FAQ for Beginners
What sort of keyboard/piano do I need to buy before I start lessons?
You will need either a well-tuned acoustic piano; a full-length (7 octaves) digital piano with weighted keys and graded hammer action, plus a sustain pedal; or a good quality keyboard with a minimum of 5 octaves of full-length, touch-sensitive keys.
The advantage of a digital piano is that they never go out of tune and can be played on headphones for quiet practicing. However, they can never truly replace the beauty and harmonics of an acoustic instrument.
What books will I need to buy?
I use a range of books to teach. The most common ones are Piano Time, Classics to Moderns and Music Theory in Practice. I keep books for both child and adult beginners in stock so you can buy them from me on your first lesson.
Will I need 45 minute or 60 minute lessons?
Piano & keyboard lessons normally begin as 45-minute lessons and go up to 60-minutes once exams begin or at a student’s request. Adults can start with 60-minutes, if they feel they have enough time for the practising involved. Lessons for exam training are broken up in to four sections: playing pieces, scales, ear-training and theory. I will teach whatever style of music a student requests.
Do you teach children with learning disabilities?
Yes, absolutely. I was one myself. I have both dyslexia and dyscalculia and neither of these conditions have ever stopped me from pursuing music or any other subject. I have also taught students with ADHD, dyspraxia and Asperger’s Syndrome.
How long do I need to practise each week?
The watchword is little and often. For example, it’s better to practice in 20-minute bursts and make sure that the student rehearses a few bars at a time properly, rather than ploughing through a whole piece over and over, whilst playing most of it wrong. Absolute beginners often start with just 10 minutes practise a day, while those attempting Grade 8 should practise for about 2 hours a day.
Generally, students should aim to be able to play each piece correctly 10 times in a row. There is a saying: “amateurs practice until they get it right; professionals practice until they can’t go wrong”. Remember this phrase, live by it and the grade exam passes will whizz by!