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Teacher Q&A

How long will it take to learn the piano?

First of all, I've been at it my whole life and am still learning. That is one of the pleasures of playing the piano—you never run out of new things to learn. But most adult beginners will need to spend six months to a year of consistent effort to develop confidence. At first, we have to cover a lot of new territory—coordination, music reading, musical memory, playing loud and soft, playing in rhythm, how to practice, how to learn. It takes a while for all this to consolidate into a feeling of competence. The skill of evaluating your own playing is slow to develop, so you will be dependent on outside ears (me!) to give you feed back on your progress.

I only have a keyboard. Is that OK?

Sure! At your lesson you will play on one of two grand pianos, but a keyboard will be fine for practice for quite some time.

Will I have to play in a recital?

No! You're a grown-up, right? You get to decide what is right for you. Most adults have no interest in public performance, but those that do will find a way on their own. They don't need me to browbeat them into something.

How much practice do you require?

None! (See above.) If you are willing to pay for lessons and come consistently, your homework is your own business. However, I assume you have some interest in playing the piano or you would never get started, and you will make VERY slow progress without home practice. Finding time and the right attitude to practice doesn't happen automatically. I think part of my job is helping students figure out a way that works for them. I have LOTS of experience with this issue, partly because I have three kids, lots of students, and no shortage of demands on my own time. Of course, if you have lots of time on your hands, I'd be delighted to help you fill it with music. (The short answer is 30 minutes a day).

Do you teach theory?

Sort of. I have a working knowledge of music theory and will help people learn it if it makes sense to them. Most jazz pianists and composers have a far more extensive knowledge than I do, so if theory is your biggest interest, I can recommend some other teachers.

I want to learn to improvise.

Yes! Let's get going!

How long are lessons?

Lessons are 1/2 hour, 45 minutes or an hour, either weekly or every other week. We can talk about what would be the most efficient choice for your time and money. Consistency is most important, both for your learning and my planning. If you are unavailable periodically because of work or other demands, try to be regular in your lessons at the other times. I try to be as flexible as possible for my adult students—they deserve it!

Am I too old to learn?

No. Not at all. Absolutely not. I have yet to meet someone "too old to learn." In fact, one reason I have this web page is because I find adult students so rewarding to teach. Adult music students are some of the most fascinating people I know. It takes a special kind of person to carve out time for music study and take lessons regularly. Go for it.

What if I hate you?

That's why you want to come meet me first and get a feeling for who I am. We will have to work closely together and you'll have to like me. Music is too important to let a personality clash interfere. Call to schedule a visit. If I seem like the wrong type, I can recommend other teachers to try.
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