Frequently Asked Questions
- Why study music?
- Why study piano?
- What is a good age to start lessons?
- Am I too old to study piano?
- Do I have to have a piano?
- What about a keyboard?
- How do I go about choosing an instrument?
- How do I know you are a qualified teacher?
- Can I get a referral?
- How long and how often are the lessons?
- Can I sit in on my child's lesson?
- Will you give lessons in my home?
- Do you teach at night?
- How much practicing is required?
- How can I assess my child's progress?
- What about recitals?
- What happens if I miss a lesson?
- What is I need to change the regular time of my lesson?
- What should be my first step in arranging lessons?
- Where is your studio located?
- My question is not listed here/I have more questions.
There are many valid reasons to study music. Enjoyment, comradery, improvement of motor skills, and training hand to eye coordination are just a few of the positive results of music study. Research has proven that music study increases spatial IQ as well as spatial reasoning, which is the ability to perceive the visual world accurately. Most parents, however, know the value of a music education and want their children to study for the sheer enjoyment.Back to top
The piano is one of the easiest instruments on which to begin musical study. The visual layout of the instrument aids in the introduction of many musical concepts. With a little trouble, most children can be taught to play a simple tune at the first lesson. We have all witnessed the attention shown by children when set in front of a piano. Children from a very young age are intrigued by the piano. They are drawn to the repetitive pattern of black and white keys. Their exploration of the key movement, the resulting ease to produce a sound, and the fulfillment of generating varied, and often quite loud noises immediately make the piano musically accessible.Back to top
I have had children as young as five successfully begin and continue lessons. This works best with adult supervision of practice sessions of fifteen to twenty minutes per day. Generally speaking, however, the ages of seven to eight seem to be when most children are ready to begin learning piano.Back to top
There is no age limit for adults. My most successful adult student had her first lesson at age 75! Most adults find more enjoyment in playing the piano than do children. Adult students are highly motivated and understand the need to set aside a specific time for practicing the piano.Back to top
You will need some sort of keyboard upon which to practice. This can be an acoustic piano, or an electronic keyboard. You can arrange an interview lesson prior to the purchase or rental of a piano, but when the lessons begin, you will need an instrument.Back to top
There are many wonderful and affordable keyboards available in today's market. They take up less space than a piano, enable practice while wearing headphones (an advantage for the other household members) and are pre-programmed with a variety of sounds and rhythms. Given the differences in touch and tone production between pianos and keyboards, many teachers do not work with students who practice on an electronic keyboard. My continued success with keyboard-practicing students is based on the philosophy that our expectations for sound begin with our ears and brains. If students are aware of the differences, they can learn to adapt to each instument.Back to top
First, determine your resources. What are the space requirements? Do you want to invest thousands of dollars on a new instrument that will maintain its original value? Do you wish to spend a few hundred dollars on a used upright piano or a keyboard? Once you have answered these questions, you can begin looking for an instrument. Keyboards are readily available in a variety of prices according to size and accessories. Pianos require some care in choice. Given the difference in quality for new or used pianos, I will be happy to preview students' instruments prior to purchase.Back to top
Choosing a piano teacher is much like choosing a doctor. You rely on referrals, and then hope for positive rapport with the prospective professional. When you speak with me, I will tell you of my teaching experience of over twenty years, my Master of Music degree from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and my post-graduate diploma from the Guildhall of Music & Drama, London.Back to top
Certainly. I will gladly provide you with the names of parents who can express their complete satisfaction with this studio.Back to top
Lessons are generally thirty minutes long, and are given on a weekly basis. For the beginning student, the time is sufficient. Once established, however, a forty-five minute lesson is recommended in order to give enough time to cover a wide range of material. Sixty minute lessons are also available.Back to top
Parents are always welcome sit in on the lessons. I leave it up to the parent and the child to determine if it is appropriate. Usually parents know whether or not their presence will in any way distract their child. I do ask that parents remain impartial to the responses or the lack there-of that their child may give. If a parent is impatient with a child's response and makes a comment, it could interrupt a juncture in student-teacher rapport that could otherwise be an important learning point.Back to top
I have found that lessons in my studio are more successful than those given in the home. Students tend to have more focus in the studio without the distractions of normal home life.Back to top
Yes. Most private music instructors work from the time the kids get out from school, through the evening.Back to top Back to top
As with any skill, the more practice, the greater the result. Very young students will not usually concentrate productively for more than fifteen to twenty minutes at a time. Older students should be able to handle a thirty to sixty minute practice session. As a minimum, I suggest at least five practice sessions per week. Goal oriented practice being more benificial than watching a clock, the time required to achieve a certain goal is usually greater than the time spent on a minimum practice time regimen.Back to top
The most direct way is to listen to the progress over time during the student's practice sessions. You can also talk with the teacher, and ask specific questions regarding your expectations and the progress of the student. My students have the option of participating in the exams given by the Music Teachers' Association of California. Each year students are tested on performance, technique, and music theory. Passing an exam earns a certificate and promotion to a new level.Back to top
Most of my students participate in the recitals sponsored by the Music Teachers' Association of California. Though students are not required or forced to perform publicly, those who do experience them have heightened their self-esteem and confidence.Back to top
Unfortunately, missed lessons cannot be rescheduled. They can, however, be traded! If an absence is unavoidable, you can simply call another family in the lesson trade program and arrange to trade a lesson for the week.Back to top
No problem. I realize that from time to time family schedules may change. I will try to accommodate such changes in the regular lesson time.Back to top
Determine whether or not your child has an interest in playing the piano. Arrange to have a free interview lesson. This will enable you and your child to meet the teacher, and to assess compatibility with the teaching methods and the environment. Most teachers will offer free interviews, after which you can decide which studio you prefer.Back to top
Convienently accessed from Vallejo and Benicia, the Piano Studio of Norman Ortiz is located in East Vallejo, at 111 Corkwood Street.Back to top
I am available by telephone at (707) 681-9281, or through email at normanortiz (@ sign) ipracticemore.comBack to top
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