No. I only teach in my studio. The main reason for this
is that all of the resources available in the studio cannot be
easily transported to your home. Another important reason is
the expense that would be involved. Compensation for travel time
and expense would have to be included in the lesson fee, making
it cost prohibitive for many people.
I see you are a Nationally Certified Teacher of Music. What does that
In order to become an MTNA Nationally Certified Teacher of Music one must
meet rigorous standards. It is similar to
being vetted for a university level faculty position. Those that are certified have a demonstrated level
of competency similar to that of a university professor.
Why are your lessons 45 minutes, when others are only 30 minutes?
I believe that a 30 minute lesson usually isn't long enough for a complete comprehensive lesson. Students need a few minutes at the beginning
of the lesson to settle in and a few minutes at the end of the lesson
to wrap up. With a 45 minute lesson block, there is adequate time available without having to rush.
What is your policy on cancellations?
Lessons missed due to illness can be made up at the discretion of the teacher. If travel conditions are poor due to inclement weather, I offer the option of using modern technology for a "distance learning" lesson on Skype or Facetime. Lessons missed for other reasons may be rescheduled using the
student contact list.
What are your payment policies?
The financially responsible party receives a written statement near
the end of the month, due on the first of the subsequent month. The
statement includes tuition charges, fees for programs and charges for
instructional materials like method books. Tuition is billed in nine
week blocks to reduce bookkeeping. If payment is not promptly received,
a late fee is assessed.
What if I have to reschedule a lesson?
Students are encouraged to participate in the student contact list.
As a general rule I do not coordinate the rescheduling of lessons.
What is this student contact list you talk about?
I maintain and publish a list of all students including their phone number
and scheduled lesson time. If a student must reschedule a lesson, they can
use the list to contact another student to discuss a possible swap in
lesson times. Students have the option of not being on the contact list,
but will not be able to reschedule lessons easily.
Why are non-adult students expected to participate in studio recitals?
Music is an artform. However, notes on a page are not art much the same
as a pallate of colors is not a painting. Only when the artist uses the paints
as a form of expression is art created. Similarly when a musician performs for
others, art is created. To ignore this performance component results in
a less than complete music education.
Do you accept transfer students?
Yes. However, it is important for me to know why the student wants to
transfer. Since there are good and not-so-good reasons for finding
another teacher, the subject will be discussed when we make initial
Do you perform concerts?
Not usually. I am primarily a teacher and my formal training
reflects this. Some teachers do perform, which can be either an asset
or liability for the students. While a teacher who performs frequently
may be able to provide guidance in the intricacies of performing music, the teacher
may be away on tour for an extended period thereby leaving the student
without lessons during that time.
Did you ever study with any famous pianists?
I studied with well known teachers at the Hartt School, but studying
with a famous pianist will not instantly make someone an expert teacher. Since my
background is in education, I believe that it is more important to know
how to teach effectively. That's why I attend conferences and seminars on a regular basis.
Do you teach adults?
Absolutely. My educational approach with adult students is much
different than for youngsters.
Do I really have to practice every day?
Practicing every day is the best way to learn - practice makes permanent.
If professional athletes didn't practice regularly, do you think they
would be professionals for very long? It's the same with learning an instrument. Practicing is essential to progress.
When is the best time to practice?
The best time to practice is different for every student. Think about
what will work within your personal schedule so that you can look forward
to your practice time. Parents need to help youngsters budget their time
for outdoor play, homework, family time and practice time. Older students
should be able to do their own budgeting. Regardless of when you plan to
practice, you should make it known to other members of the household so that
you can practice undisturbed. Interruptions while practicing
will break your concentration and might even cause you to cut short your practice
Is it necessary to have a real piano to take piano lessons?
Necessary? No. Desireable? Yes. I understand that purchasing a piano
for a beginning student is a substantial risk. Therefore, I have no problem
with beginners starting on an electronic keyboard with at least 66 FULL-SIZE
KEYS. However, within 12 to 18 months it is adviseable to purchase a piano.
If you purchase from a reputable dealer, you can usually find an instrument that
will last for a lifetime at a reasonable price. The piano I purchased 40 years
ago is still in service.
How often should I have my piano tuned?
Most pianos require tuning at least once a year. You should treat this as
an annual checkup much the same as you do for your home heating and cooling
equipment. A qualified piano technician can identify and repair potential
problems before they become major issues. I own two pianos and have them
tuned twice a year.
What kind of music do you teach?
I teach primarily in the classical style. But that doesn't mean I'm opposed
to working with a student on a popular piece, some jazz or any other genre.
My goal is to provide students with the tools they need to make music
a lifetime enjoyment. Even professional non-classical pianists play classical exercises as part of their practice regimen.
What kind of music do you like to listen to?
I'm rather eclectic and run the gamut from classical, twentieth century works, opera and a substantial amount of jazz. To paraphrase Duke Ellington, "If it sounds good, it is good."
Copyright ..., Sharon B. Girard, NCTM - All Rights Reserved