How do I know if lessons are right for me or my child? Although students are required to enrol for a full term, a one off taster session may be booked before you decide to enrol, at the cost of £15 per half an hour. This allows both myself and student to get to know each other, decide if we will be a good fit, and what the student would like to gain from lessons. The student may then proceed with lessons until the end of the term, at which point it can be reviewed again if required.
Must the student do exams and performances? Students, both adults and children, are encouraged to enjoy learning music with me through any means that they are comfortable with. Exams are always encouraged, for the simple reason that students will usually be learning the skills needed for the exams in lessons anyway, therefore it makes sense to proceed with the examination itself. Equally, if the student wishes to gain experience in performing, I will endeavour to arrange opportunities for them, usually via local festivals and competitions, to gain this experience. However, if the student does not wish to pursue either of these, this is fine also. I will suggest to a student and their parent if I think they would benefit from such experiences, but it is not compulsory.
I am an adult but I work during the day, can I still have lessons? Yes! If I can fit in lessons to work around your schedule, I will try to do so. Please bear in mind that it's important to maintain regular lessons in order to make progress.
Do I need to have a piano at home? Ideally. A keyboard will be sufficient for a beginner, but you want to be working up towards either a piano or a digital piano / keyboard that has touch sensitivity and the capability to input a pedal. If you do not have an instrument to practice on at home, you will make little progress.
What is sight reading and why do you teach it? "Learning to sight-read helps you to develop quick recognition of keys and tonality, rhythm and common patterns of beats. It also helps you to learn to keep going even when you make mistakes, and work music out for yourself – which makes learning new pieces quicker and easier. Being able to sight-read is a valuable skill. It enables you to explore new pieces with increased confidence. Good sight-reading skills offer the satisfaction of independent musical discovery, as notation on the page is more readily transformed into sound." - ABRSM
What are scales and why do you teach them? "Learning scales and arpeggios helps you to develop reliable muscle memory for common finger movements and improves your tone control across the full note range. It helps you to develop your pitch and interval awareness, and become familiar with keys and their related patterns. It also helps to build an understanding of keys, giving you confidence when sight-reading, learning new pieces and performing.
You can develop many aspects of technique through scales practice, including: familiarity with the physicality of your instrument or voice, articulation, tone, intonation." - ABRSM
Why do you teach aural skills? "Aural skills enable you to assess your own sound and balance with others, keep in time and play with a sense of rhythm and pulse. These skills also help you play in tune, develop your musical memory and spot any mistakes. Listening lies at the heart of all good music-making. Developing aural awareness is fundamental to musical training because having a ‘musical ear’ impacts on all aspects of musicianship. Singing, both silently in the head and out loud, is one of the best ways to develop the ‘musical ear’. Developing good aural skills is an important part of any music education, and the ability to hear how music works helps students with all aspects of their learning." - ABRSM
Do I need to stay with my child during lessons? This is your choice. Depending on the age of the student, you may wish to stay (for example, students in Jenn's Shining Stars and Jenn's Shooting Stars). If this is the case, you will be invited sit in the hall of my family home, just outside of the room in which lessons are taking place, with full view of your child. Equally, many parents choose to sit in their car, which enables their child to have a little more independence but parents still maintain view of their child, since the teaching room is at the front of the house and can be seen from the quiet road. If you choose to drop your child off (a popular choice amongst parents), please make sure that you are contactable via mobile phone throughout the entire lesson.
Do I need to practice? The more practice you do at home, the better your progress will be. If you do not practice, you will find it difficult to improve your skills. Playing the piano is an activity that your body has to physically do and your fingers need to build up muscle memory. I recommend practicing at least 3 or 4 times a week, with 5 to 7 times being the ultimate goal. Practice is more about frequency than length, so ten minutes each day is often more beneficial than one hour long practice in the week.
How many lessons do I need to book?
Children: Lessons are to be booked and paid for a term at a time. Terms vary between 5-8 weeks, so you will find that tuition price may vary between terms. One off lessons can only be booked during the holiday periods.
Adults: Lessons do not need to be booked for a specific amount and run all year round.
Do I need to pay in advance?
Children: Yes, payment for each term must be made in full on or before the first lesson of each term. Late payment may result in the student failing to be automatically re-enrolled for the next term and losing their slot. In cases of frequently late payment, lessons may be terminated.
Adults: No, adults can pay for each lesson on the day.
If I need to speak to the teacher, how is the best way to go about it? Parents are always welcome to speak me before or after the lesson, however I often have lessons back to back. If you can’t catch me there and then, or would like a longer conversation (including updates on your child’s progress or any problems that may have arisen), I encourage you to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave me a text or voice message on 07706831692. I will endeavour to get back to you as soon as possible.
Will the price of lessons ever change? The price of lessons will stay the same until the end of December 2019, when they will be reviewed. Lesson prices may change periodically in relation to the cost of living, but I try to keep this to a minimum and you will always have plenty of notice if this is the case.
What is the termination policy? The termination policy requires that you finish the term before discontinuing lessons. One of the main reasons for this is that a student may change their mind just as quickly, and this will give both the student and myself the time to try and resolve any difficulties that may have come up. If lessons are terminated by the student/parent before the end of the half term, payment for the rest of the term will not be refunded.
What is the cancellation policy? The cancellation policy states that cancellations by the student/parent will not be refunded, however, a make up lesson may be offered at the teacher’s discretion, if there is a slot available. Cancellations by the teacher will be covered by a make up lesson if appropriate, or failing this, the student will be refunded for the cancelled lesson.
Do you have a data protection policy? There is a data protection policy in place, which the appropriate adult will be required to read and sign upon booking their first term’s lessons.
I hope these will help, but if your question has not yet been answered, please contact me directly and I will be happy to have a chat.