Child Lessons FAQs
Does my child need an instrument to start lessons?
I am unable to offer lessons to those who don't have an instrument. The majority of progress is made at home between lessons and without access to an instruments, frustrations can build due to lack of progress and understanding. Ultimately this can lead to lessons being a waste of time and money.
I appreciate that it can be a catch-22 situation: you will not know if your child will take to the instrument, so therefore don't want to get one, just in case. But by not getting one, or having easy access to one, your child is highly likely to give up as they won't progress.
An acoustic (best option) or digital piano, or at least having easy access to one, is best for learning and progress. For more details how to where to buy or rent an acoustic piano, click here.
Violins come in various sizes. It would be best to go into your local music shop to try them out. I'm sure the specialist will help, however to make sure you get the correct size for your child, their left arm needs to be stretched out in front of them. If their hand reaches up around the scroll (end of violin) with a small bend at the elbow then that will be the correct size. You will need a case, bow, shoulder rest and music stand too. See more information about where to get violins from here.
How often should my child practise?
Practise should happen on the days that you brush your teeth - every day! It doesn't need to be for very long - it can be as short as 10 minutes (age and level dependent). This results in the best progress and satisfaction. The reality is that this isn't always possible, but as parents it's our job to ensure that our children learn that skills are achieved through routine, hard work and fun! See here for a practice guide.
Should my child have 30 minute or 45 minute lessons?
If your child is under the age of 8 or ABRSM grade 3 and below, I recommend 30 minute lessons on a weekly basis. ABRSM grade 4 and above, you will need to consider 45 minutes - this extra time gives opportunity to cover the musicianship required beyond grade 3.
Can my child take lessons every other week instead of weekly?
I don't offer 'every other week' lessons for children as best progress is made when technique is monitored and advice is given on a regular basis. It's important for children to learn that to develop a skill they need routine.
Return to Child Music Lessons
Adult Lessons FAQs
I've got a busy lifestyle - will lessons suit me?
Yes! Progress mainly happens at home, but as adults our lives can be hectic. Making sure you can set time aside for yourself to practise on a regular basis throughout the week will result in the most satisfying progress. If you know that you can't do this on a regular basis, and the expectations of yourself aren't set at too high a level, it is also possible.
Do you offer 30 minute lessons?
From experience, 45 minutes or an hour are the best options for adults. 30 minute lessons have not proved to be as effective.
Can I take lessons every other week instead of weekly?
I don't offer 'every other week' lessons as best progress is made when technique is monitored and advice is given on a regular basis. The other aspect is that I will be unable to fill the time slot on weeks you are not here. I do, however, take note of anyone requesting alternate weeks, so if I can match someone to alternate with you then it may be a possibility, but not a guarantee. My regular studio policy will not apply - there is a separate studio policy for this (please contact me for further details).
Return to Adult Music Lessons
What is Wunderkeys Primer?
WunderKeys Primer is an exciting series of method books especially designed for children aged 5+.
Lessons use the WunderKeys method books, in a one-to-one, 30 minute lesson setting.
There is a whole host of wonderful games and supporting material for the Primer collection - learning the piano has never been so much fun!
What can I expect from Wunderkeys Primer lessons?
Activities both on and off the piano bench build confidence, enjoyment and solidify musical concepts.
Fun and lovable characters to capture your child's imagination and to help explore new concepts.
Each of the 3 method books has 10 'lessons'. With supplementary games and music, each 'lesson' can take around 3 weeks, ensuring good solid foundations.
Alongside the method books are composition books to encourage imagination and creativity.
All books are available to purchase from Amazon.
Please read the Wunderkeys Parent Info Package
Return to Child Music Lessons
Piano or Keyboard?
There is quite a difference between learning piano and learning keyboard. Whilst I can offer keyboard lessons, I mostly major in piano lessons. What's the difference between piano and keyboard lessons? A simple explanation is that during piano lessons you will learn notes properly in both the left and right hand, opening up all genres of music to you with the possibility of playing to a high standard. Keyboard lessons consist of learning notes in the right hand, whilst the left hand plays 1-finger notes or simple block chords, allowing you to play simple pop music.
For those who would like to be able to play favourite pieces "in a pub", then keyboard lessons would probably be the best direction to take. But you shouldn't be under any illusion; whilst learning the keyboard is easier than the piano, you will still need to make time for yourself to practise and develop the skills!
What's the difference between a piano and a keyboard?
The most obvious answer is that a keyboard needs electricity and a piano doesn't (therefore making it an acoustic instrument). We refer to keyboards as having 'weighted keys' or 'non-weighted keys'. It's really important that this difference is understood. Casio's website explains clearly what this means.
If you are wanting to have piano lessons and would prefer to have a digital piano (these should have weighted keys as standard), that's fine. If you are looking at keyboards, please make sure you have a keyboard with weighted action. Having a keyboard with non-weighted keys will limit progress significantly, resulting in needing to get another instrument with weighted keys fairly early on into lessons. It's worth noting that playing an acoustic piano during lessons will result in slightly different playing after practising on a digital piano/weighted keyboard all week!
If you are wanting keyboard lessons, although non-weighted keyboards are fine, having a weighted keyboard is more advantageous.
Where can I buy an acoustic piano?
Pianos are easily available to buy...sites such as ebay and freecycle (yes, people give pianos away for free!) or other selling sites have them. You may be able to get quite a nice piano if you haven't seen it or played it before, but this is a risk. Any piano will need to be tuned soon after it has been relocated. Personally, I prefer to know more about the piano, be given the opportunity to play it, or be told about it by a reputable piano tuner or technician who has worked on it before and knows the owner. If you would like to browse pianos in a shop, Lichfield Piano Centre, based in Curborough nr. Lichfield has some good pianos and you can get expert advice from Ted, the owner. Do mention my name to Ted!
Violin or Viola?
Neither of these instruments are the easiest to learn - the initial few lessons will be spent making sure you are holding the instrument correctly whilst teaching you how important a good bow hold is, along with teaching you how to read notes (for beginners). It can feel like you are taking longer than you originally thought to learn, however please be assured that this is perfectly normal and after learning proper technique and skills required to play these wonderful instruments, you will be enjoying plenty of music. You will also watch professional string players very differently...how do they make it look so easy?!
The violin is the highest sounding, and physically smallest, member of the string family. The brighter sounds and smaller body make the violin ideal for high flourishing passages. Of course, not only is the violin classical, it can be used as a fiddle for Irish jigs, Scottish reels and jazz music amongst other styles.
There is a significant chance that you have never considered taking up the viola instead of the violin. The viola is the bigger, and more mellow sounding, sister to the violin. The range of notes aren't as high as the violin, yet aren't as low as a cello. Did you know that violists read a completely different clef to everyone else? We read the alto clef (don't worry, this will all be explained during lessons!). They are physically bigger than a violin (although you can get restrung violins if you aren't able to hold a viola), which allows for a beautifully rich, deep tone. If you find the violin is too high pitched for your comfort, then it might just be that the viola is for you.
Where can I buy a violin or viola?
Violins/violas don't have to be expensive - you can get full sets starting from as low as £50, but bear in mind that the quality won't be great for long term progression. I would suggest that a budget of between £250 and £600 would get you started nicely and certainly some of the instruments at the top end of this budget could see you through to Grade 5. Many people buy violins/violas online - you can find some reputable brands (Stentor is a good beginner violin, as is Stentor II). Music shops or violin repair shops are well worth going in to find your violin/viola. I prefer to see what I'm getting beforehand! Christian Rose in Melbourne (nr. Derby) is a wonderful specialist shop. The owner is a string player and has kitted out many of my students with lovely violins at a very reasonable price. You will need to observe the opening hours. If Melbourne isn't easy for you to get to, Tim Tofts in Stone is a reputable specialist. S&J Music in Lichfield also supplies violins/violas.
If, sadly, you find that playing the violin/viola isn't for you after a good try, and so long as you have looked after it well, you can sell the instrument on for very little financial loss.
I am able to offer online practical and theory lessons to those who are unable to make face-to-face lessons, or are too far away from Lichfield to be able to attend. These are the same price as face-to-face lessons.
What do I need to set up online lessons with you?
I use Skype and Zoom to deliver online lessons - the latter being the most preferable due to the advanced features available. Please click here for help on how to use Zoom for music lessons.
You will need a stable and secure internet connection (use of the ethernet cable is best). Your camera (this can be phone, tablet or computer with a webcam) must be at a suitable angle to see your upper body and keys (pianists) and your whole upper body and violin/bow (string players). Wherever possible, ensure that you turn ON original sound in the audio settings.
What ages can take online lessons?
Ages 5+ are welcome to take online lessons. For the younger children, I do request that a parent is present at all times as a 'helper'.
Consultations / À la carte lessons
I offer one-off consultations/à la carte lessons to anyone who already has musical experience on the piano, violin or viola. £35 for a 60 minute lesson. A 50% non-refundable deposit must be made in advance. The remaining 50% is due immediately at the end of the lesson. You may rearrange your lesson at any time. Unfortunately I am unable to refund deposits, unless cancellation is by me and no alternative date is required.
I am unable to offer one-off consultations to new starters to the instrument unless purchased as a package of 2 or more (also see Vouchers FAQ).
Return to Adult Music Lessons
Vouchers are available for those wishing to buy a loved-one the gift of music lessons. £35 per 1 hour.
A minimum of 2 x 1 hour consultations are required (to be redeemed within 6 months of purchase)
Return to Adult Music Lessons