Below are answers to some of the questions that I'm asked most often by beginners and parents. If you have a question that I haven't included, please contact me by clicking here.
|What sort of music do you teach?|
|How long will it be before I can play well?|
|How long is each lesson, and how often?|
|Do you charge for travelling, and what areas do you cover?|
|How many lessons must I commit to?|
|What time slots do you have free?|
|Do you teach complete beginners, and do I need my own instrument?|
|How can I help my child to progress more quickly?|
|Can I learn about music theory?|
|I already play another instrument. Will learning the piano interfere with that?|
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!
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, here is a handy little practice diary to download and keep.
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!
Do you charge for travelling, and what areas do you cover?
No, I've never charged a fee for travelling to lessons. Most people find it more convenient for me to come to them, and with younger children it's particularly helpful to work in a familiar environment.
Adult learners sometimes prefer to come to me, and escape the 'distractions' of their usual environment. I'm based between Cheltenham and Tewkesbury, and teach within a 10 mile radius of home.
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, I'm sure you'll agree.
Beyond that, lessons are arranged in groups of four. Many music teachers work to terms or half terms, but I've found that working (approximately) monthly is generally more convenient for people. In the event of cancellations I'm always happy to rearrange 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. With around fifty people to see in any given week, I try to teach in areas each day and to arrange regular weekly appointments. 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 or retirement.
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, and have suggested various options here. 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 always 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, 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. I'm also able to help with GCSE and A Level music.
I already play another instrument. Will learning the piano interfere with that?
Not at all, music is a universal language after all! As long as you have time to practice both instruments, learning to play the piano will benefit all of your musical activities.