We're all different - we like different music, we learn differently, we think differently. That's why - although I often use the same method for many students - I tailor my lessons to the student's needs and goals. However, I only see the student once a week - that's a tiny portion of their time each week! Learning music effectively takes consistent effort. While some early beginners are able to squeak by for a few months without practicing too much, they'll eventually have to start putting some work in…Read more
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I now offer online lessons for students in any location, as well as in-person students who may have weather- or illness-related cancellations. This allows us to keep progressing with music, even when the climate or immune systems don't want to cooperate! So what do you need for a successful online lesson?Computer/Tablet Access
While we could technically do a lesson with an iPhone, it's much better to use a tablet or laptop computer with a camera/videoconferencing capabilities. A phone screen is very small…Read more
My first guitar student was 8 years old and I still remember those early lessons with her, when progress seemed slow, and I wasn't sure whether she was actually having fun. I'm happy to report now she's in college and plays 3 additional instruments, and music has remained a huge part of her life! Those early, slow-moving lessons worked and helped laid a strong foundation for music - because she was the one who wanted to take lessons to begin with.How Young is Too Young?
Over the years I've had many…Read more
Since I've been teaching music in rural Vermont, I've discovered weather and illness can have a much larger impact here than in my previous locations! Weather and illness are out of our control, and as such, there is NO CHARGE for cancellations made due to either occurrence. That said, PLEASE TEXT me as soon as possible if you think weather and/or illness may impact your lessons.
I am now offering same-time online lessons (via Skype or FaceTime) for any in-person lessons that should be canceled for either…Read more
It's the statement parents and teachers often dread: "but I don't WANNA do it!" What happens when I've arrived for the lesson and that's the first thing we hear?Consider the "Why"
As noted in my previous post people most often want someone to listen to them. Often my first question will be, "Why not?" Maybe the student had a terrible day, they had a disagreement with a friend, they're hungry, they're tired...or they didn't practice much and are embarrassed to play. Asking first, instead of demanding they…Read more
"My child seems to be talking a lot during her lesson!"
"I'm not sure why he's so chatty, please feel free to tell him to focus!"
I've heard a lot of comments relating to talking during music lessons and decided it was time to put up a quick post about my feelings on the topic! In general, I allow talking during lessons, as I believe connection between student and teacher is important - ESPECIALLY with very young students. There are times, of course, when I do need to tighten up the reins, but it depends…Read more
I don't get this question too often, since those who reach out to me have already decided to learn, but it's come up often enough that I'd like to address it for all prospective musicians and music students.
First things first: there's no one-size-fits-all answer for every single person interested in learning music. I'll likely add additional posts on the topic because there are simply too many reasons to pack into one blog post.
I read something a few months ago about how music educators should stop…Read more
Following up on my previous post about how much to practice, I want to follow up with a little note on, well, best practices for practicing! As I mentioned, I'm not the type of person who encourages every music student to play for a particular time. I encourage playing a piece a set number of times.
Last weekend I attended a guitar workshop in Manhattan led by a group of renowned performers and educators and practicing was a hot topic. The general consensus of the educators was that quality, not quantity…Read more
This is a question I'm asked by both new and seasoned students alike. New students and parents want to know what they're signing up for while more advanced students want to ensure their practice routines continue to benefit their musical journeys.
In an ideal world, my students would practice each piece (or section of a piece) about 5 times per day, every day. That's it. No half-hour of daily practice, no two-hour marathon practice sessions on the weekend.
Here's why: the brain actually makes the…Read more
Prospective students and parents often ask me "What's the right age to start music lessons?" My answer is an enthusiastic "Any age!" Learning music is beneficial to students of all ages. I've taught lessons to students as young as three all the way up into retirement and I've seen growth and development at every age.
Before three years old, a private music lesson is probably not the best choice, but group music classes such as Mommy and Me music, music and movement classes, Kindermusic, and others are a…Read more