Hello Lovely Parents and Students,
Happy New School Year! Welcome back to all of us. Here is some important information I wanted to share with you regarding piano lessons.
No lessons during the first week of school. Regular lessons commence the week of Sept. 10.
Cancellations: each student receives two free cancellations per school year. Please let me know when you would like to use them and I will apply a cancellation credit to your invoice. Any subsequent cancellations will not be refunded or credited, but you can arrange a make-up lesson with me if you wish. I have availability for make-up lessons on Saturday afternoons.
Things to do this week to prepare for a wonderful year of music study:
Establish a practice routine, input into family calendar. Set aside time for 5 piano practice sessions every week. Write or print out a copy of your practice routine and put it into your piano assignments binder.
Get a timer to measure practice sessions. A basic kitchen timer or stopwatch is fine. This timer stays on top of your piano or in your piano box.
Get a container for your piano materials. Something big enough to put metronome, piano books, piano binder, timer, pencil, eraser, current sheet music. Ideally each kid taking lessons in the family would have their own box. Keep this container on top of the piano or on the floor right next to piano bench, somewhere very close by and highly visible.
Start a “Songs I Like” list. Put a copy on your devices and a paper copy in your piano materials box. This list will be helpful when considering what repertoire to study next.
Arrange for piano or keyboard maintenance if it has been longer than a year since last tuning or there are ongoing issues needing repair.
Practice Guidelines: 5 sessions every week between lessons
Ages 5-6, 15 minute sessions
Ages 7-9, 20-25 minutes
Ages 10+, at least 30 minutes every session
Adults – at least 45 minutes
Practice Instructions: At every practice session, open the piano lessons binder. Go to the assignment sheet from your last lesson. Do everything on the list as many times it says (more is better) or for the number of minutes indicated. Set a timer for every session. If you reach the bottom of the list and time has not run out, start again at the top of the list or practice the item that was the most difficult again.
Students ages 5-8 need supervision during their practice sessions. Someone to help them go through the instructions and work through each item, to keep them focused, to know when to take a short break and re-engage.
Students ages 9-11 need someone to check their piano assignment at least once a week. Go through the assignment sheet with your child, and ask them to show you every item. Give lots of encouragement for improving and making their best effort.
Students ages 12+ benefit from a check of their assignment every couple of weeks and some sincere encouragement and specific praise when you hear them practicing well on their own.
Adult students: don’t be shy about showing a trusted friend what you’re working on in piano lessons. Supportive friends and family can provide encouraging feedback, which is so valuable when learning to play an instrument.
Playing For Fun:
Music is an amazing human creation of infinite depth and beauty. Usually your child’s piano assignment will not touch on the great emotional journey that music can be. It will be about sustained effort, delayed gratification, intellectual challenge, discipline, and if everything goes well, slow and steady progress. Sometimes practicing will feel like kind of a drag. It is important to round out your or your child’s musical education by giving them the easy side of music as well. Go see live concerts, have a dance party, sing together as a family, and encourage your children to mess around at the piano with no pressure. All of this goes for adult students as well.
Thank you for reading! Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.
Looking forward to seeing all of your shining faces next week,
B. Mus, Jazz Studies & Music Education
BCRMTA – BC Registered Music Teachers Assn.
BCMEA – BC Music Educators Assn.