Learning together – Why group lessons instead of  private lessons.

Over the years I have heard parents say that they prefer a private lesson for their child, rather than a group lesson. The feeling is that a private lesson is better. A private lesson can be better, especially with students who have been studying for a while and have developed specific interests and skills that they would like to learn more about. When children are young and beginning their musical journey, the group setting provides more experiences that encourage and motivate. Children love to play. Learning through play takes away the resistance. It’s just having fun.

Creating music with others inspires young children to learn more, to share more and to enjoy more. Games that involve knowledge and skill encourage the players to focus.

Singing is a way to connect what we hear with our voice, to realize the music internally and then reproduce it. It is an invaluable aspect of how we process music.

Feeling the beat, establishing the beat, building rhythms with the beat is the foundation of music. Rhythmic patterns are what gives music it’s phrasing, providing a sense of language so that we can remember and identify the music. There is so much fun to be had here, empowering the students with a sense of connection to each other as well as the music.

Learning any language requires knowing how to interpret it in it’s written form. Games based on reading, help the students to connect the written notes to the sounds and rhythms that they are hearing.

Playing the piano together also provides endless opportunities to create and arrange music. With six keyboards the music can be arranged so that different parts come together to create a whole. Being a part of a musical creation is uplifting, empowering and rewarding.

The group lessons are 1 hour in length and occur on a weekly basis. The students consistently and comprehensively learn how to understand, play and share music. Compared to weekly 30 minute private lessons, the beginner student will have learned a great deal more in the group setting during one school year.


As I teach, so do I learn

I am a professional musician and have been teaching music since 1983.

My goal is to do my very best in explaining, advising and assisting in the process of developing musical knowledge and skills at the piano for each individual student. 35 years of teaching and I continue to grow through my experiences.

Most students stay with me for ten years, beginning their lessons around age seven and finishing when they move on to university. When I look back on three generations of this I feel honoured and privileged. I have such an extraordinary career, to be immersed in the wondrous world of music, to learn as much as I teach, to continue to develop myself in every aspect directly through music and the experiences that come from it.

As a singer I continually expand my repertoire and the skills needed to arrange and present the music I want to sing with the musicians I work with. I realized many years ago that no matter how many life times I could have as a student of music, I will never know it all. The pursuit of musical knowledge is a unique and personal experience. We are guided by our interests and our abilities. No two students are alike. Over the past 35 years I have learned that my approach to each lesson must be customized.

I teach music because I know how it enriches our lives, in every way, on every level, personally and socially. I know how a deep connection with music can enhance our abilities to think, feel and express ourselves. Through countless studies it’s becoming obvious to people all over the world that music is an essential part of human health. We live in a musical world; we are inherently musical beings from the rhythm of our heartbeat to the pitch and timbre of our voices. It makes sense that we explore this aspect of ourselves.

I look forward to sharing the piano bench with you.


It may be that the most important thing I teach my students is how to practise.

Parents often ask me how long their children should be practising. The answer is, as long as they can stay focused. Practising every day yields the best results.

When children are young, six or seven years old, and just beginning their experience with music lessons my advise to help them with their practising is as follows.

  1. Encourage your child to spend time at their instrument every day. Establishing a routine creates a habit of playing.
  2. Sit with them and guide them in their practising. Whether you can play the piano or not, your company and your encouragement really helps.
  3. The beginner student is also learning the instrument itself. Take some time before looking at the pieces, to review the keyboard, find all the C’s, play and name C D E from the bottom to the top of the keyboard, and so on. This can be turned into a game and create a fun engaging mood.
  4. Sing. Use the voice as often as possible. The voice and the ear are connected. Sing note names to strengthen reading, count beats to develop rhythmic constructs, sing fingerings to secure the physical connection, sing the words, make up your own words!
  5. Repetition, repetition, repetition. Practising a small moment in the music gets the information into the head, the hands and the ears. It is also important to go slowly with the objective of getting it right, every time.
  6. Keep the practise session reasonably short and allow for some exploration and creative play. The process of learning to play the piano is incredibly complex. Combining reading skills with a physical response and applying it to an instrument that also needs to be understood, takes patience and time. ten to fifteen minutes of focused learning will go a long way.