Q&A for Brian Partridge a local Piano Teacher in Ely.
Q. What age are your students?
A. I teach a wide range of ages from 6/7 to pensioners. The Mindful Piano Studio is primarily taking on adult students now but I do occasionally offer slots to children.
Q. What standard do you teach to?
A. My main focus is upon teaching beginners and intermediate level pianists up to about Grade 6/7. I do not teach advanced students at this stage but am able to refer to other local teachers who teach at this level.
Q. What is the cost of lessons?
A. Fees are currently £35 an hour or £17.50 for 30 minutes. This is in the light of the Musicians Union (MU) Guidance and that of the Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM) and the fact that they had been held at the same level for two years. The MU hourly rates for September 2019 are £35 see https://www.musiciansunion.org.uk/Home/Advice/Education/Getting-Paid/Rates and the ISM mid-point rate for East Anglia is at £33 per hour (in their 2017 survey) see https://www.ism.org/advice/self-employed-visiting-music-teachers-fees-our-survey-results-2018
My rates will increase annually in line with the recommended Musicians Union rate.
Generally lessons for beginners will be 30 minutes on a weekly basis and hourly lessons for more experienced players, weekly or potentially fortnightly – (I also do some 45 minute lessons so can be flexible). The initial one hour consultation is free. Music books are an additional cost – I can order these on your behalf but would require reimbursement of the costs of these, in advance. I will however provide a practice notebook free of charge for all children and teenagers.
Q. Where are the lessons held?
A. In a music room at my house. (Currently suspended due to the Coronavirus crisis).
Q. Do you teach online?
A. Yes I teach online via the Zoom platform and can provide such lessons when this is convenient for students, or if you are not close enough to get to the studio in person.
Q. When do the lessons take place?
A. This is a matter for negotiation. I teach during the day for those who are able to make lessons then, and early evening, e.g. for children after school. I teach mainly on Mondays and Tuesdays only.
Q. How often would I need to practice?
A. Little and often is better than infrequent longer practices. 30 minutes a day is reasonable for beginners – as pupils advance longer practice hours will be required but these can be split across the day. I find practising in the morning works really well for me.
Q. Do you also teach theory?
A. I integrate theory into my everyday teaching but can also assist pupils who wish to take theory examinations.
Q. Is it necessary to have a piano?
A. Yes. I can teach on keyboard as well as piano although I would strongly recommend investing in a good piano. A keyboard is an option if you wish to try out learning before investing in a piano or if your specific ambition is to learn keyboard.
Q. Do parents get involved in children’s lesson?
A. My Contract for piano tuition provides that if under 16, children will be accompanied for the duration of lessons in the teachers home by a parent or appropriate adult. This is partly for safeguarding reasons, although I do hold a clear Enhanced DBS check, although it is mainly because I firmly believe parents have an important role to play in their child’s learning.. Although I am not teaching this approach, I strongly believe in the Suzuki philosophy which is built around strong parental involvement in lessons and in supervising practice time. This is particularly the case with younger children although as they get older the parent can still have a supportive and constructive role.
Q. What are the benefits of learning piano?
A. Much has been written about this and it has numerous benefits for both children and adults. Some examples are attached in the links below:
Q. What commitment am I required to enter into?
A. I book lessons in blocks of 5 or 6 lessons and require payment in advance for this by electronic banking. The expectation is that all lessons booked will be taken on a consecutive weekly basis (or fortnightly if that is what is agreed) (unless interrupted by school holidays as I only teach in term time and no refunds will be due for any lessons missed. I do make an exception for this in the following cases:
- Genuine sickness/illness – I ask to be notified on the morning of the lesson and will allow one lesson per block to be carried forward for this reason
- I will aim to accommodate requests to rearrange one lesson per block purchased, (for example due to holiday commitments) provided that at least one week’s notice is given. If notice is given then the lesson will be rearranged. If less than 7 days notice is given then the lesson will still be charged. This is provided for in the Contract for piano tuition
Q. Is your activity regulated?
A. I aim to comply at all times with the European Piano Teachers code of conduct and guidelines. EPTA UK CODE OF CONDUCT & SAFEGUARDING POLICY If you have any concerns or issues then please raise them with me immediately so we can get them resolved at the earliest opportunity. Membership of EPTA also ensures I am covered by appropriate insurance EPTA UK Public Liability Insurance Document
Q, Is any data I provide to you secure?
Q. Do you enter people in for examinations?
A. Only if they are interested in taking examinations. I have prepared and entered pupils in examinations under the auspices of the Associated Board and RockSchool. I am also open to other syllabuses including Trinity and the London College of Music. I have a 100% success rate in examinations to date.