Should You Sign Up For Group Lessons or Private Lessons?

Should You Sign Up For Group Lessons or Private Lessons?

You’re ready to sign your child up for piano lessons. But as you surf the internet and make a few phone calls in your local community, you’re suddenly confused by the offerings. Should you schedule one-on-one time with a piano instructor, opting for private lessons for your child to learn more? Or will they learn better when they take group lessons, one teacher in front of several individuals?

It can be a difficult decision. With a little research, you’ll discover there are benefits to both. 

Private lessons are typically short, instructional sessions with one teacher and one participant. You’ll often have one short session once per week. This allows personalized instruction where the student gets hands-on advice to create a stronger piano playing environment. 

Group lessons often consist of a larger class for longer periods of time. They can last up to three hours, and be guided by one or two teachers. Hearing other players can often motive to get things right. 

The advantages of private lessons include:

Personalized lesson plans – ever session is built around your skill level, your goals, your needs. The instructor will speed up or slow down based on your needs. 

Flexible scheduling – if you need to change times or dates, your instructor works to fit you into the schedule. 

Individualized attention – you get the attention of the instructor for the entire lesson. 

The advantages of group lessons include:

More instruction time – you’ll receive more information as the lessons are longer periods of time. 

More emphasis on the music – instructors work to learn and complete the song rather than focusing on methodology, hand placement, and other musical work. 

Teamwork – this allows you to be part of a group. The increased peer exposure allows you to keep up and be part of something bigger. 

Reduced stage fright – when people only play for their instructors, it can be intimidating playing in front of a larger group, even if it’s just parents. Playing with a group makes it easier to step out on stage. 

What’s the best playing method for you? It doesn’t have to be either/or. Sometimes the best course of action is to use both. Refinement and musicality all come from playing in a number of ways. 

What’s right for you? 

Supporting Your Child Through Piano Lessons

Supporting Your Child Through Piano Lessons

Did you play the piano as a child? Were you in the band or orchestra as you made your way through school? It can help you help your child as they take on an instrument of their own. 

But if you have never played an instrument before, and aren’t musically inclined, how can you support your child through piano lessons? 

Practice, practice, practice. The key to becoming better at playing an instrument is to practice. It’s not something you can do here and there; you have to stick with a regular schedule. Don’t get caught up in pushing off practice “until tomorrow.” Instead, make it a part of your schedule every day. Don’t skip lessons. Set aside time every day to play. This is the only way to get better at playing. 

Practice doesn’t mean playing a piece from start to finish. When you first start playing, songs are short and easier to play. But the more difficult the music becomes, the longer it takes to master. Sometimes a practice session will be about playing one small piece of the song. That’s okay. Allow your child’s teacher to set the pace. 

Compliment music lessons with other forms of music. In order to develop music literacy, it’s important to have a wide variety of musical training tools in your home. Buy different music books and sheet music. Be willing to invest in things your child wants to try. Also consider apps and other online tools to help to learn to play. And when the opportunity arises, take field trips to local symphonies, concerts, and other musical events. 

Daily reminders to practice don’t mean your child doesn’t like to play. Kids are kids. And sometimes they groan as you remind them to do their daily chores. But that doesn’t mean they don’t enjoy making music. Playing the piano can be a relaxing experience. You do have to make the time and encourage them to sit and play for the designated time period. It’s no different than reminding them to brush their teeth or do their homework. It’s a part of a parent’s job. 

Create long term goals. There’s nothing wrong with creating long term goals as they improve their piano playing. Schedule trips to the symphony several months out. Encourage them by promising upgraded pianos or accessories in the future. Motivate them by showing them what they can do with their skills. It will help you get more comfortable with their abilities and how well you can expect them to play. 

Participate. Sit down and listen to their practices once in a while. Attend their practices with teachers and piano groups. Get involved in helping them find playable music. Kids get excited when mom and dad participate in their activities. 

Work together with your child’s piano teacher to keep them involved. However, this doesn’t mean carrying on with a ten minute conversation after the lesson. Chances are they have another lesson soon after. Send an email. Sit in on the lesson to gain clarity on techniques to keep them moving forward. Let the teacher know you’re an active participant in your child’s learning. Sometimes, it can make all the difference in how long your child moves forward with their new skills. 

Is Learning on a Digital Piano Different Than an Acoustic Piano?

Is Learning on a Digital Piano Different Than an Acoustic Piano?

Has staying in place made you rethink everything? 

Instead of being out and active 24/7, many of us are learning to appreciate what happens right inside our own homes. We’re more patient. We’re learning to appreciate the little things. 

We’re even taking up things we might have overlooked in the past. Like playing the piano. 

Maybe you’ve had an old acoustic piano sitting in your corner for years. 

Maybe you’ve pulled out that digital piano from under the bed. 

In either case, you have renewed interest in making music. 

Is there a difference between learning on an acoustic piano or a digital piano? 

Differences between acoustic and digital

Just looking at the two different types of pianos will tell you many things separate them. 

The most obvious is sound. When you press down on the key of an acoustic piano, it requires action to move the hammer inside to connect with a string. The sound depends on which strings it connects with, and how hard you press down on the key. 

For a digital, it relies on producing sound based on the key you touch. Each note is played and recorded from an acoustic piano. How well the sound is replicated depends on the quality of the piano. For this reason, it’s important to understand that all digital pianos are not created equally. If you truly desire to learn to play the piano, you will have to invest in purchasing a digital piano that replicates both the sound and the action of creating music on an acoustic piano. 

Size is also a consideration. Acoustic pianos take up quite a bit of space in your home. That’s fine if you live in suburbia, but if you’re trying to save space in a small urban condo, or even wish to bring your piano with you as you travel, digital might be a better way to go. 

Do digital and acoustic pianos play differently?

The sound may be the biggest difference between the two pianos, depending on the quality of the instruments. But there is something else that may be of concern. 

Some digital pianos are created to be a toy, not an instrument. They aren’t created to stand equally with an acoustic piano. The keys aren’t properly weighted, meaning when you press down on them, they don’t provide the same resistance as an acoustic piano. That means you can’t transfer your skills from one to another. If you hope to move forward with your musical skill, you’ll start over and have to learn how it feels. 

Which is right for you? 

If you truly wish to add piano into your life, quality is your most important goal. 

There are a range of factors for you to consider if you’re purchasing a piano to learn to play. 

If you already a digital piano, but aren’t satisfied with the sound, it may be time to upgrade to an acoustic piano. Give us a call today. 

4 Things To Think About Before Hiring a Piano Teacher

4 Things To Think About Before Hiring a Piano Teacher

Ready to learn to play the piano? There are a variety of ways you can go about doing it. 

You can buy a beginning book and try to learn yourself. You can invest in an app and use it to become more proficient with the learning process. 

But no matter how much you try on your own, you’ll eventually find it works better by hiring a teacher. For you or your kids, there’s something better about working one on one with someone who already has piano skills in place. They can make you into a better pianist, and make your playing more enjoyable, no matter what you choose to play. 

What do you look for when hiring a piano teacher?

Start with your goals

Some just want to play their favorite songs. Some have hopes of turning it into a career. Depending on your goals should direct you to finding the perfect piano teacher. If you have hopes of a professional career, be sure to look for someone who is doing what you want to do. Their experience will be the perfect guide for your next steps. 

Don’t worry about location

In today’s world, you don’t have to rely on someone you can visit face to face. Thanks to technology, your perfect instructor can be a half a world away. The important thing is getting what you need from the instructor and learning all you can. 

Personality is everything

Learning piano is a lifelong challenge. It’s not something you’ll gain overnight. Instead, it takes hard work and endurance. And at times, you’ll become challenged, possibly even frustrated with the process. That’s when personality matters most. Do you have an instructor who meshes well with your temperament? Do they challenge you in the right ways? 

Price is everything

Look beyond the dollar amount. Is the piano instructor you are considering a good value? Will they help take you to the level of professionalism you desire? If so, find a way to include their fees in your monthly budget. You’ll be happy you did. 

Becoming a better piano player starts by having a great instrument to play. If you don’t have the right equipment, no matter how much a piano teacher pushes you, you’ll never achieve the results you’re looking for. Start with a great piano. Whether used or new, we can help. 

Using A Metronome For Better Piano Practice

Using A Metronome For Better Piano Practice

Want to be a better piano player? The key is with better piano practice. 

Unfortunately, not everyone is an expert at understanding rhythm. Sometimes it takes work to get the beat right. 

That’s why incorporating a metronome into your practice will help you improve the way you play. A metronome can help you understand the right tempo and develop perfect timing for each piece you play. 

What is a metronome?

Metronomes emit a sound on each beat. It sets the tempo, then ticks off the counts to help you adjust the rhythm and understand the feel of the beat. Most metronomes can be set between 40 and 240 beats per minute. Some pianos have built in metronomes. You can also purchase apps that allow you to take it anywhere. 

How it can help identify technician issues

When you play without a metronome, you can glide over technical issues you might have with your playing. Spots where you’re dragging or rushing become apparent when you play it with the beat of a metronome. Practice the song with the clicking beat; you can do so just a few bars at a time. 

Getting up to speed

When you work with a teacher, they can help you through spots you might not be playing well. But most of your practice will be done alone. That’s where a metronome can help you along. Start by playing slower until you can play the notes effectively. Then speed it up until you’re at the proper dynamics. This works very well to overcome technical issues. It also ensures you play the music as intended by the creator of the piece. 

Do you have the proper tools to ensure your piano practice is effective? If not, we can help. From new and used pianos, to metronomes and sheet music, we can point you in the right direction to make every practice session its best. 

What’s The Most Effective Way To Practice Piano?

What’s The Most Effective Way To Practice Piano?

Practice is one of the most important parts of piano playing. It’s how you learn. It’s how you get better. But like everything, piano practice can grow boring if you don’t have a goal. Is there an effective way to practice piano?

Start with a goal. “I’ll play several times a week” is not a goal. Instead, sit down every session with something specific in mind. “I’m going to learn to play ____ today.” “I’m going to learn the opening of _____ today.” Make sure the goal is achievable, given your level of playing and what you’re attempting to do. 

Slow down. Playing isn’t a race to the finish line. Instead, it’s about playing the best you can. Take the time to learn what you do perfectly. If it takes longer to move through a piece of music, that’s okay. The important thing is to learn, and do it well. 

Pay attention to fundamentals. It’s nice that you want to play music from your favorite band. But learning the fundamentals can make you a better piano player. Spend time mastering scales. Take the time to learn technical skills. You’ll see it in every piece of music you play. 

Use a metronome. It’s one of the best ways to bring a song up to tempo. But that doesn’t mean you have to start at tempo. Slow things done and focus on the notes and fingering. Master music in pieces. Then bring the metronome up to speed until you can play it as intended. 

Listen. Listen to the best piano players in the world. Go to concerts and see them in action. You may even wish to sign up for competitions to learn from others around. You’ll learn a lot from listening to what others have to say about your performance. 

End with fun. The last few minutes of your practice session should be designed for fun. What’s your favorite piece of music? Playing your favorites allows you to leave your session fully energized and ready for your day. 

What’s your most effective way to keep piano practice interesting? 

Piano Practice When Everyone’s At Home

Piano Practice When Everyone’s At Home

Right now can be the perfect time to practice the piano. With everybody home and staying in place, finding the time is no longer a problem.

Yet with everybody at home, it can also be difficult to carve out a few minutes where you can practice alone. Everybody is around, trying to do their thing. And when noise has become the one constant in your days, how are you supposed to find quiet to think about piano practice in the right manner?

Place the piano in a quiet place in your home

If you’ve already found the perfect place for your piano, moved furniture and even decorated around it, moving it may seem like a hassle. But a lot of this comes from knowing who will be practicing regularly. Some people like to be the center of attention. Others may prefer a quiet space where they can practice without others hearing them. While you’re spring cleaning and organizing your house, this may be the perfect time for a little redecorating, and moving your piano to where it functions best. 

Schedule a time for practice

Even when the days all start to run together, they can seem like they fly by without the chance to make it through your daily to-do list. Carve out time during the day for each family member to be able to do something they really enjoy. While one practices the piano, another may choose to paint or draw. Keep the activities going on in the room complimentary, and you’ll soon create a space that everyone looks forward to each day. 

Use headphones

Did you know some acoustic pianos today come with the option of having headphones? It’s not just digital anymore. Being able to plugin headphones gives you the opportunity to practice no matter what else is going on in the room. It helps the piano player concentrate, and allows other family members to do their thing without interrupting.

Create a plan

Even in these trying times, having a plan in place helps. Try and create some structure in your days. Get up at the same time. Go to bed at the same time. Center your activities around meal plans. This will help everyone keep some sense of balance. That also gives you a chance to put what’s important on the calendar – like piano practice. 

The only thing we know for sure right now is we’ll get through this one day at a time. 

Piano practice can add a sense of normality no matter what’s happening in the world. It has calming effects, and can reduce the stress of everyone playing or listening. 

Stick with your piano practice – you’ll appreciate it even more in the weeks and months to come. 

Why You Should Learn Piano Right Now

Why You Should Learn Piano Right Now

Looking for a new skill during the coronavirus? Is it time to find something to help you relieve stress? 

Maybe it’s time to learn piano. 

The arts have a meditative quality to them. Pick up a paintbrush and paint; you relax as the strokes move across the canvas. Touch your fingers to the keys; you feel your breathing calm as each note comes alive. 

And that really is the top benefit to learning piano. It requires your full concentration, full engagement of the brain as you work both hands together, while your brain activates by looking at each note on the sheet in front of you. 

If you do any research, you’ll quickly discover that music isn’t just for enjoyment, music therapy is used in all sorts of ways. Anxiety, depression, ADHD, PTSD. Science is finding sitting still and playing a song can help in many ways. 

While it may calm you down and act as a stress reliever, it’s activating the brain. Every time you practice a song, get better, and challenge yourself in new ways, it adds neural connections. That means your brain is learning, growing, and connecting to enhance your thinking skills. 

When people think about physical activity, they often push themselves to run and jump. But there’s more to it than that, and that’s where learning piano can help. Playing piano strengthens hand-eye coordination. It also increases fine-motor skills. You might not be able to play physical sports like soccer or football your entire life, but piano is something you can do forever. Plus it works to lower blood pressure, reduce cardiac complications, lower respiratory rates, and increase immune response. That’s good news right now when we need something to do all that and more. It also strengthens your arm and hand muscles, and builds your focus muscle too. 

You’ve always wanted to learn piano. It’s been on your bucket list for years. 

Whether you choose to pick up where you left off as a kid, or you’re ready to start something new, make this the year you find your musical self once more. Make this the year you learn piano. 

How To Teach Piano Remotely

How To Teach Piano Remotely

Thanks to the coronavirus, we’re rethinking everything we do. 

It hasn’t taken away our desire to learn. Instead, it’s made us focus on new ways to teach. If you’re searching for ways to teach piano remotely, we have some tips for you. 

Think outside the box

In most cases, your student will be an active participant. Whether you have an adult who has more time to practice, or a child with a parent guiding them along, stay in contact with them and make suggestions for being creative in this time apart. 

Now is a great time to brush up on music theory and history. It’s also a great time for people to listen and observe as well as sit down and play as well. Places like YourClassical offer free classical music all day, and offer a variety of educational items for kids too. Chrome Music Lab makes music fun with a variety of hands-on experiments. You can also pull up a variety of philharmonic and orchestra websites and check out their online resources – just Google it. 

Keep it simple

To encourage your students to play, one of the easiest ways is to teach via the phone. While this isn’t an ideal situation, it can keep your students on track and provide you with a way to keep paying students on your schedule. Have your student place the phone near the piano and ensure it’s on speakerphone. Since you won’t be able to see them perform, you’ll have to rely on listening and asking questions. 

Step it up

If you both have the technology, upgrade your teaching methods by using Facetime or Skype. This gives you the added bonus of both sight and sound. Realize there is a learning curve for both of you. Spend time in your first session finding the perfect placement of the digital device so you can see your student in action as well as hear their performance. 

Above all, be patient with yourself and your students. Realize you’re each going to have good and bad days. Some days may be better for relaxing and having fun, using the space just to take 30 minutes out of a stressful day. 

And realizing that teaching remotely won’t last forever. But the important thing is to have fun in the process. 

How To Be a Great Piano Teacher Online

How To Be a Great Piano Teacher Online

So you’re looking for ways to turn your skills into an online business. How about becoming a piano teacher online? 

Just like teaching in person, online teaching tacks a special knack. But if you love teaching, and piano is a hobby you’d love to share with others, maybe now is the time to set up your online piano teaching business. 

Here’s what you need. 

Competency in piano playing

This is obvious, but in order to be a great online piano teacher, you have to love what you do. And that means loving the piano so much you play whether you get paid or not. If you sit down regularly at the piano, and you want to share that joy with others, this is the perfect road for you to go down. 

Great communication skills

It’s a little trickier teaching online versus in person. You have to use technology to notice all nuances of a player’s ability, and be able to communicate corrective measures back in a healthy way. What about posture? Is your student sitting correctly? Why are they stumbling over the notes? What is their body language saying? You have to be able to take all that in, and communicate it back in a meaningful way. 

Credentials

What level of students do you want to take on? There’s a big difference between a beginning and advanced students. The more refinement a student needs, the more credentials you’ll need to help them along. This should give you motivation to keep learning too. 

The right setup

Technology has made online learning easier than ever before. But you and your students will have to have the right tools to make this work. On your end, you should have:

  • A stable internet connection
  • A computer with the right level of technology
  • A headset
  • A microphone
  • A decent HD webcam

Being a world-class musician won’t be good enough in the online world if you get stuck with the basics of technology. If you need to learn computer skills yourself in order to improve your proficiency, do that first before you start offering your services. 

Are you ready to become a great online piano teacher?