What is your ethos?
For young children…and inspirational approach
For teenagers…a flexible and empathetic approach underpinned with clear structure/goals
For adults of all ages and levels…passionate encouragement to assist their dreams
What age should a child start learning the Piano?
Not wise to be too precise here. For example, a child who can read a simple story book quite fluently at the age of 5, and whose hands are big enough to play a simple finger pattern on the keyboard, can begin Piano lessons. Parents will often know best. Every child is informally assessed based on how they would best enjoy learning the Piano.
As an adult, am I too old to learn?
Anyone can learn at any age! Music should be about having fun underpinned with intellectual and emotional stimulation. I teach all ages. Adults never lose their ability to learn. In fact, adults who have patience and maturity can make rapid progress. You’re never too old to start playing and pick up from where you left off or even start from scratch. As long as you have a Piano, the desire, perseverance and a couple of hours to spare each week, then you are bound to succeed! Everyone agrees, learning a musical instrument can bring incredible rewards and satisfaction. Why not have a free trial lesson to help you decide? I treat every learner differently depending on the musical taste of the individual, their style of learning and their reasons for wanting to play. Fun is a must though!
I only have a keyboard. Can I still have lessons?
I understand that, in the beginning, many households will only have a Keyboard. Naturally parents will want to see some evidence of progress before investing money in a Piano. I am happy to teach beginners who only have a keyboard but, it is important, in agreement with their parents, they have a willingness to purchase an electric Clavinova Piano or a real acoustic Piano once it becomes clear that lessons are progressing well and such an investment would be wise. This is the most cost-effective beginner’s route.
Of course, finance permitting, I strongly encourage all of my students to buy a real acoustic piano and I am always happy to advise students and parents on how to purchase a good one. I have learnt a few tricks down the years at spotting cracks in a sound board or woodworm in the frame of an old second-hand piano. I am happy to go along and assist parents to advise them and assess a second-hand piano, if convenient, before any decision is made to purchase. I generally advise purchasing a cheaper instrument at first and upgrading later on.
How much practise should I do?
Practising for a short time every single day will do much more for your technique and understanding than practising for marathon sessions one or twice a week. If you practise every day, even for 20-30 minutes, your enjoyment of playing will increase in tandem with your ability. The quality of practice, however, is far more important than the quantity, and a big feature of my lessons is to teach students how to practise. If you can practise for 45 minutes or more a day, and structure your practice intelligently, impressive progress can be made rapidly.
When do lessons take place?
The bulk of my lessons are taught between the hours of 3.00pm and 8.00pm during weekdays and Saturdays. It is nearly always possible to find a time that will suit you.
How long are your typical lessons?
I normally recommend a minimum of 30 minute lessons for beginners and 45 minute for intermediate students and one hour long lessons for more advanced players sitting Grade 7, 8 or Diploma examinations.
What styles of music do you teach?
I teach students how to read music so that, ultimately, they can play any style of music they choose! A broad range of styles develops different aspects of technique as well as maintaining interest in music generally. I teach students to play with a rhythmic confidence and a bright tone that clearly shows they have been taught how to listen to themselves and confidently learn piano music in a variety of different styles from Classical to Pop, Blues, Rock, Jazz and Musicals etc. I discourage all my students from restricting themselves to just one style.
How do you teach?
My lessons focus on bringing out the pupil’s inner musician and my relaxed and friendly manner allows anyone, no matter their age or previous experience, to realize their musical potential. The lessons incorporate theory, listening (aural) skills, rhythmic exercises and games and songs for younger children, so you’re always having fun while learning. Ultimately my method is to streamline the learning process by removing obstacles and guiding students towards their goals.
A variety of pieces are usually explored in each lesson, not just sticking to one single piece at a time. At any age, playing real pieces of piano music as soon as possible makes the experience of learning enjoyable and encourages the imagination. Scales, Arpeggios and well-proven finger exercises are used to warm-up the fingers and develop muscle strength and tonal awareness. I frequently demonstrate on the Piano to my students and I will play duets as soon as a student is ready to. Making music with other people can be great fun. A pupil’s musical preferences are respected and incorporated into the lessons because students are more likely to practise the music that truly inspires them.
Do you force your students to sit piano exams?
No! Do I value piano exams? Yes, but only when a student is willing and ready to take an exam. Exams can be a really useful learning tool and a good way of measuring your progress on the Piano. For those wishing to take exams, I am happy to teach Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music and Trinity College exam syllabuses from Pre-Test, Grade 1 and up to Grade 8 and Diploma level.
Do you teach Theory and enter students for Theory exams?
Yes, I do. I sometimes encourage parents to book in for extra sessions so as piano playing progress does not suffer too much due to an impending Theory of Music exam. Balance is the key.
What about Child Protection issues?
I possess a D.B.S cleared certificate and can present you with a copy if you wish.
Do you do Gift Vouchers?
Yes. A gift voucher is wonderful way to encourage someone to develop a life-long passion and often helps them spread the cost before undertaking their own lessons. The Gift Voucher is personally designed incorporating your own special message and sent as a colour Pdf file via e-mail for you to print off and/or send on electronically. Please use the prices below to determine the total number of lessons you wish to give as a gift.
How much are your lessons?
£19 for 30 minute lessons- Lessons are payable in advance in blocks of 10, £190 for a series of 10 piano lessons.
£28.50 for 45 minute lessons
£38 for 60 minute lessons
Longer lessons, by arrangement
N.B. Diploma Lessons: All Diploma students must take 60 minute lessons in order to have adequate time to cover course material.