The answers to these questions are on the site, but if you’re having trouble finding what you’re looking for, this is probably where you need to be!
How old do I have to be to start learning? I have taken students as young as 5 and as old as 60, but I have decided to not to take students under 7 any longer. Many teachers have found that around age 10 or 11, students who start at age 5 and students who start at age 7 are at the same level. For students under 7 years old, I recommend checking out Music for Young Children or Kindermusik.
How much do lessons cost? Currently, lessons are $20/half hour. Lessons are paid for in five-month semesters. For half hour lessons, this works out to $360 for September-January, and $360 for February-June. Monthly post-dated cheques for the semester ($72/month).
How long are lessons? I start most beginners out with 30 minutes each week, but more experienced students can and should take 45- or 60-minute lessons.
How much do I need to practise? Daily practise is essential for improvement (if you can’t do 5-7 days/week, you aren’t going to improve very quickly).
Beginners/first year students are recommended to practise for 15-30 minutes each day.
Second year students are recommended to practise 30-45 minutes each day.
Third year students (or those in grades 1-3 RCM) are recommended to practise 45-60 minutes each day.
Intermediate students (grades 4-6) are recommended to practise 60 minutes each day.
Advanced students (grade 7 RCM and up) should practise 90 minutes each day or as much as possible.
Where are you located? I teach in my home which is in West Lethbridge in Ridgewood at 45 Coachwood Road West. Click here for a map and directions!
When can I come? Each September, I collect the “Best 5 Times” of each student and make a schedule. However, if I am accepting students later in the year, you can check out the lesson schedule to see where the available times are.
Are the lessons private or in groups? I teach each student privately, but would like to have occasional group classes to reinforce concepts that we haven’t focused on enough, provide a small and low-stress performance environment, and encourage students to meet one another.
What can I learn to play? Lots of different things, but students need to understand that learning to read music is crucial to making you an independent musician. Since most of my students are quite young, I usually choose a book series that will suit them and we work through the beginning basics with that and supplement it with other pieces in which the student shows an interest. If you’d like to work towards the Royal Conservatory pieces, I have experience all the way to grade 10, so we can also take that route. If you would like to learn to accompany yourself on the piano while you sing, we can also do that! The key is practise.
Do I need a piano? Yes, but I understand there are limitations. If you are just starting out, it is acceptable to use a keyboard for a few months. Weighted keys are important (so they feel like a real piano), as are touch sensitive keys (so you can play different volume levels), but these can wait a year if you’d like to make sure your student is committed to piano lessons before you make a big purchase. Long and McQuade on 8th Street South in Lethbridge can help you purchase an appropriate keyboard for a beginner student, or an affordable electric piano.
What else do I need? A book bag is very handy to keep all of your books together, and I will let you know other materials before we start lessons.
What are your qualifications? I have been playing the piano ever since I can remember, but I started taking piano lessons at age 9 (I’m 26 now). I have a Bachelor of Education (majoring in music) and a Bachelor of Music (majoring in piano) from the University of Lethbridge. I completed my grade 9 RCM examination in 2003 (performance, theory and history!) and played grade 10 RCM pieces during my Bachelor of Music. I taught piano for five years in high school but had to quit when I moved to Lethbridge because I didn’t have a piano or a car! I started up again in 2010 and have been loving it ever since. I have also been working at Westwind, Palliser and Lethbridge School Districts as a substitute teacher since 2010. I am now a member of the Alberta Registered Music Teachers Association and hold the position of Secretary!
If your questions weren’t answered here, please feel free to contact me and I will reply as soon as possible.