On occasions I ask people, “What song or piece would you like to be able to play on the piano?” Whether it’s a pupil I have been teaching for a while, a brand new starter or even someone who has never had a music lesson in their life, they almost always have an answer. Most people have apparently thought about it before! But when it comes to helping them reach their goal, their answers can be quite challenging…
Sometimes it might be a well-known (possibly classical) piece that is far beyond their skill level. If so, I have check to see if there is a published simplified arrangement. Continue reading
About 10-20% of my regular lessons in a week end up being cancelled or rearranged for one reason or another. Often my pupils give me plenty of notice, but there are always those who wait until the eleventh hour…
Quite soon after becoming a piano & keyboard teacher, I discovered that when pupils cancel a lesson at the last minute, it is almost impossible fill the slot with another pupil given such short notice. This results in a loss of income for me, which left unchecked, can build up into a significant amount. Continue reading
If you ask several piano players how they learnt to play, you’re likely to get some quite different answers. Some will have received very formal (probably classical) tuition from a ‘proper’ piano teacher. Others will have been taught by a parent, relative or friend. Still others will have used a book or an online resource to teach themselves from scratch. You will also find many who (like me) have used a combination of these methods. So, how do you decide which is best for you?
Here are 6 key questions to ask yourself and some ideas to get you thinking: Continue reading
“I’d love to be able to play the piano”
“I wish I’d learnt to play when I was younger”
“It must be great just to be able to sit down and play”
“I never got round to learning the piano, but I should have”
Do any of these sound familiar to you?
I come across so many people who wish they could play, and yet so few that actually do anything about it. Have you ever wondered why you really didn’t learn to play the piano? Perhaps you’re using one or more of these regular excuses: Continue reading
On a recent coach holiday, I was surprised to find the passengers collecting to ‘tip’ the driver. I have been driven and entertained by some excellent drivers, but this chap certainly wasn’t one of them. It got me thinking – why do we tip some people and not others? For instance, I almost always tip good service in a restaurant, but I’ve never tipped the minister for a good service at church. I have been known to tip friendly and helpful taxi drivers but I can’t recall tipping the staff at my local music shop, despite the fact that their service is absolutely second to none!
Are there rules for tipping and service charges? Does it have anything to do with whether people deserve it or not? Or do we just all follow a pattern established goodness-knows-when by goodness-knows-who? It seems reasonable to me that we should tip people who go ‘above and beyond’ the job. Not just because it’s the ‘done thing’?
Does your piano (or other instrumental) teacher fall into that category? Do they arrange exam dates and payments for you outside of the hours you pay them for? Do they try to accommodate your changing needs when you decide last-minute to go on holiday or send your child on a school trip? Do they find extra sheet music, worksheets and resources for pupils when they get stuck? Do they smile when you cancel your lesson at the eleventh hour, despite the fact that they just took a hit to their income?
I hope I do some of those things, if not all. I hope your teacher does, too. And if he/she does, how about showing your appreciation from time to time? Christmas? Easter? Holiday time?
Teacher tipping – what do you think? I like the sound of it. But then I would, wouldn’t I?