And We’re Back… Sort Of, Or… What I Learned On My Summer Vacation

I learned, virtual piano lessons are better than no piano lessons.

I also learned that I really like the model that I created for piano lessons 26 years ago. I have tweaked the format here and there, but I do believe that it remains an entertaining, efficient, and effective way to teach piano. Kids love to be around other kids. They are inspired by each other’s accomplishments. There is an opportunity to teach music in more depth including theory, history, and general appreciation. This will translate into lifelong learning. 

While I would love to get back to that model for everyone, I have decided to offer two options for lessons:

  1. In-Person Lessons: Small groups of up to four students during an hour in my home. I will work together with parents to create the groups and follow guidelines (masks, etc.) to keep students as safe as possible.
  2. Virtual Lessons: Individual lessons over FaceTime or Zoom. I will try to include a deeper knowledge of music as we move through the lesson. 

Feel free to give me a call or email with interest or questions. 

But most of all, what I re-learned over my summer vacation, was that, especially during uncertain times, music can bring joy and comfort to your family and to your home. If you have provided your child with piano lessons and they enjoyed it, continue to encourage them to play. If you can continue lessons, great. If that is not possible right now, be sure they keep playing. Have them play old favorites and try to read new music. You will all be glad you did.

Because… Music lasts a lifetime. 

Virtual Piano Lessons?

In the last few weeks, we have been exploring virtually everything, virtually!!!  While I am not intimidated by technology, I am not an expert, so getting up to speed on different platforms and devices has provided me with the opportunity to learn something new.  In other words, “Yikes.”  I have now added Virtual Piano Lessons to my resume. There are challenges to this which include: camera positioning, sound delays, extra copies of music available to me, and my favorite… the need to say, “your other right hand.”

When teaching, I have taken for granted some of the everyday givens like being able to point to the music and ask, “What is this note right here?”  I have been forced to explain terminology and concepts unnecessary when teaching in person. It is sometimes best to introduce concepts on a “need to know” basis, but with this virtual platform, they “need to know” now. Happily, we are figuring it out and the students are progressing.

Parents are busy trying to manage their own work as well as their child’s work. Fewer programmed activities means parents often feel responsible for keeping their kids busy. There was a time when kids were expected to entertain themselves. As a child, being bored was an everyday occurrence. You had to get un-bored or your parents would give you some extra chores. Very few kids were starting lawn mowing businesses and amassing a fortune. Most of us were collecting acorns, climbing onto our roofs thereby seizing the high ground that would give us an advantage in the massive acorn war that would commence unless there was a cease-fire because it was time for dinner.

For me, there were other days when I got un-bored by playing the piano. At some point, piano lessons became less of a struggle and more of an outlet, a joy, a way to be alone and not feel lonely. Music allows you to be a part of a community but can also get you through times when you are forced to entertain yourself.

If you have not been able to figure out how to fit virtual lessons into your child’s week, then I would encourage you to ask your child to keep playing: review songs, play old favorites, pick up a new song and try reading the music. Fill your homes with music. You might be surprised at how they experiment and explore the piano. If you know how to play, by all means, take a few minutes out of your day and try a new song or play your old favorites. Weekly lessons keep you going. They give you something new to practice and direction, but if you can’t do that right now, don’t throw out your acorns just because it is time for dinner. Keep your collection safe and check on it. Add a few new ones and cherish the ones that are special.

Playing an instrument and singing are gifts that can stay with you forever. Sing together as a family. Ask grandparents to share some old favorites. Demonstrate for your children that music spans generations. Make sure that they understand that…

… Music lasts a lifetime.