Frequently Asked Questions
Where are lessons held?
All lessons are currently being taught virtually during this era of social distancing. I use platforms like Zoom, FaceTime, etc. Before COVID-19, I primarily taught from my home studio, and I have offered online lessons since January 2019.
How often should I practice?
Just as lessons are personalized for each individual student, practicing habits will vary based on area of study, age, and experience. As a very loose rule of thumb, students' daily practice should match minutes for years of age. If my 10-year-old piano student practices for 10 minutes a day every day between lessons, she will see consistent and rapid growth in ability and understanding. If my 30-year-old voice student practices for 30 minutes a day, he will have properly warmed up his voice using vocal exercises that we have done together during lesson, and maybe he practiced one or two of his pieces during that time. It's okay to not get to all of your assigned repertoire every time you practice. Consistent practice is the most important thing, and once you've sat down to practice, prioritize the quality of your practice over the amount of material you can cover in one sitting.
What lesson length is best for me/my child?
I do not teach any piano lessons over 30 minutes. I teach beginning piano, and I find that consistent, weekly 30-minute lessons is the best way to learn this skill.
Voice/Coaching/Music Theory Tutoring
I offer three different lesson lengths: 30, 45, and 60-minute lessons. Every student is different, and I want to honor a student's individual preferences before drawing arbitrary lines in the sand. If your lesson length isn't suiting you, I want to adjust your lesson length to something that feels right for you.
That being said, I have observed some patterns regarding lesson length that I will share:
- Students under 13 tend to hold quality focused attention for lessons between
- Beginning students ages 13 and up may find
45-minute lessons hit a certain sweet spot. There is time to touch on concepts that are new to you without feeling rushed while avoiding feeling overwhelmed.
- Intermediate or advanced students ages 13 and up will want
60-minute lessons because the content that we will be covering will require deep discussion, consideration, and practice together.
Do I need access to a piano or keyboard in order to practice?
Access to a keyboard is helpful, but not required. If you have no plans to acquire a keyboard of any kind, I will suggest that you download a (free) piano application to your phone, tablet, or computer to use during practice.
You must have or have plans to acquire a keyboard or piano before beginning lessons. Daily practice at the keyboard is essential to learning to play the piano.
Can my 6 year old take voice lessons with you?
I am happy to help with audition prep for singers of all ages.
Regarding regularly scheduled voice lessons:
Short answer: probably not.
Longer answer: the voice is made up of muscles that are developing through adulthood. A child's body is not equipped to sing with sophisticated technique. If your young child would like to sing, I recommend learning to read and hear music via piano lessons. These musicianship skills are directly related to singing and will deeply serve them later on. Regardless of whether or not my piano students are interested in singing, I encourage every piano student to sing their pieces as they play to incorporate important aspects of phrasing and breath into their piano playing.
Are you available as a singer for hire?
Yes! I can provide background music at your event, perform classical arias/art song, and much more. I have many colleagues with whom I collaborate if you are in need of multiple musicians. Please contact me to see if I would be a good fit for your occasion.
Can we sing pop tunes during my voice lesson?
Absolutely. Although I am trained classically, I do not limit the nature of the repertoire that we explore in lessons. I teach students interested in anything and everything (musical theater, popular music, traditional folk tunes, classical repertoire), and I do not rule anything out.
That being said, I hope you will enter lessons with an open mind and take suggestions of new areas of music to you. It isn't always comfortable, but singing repertoire in which you are completely unfamiliar is an excellent way to get to the root of vocal technique.
When will my child be old enough for piano lessons?
Short answer: I recommend that students begin piano lessons no earlier than first grade.
Long answer: every child tackles challenges and disciplined practice differently. If piano isn't their first instrument, they may be ready sooner than a child who is taking a music lesson for the first time. First grade may be too young for some, while others will be ready for piano lessons during their pre-school years. The goal is to introduce piano and music to your child as welcomingly and warmly as possible. There are too many anecdotes of folks who were forced to take lessons (probably at too young of an age) and quit the first opportunity they were given. Learning and growing as a musician is one of the richest experiences out there, and learning to read and play music involves an incredible amount of the human brain. Students who learn to play music become better learners in every aspect of their lives. My goal is to fuel my students' passion for music and foster their interests with excitement and encouragement. Students who are ready to practice daily and responsibly are old enough for piano lessons.
I'm an adult and have never taken lessons or sang for anyone before. Would you accept a student like me into your studio?
I get this question ALL OF THE TIME. I have taught dozens of adults over the years, and the majority of the time, they come to me sheepishly and apologetically. It breaks my heart.
Anyone at any level of experience or age can take voice lessons. Singing is for everyone! Somewhere along the way, we all got really critical of those who opened their mouths to sing, but it used to be a much more accepted part of life. People were expected to learn about music to not only appreciate it as an observer, but as a participant.
As you can tell, I feel very passionately that your voice should be heard. I understand and appreciate how vulnerable it can feel to sing for someone, especially a stranger, when even your closest friends and family members may have never heard you sing. I will do everything I can to make you feel comfortable exploring your voice during lessons. I do this in a number of ways, one of which is reframing the way in which we speak and think of our voices. Are you thinking of yourself as a "good" or "bad" singer? How can we use less subjective (and frankly non-descript and unhelpful) language and instead become objective observers of our voices? What if we treated our musical journey as a scientific study where only descriptive and technical language was allowed?