Piano Practice Tips

Student Practice Tips

  • Set realistic goals
  • Practice in short exposures. DAILY practice in 10-15 minute increments is better than one monster practice, once a week.
  • Determine the best time of day that works for you to practice daily.
  • Record yourself!
  • Listen to recordings of your pieces with the sheet music in front of you
  • Practice what you don’t know first
  • Use a metronome
  • NO distractions! (turn off cell phones, TVs, anything that might disrupt concentration)

Helpful Hints for Parents:

  • Be a cheerleader! Practicing is a lonely occupation and younger children thrive on company. Take an active interest by listening and encouraging.
  • Encourage in house performances. Have a sing along with the family, or when the grandparents come over.
  • Let your child see you practice something you want to get better at.
  • Let your child “decorate” the piano to watch them practice (ex: stuffed animals that watch them perform)
  • Let your child “dress up” for practice (Like put a tiara or a cape on when it’s time for practice
  • Where you keep the piano is important – try to have it in a room where the child feels comfortable and not in a place where, for example, the family meet only for formal occasions. Sending your child alone into the dining room, for example, is a form of banishment and with some children, might seem like a punishment.

Studio Etiquette

  • Come to lessons with clean hands. If your hands need washing, please wash them before you sit at the piano.
  • If you have a severe cold or if you’re running a fever, please don’t come to lessons. The keyboard is a haven for bacteria and viruses.
  • Please make sure to bring your piano books to each and every lesson.
  • If you have any questions during your lesson, please ask! I love to answer questions!  If you have questions during the week, email or text me!

Most Important – Have Fun Making Music!

 

Vocal FAQ’s

  • What do you focus on during lessons? Each student has different needs, and lessons are tailored to each individual singer. However, I won’t let you get away without working on proper vocal technique, musicality, and interpretation. We’ll also work together on communicating emotion to your audience. You’ll learn to sing without injury. You’ll learn great phrasing, tone, resonance, and natural vibrato. We will work on safely increasing your range and your strength. You’ll develop both your chest and head voice. We’ll also conquer your break.
  • What should I bring to our first meeting? Bring sheet music for a song you are comfortable with and that you feel is good for your voice. (This is not an audition! I just need to hear what you sound like.) Also bring a folder or 3 ring binder, and something to record with (digital recorder, phone). All lessons should be recorded. Singers need to hear what they sound like; recordings also refresh your memory once you are home and working on your own. In addition, before our first session, take some time to think about what your goals are and what you want to accomplish.
  • Is it possible for me to increase my range? In most cases, yes. While every voice has natural limitations, most singers do not use their entire range. I haven’t met a singer yet that I couldn’t help discover new notes.
  • I have no experience at all! Can you help me? Yes! While we can all sing to some degree, to sing with skill is a learned craft. You are not expected to know how to sing when you walk into a lesson…that’s what I’m here for!
  • I have no aspirations to be a professional. Would I be wasting my time with lessons? Never. Most singing students don’t want to be the next Celine Dion. They sing simply because they love to. It’s their hobby and perhaps their passion. Whether or not you want to go “big time,” taking lessons can greatly increase your enjoyment of singing because it makes singing easier. You’ll also sound better!
  • I have a child who wants to sing. Would lessons be appropriate? The short answer is yes of course! My approach to teaching a child is different than young adults and older. I do not use the same vocal techniques for increasing range and projection. We’ll focus on general musicianship, matching pitches, and singing with musicality using age appropriate liturature.
  • Why do you teach? I teach because I LOVE to!

Vocal Tips

Do Not:

  • Smoke
  • Use illegal drugs
  • Drink alcohol the day of a performance
  • Be a cheerleader or shout or scream at sporting (or similar) events
  • Put yourself in a consistently smoky environment
  • Raise your voice to be heard in noisy places like bars
  • Cough frequently
  • Clear your throat frequently
  • Sing if it hurts to swallow
  • Try to sing over a cold or laryngitis
  • Abuse your speaking voice; it is an extension of your singing voice

Do:

  • Record yourself singing  your pieces.
  • Speak at your own, natural pitch
  • Support your speaking, as well as your singing voice
  • Get plenty of rest
  • Drink lots of water
  • Avoid caffeine; it dries your cords
  • If undergoing surgery, insist that the intubation be performed by someone well acquainted with the risk to the vocal folds