Do you have a student who wants to learn or improve on an instrument? Would you like to take lessons yourself? Take lessons from a piano, voice and woodwind teacher with years of musical experience. Lessons are available for beginning to advanced piano, oboe, clarinet, and bassoon, and beginning to intermediate recorder and flute. Music theory tutoring is also available, either on its own or as part of a 60-minute lesson. Along with in-studio lessons for local students, students worldwide can also take online lessons. See the Online Lessons page for more information.
Who Can Take Lessons
All ages and abilities are welcome, including adults and young children. I occasionally get a call from parents wondering if their child is old enough to start taking piano lessons, or what age is a good age for a child to start. Generally I don't take students younger than 3 years old, but the answer really depends on the child. For preschool students I use the Wunderkeys series, a method developed specifically for preschoolers with no musical background. Online lessons will not work for Wunderkeys students, and are not recommended for children under 5 years old. Children ages 6 to 8 who are taking online lessons will need an adult present and actively participating in each lesson. Students of all ages who have disabilities are welcome to take piano lessons (see Students With Disabilities page), either in person or online. Adults frequently take piano lessons, and they are usually very successful in accomplishing their goals. Students will need to have time to practice regularly (see below).
Students of all ages and abilities, including students with disabilities, can take lessons on a woodwind instrument. I always recommend that students of any instrument learn to play the piano first, since piano lessons will give them the most comprehensive music education possible and will set them up for the most success on other instruments. Sometimes for various reasons though, piano is not an option and students choose to study a woodwind instrument from the beginning. Teen and adult students may begin directly on the instrument of their choosing, if piano is not an option. Young children are sometimes not yet big enough to comfortably hold their instrument and reach all of the keys, and this can cause injury, joint problems, and/or dental problems. If a parent is not sure if their child is big enough, the parent may request a free trial lesson/interview, where this will be checked and options will be discussed. A smaller student may begin taking lessons on the recorder, since it is small enough for most children to handle easily and the fingerings are similar to many other woodwind instruments. Of course, the recorder is a wonderful instrument, and students may take recorder lessons without intending to switch to another instrument. Small flute students (as young as 6 years old) may begin on a Yamaha fife, a Nuvo TooT, or on a standard flute with a curved head joint. Small clarinet students may be interested in the Nuvo DooD, a smaller, simplified version of a regular clarinet. Small oboe students will do best beginning on piano, recorder or flute, and switching to oboe as soon as they grow enough. Oboe students who are big enough are advised to begin on the oboe and not another woodwind instrument. Small bassoon students who can afford their own instrument may check into buying a mini bassoon/tenoroon (very small students) or a Fox short reach bassoon (students with smaller hands); otherwise bassoon students are advised to begin on another instrument and switch to bassoon as soon as they grow enough. Online woodwind students younger than age 8 will need an adult present and actively participating in each lesson. Students will need to have time to practice regularly (see below).
All students will need to be able to practice a minimum of 5 days per week, 20 minutes per day. This practice time will, of course, need to increase as the student becomes a more advanced player. Students who do not have enough time or who are unwilling to practice even this small amount will not progress, and are advised to wait to take lessons until they have practice time available. Many parents say "I don't want to push him/her to do something he/she doesn't like," or "I just want him/her to enjoy it!" I fully agree with these statements, but very few students will enjoy playing their instrument unless they are making progress. The only way to make progress, of course, is to practice!
While private, one-on-one lessons are recommended for optimal progress, group lessons are also available. These may be helpful for an entire woodwind section in a school band, a homeschool group with several students wanting to learn the same instrument (such as recorder), adult friends who want to learn an instrument together, or a chamber ensemble that would like some coaching. Online group lesson students may gather in one place for their lessons. Local group lesson students will come to the Prescott studio. Contact me for more information about group lessons.
What Students Will Learn
All piano students will learn proper posture and hand position, scales, and simple finger exercises as part of their regular lessons. Each student will use a method book or set of method books, where they will learn note reading, terminology, and basic music theory presented in a fun, easy-to-understand manner. In addition to the material in the method books, students may be given supplemental "fun books" or sheet music, games, flash cards, or worksheets. Students may also work on memorizing songs from their book, playing familiar songs by ear, playing from lead sheets, and improvising their own songs. More information on method books used, other materials commonly used, and potential costs can be found on the What You Will Need page, which has an individual section for each instrument.
Woodwind students will learn proper posture and breathing and work on developing good technical facility and tone production. Beginning students will use a method book, which will teach them the basic notes and fingerings for their instrument, music terminology, and basic music theory. Intermediate and advanced students may also use a method book and will learn more notes and trill fingerings, further develop their tone and intonation, and study classic literature for their instrument. Lessons on all instruments will be taught with a classical approach, but many styles will be explored as each student progresses.
All students will be encouraged to perform as often as possible, whether it's playing for friends or relatives at home, or in front of a judge or audience. I believe that when students play regularly for other people, they don't get as nervous and they are more likely to do well even at larger performances. Students who live near the teacher are invited to perform in up to 3 recitals per year, held in November, February and May. Students who do not live near the teacher will be encouraged to find performance opportunities in their local areas, and may be encouraged to explore using technology as a way to participate in studio recitals. Some possibilities are recording a video to be shown at the recital, using Skype to give a "live" performance, or recording a Youtube video to share with family and friends.
Students of all instruments who live in or near Wisconsin and are in first grade or older (including adults!) have the opportunity to, but are not required to, play in a WMTA audition. WMTA auditions are usually held in March. Students participating in the auditions will play for a judge and take a written music theory test, then receive points for each and a commentary by the judge on their performance (read more about WMTA auditions here). In addition to these performance opportunities, there may also be group lessons, workshops, and smaller performances available for students to participate in from time to time. Intermediate and advanced piano students may have the occasional opportunity to accompany voice or woodwind students.
Location and Times
Lessons are available both in the Prescott, WI studio and online via Skype. To view current openings, go to the Calendar page for a general list of available times. All lessons are scheduled according to the central time zone.
Prescott studio address:
720 St Croix St
Prescott, WI 54021
Ready to begin lessons? E-mail me using the Contact page or call me at 715-220-2391.
Can't afford lessons? If your family is currently on the free or reduced school lunch program, you may be eligible for Music Link, an organization that provides full or partial scholarships for lessons and free or discounted music and instruments. To learn more, contact me. Home school families and adults may also be eligible.