What should we bring to our weekly lesson? A notebook (preferably not spiral bound), a pencil, any books you or your child is using in lesson, and a manuscript book if your child has one. 

When is it best to practice? Immediately following a lesson! This is when you're able to solidify the work we did in lesson so that it will be easy to access all week long! 

Do we need a piano in order to take piano lessons? Yes. For information on acquiring a piano, see my piano purchasing information page. 

When are Group Lessons? All students in my home studio have a group lesson, which is held every sixth week in lieu of private lessons. Please contact me for your child's group class assignment and time. The calendar of group classes is part of my updated calendar online. Suzuki students at Sherwood have a weekly group class either with me or another qualified Suzuki instructor. There is no makeup for a missed group class.

Do I need to be there for my child's lesson? If your child is under the age of 12, yes. Parents may be occasionally asked to attend the lesson of an older child and it is expected that if you're NOT in the lesson (group classes for instance) that you are no more than five minutes away. If you are not attending your child's lesson, please make sure to check his/her notebook for important information regarding expectations, congratulations, and a student's participation in upcoming events. 

How long is a lesson? If you have signed up for a 60, 45 or 30 minute lesson, you can expect the lesson to last 55, 40 and 25 minutes respectively. Besides one-on-one time with your student, much time goes into planning lessons, finding motivational music for your child, researching and signing them up for contests and festivals, building recital programs, and hosting recitals. You are not paying by the minute. Just as practice is not measured in minutes, but is measured in accomplishments, so are lessons measured. I do not teach 30 minute lessons for traditional students or for students older than seven years of age.

What weeks are we on "break" from piano lessons? A regularly updated calendar is always available online. I try to nail down the schedule at the beginning of every quarter, though there may be the occasional update. 

How often will my child be performing? There are two big studio recitals every year (one in the winter, one in the summer) that are required for all my students. Other performance opportunities will come up for your child at school, in group classes, and if they participate in festivals and competitions. At Sherwood, Suzuki students will perform weekly in group classes.

How does a performance work? Every child should be dressed appropriately for a performance (no shorts, sneakers, crocs, t-shirts, sweatpants, jeans, etc). Performers should typically arrive 15 to 20 minutes early and will be given a seat in the order in which they will perform and will have access to the recital venue earlier than the audience. Performers will return to their seats after their performance and stay for the duration of the recital. For Studio Recitals, an Evite will be sent out with a reminder of the above traditions as well as a sign-up for bringing treats. Staying after the recital to graciously accept compliments and to mingle with other performers is part of the event and is expected. For a run-down of recital procedures, click here

We can't make it to lesson this week. What should I do? Please let me know that you can't make it and that you are trying to arrange a swap and then use the swap list! Call or e-mail any other parent on the list that has a lesson time that you may be able to take and offer them yours. Do not send a mass e-mail. This way, nobody has to miss a lesson. You are allowed one excused absence every quarter (every semester at Sherwood or MIC) if you have registered for a full term. There are no makeups for missed group classes.

What is an excused absence? An excused absence is an absence in which I have been given at least twenty-four hours notice. One excused absence is allowed per quarter for those registered for the full term and will be made up at a mutually convenient time. There are no makeups for missed group classes.

What if I can now make it to my previously canceled lesson? Check with your teacher. Your lesson time may already have been offered to another student as a makeup lesson. If this is the case, you have forfeited your lesson time for that week. 

How do I reach you? For urgent issues (running late, missing a lesson, etc.) please text me. If I am teaching, I should get your text shortly. I may be reached by phone (including text) between 9am and 9pm, Monday through Saturday ONLY. I do not answer my phone during rehearsals or while teaching. For all other inquiries and discussions that aren't addressed by my FAQs, or to contact me outside of my available hours (9am to 9pm Monday through Saturday) please e-mail me. Otherwise, I'll see you in lesson every week, and if you have something you want to address, please bring it up at the beginning of your child's lesson! Don't wait until the end - I might have a student immediately following you! 

My child is very interested in competition - what opportunities do you offer? In January, the Sonatina Festival for Intermediate level students is held at Sherwood. In April, the Savler Piano Contest for intermediate level students is held at Roosevelt University. Sherwood also offers a Scholarship Competition at the end of April or early May. In June, the Granquist Music Competition is held in Geneva for students of all ages and levels. If you are interested in your child participating in other programs that you have heard about, please let me know. 

My child forgot the new material you taught him this week. What should we do? If your child is a Suzuki student, check your notes from lessons. I have a help blog online that has a collection of typical issues that might solve your problem. You may try e-mailing me if it is a question that can be handled via e-mail. Otherwise, I'll see you in lesson next week! 

Should we sign up for Suzuki or Traditional lessons? This is a question that is best discussed with me in person. In my teaching, I blend methods to give each student what he needs most for success. However, the beginning of Suzuki study is very different from traditional study and it all comes down to parental involvement and how much music is going to be a part of the household. Feel free to read a little more on my expectations of beginning Suzuki students

How should the Suzuki CD listening work? If you drive often, listen to it in the car. If you sit down to meals together, listen to it in the dining room. If your kids have a play area, play it while they're playing. Try to listen to it daily. Between listening to the CD (passively at first…. your teacher will give you more detailed instructions later on), and you playing the piano yourself, your child will take to it quickly and practice will be easy and effective. 

How do I pay for lessons? Whether you are paying quarterly or by semester, I accept checks, Zelle (with my phone number) payments or cash — via mail by the first of the month, or in person AT THE BEGINNING of the first lesson of the month. Quarterly payments are due September 1, December 1, March 1 and June 1. 

What if I forget my check for payment? If you forgot to bring your check to your lesson lesson, I accept Zelle payments (use my phone number). Late payments are charged $30. 

What are grounds for losing a spot in the studio? A student may lose his slot in the studio if A) he is no longer practicing, B) does not regularly attend lessons, C) the parent is unresponsive to communication with the teacher, D) the student does not attend a recital he is on the program for, E) the student is not registered for the full quarter or term, F) the student has not taken the required summer lessons. Please see my full studio policy.