Q. Describe the most common types of jobs you do for your clients.
A. I teach everything with a piano keyboard. Organ, piano, keyboard, synthesizer, etc. I have had many years experience teaching ear training, theory, improvisation, how to play with a band, how to perform for money. I teach all ages of students ages 4 and up. Mainly, I do private one on one piano lessons. However, I have taught in group situations before and am certified in Kindermusik. I have a Master's degree in Performance, Pedagogy and Education. Since 1985, I have taught many students with handicaps and other conditions. I always try to make each student feel successful in my studio.
Q. What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A. When choosing a music teacher- be sure to find out about the educational background of the instructor. Find out what organizations they are involved in and find out if they are music teachers full time. Also, it is good to find a music teacher who performs.If they perform, they are still doing what they are teaching. Be sure the instructor is interested in finding out about what you want from the music lessons. Some instructors will only teach in a specific style. If you are interested in pop, jazz, blues etc. and take lessons from a Classical instructor-you may not be happy with the lessons. Always make sure you ask many questions so that you receive what you want.
Q. If you were a customer, what do you wish you knew about your trade? Any inside secrets to share?
A. In music, there are many ways to do the same thing. One teacher may only be willing to teach a specific way. As an instructor, you need to be open minded to other possibilities. There is not ONE WAY to do everything.There are many ways! Also, when you choose an instructor, be sure that YOU know what it is you want from the lessons before you make your call. The clearer you can be, the better choices you can make. Another important thing about music lessons is that many people who start lessons will think it is OK to buy a cheap instrument just to "try it out". Not a good idea. When you play an instrument-if it is not a good quality-right from the start-you will not enjoy it. It is always better to invest in a quality instrument.
Q. What questions should a consumer ask to hire the right service professional?
A. Location.What instruments they teach.Certification and qualifications, Degrees, past work history &
do they perform? What ages and abilities do they teach? What are the hours they teach?What do they expect from the student as far as practice time, recitals & other events? Have they ever had any student go into music as a career? What do they have at their studio? What do they do to make the lessons fun and interesting? How do they address any student questions during the practice week? Also ask them what age group they work best with.How long are the lessons? Price per lesson. What do they do about missed lessons? Always ask to see their Policy Statement.
Q. What important information should buyers have thought through before seeking you out?
A. Anyone who is considering to start taking music lessons needs to be sure that they have the time to practice. Lessons alone will not make you a musical. You need to devote daily practice time to your instrument. For the very young students, parents also need to make time to practice. Preschoolers cannot practice alone. If your child has handicaps or other issues, please notify potential teachers so that they will know how to best work with your child. Also, be sure to find an instructor with endless patience. The true key to teach with.
Q. Why does your work stand out from others who do what you do?
A. I teach Piano, Keyboard, & Music Theory. I also prepare students who are trying to get a scholarship for college. I am a Nationally Certified Piano Teacher. I adjudicate for the State of Minnesota Music Teachers Association Piano, Ensemble, Contest and Theory exams. I have a Master's Degree in Piano Performance and Pedagogy (the art of teaching Piano.) I perform for many events and have released a CD called White Christmas. I teach any age student,any level and ability. I have taught a wide range of handicapped students .I also teach many preschool and homeschool students. I have taught for over 33 years. I tailor my lessons to fit with the students goals and interests. I have had many, many students who have gone into music as a career. I try to make the lessons as fun as possible. I have digital pianos, and several music programs that students may enjoy. I also use games and incentive programs such as my Trophy programs. I offer Two formal recitals per year and many other opportunities for those who are interested.
Q. What do you like most about your job?
A. I love to teach my passion! This is the best "job" in the world! It really isn't a job at all! It is fun! I love to have all the varieties of students. No two students are exactly alike. My day changes constantly as each student comes through the door.
Q. What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A. The first thing most people ask is "how much"? before any other question! I always wish people would ask more important questions first. you will get what you pay for. If you are looking for the cheapest-you will probably get it. Look for experience, degrees, former student success', knowledge, programs offered. Also be sure they will teach you what it is you seek. The most important thing about music study is that you receive an instructor that is highly qualified and patient.
Q. What do you wish customers knew about you or your profession?
A. In my profession, the piano lesson is only a small amount of time I spend on my student each week. I spend many outside hours on lesson planning and preparations. I spend hours every day doing research on songs my students have requested. Since I do tailor my lessons individually, that requires much more planning than just being there at the lesson. Also, I spend a lot of time on recitals, piano festivals, music teacher meetings, continuing education, new music research, preparing students for testing etc. It is a large amount of work that most people do not realize happens.
Q. How did you decide to get in your line of work?
A. When I was four years old, I saw a pianist on the television. That was the day I was hooked! Unfortunately, my parents could not afford piano lessons and an instrument for me. I had to wait until I was old enough to get a job and pay my own way. By then, I was a senior in high school. I progressed rapidly due to enormous amounts of daily practice. by the fall of my senior year, I was accepted into music school.The greatest day of my life! I have been loving it ever since.
Q. Tell us about a recent job you did that you are particularly proud of.
A. I have an 9 year old student who is a beginner. His family is from Nepal. One day he came to me with the sheet music for the Nepali National Anthem and wanted to learn it. Not only did he learn how to play it- but I showed him how to use my Finale music compostion software and he made an orchestral version of the piece for his family celebration! I can tell you that is one huge accomplishment for a beginner! And, as a plus- he and his family will be able to cherish that arrangement forever!
Q. Do you do any sort of continuing education to stay up on the latest developments in your field?
A. Reasearch, research, research! Learning all social media avenues to keep up with the younger students. In today's society, students use technology more and more. We as teachers, need to recognize and adapt rather than fight. Students today are used to immediate availability. In my studio, if a student shows me a You Tube video that they want to learn-we will. Sometimes,(usually) the song is so new that there is no sheet music available for it. That means, we will sit down, listen to the song. And figure it out on our own. Students love being able to impress friends with the latest music!
Q. What are the latest developments in your field? Are there any exciting things coming in the next few years or decade that will change your line of business?
A. The latest development in my field is that teachers are finally starting to realize that they are professionals and should act accordingly. Music training is an enormous amount of work and aquiring a lifetime of musical skills is an amazing accomplishment! Teachers do not always realize how important they are. When a student trusts us with their musical future- we take on an enormous job. Teachers provide not only music instruction but also they help the student become a better person. They teach self-confidence and give the student the gift of a lifetime.
Q. Describe your most recent project, what it involved, how much it cost, and how long it took.
A. Within the last year, I have installed a student rest room which cost approximately $2500. I have also purchased a new Boston 5'10" grand piano for my studio for the unbelieveable price of $25,000! I have also purchased new music software $650 and new bookkeeping software $395. In addition to that I bought an I-phone to immediate video uploads of students, I also took several classes to continue my education and remain in the loop. Total cost for classes $2500. In all, I feel it is of the greatest importance to have quality equipment for my students! I try to add updated materials to my studio on a regular basis.
Q. If you have a complicated pricing system for your service, please give all the details here.
A. Currently, I have a special trial offer of only $80 a month for a maximum of 3 months (if paid in advance.) After that, I charge a flat rate every month that includes everything. All lessons, books, group lessons etc. That way when a student starts piano. They will always know what their bill is going to be. There are no surprise bills. The more rapidly a student progress, the more books they will need-so books can be a huge expense.With the flat rate-you do not have to pay for the books. Please see my website tuition information page for detailed information.
Q. If you were advising someone who wanted to get into your profession, what would you suggest?
A. Wow! that is a huge question and an even larger answer! Keep in mind this answer is only a minimal amount of my answer. I have had many, many, many students who have studied with me that have gone into music professionally. The most important item would be (if you are going into music school) is to be sure to pick the right school. By this, I mean you need someone not only to teach you how to play, but they need to teach you how to live on your talent. Music, as much as I love it- is easy to enjoy. The bookeeping and supporting yourself is another story. If I was able to I would teach for free. Unfortunately, I do need to pay my bills. Most colleges that teach music -do not teach how to be self sufficient. Therefore, in a nutshell -find a college that can teach you self support and how to play.
Q. What is your greatest strength?
A. My greatest strength would have to be my Unbelieveable patience and a fun spirit! I love to teach and have been doing it for over 30 years. I have the greatest job on earth!
My students know from taking lessons with me, that I try to make everything as exciting as possible. I am trained in every style of music. So that means when a student wants to learn a piece-I will be sure to teach it to them. In my years of teaching, I have come to realize that every student is different from the one before. That means they ALL need to be treated indivually.
Q. What are you currently working on improving?
A. Right now, I am becoming more tecnology savvy. I have incorporated many programs to increase the students musical adventure. One such program, is called Finale. Students write their own original compositions and we can even copywrite and print it off in sheet music form. Very cool! Also, I have learned to use and I-pad and I have a digital piano which is unbelieveable! It can do everything.I am also working on some really fun ideas with music camps, workshops, field trips etc. I have a great deal of new adventures I am currently planning. I am continuously trying to stay in the loop. And on the same page as my students!