What happens in a private music lesson?

BEGINNER

The student will learn foundational musicianship and expressive, confident performance. Concepts such as music notation reading, a healthy posture and hand position, a knowledge of music theory (including key, tonality, pitch, rhythms, terms), listening skills (both the theoretical elements and the artistry of music), memorization and performance skills are experienced and explained with the support of pedagogically-sound publications. The majority of the lesson is spent working at the piano and an assignment sheet is written every week. 

MIDDLE YEARS

The student further develops musicianship skills (theory, technique, sight-reading), while any weak spots in the student’s background are addressed. Specific lesson plans are built around the student’s interests and goals. The student is encouraged to prepare for conservatory examinations, but it is not required.  

ADVANCED

As students achieve a higher standard of musicianship and performance abilities, they are encouraged to become self-motivated and intuitive musicians. Students study music from all historical time periods and typically prepare for conservatory examinations and recitals. 

What will my child learn?

BEGINNER

A beginning student without prior musical experience can expect to play simple, recognizable tunes within the first weeks of lessons. In the first year, they will learn how to sit at the piano, maintain a healthy hand position, learn the notes of the piano, read simple rhythms and basic notation, and will experience shared music making through duet-playing.

MIDDLE YEARS

Students in the middle-years will likely already have a working knowledge of notation (notes, rhythms, chords, articulation and dynamic markings, etc). Any deficiencies in areas such as theory, technique and ear training will be focused on, while the student is continually challenged with new pieces to play. Based on the student’s interests, a well-rounded weekly assignment will feature pieces at various levels of difficulty, providing review, sight-reading and challenge pieces. 

ADVANCED

Advanced students will learn how to work independently. As their repertoire increases in difficulty, they will work through the stages and processes necessary to learn larger pieces. Lessons will be focused on only one or two elements of a much larger assignment and the student will be responsible for working independently. Students will be challenged to listen carefully to their tone, melodic line, and balance. Memorization skills for large pieces of repertoire are taught. 

What will my child play?

BEGINNER

Method books offer various repertoire selections from folk songs (“Land of the Silver Birch”), to simplified classical pieces (“Ode to Joy), to original compositions in popular styles (blues, jazz, swing and more) Supplemental material includes Christmas music, Disney, popular music, hymns, duet playing and more.

MIDDLE YEARS

The middle-years student has many repertoire options. Baroque, Classical, Romantic, Twentieth-Century time periods offer everything from minuets by Bach, sonatinas by Mozart, and waltzes by Schubert, to delightful character pieces like “Clowns” by Kabalevsky or “Monkeys in the Trees” by Berlin. Always, students are encouraged to supplement their studies with arrangements of music from movies, games or their favourite artist. 

ADVANCED

Advanced students are well-equipped to take on hallmarks of classical music such as preludes and fugues by Bach, sonatas by Mozart, Haydn or Beethoven, nocturnes and waltzes by Chopin, impressionist pieces like Clair de lune” by Debussy. Popular styles offer many options such as “The Maple Leaf Rag” by Joplin, “The Heart Asks Pleasure First,” by Michael Nyman, or arrangements of Broadway, movie or TV themes by Phillip Keveren, Mark Hayes and many, many others. 

What opportunities will my child have to perform?

BEGINNER

Studio recitals are a great way to introduce the beginning student to performance. The atmosphere is friendly and encouraging and the student is able to hear more advanced students perform. 

MIDDLE YEARS / ADVANCED

In addition to studio recitals, the middle-years and advanced student may perform in local competitions like the Kiwanis Music Festival, Ontario Registered Music Teachers’ Association (ORMTA) events such as Canada Music Week Recital, First Class Honours Recital, and masterclasses with other teachers, and Kanata Music Club. Examinations are also important opportunities to develop performance skills. 

How much time should my child plan to spend practicing?

BEGINNER

Parents should plan to spend 30 minutes a day, five to six times a week assisting a child with their practice assignment. 

MIDDLE YEARS

Students should plan for 45 minutes of practicing, five to six times a week. 

ADVANCED

More is better! Depending on the student, their school workload, and their goals for piano lessons, the student should plan for 10 hours of practicing a week. 

© Copyright 2020, Amy Boyes, 144 Moresby Drive, Kanata ON, K2M 2E4