Please see my Fees page
for an answer to this question.
[+]Do you charge a registration or sign-up fee?
No. I never have.
[+]Where do the lessons take place?
Music lessons take place at my home. Click here for my
location page. For those students who wish internet
lessons, I can also Skype or FaceTime with you.
[+]Do you travel to students' homes?
Please see my locations page to see how and where
lessons can take place.
[+]Why should I study with you?
You should study with me because I am a trained teacher, licensed by the state to
teach you and/or your child. I have over 30 years of teaching
experience. I've taught high school classes (orchestra, band,
choir, keyboards, guitar). I have a pleasant, easy-going no-pressure
personality. I've dedicated my life to helping others learn. (Please
see What elements make a good teacher? below)
[+]What days and times are you available?
Please feel free to contact me for current available days/times.
You will never be asked to sign a contract of obligation.
During our first meeting you will sign that you understand and
have received a copy of my policies. This is standard
with private lessons.
[+]For how many months am I obligated?
You are never obligated to continue your lessons.
[+]When can I start?
You can start anytime, even mid-month.
[+]Do I pay you at each lesson?
My policy is for students/parents to pay at the first lesson of each month for
the entire month. If you start mid-month, then you pay for the partial month
on your first lesson.
[+]Do you teach from your home or do you have a studio?
When I first started teaching, I rented studios and taught from music stores. I found that
I could save my students money if they just came to me. So, in an attempt to keep my prices
down, I don't rent a studio. If you prefer a studio atmosphere, I can arrange the lessons
through a music store; however, it will cost you 75% more for your lessons.
[+]What forms of payment do you take?
I accept cash and PayPal (credit cards). No checks, please.
[+]Do you make money from your website links?
As an Amazon Associate, I make a few cents for each link that is followed to Amazon
with a subsequent purchase. I don't make money from my own purchases. The product links
to Amazon (and others) are provided to assist current and prospective students in getting started,
with the best deals and services available to them.
[+]How can I tell if my child wants music lessons?
If a child asks for lessons, if he is fascinated with an instrument
and he likes to learn, then these are excellent signs.
[+]How can I tell if my child has musical talent?
A child has musical talent if he has an accurate sense of pitch and a natural sense of rhythm.
[+]Is music talent important?
Desire and motivation are more
important than talent. Talent is
90% application [mileage] and
[+]Will my child stick with it?
Most beginners study for two years. Beginners
need your encouragement and praise to remain enthusiastic.
Children should not be forced to continue.
[+]What is the purpose and goal of music lessons?
The purpose and goal of music
lessons is to: enrich and broaden a child's experiences, add to
his basic core courses, develop his appreciation for music. It
has been proven that a cross-benefit of lessons improvement in
other school subjects.
[+]How much should my child practice?
Here is a general practice guide:
♬ 15 minutes a day for the first month
♬ 20 minutes a day for the next two months
♬ 30 minutes a day for the remainder of the first year
Following the first few months, students normally
practice for the length of their lesson time each day.
To make practicing easier on the student and family,
it's possible to break up the practicing into shorter segments done at different times of the day:
Ten minutes here and ten minutes there. For some students this works well. For others, they need to
sit longer and get it done all at once.
[+]When and how often should my child practice?
Establish regular a time (or times) daily. Aim for a 6-day practice week
for it is only necessary to warm up on lesson day.
[+]Should I help my child practice?
Normally, just help organize practice sessions.
Keep practice sessions free from interruptions. Listen periodically to your
child's lesson so that you can help with her practicing.
However, if your child is very young, you may need to learn (and practice)
along with her.
Normally, I do not accept students younger than 6 years of age.
From my experience, students are most successful when they have started to read.
(Success in music literacy is closely related to success in language literacy.)
I have accepted students younger than 6, if a parent or guardian is willing to participate
in the lesson (learn along with the student) and guide the student's practice at home.
[+]What is the best age to start lessons?
The best age to start instrumental lessons is when a child is between 7 and 11,
after he can read, when he reaches his readiness level.
[+]How old is too old to learn?
There is no such thing as too old to learn. You'll just need to be more patient with
yourself and your progress. With private lessons, you never have to face having to be
compared with others, especially young whippersnappers. Learning a new hobby, like a
musical instrument, is an excellent way to keep your mind young and agile.
According to James W. Bastien in A Parent's Guide to Piano Lessons,
a good teacher has a pleasant personality, is dedicated, experienced,
and has teaching expertise. Please see "Why should I study with you?" above.
[+]How important is a good beginning teacher?
Beginning years are critical to later accomplishments; "Beginning"
teachers can do much to stimulate a child's lasting interest in music*
[+]How do I find the right teacher?
The best way to find a good teacher is by word-of-mouth. You should insist that the teacher have
more to offer than just the capability to be good at their subject. Ask the prospective teacher about
their of educational philosophies. A "teacher" should be able to answer this question with confidence.
To learn about my mission and educational philosophies, please click
[+]Is an interview necessary?
The initial meeting with the prospective teacher is recommended for: your appraisal of the teacher, the
teacher's appraisal of your child, your child's reaction to the teacher.
[+]Should my child take private or group lessons?
The benefits of group lessons are:
participation with others and exposure to more than just [the
study of an instrument].* The drawbacks are: the inflexibility of the established
curriculum timeline which causes some students to fall behind
others, the student comparing himself to others and the impact
on the self-esteem.
At first group lessons are a
novelty to beginners, however the novelty soon wears off and the
impact of not practicing as much as other students soon leads to
comparisons with others. This negative stimulus either inspires
them to practice more or causes them to quit.
allow a student the flexibility to master concepts before moving on
to other concepts. With private lessons there is no comparison
of self with others. There is no negative stimulus with private
I advise against purching a piano before consulting with me first, especially if you plan to spend
as little as possible on an electronic piano. Buyer beware! Since the advent of elctronic pianos
the acoustic piano rental industry has declined. Few stores rent electronic pianos. Some students/parents
remain faithful to the acoustic piano despite its need for tunings and repair. For more purchasing advice,
see my piano equipment page.
[+]What types of pianos are available?
Whether you choose electronic or acoustic, many models and types are available. I've devoted my
piano equipment page to answer questions like this one.
[+]How much will a piano cost?
In general, beginners can start with an entry level electronic instrument that costs from ~$600
for a portable piano or ~$1100 for a console piano.
Please see my piano equipment page for more advice question.
[+]What about a used piano?
Buying a used piano is a great idea for
budgetary considerations, but only if you have someone with
experience with used instruments check it out first. I would not
recommend buying a used piano on the word of the owner. But, if
you trust a piano tuner to give you their advice on the
condition of an instrument and how much it would cost to
overhaul it, if necessary. Take all this into consideration before
buying a used piano.
[+]What about an electronic piano?
If money is a major consideration, electronic
pianos have the advantage. Acoustics are costly to maintain.
Plus, many electronic pianos have so many fun features, they can run rings
around a simple acoustic. But, check with me first before you buy. For more advice,
please see my piano equipment page.
[+]What piano books do you use?
Unless the student already has a preference:
• for young beginners, I recommend the Alfred Premier Piano Series.
Yamaha has produced an excellent free piano app for iPads that integrate with this series.
• for older beginners I recommend the Alfred All-In-One Adult Piano Course.
I advise against purching a guitar before consulting with me first.
Please see my guitar equipment page for recommendations.
[+]What guitar books do you use?
Please see my guitar books page for answers to this question.
[+]What other equipment will I need to buy?
Serious study of an instrument comes with the need for other equipment. The study of the guitar
is no different. A guitar needs a case or a gig bag to protect it. A music stand will help hold
the music so that the student is not hunched over reading from a desk or table. A guitar stand will
keep the instrument accessible and from falling over all the time. A foot rest, support or strap will
keep the instrument in a optimum playing position. An electronic tuner will help to keep the guitar
in tune before each practice. I suggest you meet with me first to discuss your needs. If you need a
shopping list you can find one here.