What sort of music do you teach?
Tell me what you like, and once the basics have been covered that's what we'll play! I support and encourage all styles of music, and every lesson is tailored to you personally. My own tastes are many and varied, so I'm sure we'll be playing music we both enjoy.
How long will it be before I can play well?
That depends on you. Everyone has musical ability, but learning to play an instrument well requires commitment and you won't get very far if you don't practice. To help you on your way I will provide you with a practice booklet that we will update each lesson.
It's important to practice regularly if you want to learn quickly and feel confident. And as with exercise, it's much better to do fifteen minutes every other day than two hours at the weekend! Here are my top tips for pain-free, effective practice:
Know what needs to be done, and work to a plan;
Sometimes play straight through your pieces, returning to the hard bits later;
Sometimes begin with the hard bits, practicing small sections thoroughly;
What you can't play slowly, you can't play quickly;
If you get stuck, stop! Come back later, and try again;
Don’t practice your mistakes: always establish 'finger memory' before moving on;
Enjoy what you play, and vary your work by having other, easier pieces to hand;
Never practice every day, time away from the piano is important too!
How long is each lesson, and how often?
Younger learners usually have half an hour's tuition a week, and adults an hour. If you're enjoying what you're doing, the time will fly by! Some students like to increase the length and frequency of lessons during the examination period or before a big performance.
Do you charge for travelling, and what areas do you cover?
I don’t charge a fee for travelling to lessons within the Windsor area. Adult learners usually prefer to come to me, and escape the 'distractions' of their usual environment. Children who come to me are welcome to have their parents stay for the duration to either join in on the lesson to aid learning at home or catch up on half an hour quiet time!
How many lessons must I commit to?
All of my lessons are individually tailored, and taught on a one-to-one basis. The first lesson is absolutely free, so really you have nothing to lose and everything to gain! When considering learning a musical instrument I think it's important to meet face-to-face, and without obligation.
You'll no doubt have questions that you want to ask me, and I need to take the time to understand exactly what it is you want from your lessons, your experience (if any) and the sort of music that you'd like to play. Much better to do this in person than by telephone.
Beyond that, lessons are arranged on a weekly basis but if you would like to book a block term or half term that can be done to secure a regular day and time. In the event of cancellations I'm always happy to re-arrange lessons, and ask for 48 hours notice.
What time slots do you have free?
That varies, but I'll be able to give you an up-to-date list of times when arranging your first lesson. I try to teach in areas each day and to arrange regular weekly appointments. I also spend some time at Royal Holloway University in the festival and music department and freelance on live music events around the country. I'm able to be rather more flexible with daytime lessons, as children are usually at school and most adult learners work.
Do you teach complete beginners, and do I need my own instrument?
As with all music teachers, the majority of my new students are beginners. Some have a little musical knowledge, others have none at all. When you find a teacher you like and build a relationship, it's unusual to change. Of course circumstances do sometimes dictate otherwise, for example because of relocation.
You will need an instrument to practice on, if you don't already have one. However, I don't recommend spending large amounts of money, at least to begin with. A simple keyboard with full size keys will suffice for a beginner until a time comes when you want an upgrade. Music should be open to everyone to enjoy, and acquiring and learning an instrument should not be prohibitively expensive.
How can I help my child to progress more quickly?
Supporting your child's musical development can seem daunting, especially if you've not played an instrument before yourself. But children have a natural desire to please, and the best way to help them progress quickly is simply to take an interest!
I welcome parents sitting in on lessons, and encourage them to take an active interest in what we're doing. Practice can be a lonely occupation, and children thrive on company. So sit with your child while they practice, listen, comment and encourage.
Can I learn about music theory?
I always teach the rudiments of music theory as it goes hand in hand with playing an instrument and becoming a rounded musician, and theory work is generally incorporated into lessons as required. You can study theory as a separate subject if you wish, and those who progress to the Grade 6 practical exam will need to have passed their Grade 5 theory exam first.
How much do you charge and how do I pay?
My lessons are charged at £25 for a half hour and £40 for an hour’s lesson. This can be paid weekly by cash at the lesson, or bank transfer before the lesson. If booking a block of lessons I request the block be paid for in advance of the first of the lesson in the block.
There are many questions you may have when embarking on your search for the right piano teacher, so here is a list of those I get most frequently asked: