When I start a new pupil, whether they have requested piano or keyboard lessons, I always talk to them about this choice. Often it’s something they haven’t even thought about. Sometimes it’s a parent who decides and they have a fixed idea about what they want, which is fine. But it’s always good to ask the question… Continue reading
When I taught in a primary school, I received regular advertising from companies selling ‘motivational’ stickers in many shapes and sizes, together with personal progress cards and wall charts. When I became a private music teacher I continued to use them with younger pupils. These self-adhesive little bits of nothing contain a magic of their own…
Shiny stars, “Well Done” medals, “Good Effort” awards, “I’m a Star” badges – they all work wonders! These days as a humble piano teacher I’ve reduced the wealth of my stock down to the bare minimum of coloured and gold stars. Do well in your lesson – you’ll get a coloured star. If you’ve tried really hard I might even let you choose which colour. Continue reading
This is a nice easy one – not many different notes, and all on the white keys! Enjoy…
Do you teach a musical instrument? Try this inexpensive and easy-to-make magnetic learning resource to teach note names and positions to your pupils!
Like all the best ideas, this one is pinched from someone else. My friend Sandie (herself a piano teacher) showed me a similar magnetic board she bought some years ago with movable note heads. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find one anywhere – so I decided to make one. It’s quick and easy, and all the materials are really inexpensive. Give it a try! Continue reading
Looking for a sure-fire method to boost your keyboard practice? No problem! Read on…
Along with teaching piano, I have several pupils learning to play keyboard. By ‘keyboard’ I mean electronic or ‘chord’ keyboard: the type where you play a melody in the right hand, chord shapes in the left and the keyboard takes care of the rest with drums, accompaniment parts, multiple instrument voices, extra harmonies, etc. Most of my pupils use Yamaha keyboards such as the PSR-E343 which I strongly recommend for beginners on a budget. Continue reading
About two and a half years ago I left behind my career as a primary school teacher and set out to carve a new business teaching piano and keyboard. Now I have over 40 regular weekly pupils. With teaching, lesson preparation, blog & video posts and the development of an online business (more soon!) I am once again in ‘full-time’ work – and more!
A few years ago my son was in a similar position, starting out as a music teacher. A wealthy businessman friend of ours gave him this advice: “Early to bed, early to rise, practice like hell and ADVERTISE!” Perhaps you’re teaching music privately like me, or perhaps you’re just thinking about it? I’m certainly no business expert or guru, but I’m pleased with my progress so far, so I’m sharing my advertising methods in case they can help you on your way… Continue reading
If you’re still learning the names of the notes on your piano, here’s a printable guide I made for you. Many thanks to my good friend Sandie Barker who gave me the idea. The note names are clear and you also have the treble clef and bass clef notes to help you:
piano key overlays
Simply download the file here, print out onto paper or card and trim the two sections as shown. They will fit nicely behind the keys of most pianos and full-size keyboards. Put them in the centre of your piano and make sure you line up the pattern of black keys correctly, as shown in the picture.
I think these are a much better alternative to putting stickers on the keys of your beloved instrument. I would strongly recommend that you don’t put stickers on the keys of your piano or keyboard, even if the instructions say ‘easy to remove’ or ‘won’t leave marks’. I have seen keys ruined by them! These overlays can be removed and replaced whenever you need them.
One word of advice – use these key guides only for as long as you need them. Get to know your notes and then remove them when you can!
“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?