FAQ

What is the method you teach?

Simply Music, developed by Neil Moore. Learn more at https://simplymusic.com/

 

How often should a student play between lessons? 

15-20 minutes per day, five days per week. Frequency is more important than duration. Always play the same day as your lesson to retain what was taught. 

What if I don’t play between lessons?

You will be frustrated. Your fingers will not get strong or work properly, and you will work on the same lesson over and over with little progress. 

Why is parent involvement important?

It demonstrates that learning music is important. Parents who oversee the lesson and understand what’s expected between lessons can best help their children develop good study habits. 

What age is the best for starting lessons?

The Simply Music program is best suited for students age 6+. I have taught students as young as 5. There are programs for preschool students, but I do not teach them. I can refer you to other teachers who teach preschoolers. 

Do you teach private lessons or groups?

I teach mostly private lessons and also some groups. Group learning is very valuable as the student has support and sees different learning perspectives. 

What books do I need and how do I obtain them?

Home materials are available for every level at students.simplymusic.com and cost about $45 per level. Create a login and password and connect to your teacher. Sue’s teacher number is 204. Home materials include music book and diagram book PDFs, audio files and streaming video featuring Simply Music’s founder, Neil Moore, teaching each lesson step by step.

What do I do with the PDFs of the books?

Print them out and make a binder. Be mindful of songs that contain more than one page. A two-page song should be printed so that the pages face each other. 

Do you teach adult students?

Yes, regardless of experience, I start them at Level 1 of the Simply Music program. I ask that they keep and open mind, be coachable, and set aside prior expectations of experiences of traditional (reading-based) piano lessons.

How many levels of Simply Music are there?

There are 18 Foundation/Development levels. The first level should take about three months. In addition, there are supplemental programs such as Reading and Accompaniment that are studied concurrently with the Foundation levels.

 

When does music note reading begin?

Generally we begin in level 3. Note reading begins with learning to read rhythm (how long a note is held down) followed by reading notes (which note to hit).

How do online lessons compare to in-person lessons?

More can be done in person to develop rapport, play duets together, and address music subtleties. Online lessons work best when the environment is free of distractions and when the parent is present. 

What if I, as a parent, know nothing about piano?

Ideally, if you study alongside your child through level 1, you will learn some basics that will allow you to enjoy music yourself, understand the learning process first-hand, and become more confident as your child’s home life coach. 

What do I do about absences?

Everyone needs vacations! And illness happens. Give me as much advance notice as possible, and we will either pro-rate the tuition or make up the lesson. This should be the exception, however, to be fair to the teacher and the other students. 

What instrument should I have at home?

A piano or 88-key weighted keyboard (full size keys) work best. (I like the Yamaha brand) Smaller keyboards, while less expensive, are less satisfying for the student and can be sized differently from a standard piano, resulting in muscle memory discrepancies. 

What kind of relationship do you foster with students?

Kind, respectful, encouraging, fun, truthful, and positive. If a child is unhappy or disinterested, we discuss it. I make every effort to engage and inspire them. Sometimes they discontinue. That is better than forcing them into lessons. 

What do you expect from your students?

Respect and the willingness to be coachable. Adhere to the Simply Music program. We learn songs outside the program, but in addition to the program. I expect students to commit to playing between lessons. “I forgot” or re-teaching last week’s lessons are not acceptable and will be addressed.  

Is there a Simply Music “learn at home” program?

Yes. Learn more at https://pianoonline.com/

Whom do you recommend as a piano tuner?

John Barbati (818) 708-2642