MOST FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS IN SEIBERT MUSIC STUDIO
(Please read all the answers)
Can we take lessons every other week instead of every week?
I always hear this from some parents who would like to enroll their child. At first this might seem like a good idea, but we have tried this in the past and do not recommend it (if you miss a lesson, it would be an entire month before you saw your teacher again!). It is really important that the teacher checks your progress and corrects your technique and pieces every week. Attending weekly lessons will continue the learning momentum and generate "mastering" a skill more quickly - encouraging the student to continue, rather than to be discouraged with a lack of progress. Reliability, consistency, and professionalism are expected when taking private music lessons.
Do we need a real piano at home to practice on? Would renting be alright?
Students should own and daily be practicing on (either) a real, acoustic piano (or) a digital, touch-sensitive piano with full-size keys (88-keys, same as a piano). An acoustic piano is best (especially if it is kept tuned), but often, that is simply not possible (financial & space reasons). A digital keyboard is not acceptable, but a digital piano with 88 full-size weighted keys, pedals (sustain/damper), a bench of the correct height, and the ability to change in volume upon the depression of the keys (ask about the number of "Voices" - more is better). Electronic keyboards do not come close to the living, breathing, dynamic and very individual natures of real pianos. Just as there is a huge palette of sound available to you with synthesizers, there is a huge palette of nuance, dynamic range and expression with an acoustic piano that cannot be replicated. For that reason, please consider upgrading any electronic pianos to a quality, acoustic upright or grand piano by the time the student has taken 6 months of lessons. The sound and feel of an acoustic piano is still valued in our modernized world and technologically astute ears today.
How long will it take to learn to play piano?
That varies from student to student and really depends on the individual, how much practicing they do, and their age. Playing is a physical skill so it does take repetition correctly to improve. Typically if you start piano in August or September, by December you will be able to play a recognizable, fun Christmas carol. Most students take a minimum of one year until they can fully know if the piano is meant for them.
As students advance and mature, practice requirements will increase. Be aware that practice time can also include parent/child interaction, support with flashcards, music games, worksheets, and puzzles.
Is a half-hour long enough for a private lesson for beginners?
In the beginning the half hour lesson gives the student a lot to practice at home. In a half hour they will get enough material to be able to learn well and develop proper technique. However, as they progress, at the advice of the teacher, you can go to a longer lesson time. Soon, the studio may go exclusively to 60 minute lessons. 30-minute lessons are increasingly not offered in studios nationwide. With the longer lesson, students will not feel rushed, teachers will be able to cover more material more thoroughly, there will be more opportunity for music games and activities to create more interest in the students. Note: I currently discourage a half-hour or 45 minute lesson in my music studio. An hour weekly lesson is just right for each student so I can teach them thoroughly.
Will music theory be included in the lesson?
Yes. Students learn how music is put together through music theory workbooks - correlating with their method lessons books. Students will focus on their individual goals at lessons, and can request that their teacher spends more time on music theory - to accomplish those goals.
How much practice is required every week?
The studio asks that you set aside time for music practice at least 5 days each week. For beginning students the teacher usually assigns repetitions instead of a time amount. For example, do this scale 2 times a day, this song 5 times a day, etc. Younger children find repetitions easier than a set time amount. Typically, a beginning student practices 15 - 30 minutes a day and the practicing goes much better if the parent supervises. Students 4 & 5 years old must be supervised daily as they practice... a great way is to make it "family piano practice time".
Can we start in the middle of the year?
Yes... enrollment continues throughout the year.
Why do you charge a registration fee? Do you charge a material deposit?
The registration fee is designed to hold your position and time in the studio, as well as to cover the extra paperwork and preparation upon initially beginning lessons. This fee is non-refundable. As a service to my students, the studio provides all the materials needed for your lessons. Students will be billed for any materials throughout the year on the next month's invoice.
What kind of incentive programs are in place in your studio?
Students receive a piece of candy from the candy jar at the end of each lesson (if they have had a parent sign their completed practice chart or assignment log sheet - and the student has practiced a minimum of 5 days for the recommended time that week). They also have the opportunity to collect “paws”, in which they earn points by participating in or completing certain tasks related to their music assignment. With those “paws”, they can "purchase" prizes in the studio monthly. Each prize is equivalent to certain amount of paws collected.
What activities, functions, fundraisers, or events should I expect to happen through the studio during the year?
RECITALS âï¿½ï¿½ We have two recitals in a year: Winter Recital will be held on November or at Christmas time (usually the first or second weekend in December, before Christmas) & in the Spring (April, May or June). Please let me know well in advance of any dates that will not work for you during those months. I will send calendar for each student /parent to fill-out and make sure all of us are able to attend. However, this semester our scheduled Students' First Piano Recital is scheduled on February 5, 2011.
PARTY âï¿½ï¿½ I plan on holding a party for the families in the studio sometime in the summer as the completion of a school year and the start of a new one. More information to come.
OTHER MUSICAL ACTIVITIES & PERFORMANCES âï¿½ï¿½ It is my plan to let students perform in selected retirement homes, etc. as part of their music exposure and service in the community. A way to let them share their own God-given talent to other people. I will make sure they are given opportunity to attend concerts, performances, recitals and ensembles.
Do I have to purchase all the books I use? Do you stock music for me?
The studio as a lot of music in stock for purchasing or borrowing. I will do my best to fulfill any music book requests made by the student as soon as possible. Throughout the year, students will need to purchase their lesson books, theory books, and any other method or consumable books from the teacher. The student will be charged in the next billing cycle. The student may also need to purchase additional supplementary materials and music at various times.
What if I want to learn only a specific part of music and what is your opinion on "Learn the Piano in No Time at All"?
It's really best to learn an instrument while learning music theory. It is best to learn music theory, which is usually most easily visualized on a piano, while learning to identify musical concepts by ear. It is best to learn about the composers while studying and practicing their pieces and compositions. Each will support and work with the other. Learning music is not about instant gratification. It takes hard work to become comfortable with any instrument, but the journey can be a very exciting part! The physical skills involved can take quite a while to develop to a high level. The mental understanding of music theory and the language of music is likewise a long-term undertaking. I am no fan of "Get Rich Quick Schemes". Likewise, I believe it is false and dishonest for anyone to advertise or claim that someone can really learn to play a musical instrument in a very short time. However, if you enjoy the process of hanging out with an instrument and learning how to make it sing, you'll be well rewarded at every stage of your progress. There's no better way to find out if you're well-suited to playing an instrument than beginning instruction now. What makes for successful music study is long-term, diligent practice. What makes for successful long-term practice is an abiding interest in and attraction to the instrument.
Why is having a teacher so important?
A teacher can help the student advance more efficiently, help him in graded steps, objectively comment on how to improve his playing, encourage him over walls and barriers in learning, help avoid technique errors, and more. A good teacher is money well spent. Remember the saying: two heads are better than one!
Do I, as parent, need to know anything about music? What are your expectations as to my involvement at home?
Parents do not need to have any musical education background for the student to succeed. Success depends entirely on the student's level of commitment and the family's involvement and support at home. The parents and student should set up a regular practice time to be followed each day, free of distraction. Please note, however, that piano (any musical instrument) study can be very lonely to the student... it is best if the parents observe the student's practice time as often as possible (most students will thrive on it!), but without being the "teacher". Students who are young, who have difficulty reading or show a lack of progress/devotion to following the lesson assignments must have a parent assisting them in practice every day. You, the parents, will learn along the way, too!
Parents should be sure to initial & sign the practice report or assignment log sheet each day/week before the lesson. Also, if your child struggles with you in regards to practice, let me know ASAP. I can help. Of course, not every student will love the piano, but I have experienced those blockades before as a musician and strive to help my students overcome them. Success stories abound all over the country from fellow teachers and musicians when those students refuse to give up when the practice becomes less "fun"!
Do you have a special instructions regarding hands , fingernails, jewelry, etc.?
Absolutely. To avoid damage to the piano, please remove any bulky rings, bracelets, watches, or other jewelry and ornaments that may scratch or scrape against the keys or finish. Students should wash their hands before coming to the lesson (or upon entering the studio) to reduce the spread of germs. One more thing… fingernails must be kept very short (or the teacher may take out her “special” nail clippers). âï¿½º
WHY TAKE MUSIC LESSONS WITH ME?
Taking music lessons with me is a very positive learning experience for your musically-inclined child. I am a very knowledgeable, enthusiastic teacher who will not only engage your child with fun-filled music activities but also guide him/her to the real meaning of MUSIC STUDY. I will not only develop his/her appreciation of music but more so, the outcome of physical, mental, social and emotional benefits he/she will get from it. I encourage each child to do his/her BEST, so he/she can achieve something "worthwhile" in life. I am very particular when it comes to my student's own learning style. I can apply different teaching strategy on each. DISCIPLINE is essential in all aspects of my student's music study. ~ G. Seibert
Testimonials & Reviews
(Used with Permission)
" A student is only as good as a parent is involved. "
My piano teacher teaches me things one by one. She does it slowly so I can understand. I don't like it though when she lets me do some extra stuff. But it's not that bad, I learned to play a musical instrument. I get better and better playing the piano and also get to play songs. The first piano piece I played in the piano was "When The Saints Go Marching In." However, my favorite classical piece is Beethoven's 5th Symphony. I don't have any expectations but I do want to learn to play any kind of musical instruments. In my own words, MUSIC is what you create and made it with a beautiful sound. It is my dream to play Beethoven's 5th Symphony and "Fur Elise" and the "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy" of Tchaikovsky. ~ Allen Krista M.
My music teacher is a very good pianist. I like the way she teaches me music. I get to play musical pieces and learn more someday. To be able to write my own songs is what I would like to learn in the future. My favorite piece is the "chorus" part of my aunt's favorite song. I dream of playing "blues" and pop songs during our Student Piano Recital. Music is in my dreams... ~ Angelica C.
My teacher is a good pianist. I like playing piano with her because it's FUN although sometimes she gives me a lot of work. She is cool teacher! I learned a lot of difficult musical pieces and expect to play more difficult ones in the future. Studying piano gives me more knowledge about music. I learn to concentrate. My favorite piece is "Rain Dance." The very first piece I like playing in the piano is the "Wigwam." My dream is to play the "Avatar The Last Airbender" Song and the "Transformers" during our piano recital. Music means cheerful. ~ Leila A.
Teacher G is very nice. She is a good pianist but a strict teacher. She teaches me how to study my piano pieces "part by part". Since I started my music lesson with her, I learned new exciting pieces. Some of them were really difficult and very challenging ones. It is my desire to learn on how to play more difficult pieces someday. The benefit I get from studying piano is that I'm getting better at it. So far, my favorite piano piece is the "Gumdrop Factory" by Faber & Faber. I expect to become a good pianist someday. I am very excited to play the "Moccasin Dance" in our Student Recital! Music? It is a sound that moves gracefully! ~ Craig Patrick J.
As a piano teacher, she makes the lesson fun and enjoyable. Piano does not seem like a task or a chore to do. She makes the student eager to learn more and do well. She comes up with interesting tactics to make piano easier and more fun to learn. She teaches music by going over the lesson books and occasionally playing with flashcards to get more familiar with music terms. In my opinion, she is not strict, but not very easygoing either. There are times when I did not put enough force in pressing the piano keys that she would drum/press the force in my arm and it can hurt a bit. So, I’d say she is a firm teacher and just simply want the student to practice, read the notes properly and "get the beat" down. I expect to learn how to increase the dexterity of my fingers and how to sight-read and play a music piece that I have not even played before in the future. The benefit I get from studying with her is that I now know how to play most scales on the piano and the chords which will make me able to help my dad if he needs to practice for the choir. By studying piano, I can now sing and play along with some songs or pieces that I like. My favorite piece is Phantom of the Opera’s "Angel of Music." The very first piano piece I would like to play in the piano is Canon in D. With my expectations, I hope that I can be able to play popular song pieces that I and my family can sing along, too. During our Student Piano Recital, I want to play "Claire de Lune" by Debussy, "River Flows in You" and "Kiss the Rain" by Yiruma, "Ballade No. 4 in F minor, Opus. 52" by Chopin and Beethoven's famous "Moonlight Sonata." In my own word, music is a way to relax and a method to release stress, anger or any emotion that I need to show without actually saying words out loud. It can make me feel better and give me something to focus on when I want to forget everything in the “real world.” ~ Arlee L.
She is a very funny music teacher but she's strict when it comes to piano lesson. I like her because when I don't do my homework she really doesn't get mad. She plays game with me, too. She is nice and very pretty. Studying music with her is enjoyable. I get to learn some very hard piano pieces more than I could ever imagine. I also learn more about music and would like to be a better pianist someday. I am challenge to study more hard piano pieces in the future. My favorite piece is "In the Swing" by Louis Streabbog. And the very first piece I like playing in the piano is "In May" by Franz Behr. This is a difficult piece for me but it is my dream to play it in our First Piano Recital. Music for me means a "nice sound." ~ Marian P.
She is an excellent teacher. From the past three years, I have learned so much from techniques, theories, and songs. I like her because she is strict, which is good because it helps me stay focus. She can be fun during lessons and also lenient. Sometimes she moves or teaches the lesson at a fast pace and its hard to understand when learning quickly. Being a strict teacher, the student must be prepared and be on task. Once you know the notes to the music, she becomes meticulous about the phrases and dynamics. I learned a lot of techniques, and ways to play music beautifully. I learned to read notes which can help me in my chorus pieces at school. I expect to learn more of the different playing techniques and artistry. Also, improve my piano skills.
Benefit I get from studying piano? It becomes an extra curricular activity for me out of school. I like to play instruments as well. It helps me manage my time. Currently, I have been learning "Sonatina" by Clementi and I became fond of it. I also liked "Sarabande" because of its calm and melodious tune. I dream of playing "Pavane for the Dead Princess", "Last Farewell" and popular pop songs in our future Piano Recital!
In my own words, MUSIC is a tune that can describes feeling. It helps you relax and leave the troubled world. Music is life! ~ Xanxan F.
Geraldine was a piano teacher to us brothers when we were about 9 and 11 years old, respectively. She was our teacher for 6 years. We were about 15 and 17 years old that time when our parents already decided to stop us from taking piano lessons because of too much pressure in high school and college. G was a fun teacher but she also made us work hard. She gave us lots of encouragements but she was also firm about the need to practice and she would frankly confront us when we have not been practicing like we should. She patiently explained to us the nuances of a musical piece and the mood we need to evoke when playing each portion of the piece. (Now that we recall this, it was probably not easy for her to do this given that we can be rowdy and impatient kids. We did not end up pursuing a career in piano but we do not regret learning to play the piano. We got from our piano lessons an understanding of the value of hard work and practice, a deeper understanding and love of music, and fond memories of our times with our teacher G. – Jonathan and Erwin Q. (Former Piano Students for 6 Years)