1. How much do lessons cost? What are your payment policies?
Please contact me for information about lesson fees and complete policies. My rates are reasonable and comparable to the fees of many local music schools and teachers. Lessons are offered on a weekly basis with payment for one month of lessons due at the first lesson of each month. You are welcome to schedule a single 30 min. initial lesson with me of $25 – without having to commit to continuing afterwards. Please note: lesson costs do not include the fees for books or other necessary materials.
2. Do you teach in home lessons?
I do not. I teach from a studio and at Toronto School for Strings and Piano in downtown Toronto. My studio address is St. Andrew’s Church at 73 Simcoe Street. For more information about Toronto School for Strings and Piano, please contact them directly.
3. How often and how long are private lessons?
Lessons run once a week with lengths from 30 minutes, 45 minutes, 60 minutes, 90 minutes and 180 minutes. The length of lessons is subject to availability and student ability. Many beginners will start with 45 minute lessons and increase from there during the course of their study. Students are not required to enroll through the summer months from July to August.
4. Do you provide makeup lessons?
Yes. I do my best to provide these.
5. Do you teach private lessons, group lessons or both?
I teach private one-on-one lessons. However, when I have a group of students who are around the same age or level, I will gather them for occasional group lessons in addition to their private lessons. The aim of the group lessons is to support what students are learning individually in their own lessons.
6. Do you encourage parents to observe lessons or participate in practice sessions?
Yes, I do. I encourage parents to be there during the lessons so that they know how to follow through with the practicing at home and know what is going on. That being said, I am flexible: I understand that sometimes parents are quite busy and may want to drop their child off for lessons to do other tasks, or perhaps their child will actually be more comfortable and less distracted with the parent not there in the lesson. There is a waiting room or a cafe near each of the studios that I teach at where parents are welcome to sit and relax while waiting for their child to finish their lesson. I always write in a communication notebook what I expect the student to practice for the week. Any messages I want to convey to parents will be written in that book as well and I am regularly in touch via email. In general, I think it is good to keep in mind that active parents will speed up the learning of a young student.
7. My child has a younger sibling. Is it OK if they sit in on the lessons too?
I’d be delighted if they joined! Exposure to music is absolutely critical for young children. What better way to get exposure than to sit in on an elder sibling’s lesson? Keep in mind however, that I am not a babysitting service; I do require that a parent be present with the younger child as my attention will be on the older child taking the lesson. I have taught young children for years and am unfazed by any noise or distractions from them and usually, older siblings are used to it too.
8. How many students do you teach, and at what age, levels or types?
Between the three studios that I teach at, I have close to 50 piano students. I teach all ages: children, teenagers, adults and mature adults. I teach at all levels: beginners through advanced. I have taught students with different learning styles as well as students with autism, attention deficit disorders, cerebral palsy and dyslexia. I believe that anybody can learn to play the piano. A musical background is not necessary; I teach those who are taking up piano again as well as total beginners. I ask that students come with a willingness to learn and a positive attitude.
9. At what age is my child ready for private piano lessons?
This depends on the child: The youngest piano student I’ve started with was three years old. However, I have also suggested some students wait until 6 or 7 years old to have their first piano lesson. To be ready to take piano lessons, a child needs to have reached a basic level of concentration and fine motor skills that will sustain them through their first lessons. Most children will acquire these skills quite well on their own with time. While some children develop these skills quite quickly, some take longer to blossom than others. It is important not to rush kids into lessons and ensure that they have a positive introduction to learning the piano.
If you are unsure of whether your child is ready to take private piano lessons, schedule a lesson with me. We will discuss it together and observe how your child interacts in the lesson.
10. What styles of music might I learn from you?
I teach classical, pop, rock, movie, videogame, and world music among many other styles. I’m completely open to different styles and love it when students bring me suggestions for songs they’d like to play.
11. Do you include the study of theory in the yearly plan?
Absolutely – Yes. I incorporate it directly into the piano lessons and do not treat it as a separate discipline.
12. What types of short- and long-term goals do you set for your students?
I do not set any goals for students – they are set by the students themselves. I never force goals on anyone; my job is to encourage and suggest possible goals. The ultimate decision of whether we aim for these goals is up to the student. Whatever students decide to do, I will be honest with them about the upcoming challenges, plan a course of action, and do my utmost to support and encourage them towards that goal. Throughout the years, I’ve had students come to me with various kinds of goals: Students who aim to learn a particular piece, students who aim to complete a practice challenge, students who aim to pass an exam, students who aim to improve their sight reading skills, students who aim to get dexterity in their fingers…whatever the goal, I am there to help students reach for them.
13. Do you prepare students for festivals or Royal Conservatory of Music Examinations?
Yes. I do prepare students for festivals and RCM practical exams. Something to keep in mind is that preparing for an RCM exam can be a long process, sometimes taking years to be ready to play for one exam. My goal is to set students up for success; I only send a student to an exam if we both feel that they are completely ready and will do well. If you are considering taking an exam and would like to prepare for it with me, do contact me. We can discuss your goals and do an assessment of where you are in the process.
14. What method do you teach from?
The short answer is: A plethora of methods! I tailor my teaching approaches to each student. For the long answer, please read my teaching philosophy page.
15. What other opportunities are available?
Performance opportunities in studio classes, class recitals and festivals. Ensemble opportunities in which students will play piano duets and trios. Composition, scales and theory workshops. Students are recommended to participate but are also given the option to decline as well.