FAQ's (General)

How do I sign up for lessons?

The first step to take if you're interested in lessons is to contact me through the website or by phone (781) 771-0589, leaving your contact information and what you are interested in.  I will get back in touch with you for a brief chat.  If you decide to move forward, we will arrange to meet at my home so you can get a feel for the setting and for what I am like.  If you're still interested, you can enroll online for lessons and begin!

What age students to you accept?

Ages 5- 80! I have experience teaching young children, adolescents and adults.

At what age should children begin piano lessons?

A good beginning age is when the student is reading books fluently.  Children who begin earlier progress slower, have smaller hands and fingers (making the physical act of pushing the keys down and holding correct finger position more difficult), and require more parental involvement and coaching.  

The ideal is for the beginning student to progress quickly (to sustain enthusiasm), establish good habits of finger position and hand position, and to work and play independently.  The goal is for them to "own" their playing and accomplishments and to experience the joy of making music as soon as possible!

Does the student need to own a piano?  

Study can proceed for a limited time using an electric keyboard.  However, playing the piano involves subtleties with the individual keys, the music stand, the number of keys, the pedal, and even the sitting position that do require a piano.  The kind of piano, the look and sound, is not critical.  The piano only needs to have keys that work.  Used pianos are usually not difficult to find. 

Where do I get music books?

The teacher is responsible for choosing and providing developmentally appropriate music for each individual student depending on their age, experience, reading ability,  past experience (if any), and personality.  The teacher will bill the music books separately.  After the beginning few months, I slowly begin to cooperate with the student's taste in choosing repertoire, within reason. We're always more motivated to learn something we like!

Where are the lessons held?

Lessons are held in a private home in Montclair, NJ.  

How long are the lessons?

Usually lessons are 25-40 minutes for beginners, 45 minutes to one hour for middle school and high school students, one hour for advanced students.

How long have you been teaching?

I began teaching at age 20!  I have taught my entire adult life, taking a hiatus for 10 years when my four children were school age.

What "style" do you teach?

I have a classical training and background, so my skill set is very detailed and serious.  However, as a parent and an experienced teacher, I know how important it is to enjoy holiday music, pop music (carefully selected), TV or movie themes, folk music and familiar music frequently.  Beginners start by learning to read music and connect the notes on the page to the keys on the piano, using both hands and covering the entire keyboard, going up and down, crossing hands, etc. It's pretty interesting!  

I incorporate music history, theory and analysis in the lessons from very early in the process.

Do you teach students with special needs?

Having taught for so many years and parenting four children and a foster child from Liberia, I have come to the opinion that all students have "special needs."  There are right-handed and left-handed students.  There are students who read lightning speed but struggle to connect the eye to the hand coordination.  There are shy students, chatty students, lazy students, sad students, anxious students, students with a defeatist attitude and students who overrate their capabilities!  Some students over obsess on practicing and preparation and some students consistently underestimate the lesson preparation time.

I have taught blind students and students with Attention Deficit Disorder and ADHD with a lot of joy and success (with a few exceptions). I have no experience teaching students with other physical or learning disabilities.