What should we expect with practice at home?
Practice is imperative for progress. When a student progresses, they feel confident and excited. Lack of practice many times causes frustration and dissatisfaction with the lesson process. When a student and family makes the commitment to lessons, they are also committing to making a best effort to practice consistently.
Learning HOW to practice effectively is a skill students have to be taught. During lesson we talk about effective practice, we demonstrate it during lesson, and talk about what they should do at home. There are multiple handouts that will be coming home soon — one for the parent and some for the students.
As a parent, how can I help my child practice?
Parents are encouraged to help students establish a consistent routine. They can also ask students to play certain pieces throughout the week. Please encourage them in their good effort! Another idea would be to stop your student in the middle of practice and ask them what their goal is. If they do not have a specific goal in mind, help them come up with a goal.
How much time should my student be practicing?
Each student must make a commitment to practice at least five days a week.
For young students, it is less a certain amount of time as quality repetitions, every day. If time limits help, I would suggest 15 minutes/day for the first year of study, and 20/minutes per day for the second year. By the third year, students should be up to 30 minutes/day.
As students progress, their time at the piano will naturally need to be longer, as they will have longer songs and more detailed things to practice.
What does my tuition fee cover?
I will be prepared to teach 30 lessons for each student. Monthly lesson fee factors in not only lesson time, but teacher preparation, studio classes, materials used in the studio, and various other overhead costs (insurance, professional association fees, continuing education, piano maintenance, etc.). I reserve the specified lesson time for each student as set by the studio calendar at the beginning of the year, and I am committed to providing every student with a comprehensive music education.
What type of instrument should I buy?
One of the questions families ask is, “What kind of instrument should I purchase my kid?” I hope the following information helps.
Acoustic vs. Electronic Keyboard
Acoustic pianos will give the best results. It will make the best sound production, and allow the student to develop better technique from the beginning. The Piano Technicians Guild has a wonderful article about more than I can say here, comparing acoustic and electronic pianos.
Electronic Keyboard Requirements
Electronic keyboards have come a long way in the past twenty years — even the last five years! It is amazing to me to go into Senseney music and play around on the new electronic keyboards. Some specific models have definitely improved in sound and in the way they play. If you do decide to purchase a keyboard, I would be happy to help you find one that meets the following requirements so that your child can have a quality instrument to practice on. Baseline budget will be around $1,000 and can go up from there.
The keyboard keys have weight to them, to make them feel more like an acoustic piano that has an action
When you press the key slowly, it will play quietly. Likewise, if you play the key quickly it will be loud
If you play a note and leave the key pressed, the sound should continue and not die away immediately. Compare it to an acoustic piano where the sound slowly dies away. This is one of my pet peeves, as many electronic keyboards have a very fast sound decay.
Pedal and matching bench
The first thing each family must decide is their budget.
When establishing a budget, keep in mind there will be the following costs incurred.
Evaluation Fee by Registered Piano Technician.
Pianos have more than 12,000 parts. It is hard to know the quality of an instrument unless it is evaluated by a registered piano technician. Ann Fell, based out of Winfield, Kansas is who I use.
Please consider having a piano moving company move your piano. They will have the proper equipment to handle the heavy investment!
Purchase Price of Piano
Here is a wonderful document with Tips for Buying a Piano, created from the Piano Technician Guild.