At Home

       Consistent practice between lessons is the single most important habit for piano students to develop in order to progress throughout the year. There is simply not enough lesson time for the amount of repetition necessary to achieve polished performances that are free of hesitations or mistakes. 

 

       Students must have a piano at home. Acoustic pianos are preferred, however electronic pianos are permitted as long as they meet the requirements below. Acoustic pianos should be in good working order and have been maintained by a professional tuner within the last 2 years. 

        In order to develop a healthy playing technique from the start, students must also have a proper bench or chair to sit on while practicing piano. This bench or chair would ideally be adjustable in height and have no back or wheels. Wooden benches or chairs are fine, but adding cushions may be necessary for younger students to reach the keys comfortably. 

Requirements for electronic keyboards:

  • Full-Sized (88 keys)

  • "Weighted" Keys - not "semi-weighted" 

  • Working, attachable sustain pedal

 

        Students without proper instrument will be allowed to begin lessons, but must make an effort to obtain an acceptable instrument within first 6 months of study.

Practice 

  • Consistency is key

    • Five days a week + lesson day is recommended, so try to make it part of the family routine. For example, students can practice while dinner is being prepared, before or after other homework, right after school, etc.. Younger students may require parental participation in home practice to achieve consistent and quality practice.  

  • Repeat Repeat Repeat

    • Practice small phrases 3,5 or 10 times in a row, pausing between each repetition so you can identify a goal to make the phrase better on the next repetition (for example: more correct notes, less hesitations, a louder melody, a little faster, etc.)

    • Don't ignore the problem spots! Zoom in on challenges and repeat 1-2 measures (or sometimes, 1-2 beats) until you can play through them 3 times in a row - without mistakes or hesitations.

  • Quantity

    •  Practice times recommended are only estimates. Some students will need more or less practice time than suggested to accomplish weekly musical goals. Generally, 10-15 min. is recommended for young students up through 2nd grade; 15-20 min. for students in grades 3-6; 25-45 min. for students in grade 7-12. 

    • Practice length should also be determined by difficulty and length of repertoire and the students musical goals (competitive students will be expected to practice more time to prepare for festivals or contests).

    • A "practice log" is provided in every assignment notebook for parents and students who find it useful.  

  • Quality 

    • Quality practice is by far more important than clocking minutes at the piano. 

    • Effective practice requires active listening, small goal-setting, slow practice, and utilizing strategies discussed in lessons or explained in the weekly assignment book.

    • Slow and deliberate practice is by far the most effective practice strategy. Many students try to practice pieces too quickly and end up learning the piece with far more mistakes and challenges than students who deliberately practice much slower than they normally would. 

    • When it comes to working through difficult challenges: choose a small phrase to repeat over and over again; listen to each repetition and between each attempt, identify what went well and what didn't; then identify what can be improved in the very next repetition; repeat the phrase and continue this pattern until you see results. 

    • If you notice a passage getting worse the more you repeat it, take a break from that spot and come back to it the next day. 

  • Make a Plan 

    •  Don't always play a piece from beginning to end, but instead start with the most challenging assignments and practice the easy ones last as a reward for your diligent practice. 

    • Make a game out of spots that need extra practice- try to play it perfectly 3 times in a row before you're allowed to go on in the piece or finish practicing for the day.  

Performance

             Piano recitals celebrate the hard work and diligent practice of piano students throughout the year. They are strongly encouraged, but not required for taking piano lessons. There will typically be a studio recital at the end of both Fall and Spring semesters, but more performance opportunities may be available for interested students. 

             Festivals and contests are excellent sources of motivation for students who wish to compete and/or receive expert feedback from a judge. The goals for most students who participate are to:

  • Learn and polish longer and more challenging repertoire.

  • Receive helpful feedback from judges that can boost self-confidence and provide further insights beyond the weekly piano lessons.   

 ​​​​             Competitions are also not required, but students (and parents) who are interested in participating in a judged piano event may be expected to sign a "practice agreement" to help ensure the student gets enough preparation for a successful performance.  

Missed and Make-Up Lessons
  • If the teacher cancels the lesson, the student will have the option to simply skip a week of lessons without being charged or they may choose to find a make up lesson time during the same week. 

  • If a student must cancel a lesson, the teacher must be notified at least 2 hours prior to the scheduled lesson time to receive a make up lesson. If a teacher shows up for a regularly scheduled lesson that has not been cancelled prior to 2 hours before, the forgotten lesson will not be made up. 

  • Bad Weather cancellations will be treated like a teacher cancellation and made either be made up during the same week, or simply skipped without charge.

Payment

​         Payments must be made by the end of the second lesson of each package level. If lessons are not paid for by the start of the third lesson, lessons may be delayed until the first payment is made. Checks may be made payable to "Elyse Emerich". Invoices will be send via email for those wishing to pay with credit card or PayPal. PayPal payments will include a 3% service fee to cover the costs of using that service. Multiple payments may be made for larger packages if necessary. 

Discounts

  • New Student Referrals:

    • Students may receive a 10% discount for the semester when a new student to signs up for piano lessons that was referred by a current student. The discount will apply on the next payment of the current student.

  • Sibling Discount:

    • A 10% discount will be given to each sibling or same-household member who signs up for lessons.​

Scheduling

  • Scheduling works on a first come, first serve basis. Current students will be given priority for their normal lesson times over new students. 

  • Students who decide to take time off between lesson package purchases may return to lessons at their convenience, however their lesson time/day is not guaranteed and may be given to another student.