Q. What do I need for online lessons?

A. A webcam, ideally a laptop, pointed at your hands/keyboard. Your computer mic should suffice, but a relatively cheap USB mic may enhance. I use Skype, Zoom, FaceTime, Teams etc.

Q. Do you teach absolute beginners?

A. Yes.

Q. Will I need to learn how to read music?

A. Yes – I will teach you.

Q. What about scales and arpeggios?

A. In America, teachers advertise “No theory, no scales!” Nuts! These will help you access music more quickly and there is no cheap fix – so I encourage my pupils to do what they can find time for in this regard.

Q. Am I too old to learn to play the piano?

A. The oldest pupil I have started from scratch began at 72 – she passed away some 15 years later a very good pianist!

Q. Will I need a piano?

A. You will certainly need access to a piano – both for practice and for your online lessons.

Q. I only have an electronic keyboard – will that do?

A. Yes – provided it is touch sensitive (ie plays loudly or softly according to how hard you depress the key) and it should have a sustaining pedal. Ideally a full 88-note keyboard too.

Q. Can you help and advise with buying a piano (or keyboard)?

A. Definitely – do NOT buy the first thing you set eyes on. Get advice!

Q. How long will it take to learn piano – for example, to play The Moonlight Sonata?

A. How well do you want to play it?!! I cannot emphasise enough that all of us musicians are constantly learning and trying to improve. It is an ongoing process and the secret is simply to enjoy that! But to answer the question – I have had pupils play Beethoven’s Fur Elise and the Moonlight after one or two years – Rach 3 is going to take a little longer!

Q. How often will I need a lesson?

A. Most adult pupils do well with a lesson every 3-4 weeks. Good teaching has to do with making independent musicians of your students, so I shall be teaching you how to make improvements for yourself. Some opt for more frequent lessons and that, of course, is fine.

Q. Do you teach all kinds of music as well as classical?

A. Yes, I think amateur musicians should derive much enjoyment from playing a variety of different styles. NB I am a classical pianist and that will always be in the mix. Even many of the very best jazz musicians have received a classical training. I do not teach jazz improvisation though.

Q. Do you put people in for exams?

A. That very much depends on the pupil. Some work better with a goal/target, others wish to simply play for enjoyment without pressure and, for such, it is a form of relaxation and can be stress-relieving. I have many students who have Grade 8 ABRSM Distinctions and have then succeeded in gaining performing and teaching diplomas – so for me, it is a matter of being all things to all men!

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