Getting Started, Ages 8+
New families observe at least two lessons before requesting a lesson time and should continue observing until a lesson time becomes available. This allows you to evaluate the fit of my teaching style with your goals and expectations, and prepares you for getting started.
If your child has already had some experience with piano lessons, please know that the process of transferring to a new teacher is not as simple as picking up where you left off. It is important that you have an expectation of changing gears. I will need to evaluate and review things you already know and may suggest re-visiting some fundamentals with a different approach. Transferring to the Suzuki method is not just a jump into a new repertoire or technique. It is a change of philosophy and learning style, so it is important you feel it is a good fit.
When observing, please arrive about 10 minutes early just as you would to your own lesson. Get into the routine of removing your shoes, entering quietly and being ready, physically and mentally, to start. Evaluate the preparedness of students, the pace of the lesson, the way assignments are given. Can you see yourself enjoying this type of interaction with this type of music?
While you are completing the minimum lesson observation, parents with no prior Suzuki experience will complete 2 one-hour lessons. These may be one-on-one or shared with other new parents. These lessons will discuss the Suzuki philosophy, piano basics I approach differently, and working with your child at this age. As they gather more independence, it is challenging to know how to help your student practice.
During this time, you can establish a habit of daily listening and consider a routine practice time. Consistency is paramount.
Getting a Piano
You will need an acoustic piano. Often parents want to see if their child is interested before making the investment. My most successful families commit to piano lessons until middle school before asking the child if they wish to continue. This allows an informed decision at an appropriate age.
Even with weighted keys and pedals, a digital keyboard does not produce the same touch or sound as a live acoustic piano. I am happy to help you find a suitable option within your budget. You should expect to invest $3-5K in a decent, acoustic upright piano. There are rent-to-own options and good, used pianos for less out there!
Until your child is about age 13, parents attend all lessons and have a significant role in helping to establish a practice routine and understand good practicing skills. As students begin, parents first participate entirely in practice, then provide only guidance, and finally, watch the student do it independently. To get to that point, we must teach the habit and skill of practicing.
Choosing a Practice Time
Beginning at age 8, students vary in levels of independence. I would encourage you to remember your child is not yet fully responsible for their practice. Ages 3-7 require a parent leading practice. Ages 8-10 still need that parent as a guide to focus on specifics and establish the habits of good practice. Ages 11-13 may still rely on parental feedback and reminders.