Hooray, you want to start piano lessons! Please read this section and carefully consider how you can ensure a positive and successful experience for yourself and your child!
- Time: Piano lessons have a longer tragectory than you might think. Like Alice, you may not realize just how deep the rabbit hole goes until you start! It is a fascinating world, but it takes time. Even though you meet with your piano teacher for 30 minutes a week, the real "progress" is made by practicing at home in between your lessons. Depending on how fast you want to progress, this could be anywhere from 10-30 minutes a day for a beginner and 60+ for an advanced student. The most enjoyable lessons start with a student who comes prepared. Students look forward to lessons when they are practiced and armed with questions and interesting findings from thier independant study. Parents - if your child is younger than third grade, you will most likely have to sit down with them during the week and help them with thier practice! This idea of "Time" also means that the highest level students have invested years into thier piano study. The first two or three years of lessons just scratch the surface of a highly developed world. Those students who decide to stay with it into Middle/ High school and adulthood really enjoy the benefits of playing at an advanced level! The beauty of private lessons is that you go at your own pace, so think about your goals for taking lessons and how much time you are willing to invest to make those goals a reality!
- Instrument: Before starting lessons, consider your at-home setup for practice. I do not require my students to have an acoustic piano in the home in the first year, but would highly recommend you have access to a good-sounding, tuned, and well maintained piano or "full-size" digital piano with weighted keys and a pedal for practicing daily or every other day. It's amazing how much more successful students are if they enjoy listening to the sounds they are making on the piano, and that requires a quality instrument. Proper technique can only be built using decent equipment. If you are new to piano lessons and want to start with a simple keyboard, that's fine....just be aware that by the second year you will need to start thinking about making the investment in a quality instrument. I would love to speak with you about finding a piano, and fairly often know of other famliies who are selling or giving away an outgrown instrument. There are also many resources in the Twin Cities for finding a quality new or used piano, just ask!
- The Piano Area: Consider where your piano is located in the home and try to find a space that is well-lit and easy to access. Of course your living space is a consideration, but also consider how much more your child might practice if the piano is within earshot of the kitchen. Or, conversly, if you know your child needs a quiet room free of distraction in order to concentrate, find a fitting spot. Simple considerations like this can really start you off on the right foot.
- Extras: There are a few "extra" pieces of equipment that will make piano-life easier for you beyond your piano and books. First, decorate your piano with a small box or cup and fill it with pencils, sharpeners and erasers, highlighters or highlighting tape, crayons or colored pencils, and tape. In fact - decorate your piano period so that it looks like a fun, enjoyable space. Next, find or purchase a tote bag to carry your piano books in. Some of your books might have an accompaniment CD, which is always fun to practice with at home if there is a CD player or MP3 player with headphones nearby. Finally, I recommend all students invest in a Metronome (keeps a steady beat). There are now some great iphone or android metronome apps for your phone or sites for the computer too!
More questions? Contact Emily directly if you have specific questions that haven't been addressed above!