Piano Instruction

 

Music education is an important part of a child's development, and can also help adults in their ongoing intellectual and emotional growth. Music has therapeutic qualities, helping us to relax at some times, and giving us energy and renewed focus at other times. Music makes us feel good.

I have taught piano and music theory to many students, from age 5 through adult. I have over 25 years of professional teaching experience, in both the United States and Japan.

I teach at my home in Bellevue, Washington. Contact me at the link above to discuss your individual goals and to learn more about my methods.

Please read my Teaching Philosophy and my Teaching Policies.

My Teaching Philosophy

I teach piano, music theory and ear-training to students from kindergarten through adult. I believe that treating students with respect is extremely important, and I focus on positive reinforcement. In return, I expect that students respect our time together and are prepared for each lesson. Students should be ready and motivated to learn. Every student learns at his or her own pace, but motivation and the support of other family members can make a huge difference in how quickly a student will advance. Perhaps the most important factor is the student's interest in music. Students must be genuinely interested in the piano to be successful with it.

Goals

Goals are important to establish right up front. I want my students to enjoy their growth as musicians, and to view me as a partner and friend in their learning. I expect students to practice and be prepared, but I also understand that students have many competing interests and activities. I ask that student be here during their lessons and put in good effort outside the lessons. I do not emphasize piano competitions, but I am happy when students are proud of their new skills, and when they participate in music performances.

Grade School Age Students

Grade school children, particularly the youngest students, are often the most excited to learn. Everything is new for them, and as a teacher one of my most important tasks is to channel that enthusiasm into learning good musical habits. Reading music and remembering the notes comes easily for most young children. But children this age must also learn how to practice, how to sit properly and how to maintain attention and concentration during a lesson. These study skills carry over into other activities and can last throughout life.

Junior High and High School Students

Music education is a perfect complement to school in these grades. Students in the teen years are going through many changes and are beginning to develop personal interests, habits and friendships that will last them into their adult years. Being a part of the music community at school, or just having friends with a similar interest in music, can do wonders for self-esteem and help ensure success in later years. For students this age, I can tailor lessons to meet specific interests, including classical and popular music. This is important because it allows students to express their individuality.

For students of all ages, the important thing is motivation and the ability to set aside practice time every day.

Adult Students

I have taught students of all ages, and I particularly enjoy teaching the parents of school-age children who are also taking lessons. Young students and their student-parents can play duets and learn together. This is a great way to spend more time with your children.

There are many reasons why adults start piano lessons. Some are looking for relief from the stress of work, some have found themselves in their middle or later years with, at last, some free time. Others have made music all their lives, but have never tried the piano. There are many reasons. Talk to me about yours!

Choosing a Piano

The piano you choose for practice and for pleasure can have a big impact on the quality of your learning. Your piano can be new or it can be many years used. The important thing is that it be professionally tuned, with properly regulated keys.

Before you spend a large amount of money for either a new or used piano, do some research and establish your priorities. In my opinion, a well-maintained, used, full-size upright piano can be better than a new, but lower-quality grand piano. Compact "baby grand" pianos are not usually a good buy, because their short strings quickly go out of tune. Better quality electronic keyboards such as the Yamaha Clavinova can be an excellent choice. If you are planning to learn using an electronic keyboard, it is very important that the keyboard be full-sized and have weighted keys to match the feel of an actual piano.

For traditional pianos, regular tuning is very important for ear-training and to have a good sound. If you don't already have someone to maintain your piano, I can recommend a professional technician for you.

In addition to ceramic art, I also have a passion for music. I teach piano and perform with an 8-hands, 2-piano ensemble.

Teaching Policies
Registering for Lessons

Regularly scheduled lessons begin around the start of the school year, or after Labor Day, whichever comes first. If your schedule is constrained, then please be sure to register early to reserve your preferred day and time. Lesson times are assigned on a first-come, first-serve basis. For new students there is a non-refundable $25 registration fee.

If you are a new student, please call or email me in advance to arrange an interview. Not all potential students are equally excited about learning piano. In the interview we can establish the goals of the lessons, and establish also whether I am the best teacher for your student. I teach beginning through intermediate levels. If we determine during the interview that another teaching style would be a better fit for your student, then I can suggest instructors in the area who have alternate methods or who focus on different learning goals.

Cancellations and Rescheduling

It is important that each student (and parent, as appropriate) understand the cancellation policy. You will be given a written copy of the policy at your interview or your first lesson. The student or parent (where applicable) must read and sign the policy. Lesson times are pre-assigned, meaning that rescheduling a lesson can be difficult. Your lesson time is reserved for you, unless you make arrangements with another student to trade lesson times. (If you do trade lesson times, please let me know in advance.)

Make-up lessons will only be given for illness or other emergency if I have been informed at least 24 hours in advance, or the same day in the case of a sudden weather emergency. I am not able to reschedule lessons that conflict with after-school sports, birthday parties, etc.

With rare exception, missed lessons that are not canceled 24 hours in advance will be forfeited.

Students who cancel a lesson with the required 24-hour notice are eligible for a make-up lesson, if desired, within the same month at a time mutually convenient to the student and to my schedule.

Canceled lessons may not be used to reduce the tuition for a future month. Please do not ask me to reduce your monthly lesson fees if you have canceled or missed a lesson in a prior month.

Occasionally it may be necessary for me to cancel or reschedule a lesson due to unexpected travel or scheduling conflicts. Canceled lessons that I am unable to reschedule may be credited to subsequent months.

Books and Music

Students are expected to purchase music books and blank music composition sheets. I will describe and recommend books appropriate for the student.

Practicing

Regular practice between lessons is critical to a student's progress. Beginning students should practice at least 20 minutes each day, and intermediate students should practice 30 to 60 minutes per day.

Recital

Annual recitals give students an opportunity to build confidence and learn how to handle themselves in a performance setting. Recitals are not intended to be stressful events, but students will need to spend extra time preparing for these important events. Past recitals have included surprise performances from guest pianists, as well as other fun activities.

Withdrawal from Lessons

If you decide to withdraw from piano lessons, then I will need at least one month notice to arrange for a new student. Registration fees are non-refundable.

Tuition Payments

Payments for tuition are due at the start of each month and cover the lessons for that month. Tuition is charged at a per lesson rate, with a minimum charge of three lessons each month. The only exception to this is if I need to block out lesson days in advance for personal reasons, in which case the tuition for the month will be reduced.

For new students there is a non-refundable $25 registration fee, payable with your first tuition payment.

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