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+ Where in Kent do the piano lessons take place?

I offer fun and relaxed piano lessons in Lordswood, Chatham, Kent.

+ What age ranges do you teach piano lessons?

I teach piano lessons from children (age 6) to adults. I may make an exception for a slightly younger child where they have been attending my Colourstrings Kindergarten classes for several years.

If you have a child younger than 6, I would suggest considering enrolling them in the Colourstrings Kindergarten classes so that they can experience some general musicianship concepts (such as high and low, fast and slow, short notes and long notes) and build a sense of pulse, rhythm and pitch before starting piano lessons.

As a rule your child will progress much more quickly if they have attended the Colourstrings Kindergarten or other musicianship classes prior to starting the instrument.

+ What happens in your piano lessons?

My piano lessons are lots of fun! I keep things playful, varied, and unhurried. We’ll do improvisation (making it up as we go), learning songs and pieces by rote (so I will teach you by showing you and asking you to copy), playing songs we already know (perhaps after singing them by solfa), games to learn rhythms, note names and other aspects, learning to read musical notation and playing pieces from the score, sight reading pieces, learning various piano techniques, and continuing general musicianship and aural skills.

As the ability improves we will learn appropriate pieces for the level and of course will include various scales and arpeggios as part of extending technique and knowledge.

+ Do I need a piano at home?

You will need an appropriate instrument to practice on between lessons, yes. Without this it is unlikely that good progress will be made. In an ideal world this should be an acoustic piano, but there are good digital pianos that can recreate the sound and feel of an acoustic piano. Digital pianos should have 88 keys and the keys should be ‘weighted’, allowing you to play both soft and loud.

You should also have a stand so that the pupil will be able to sit properly at the correct height to practice (rather than having the instrument on the floor!). Ideally there should also be a damper pedal included or taken if it is an optional extra.

If you want to try a piano or a digital piano before making the commitment, there are rental schemes available. Some put the rental money towards the purchase price.

+ Will I need to do anything between my piano lessons?

Yes please. Learning the piano is a skill. Like getting to grips with all new things, regular practice helps connect the pathways in the brain and makes the activity move from a difficult thing to an easy thing. Ideally, there should be a little practice every day, but it should be at least 4-5 times per week. Research has proven that little and often is more successful than cramming everything into a longer session the day before your next lesson!

There is unlikely to be much progress if a student is consistently not doing any practice at home. All students will have a notebook detailing what they need to do and will know each week what they are expected to practice at home.

We will also have various practice strategies that may take something tricky in isolation, slow things down, or play something specific to ‘practice buddies’ to get the brain and fingers working together.

+ Will I need to buy anything to support my/my child’s learning?

The main thing you need to have is an instrument at home. There will be books to purchase from time to time. I will let you know what these are so that you can get them, or I can get them on your behalf for reimbursement.

You may also need to buy something for a younger child to put their feet on so that they can sit comfortably and securely with their feet square and flat (stacking bathroom stools are ideal as you can engineer the correct height).

+ When can I have piano lessons?

I teach piano lessons Thursdays after school and Saturday mornings. I may also have some slots available during the week for adults or home-schooled children – please enquire.

+ Do you put students in for piano exams?

Piano exams can be considered as and when a student is ready, and if they want to. Exams don’t have to be taken if the student would prefer not to. I follow The Curious Piano Teachers’ Framework which is a list of concepts, techniques and activities that should be covered at each stage of learning. This ensures that nothing is missed out of the student’s learning and allows them to explore more aspects of the piano than just what is on the exam syllabus. Therefore, you can rest assured that the student will be learning effectively, and we will know what stage/level they are working at, even if they don’t do an exam.

Learning the piano is a very complex activity and it can take a long time to build the co-ordination, reading skills, and general musicianship to reach even the early exam standards.

It’s best not to rush, so that the student has the confidence, knowledge and skills they need imbedded within them and not just the ability to play 3 set pieces and the required scales.

+ How much are piano lessons?

Piano lessons are charged at £16.25 for 30 minute individual lessons and attendance at 10 group musicianship sessions.

Where it is not appropriate for the pupil to attend the group sessions (i.e. they are at a much earlier musicianship level than other students) the fee will be £15 for 30 minute individual lessons.

Fees are charged per student and unfortunately there are no discounts for siblings.#

+ Can we try piano lessons before committing?

Yes, a paid 3 week trial can be arranged before committing to the rest of the term.

+ Do you teach piano in groups?

Group piano lessons can be an option. Please contact me so we can discuss your requirements.

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