, and I can play both pretty well. I’m proud to have two degrees from my home state of New York, including a BFA in Piano from Purchase College and a MM 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 in the FAQ below.

In my teaching, I bring the excitement that I have for music, both in solo and collaborative performance, to my students. I’m eager to share the love of music with my students, who are mostly children, though I do also teach adults. If you have the time to practice and want to build skills in piano, please contact me.

Tradition vs Innovation

I offer traditional lessons, which includes learning how to read music, building repertoire and improving technique. I also offer supplemental training as part of lessons in all facets of musicianship including sight reading, ear training, and theory.

I have recently spent a lot of time in learning about online and video lessons, playing from lead sheets and by ear, and using phone/tablet technology to enhance learning. I work these into lessons on an individual basis. You can read more about these explorations on my blog under the category Piano Teacher.

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 is really expensive, but it provides me with some great continuing education opportunities. It also enables my students to participate in spring and fall festivals listed below.

Festivals

I encourage my students to participate in two annual festivals that are made possible by my professional affiliations listed above:

  • NAMTA Sonatina Festival, Fall 2019, NWACC in Bentonville
  • ASMTA Regional Festival, Spring 2020, University of Arkansas in Fayetteville

Recitals

For my Shepherd Music School students, there are group recitals at the conclusion of each semester. For all my students, there are additional opportunities to perform, with events like a piano party, house recital, a retirement home visit, or warm-up recital for an upcoming festival.

Expectations of Students

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, 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. For 45-minute lessons, students would need to practice 30 to 45 minutes per day.  For very young students, the parent can break up practice time into two short daily practice sessions.

Talent vs Hard Work

One of the things I hear after a performance, and that I’ve heard said about my students, is how talented we are. I’m always quick to say that it’s 20% talent and 80% hard work! Talent without practice only goes so far. My best students practice regularly. So the next time you want to congratulate a performer, mention that you appreciate all of that time practicing!

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 my normal teaching rate for a trial lesson. There is no obligation to continue after that.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is the Right Age to Begin?

I have taught students as young as five or six years old, and sometimes that works. In other cases, it works better to wait until seven or eight. Older beginners normally progress more quickly than younger ones. Teens and adults typically progress the fastest of all beginning students. You best know if your child is ready for solitary practice that all students must embrace in order to prepare between lessons. I suggest not to have the fear of missing out: Progress comes quickly when a student is ready to learn. For more information about developmental readiness, please read this article from the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA).

Do I Teach Very Young Children?

I am researching offering exploratory sessions for four- to six-year-olds, as an introduction to the piano in a group setting and for parents and me to assess the child’s readiness for further private instruction.  However, I currently don’t offer such a program.

Do I Teach Teens and Adults?

Yes, I do!  In fact, I typically use different materials and am more flexible with my teaching style since teens and adults often have specific goals for taking 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, which means motivated to practice! That helps to ease my stress when participating in music festivals and group recitals.

What is My Piano Background and What Led Me Back to Teaching?

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. I recently began playing solo concerts on both instruments.

During my sophomore year at the New England Conservatory of Music, before transferring to Purchase, I studied piano pedagogy with an amazing professor who was a disciple of Frances Clark’s teaching, whose Music Tree method books I still use today. As a bonus, I was assigned a couple of piano students for my first teaching experience.

In my early 20s, I taught a solid part-time load at the Rockland Conservatory of Music, which is located in the northern suburbs of New York City. I continued at that school for a while during my time 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 take on a couple of students here and there upon request.

Several years ago, I left the full-time corporate world and have returned to music to teach and perform, while continuing my church job. I have participated in a local piano teachers’ group for several years, and in Spring 2019 one of my students became the first alternate to the state music festival for her level.

Last Updated 2019-05-16 | Originally Posted 2017-10-01