1. What is a good age for my child to start learning the piano?
Generally speaking, age 6 is usually a good time to start! However, every child is different, and I have taught younger children who have fared well despite their age! I start every child reading notes on musical staves right away, so it really does depend on their ability to read the alphabet and recognise patterns.
2.Will I need a piano?
Short answer, yes! It is absolutely crucial that students practise their material in between lessons. However, I understand that purchasing a piano is a sizeable investment, and you want to be sure that your child is committed to learning piano before taking the plunge buying one. Of course, if cost is not an issue I would recommend getting an acoustic instrument (grand or upright), but to begin with, digital pianos will work fine. There are smaller sized keyboards (64 keys) that should suffice for the absolute beginner's part of your child's journey. If you need help choosing an instrument, please let me know and I can help point you in the right direction ☺
3. Practice expectations?
Consistent practice is key to mastering any instrument! For a beginner, 15 minutes 5-6 days a week is sufficient, but of course more time spent at the piano usually means quicker progress. The key here, though, is consistency. It is far more effective to practise 10 minutes every day than to do 60 minutes in one session! Building the habit of practising is so beneficial for progress especially when pieces get more challenging. What I've found over the years is that students who do little to no practice have issues with confidence and easily give up when challenges arise, sometimes even giving up learning piano entirely! On the other hand, students who do consistent practice are much more ready to face any learning or technical challenge a piece may present. These students are more likely to commit to learning for years and years to come.
4. Do you use the same material for every student?
No, I always use a mixture of different books and content. Every student is an individual with different likes and interests, and I try to meet every student where they are. Whether students are absolute beginners or have some experience playing the piano, I always endeavour to tailor my teaching process to the individual. My students range from adult beginners learning for leisure, children doing Classical exams, or even students learning to play pop songs!
5. Is it compulsory to sit for exams?
It is not compulsory for students to sit exams. I encourage students to do exams only for the experience, feedback and reward of getting a certificate at the end of the grade. It is by no means an experience that every student should or want to have, and I work with parents and the students themselves to gauge whether or not exams are appropriate for them. If exams cause unproductive or unnecessary stress in the learning journey, then it is not a good thing. We want exams to bring positive pressure by giving students a deadline to work towards, and incentivising students to prepare their works to a much more polished level; exams are certainly not meant to traumatise or dishearten!
6. Am I too old to start learning?
Trust me when I say you are never too old to start learning piano! You may feel a little bit out of your depth at the start because, frankly, you are learning a completely new language and your fingers are learning a whole lot of complex movements and coordination! It does get much easier with time. The great thing about learning as an adult is that you will be able to grasp theoretical concepts much quicker than if you were a child, so you will be able to progress and play more complex pieces earlier too. Adults usually bring a lot of life experience and emotional maturity, which in turn enhance the music they play. As you can tell, I absolutely love teaching adults! Don't underestimate yourself - you can do this!