Saturday, May 9, 2015

Piano Lessons During Summertime

Summer Lessons are a great way to keep up the skills for playing the piano, reading new music and polishing the performance of old pieces that you want to keep in your repertoire.  It is a more relaxed time without the pressures from a busy school term.  Lesson times are flexible to work around vacations.  It is also an excellent time for beginning piano lessons.  I encourage everyone to take advantage of this more relaxed time to enjoy music lessons.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Winter is Here

January ushered in winter weather with all its changes: short dark days,gray skies and rain, chilly winds and more than enough reasons to want to stay inside and find indoor activities.  What a great time of year to spend at the piano!  Most middle and high school students find themselves stressed with the pressures of excelling in their school studies and various school activities.  The piano practice is often (maybe usually?) left to the bottom of their list of "things to do."  While some may want to participate in testing and performance activities, some may not really want to but are required to by their teacher, others simply do not want to do those events.

I have found an increasing number of students  simply feel the overwhelming pressure of what is required of them at odds with their pleasure in learning to play piano well and to enjoy learning new music. They seem to excel more when not having to spend the entire year trying to prepare for a day of testing and performance before a judge.  Therefore, I find the students do much better at learning a broad range of literature when that testing stress is removed.  Progress "testing" occurs in the studio and the student is usually not even aware of the process.  

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Wishing Everyone a Wonderful Christmas Holiday and Happy New Year

December - January is always a busy time of year with the various holidays affording a break from the routines of school and work and other normal activities during the week.

We usually take break from lessons during the time of public schools break.  I hope everyone has a wonderful time and will feel refreshed when returning in the new year.

For those traveling out of town please be careful and return home safely.  May your holiday be filled with all you wish it to be.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Studio Policies, Expectations

I teach Beginner - Advanced levels in piano performance, music theory, ear-training, and music history and literature.  Lessons are based on a Classical background supplemented with contemporary music; each student's lessons are planned to meet the individual's particular needs.  Learning to read music is basic.

Younger students should be able to count to ten and recognize numerals and ABC's.  Adult students are welcome and encouraged to reap the many benefits they may receive from learning to play and enjoy the piano.  Occasionally exceptions may be made.

A piano in the student's home is required to progress favorably.    Electronic keyboard or digital piano with full-size weighted keys and standard range (88 keys) may be acceptable.  Toy pianos  are not satisfactory substitutes since they are not standard piano keyboard size, both touch and sound are different and will frustration the student and teacher.

A commitment to regularly practice is required in order to progress.  No one should expect to learn to play the piano with only minimal time and effort devoted to the instrument.  Many parents want their children "exposed to" piano but, due to heavy schedules in other activities, they have no time to practice.  This soon results in the students becoming bored and frustrated due to their lack of progress and understanding.  Practice time varies with age and level.

Lessons are scheduled to meet requirements of the individual, usually thirty, forty or sixty minutes weekly.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Piano Lessons at McNair Piano Studio

To inquire about piano lessons please contact me via email at (See link in right hand column.)

McNair Music Studio is in my home.  My primary goal is to guide students toward their individual potential and pleasure in playing the piano musically.  Lessons include learning to read music, music theory and history, proper technique and memorizing skills.  

Above all, music lessons should be a pleasant experience that will result in a lasting love for the piano and its music.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Summer Lessons to Maintain Skills While Having Fun

Here we are in the first week of summer break from the rush of events which occurred during spring.  Looking back, what we covered during the past school year always fills me with awe and satisfaction.  So many things were successfully accomplished.  The progress made by students of all ages reinforces the reason I feel compelled to share my knowledge with those who want to learn.

Yet, at the end of the school year, students  and teachers are eager to relax, break from rigid routines and have some fun.  Many students are able to take special trips or participate in camps, sports, and other things which are offered.   Unfortunately, skills in music reading, technique, memorization and performance usually suffer a setback if the student is allowed to take a long break from lessons.  Those who take the full summer away from music lessons (almost) always  require  several weeks of remedial recovery of skills before seeing progress beyond where they were in May. 

Summertime lessons are about having fun at the piano, maintaining and improving skills, and exploring new music related ideas.  Most students will find a great deal of satisfaction from continuing music study throughout summer break with flexible scheduling around vacation times.   While all of us - teachers, students and parents - enjoy a break from fast-paced schedules, the backlash of progress can easily be avoided with flexible scheduling and continued lessons.      

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Private and Group Piano Lessons, Great Summer Activities

Did you ever wonder what to do during the summer when children are on school break?  After the first few days many are bored and missing their friends and group activities.  Working parents have mixed feelings about having to be at work and missing quality time with their children. 

A great solution is enrollment in piano lessons.  Lesson times are always flexible to allow times for family vacations.   Students of all ages find both private and group lessons are pleasant fun filled summertime activities.  I have found that those who take lessons throughout the year usually maintain greater interest and show more progress in learning new skills and performance. 

This is due to several factors.  Learning to play a piano really is a complex learning task.  It requires development and consistent use of technical skills which only improve with proper training.  Reading music and understanding how to perform it involves concentrated thinking as well as fine hand/eye/foot coordination, muscle control, listening skills, and self-discipline.
Practice time is often a lonely time for the younger child.  Group lessons help to inspire self-confidence and encouragement to work at learning and improving.  These lessons are also a time to learn from other students and enjoy the group and shared activities.   The absence of school pressures and homework leaves the students with minds more rested and receptive to learning their music and finding great satisfaction in it.

Pre-school and kindergarten children get a headstart in preparatory lessons during summertime.  It also is a preparation for settling down and learning in school.  In this program children are not required to have their own piano until they actually begin the Level One lessons, so this is a good way to see if the child is ready.