Reasons to start learning a musical instrument:
Choosing to play a musical instrument builds many new skills and has been shown to reduce stress, build confidence, develop metacognitive skills and most of all improves creativity. For parents who have never played an instrument themselves it can be a difficult decision choosing the best instrument for a child to start on.
Why Choose Piano?
Piano is an excellent starter instrument and suitable for most children from around the age of four. Playing piano is very visual and students can spot musical patterns and see which notes sound good with other notes. Learning piano is a great way to get a head start on musical theory that will be useful if they choose to take a second instrument in the future.
Starting piano is also great for adults who have never played before. Beginning an instrument at any age still gives the same emotional benefits and is great at maintaining healthy brain function.
It should be noted that all music learning provides challenges for the learner, and should not always be easy. Challenges will help build resilience and problem solving in students. Whilst commencing learning an instrument can be a fun activity, hard work and persistence is required by all students in order to progress.
What kind of instrument do I need?
When it comes to instruments, there definitely needs to be something available at home to practice with. Having a suitable instrument at home will ensure that progress is uninhibited. Waitlisted students will be prioritised based on the quality of the instrument available to them at home.
Acoustic Piano: These come in varying conditions, but generally are the preferable choice. Acoustic pianos will have the most similarity to the instrument used in lessons and last for many decades when well cared for. A good quality acoustic should have no missing keys or hammers and be tuned to A440 tuning. Tuning should occur every 12 -24 months, which costs about $150-$200. Owning a piano also comes with associated moving costs, which can be prohibitive. Please be sure to speak with a qualified piano technician before making a purchase to ensure the instrument you choose will be suitable.
Electric/Digital Piano: This is the second best option for a student. A digital piano should be full sized (88 keys) with weighted touch, meaning that pressing a key softly plays a quiet noted and pressing hard creates a loud note. Weighted keys should also have some resistance when playing, which imitates the feeling of playing an acoustic piano. Ideally a sustain pedal should be available as this can be introduced in the first year of learning. Purchased new can start from about $600 and if looked after will last many years.
Keyboard: A keyboard is a good temporary option when a student commences lessons. Keyboards that are not touch sensitive would actually be considered a toy. Keyboards are usually reduced in size, only play one volume when a key is pressed (no loud or soft unless you change the volume button) and will have a synthetic sound. Keyboards are really only suitable as a starter and students are recommended to upgrade to a digital or acoustic piano as soon as possible.Progress will diminish when using an inferior instrument long term.
What books do I need?
I use many different books and sheet music. I decide on methods to suit varying learning styles. Currently I mostly use Supersonics Piano or Piano Safari for beginning students. Books are not usually included in tuition costs and are expected to be purchased by the student. Often I will make purchases on behalf of the student and add to their term invoice.
Do students get an opportunity to perform?
Studio wide concerts are a few times a year to give students the opportunity to perform. Sharing music with one another is the best way to learn, and its a great way to introduce students to repertoire they may want to learn down the track. There are local performing opportunities at the Eisteddfods around the region. Entry fees are not included in tuition.
Are group lessons available?
Partner lessons (two students) are encouraged, but for a minimum of 45min. During school holidays larger group sessions are offered. These include more interactive playing among students for a longer duration (1-2 hours).
Preschool group lessons, Mini Musician Classes, are currently offered as part of Mudgee Little Learners preschool program - for enrolled preschoolers.
How much practice is required?
Unlike other after school activities, most music learning occurs away from lessons. Lessons are used to introduce new themes and techniques that then are explored and developed at home. Doing a little practice every day will mean that progress is quicker. I feel that practice sessions should be relevant to the students age and can either be in small portions or in one go.
- Young students and beginners: 5-10 minute sessions most days
- Elementary students: 15-20 minute sessions most days
- Intermediate students: 30-45 minutes most days
- Advanced students: At least 1-2 hours practice every day.
Practice should involve playing thoughtfully and paying attention to correct technique, rhythm, finger numbers and notes. Suggested practice strategies are often noted in student books to help guide parents through what is needed for the week. Attending lessons and observing is the best way to support correct practice at home.
How much do lessons cost?
Full pricing details and studio policy is available here for viewing.
Lessons are charged by the term for enrolled students. Casual lessons are available by request, subject to availability.