I have been a musician as long as I can remember, having begun piano lessons at the age of eight. I worked with the same teacher for ten years and then continued studies at the college level. I earned my Bachelors of Music in Piano Performance from the College of New Jersey and my Masters of Arts in Music Education from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. Currently, I am the choral director at Woodstown High School. I perform as a solo pianist, accompanist and with ensembles and provide musical direction for singers and theater groups.
Private instruction has been very rewarding to me. Students start from the ground level and build skills that allow them to make music and enjoy the sounds that they create. I consider myself to be an encouraging instructor while at the same time expecting my students to invest the time needed to make successful progress.
Most students take lessons for a half hour. More advanced students may opt for a one hour lesson. Fees are $20.00 for half hour lessons and $35.00 for one hour lessons. Tuition is payable weekly, monthly or by semester.
Piano lessons consist of scales, exercises, repertoire and theory. The John Thompson Modern Course for the Piano serves as the foundation for study, supplemented by Fingerpower, Hanon and Czerny exercises. The John Thompson method does an excellent job of sequencing actual piano technique, not just playing notes.
Advanced students may need to purchase additional piano works. Other materials, such as flash cards and notes practice books may be required, depending on the level of the student. A metronome is also essential for good practice. Electronic metronomes can be purchased for about $20. Free metronome apps are also available for most mobile devices.
Some thoughts on practice
Students are expected to practice on a daily basis. For beginning students, it is more important to talk about practice in repetitions rather than minutes. For example, on an assigned exercise, I may ask the student to practice it 5 times a day. Slow practice that allows the student to play correctly and practice the right notes is a better method of practice than muddling through the music within a certain time frame. For advanced students, I make more specific time recommendations.
Parents and caregivers are essential for the success of piano lessons. Students should be allowed to practice independently, but may need a little encouragement. Even on days when time is at a minimum, it is better to play through the lesson material one time rather than not at all.