Do I need to purchase a piano to begin lessons or is a keyboard enough to get started?
A keyboard is sufficient for students to begin their studies. For many parents and students commencing lessons, the purchase of a keyboard (anywhere beween $120-$500) is a more budget friendly option than an acoustic piano. Students need at least a student keyboard with 61 full size keys to begin their practice following their first lesson. For some students this instrument proves satisfactory to reach their required personal goals but for most students pursuing more serious studies (including exam preparation) an acoustic piano is required some time later. Teachers will advise parents and students when the potential of the student has developed past the keyboard and will recommend for the student to acquire an acoustic piano.
Is the piano the best instrument to start with?
There are numerous advantages for beginning music studies at the Piano/keyboard. These include:
Learning to play piano involves a strong foundation for learning other instruments because both treble clef and bass clef are used ( some instruments only use one clef).
Many notes can be played on the piano simultaneously offering an opportunity to learn harmony (chords) as well as melody and rhythm.
The piano is an easy instrument to play right away because producing sound simply requires a pressing down motion of the fingers ( some instruments require correct breath technique to be accomplished before being able to produce sound).
Unlike most other instruments the piano does not require tuning each time it is played (assuming the piano is tuned annually).
If there is a time when playing another instrument is more interesting, having the strong foundation from playing the piano will make learning the new instrument much easier
How long does each lesson need to be?
Most young beginners start with a half hour lesson. This usually provides enough time for teachers to cover what is needed and set practice goals for the following week. Younger students generally have a shorter attention span so half an hour is ample time initially for young students to be expected to concentrate and stay alert. Teachers include relevant music games and activities in order to maintain interest and concentration during this time. Most exam students are expected to have 1 hour lessons in order to allow time to cover all aspects of the syllabus.
How much does the student need to practice?
This varies depending on the age and level of the student. Generally speaking, students may be required to practice anywhere between 10 minutes a day and 3 hours a day. Like any motor skill, the more you practice, the better you become. However, our teachers emphasise the importance of quality practice and not just quantity ( number of minutes per day). Students are guided through effective practice strategies and specific goal setting for each practice session so that practice is specifically aimed at improving some aspect of the students performance from week to week. Our general practice guideline:
Young beginners: at least 10 minutes a day
Older beginners: at least 10-20 minutes a day
Exam students: Prelim at least 25mins a day
Exam students: grades 1-3: at least 40mins a day
Exam students grade 4 and above : at least 60 minutes a day
Is it compulsory for every student to prepare for exams?
No. For some students, preparing for exams is a good motivational tool and helps students to set objective goals throughout the year. For other students, particularly those learning for leisure and enjoyment, exams are not necessary for achieving their goals and objectives
What can I expect in my first lesson?
This is an opportunity to tell us about yourself (your child) and discuss your (your childs) goals and objectives. For students who have learned previously, it is also an opportunity for the Director to hear the student play and assess what level the student is playing at. Students receive a short lesson and learn something new as well as familiarise themselves with YM Piano Studio Lesson Structure. Younger students get a chance to accompany the piano with a percussion instrument. You can ask questions at any time and the whole session provides a wonderful opportunity for parents and students to get a feel of what lessons are like at YM Piano Studio.