Question: at what age can children begin learning to play the piano?
Answer: around six years old is the ideal age, however children as young as four years old have enjoyed their studies at Dulwich Piano Lessons, particularly when listening games (clapping exercises, singing etc.) and stickers to aid familiarity of the keyboard layout are involved.
Question: can you tell me about your experience of working with children?
Answer: Dulwich Piano Lessons has provided piano, music theory and composition tuition, in addition to Music Aptitude Test (MAT) training to those applying to local state secondary schools, to many children and adults living in London since 2013, often with parents booking piano and music theory lessons for themselves and suggesting Dulwich Piano Lessons to other locally-based families, friends and colleagues.
Children who receive tuition from Dulwich Piano Lessons frequently perform in school concerts and currently attend the following institutions: Alleyn's School, James Allen's Junior School, The Belham Primary School, Bessemer Grange Primary School, Dulwich College, Dulwich Prep London, Dulwich Village Church of England Infants' School, The Charter School East Dulwich, Goodrich Community Primary School, Harris Primary Academy East Dulwich, Heber Primary School, Herne Hill School, The Charter School North Dulwich, St Dunstans College and Sydenham High School.
Question: do I need to buy a piano before starting lessons?
Answer: a portable keyboard such as the Yamaha PSR-E373 is suitable for absolute beginners, however a digital piano with weighted keys or an acoustic upright instrument will be required when progressing towards ABRSM Grade 1 standard.
Dulwich Piano Lessons recommends the Yamaha P-45 and the Yamaha P-125 as suitable, much-favoured digital pianos for elementary pupils. Details of other keyboards and digital pianos can be explored at the Yamaha London website and store in Central London.
Good-quality upright pianos can be obtained secondhand for those who do not wish to purchase a brand new instrument. Another option for students who wish to practice on an acoustic piano is to hire an instrument from one of the London-based piano companies, or to hire a studio space that provides an acoustic instrument.
Question: how often should my piano be tuned?
Answer: once a year, as a general rule.
'Regular piano tuning is key to the stability and health of your instrument. A skilled piano technician can identify and address any potential problems before they escalate.' (Pianoforte Tuners' Association)
Dulwich Piano Lessons recommends piano tuner Robert Parr, who is based in South East London and can be contacted on the following telephone number: 07952 411156
Question: which styles of music are piano pupils taught at Dulwich Piano Lessons?
Answer: music of all styles and from all periods, such as those given in the Listening Room, is taught at Dulwich Piano Lessons. Some students choose to study modern styles such as jazz, popular and more recent commercial music, whilst others explore the repertory from the Renaissance period up to, and including, music by living composers. Studies in improvisation may form a part of lessons, should a pupil request instruction in this area. All students are taught to read musical notation from the very early stages onwards.
Question: is tuition available during school holidays?
Answer: lessons continue during vacation periods for all pupils who are available. Dulwich Piano Lessons does not offer a summer school for group music lessons at present, though this has been requested from parents. Plans are currently being considered for a summer school in collaboration with professional performers and music teachers based in the Dulwich area.
Question: what are your musical qualifications?
Answer: BMus(Hons), PGCert, PGDip and MMus degrees in music, in addition to over twenty years professional experience as a composer working with most of the major British new music ensembles and organisations, plus distinguished performers both here and abroad, alongside fifteen years music editorial experience working as a freelance music typesetter, proofreader and editor for all of the major UK-based music publishers.
Question: I haven't done any practice this week - should I cancel my piano lesson?
Answer: Dulwich Piano Lessons understands that school work and school exams sometimes need to take priority, along with an understanding that adult pupils lead busy, working lives, however, as a general rule, it is better not to skip lessons and work with what the student is able to offer and present at the lesson in the interests of continuity and sustaining development. Please note that twenty four (24) hours notice must be given if a lesson absolutely needs to be cancelled, otherwise the missed lesson fee will be charged, as stated in the Terms and Conditions.
Question: how are online piano lessons delivered?
Answer: Skype, Zoom and FaceTime are used by Dulwich Piano Lessons to provide online tuition and remote learning. Pupils are requested to place their smartphone, tablet, laptop or computer at one end of the piano and at a suitable distance from the instrument so that the fingers, hands and posture are all clearly visible on the screen.
Dulwich Piano Lessons also founded Piano Lessons Online during the first UK lockdown in 2020 for students throughout the UK and abroad. Weekly piano, music theory and composition lessons were delivered online to pupils in various cities and countries during this period and are still continuing online up to the present time.
Question: what is a toy piano?
Answer: a toy piano is a very small keyboard instrument (available in table top, upright and grand format) which produces a resonant, bell-like sound. Toy pianos are very popular with small children, however they are advocated by professional performers, particularly for works written by living composers and music composed during the second half of the C20th.
Dulwich Piano Lessons recommends the leading manufacturer Schoenhut for those who are interested in purchasing a toy piano:
Table Top pianos - https://schoenhut.com/collections/tabletop-pianos
Upright pianos - https://schoenhut.com/collections/upright-pianos
Baby grand pianos - https://schoenhut.com/collections/baby-grand-pianos