Frequently Asked Questions
Please contact me if you have any questions that are not listed here.
Please see my Fees page for an answer to this question.
No. I never have.
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.
Currently, all my students come to me. Click here for my location page. For those students who wish internet lessons, I can also Skype or FaceTime with you.
I am located in southwest Las Vegas near the cross-streets Tropicana Avenue and South Buffalo Drive: Please see my Location page for my address and a detailed map.
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)
I teach lessons Mondays-Fridays from 2:00 PM to 6:30 PM, Saturday from 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM. Other times are available by arrangement. Available lesson times can change monthly. Please feel free to contact me for current available 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.
You are never obligated to continue your lessons.
You can start anytime, even mid-month.
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.
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.
I accept cash and PayPal (credit cards). No checks, please.
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.
If a child asks for lessons, if he is fascinated with an instrument and he likes to learn, then these are excellent signs.*
A child has musical talent if he has an accurate sense of pitch and a natural sense of rhythm.*
Desire and motivation are more important than talent. Talent is 90% application [mileage] and 10% inspiration.*
Most beginners study for two years. Beginners need your encouragement and praise to remain enthusiastic. Children should not be forced to continue.*
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.
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.
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.
Help organize practice sessions. Keep practice sessions free from interruptions. Listen periodically to your child's lesson* so that you can help with his practicing.
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.
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.*
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.
Beginning years are critical to later accomplishments; "Beginning" teachers can do much to stimulate a child's lasting interest in music*
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 here.
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.
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. Private lessons 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 lessons.
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.
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.
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.
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.
If money is a 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.
Commonly, for young beginners, and adults who want to learn slowly, I use the Alfred Premier Piano Series. Yamaha has produced an excellent free piano app for iPads that integrate with this series. For older beginners who have had musical experiences in the past I prefer the Alfred Adult Piano Course. Please see my piano books page for more on this topic.
Since your child is going to use the piano to learn, it should be placed in a quiet room, conducive to concentration and away from family activity.*
I advise against purching a guitar before consulting with me first. Please see my guitar equipment page for recommendations.
Please see my guitar books page for answers to this question.
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.