Frequently Asked Questions
How can I encourage my young student to practice without burning them out?
Young children often do better when their practice sessions are broken up in to small sessions. Let's face it a 6-10 year olds attention spans are not very long and we don't want to mistake lack of interest with lack of patience. If you do this consistently the child will grow steadily and as they see progress practicing will become more enjoyable for them!
My child seems to be very gifted how do I know if I have the right teacher?
Picking the right teacher is a combination of personality, experience and knowledge. Often you can have a fantastic teacher who perhaps you personally just don't gel with or vice versa. As your child progresses you want to be sure that the teacher has the qualifications to continue to advance your child into more difficult repertoire. Teachers who are wonderful at teaching beginners may or may not have the skill set to teach more advance students and vice versa! Often advanced teachers will not have the creativity or patience to teach a young beginner. Be sure to take all of this into consideration. The teacher should be able to guide your child technically and musically with appropriate repertoire choices for their age and skill level. For the very serious student the teacher should be able to give guidance to advance a musical career and college choices.
How can I locate qualified piano teachers?
No matter what city you live in there are often Music Teacher Associations affiliated with Music Teachers National Association the largest national organization for independent music teachers. So if you live in Omaha, Nebraska you can google Omaha Music Teachers Association for a listing of teachers. Other good places to look for teachers are through University professors or college students depending on the level of your child. Of course there are qualified teachers who may not be affiliated with an association or university but these are great places to start.
What type of piano should I buy?
There are so many good choices of pianos that it can be hard to choose. Many parents do not want to spend a lot of money on an instrument when their child is young for fear the child will quit after a few lessons. Many local music stores have piano rental programs that range from $45-$100/month. These are good options if you are not sure of your child's intent and don't want an unwanted instrument in the living room.
As your child's talent matures, buying a good acoustic piano is the best choice. Keyboards are also fun, but I would purchase them secondary to an acoustic piano. The technology is always changing and there will always be a better electronic keyboard every few years, yet a fine grand acoustic piano will last for a lifetime. If you see an instrument you are interested in purchasing and are not sure of the quality contact your local piano technician to come out and give it a look.
What technical skills should my student be pursuing?
If a student is in a graded series often the series have well curated technical or etude books to supplement the lesson book. This takes all the guessing out of which etude to play and offers a graded approach to learning without skipping skills or focusing solely on one type of technical skill set.
As the student progresses outside of graded books there are a plethora of options for continued etude work (Heller, Chopin, Ligeti, Moszkowski, Adams, Liszt, Kapustin, Debussy etc.). Work closely with your teacher for suggestions of skills you need to strengthen. If you have a good understanding of what technical skills you would like to increase (intervals, leaps, octaves etc.) you can also choose etudes that specifically work on those skills with guidance from a mentor/teacher on how to best execute the exercise.
I am an adult interested in lessons. Am I too old to learn?
You are never too old to learn or freshen up your musical skills! Adults who have taken as a child come back to their music lessons with renewed interest and motivation. Set up a lesson schedule that will accommodate your busy life and enjoy!