Piano Lessons FAQ

I’m an adult who’s never taken music lessons. Can I still learn piano?

Absolutely!  It’s never too late to learn.  I’ve taught adults from ages 18 through 79, many of whom never had piano lessons or music classes of any kind.  These students, as with any age or experience level, always improved on the instrument with regular practice.  They acquired new skills including technique, rhythm, sight reading, and playing by ear.  

Also, I love teaching adults – they’re my speciality! In Boise 2011, my first year as a piano teacher, I taught only adult students and have since maintained a large adult demographic in my studio. I‘ve helped many reach their piano goals and I can certainly help you reach yours.

Please don’t let your age, current ability, or past experience dissuade you from learning piano. With correct information and consistent effort you willdevelop a solid foundation of musicianship and playing skills resulting in confidence at the piano!

I’ve been taking traditional piano lessons and now wants to try a different approach. Can you help with that?

Certainly.  Along with teaching adults and teens, using an alternative approach to piano is my other speciality as a teacher.  As a kid I quit traditional approach piano lessons after a couple years and played by ear until age 22 so I know from experience there’s more than one way to learn piano.  

As a music instructor I offer jazz and pop as alternative approaches to learning piano. Rather than depending on musical notation, each of these schools teaches imitating by ear and practical music theory as the primary directions for playing. The jazz approach focuses on comping and improvisation while pop piano emphasizes listening, arranging, and comping.

Often students find both their passion and “wheelhouse” when trying one of these approaches.  Though often experienced as being more challenging than a performance piano course, these approaches are also rewarding in ways that reading music cannot tap into.  Please see the “Piano Lessons” subpage for more information on these fun types of piano education!

I want to make sure I’m learning proper technique and fundamentals – do you emphasize this in lessons?

Yes, every student of mine works weekly on technique.  The sound any instrument produces directly reflects a player’s technique, or lack thereof, and piano is no different.  The particular features of piano technique necessary to all styles, including classical, jazz, and pop, are shape of the hand, contact point of the finger with the key, position and state of the body, and learned physical mechanisms for articulation and power.  As a result all my students practice these and are reminded of them constantly!  

Potential students also ask me if they’ll learn “a scale, chord, or an arpeggio.”  Yes, all my traditional approach and jazz approach students practice these fundamentals daily.  Scales, chords, progressions, voicings, and arpeggios are the key ingredients of Western music so knowing them intimately is essential.  Pop and composition students do not necessarily practice these fundamentals regularly, rather they attain them through the transcription process itself which is hearing, writing, and playing music.

How early should I start my kids with piano lessons?

This is one of the most common questions I get.  As early as pre-school age could work with the right teacher and a parent willing to be the at-home teacher and practice partner.  However for this age parents often instead choose to enroll their children in group lessons as a primer for private one-on-one lessons.  A group setting has the benefits of being in a class with others, a slower pace, the opportunity to both sing and play on other instruments, and a chance to develop some rudimentary technique and sight reading skills.

In my own studio I generally start lessons with people no earlier than age 7. There are certainly instructors in Boise, ID who are willing to teach kindergarten and younger, and even specialize in this.  If you’d like your child to start this early I’ll happily refer you to those teachers.  My area of teaching expertise is elementary age kids, teens, and adults.

Do you teach beginning and advanced students?

Yes, I’m comfortable teaching any level of classical piano, playing by ear, or composition.  I teach jazz students up through a late intermediate level before sending them to someone else.  Also, some students working on an advanced song or challenging repertoire like to have just a few lessons to work out difficulties they’re having and if my schedule permits I’m happy to do that!