Students are given a practice chart at each lesson, which includes specific assignments to be worked on each week. It is important to keep a daily practice routine and to follow assignments that are given. This includes their current working pieces, review pieces, reading, theory, and rhythm work.
Parents must understand their children’s music education. At the lesson, they are encouraged to take notes, ask questions, and learn along with the student. At home, they can guide the student by scheduling a practice routine and keeping track of assignments on the practice chart.
Students perform in several group lessons and two recitals each year and are encouraged to perform in various performance opportunities in the Joliet and Shorewood community, from nursing home gigs to competitions.
Listening to music is extremely beneficial, and I encourage active listening by offering field trips to students and their families. Past concerts we’ve attended were at the Rialto, Ravinia, and Millenium Park.
What method to you teach? I primarily teach Suzuki method, but I also use supplementary material and other method books for reading and theory.
What's the difference between Traditional and Suzuki method? An important part of Suzuki is the Suzuki Triangle-student, teacher, parent. Parents play a bigger role in the child's learning. Also, there's more ear training, and much more focus on technique and musicality from the beginning. Reading is not a focus from the beginning, however students use a rhythm book after the first few lessons to learn basics of reading. We also use a staff magnet board to learn note names and intervals. Suzuki believes that music is like a language- We learn to speak before we read, therefore, we learn to listen and play before we read music. Once I feel the student is developing his ear, is progressing in the rhythm book, and is developing a solid technique, then reading books are introduced. Suzuki students can begin as early as 3. Check out the website: www.suzukiassociation.org.
Where do you teach? At my home studio in Shorewood.
How long are lessons? Beginners start at 30 minutes, but I may later suggest 45 minutes or 1-hour
What else do you offer in your curriculum? We do monthly group lessons which consist of students performing for each other and music theory activities and games. I also have a music lab in which students can do music computer games prior to or after their lesson, listen to CD's, read music books, or do color-by-notes. Students can earn points for their accomplishments on the computer and at lesson, which ultimately go towards prizes!! I'm also becoming more involved in Dalcroze technique, which involves music and movement:
Do my kids need prior requirements to start? My only requirement is to have an open mind and that both student and parent agree to set aside time everyday to practice.
I do not expect my students to become virtuosos. But I do expect them to practice and work hard as they should anything, so that they will develop a love for music and for playing piano and ultimately have fun making music!!
How many students do you have? About 25.
How long have you been teaching? I've been teaching full-time for about 17 years, but I began in high school.
How long should my child be practicing? You will get out of it what you put into it. I recommend 15-20 minutes for at least 5 days for early beginners, later beginners at least 30 min, Intermediate and advanced at least 45 min-1.5 hr. Schedules can get busy, so sometimes a lot can be accomplished in only a few minutes with the proper practice habits and goals.
What credentials do you have? B.M. in Piano Performance from Southwestern Oklahoma State University, intense Suzuki and Taubman-based technique training from Marilyn Taggart, and attend yearly pedagogy conferences.
What else do you do besides teach? I am staff accompanist at Joliet West High School--accompany the choirs, direct small ensembles, accompany band and choir students for solo contests and auditions, play for Spring musicals and Opera Scenes, am principle accompanist for the Naperville Men's Glee Club, and play at churches and for weddings, banquets, corporate events, etc.
How early do you start your kids? As early as 3, depending on the child
Do you accept adult students? Yes. Parents find it beneficial to learn because they can help their child at home. I also teach adults with no formal training and also adults who haven't played in several years.
What performances requirements do you have? Students are required to perform in 2 recitals per year and are highly encouraged to perform in various performances at nursing and retirement homes, etc., festivals, and competitions. They also perform pieces they are working on at group lessons.