Catherine_Leach_Banner_Final FAQ

Copyright © - Catherine Leach

How do I contact you about the possibility of starting lessons?

You can send a private email via the email address on the contact page. Include a summary of your requirements. I will reply as soon as I can informing you of my current availability and suggesting a time for a telephone conversation to discuss your requirements more fully and to set up a date for your first consultation lesson.  I will always respond to enquiries within two days. An enquiry will never be ignored.

If I have availability, the first four lessons following the first lesson can be a trial period before committing to a full term of lessons.


What will happen in the first lesson?

The first lesson will take the form of a consultation lesson and has several points. It is an opportunity for you to find me geographically. It is the first opportunity for us to meet. You can see my teaching environment, ask me questions and to play on my piano. I can assess your interest, attitude, ability and creativity and it provides me with a better picture of your aspirations. At this meeting, if you are a non-beginner, it is an opportunity to play a short piece and to demonstrate your skills to date. Also, to tell me what sort of music you like and to highlight your aspirations.

If you are a beginner, I will introduce you to a selection of mini fun exercises which provide me with an insight into how you process instructions, respond and develop ideas. You can continue these little exercises at home in preparation for your first lesson. I will give you a special piano notebook (as a free gift) and the Welcome Pack (if you would like a printed version)-though it is accessible on the website to view. However hopefully you will probably find most of your questions will have been answered here) I can answer any remaining questions and any other information I feel you may need at the consultation lesson. Before the consultation meeting I would be grateful if you could fill in the pupil profile form (which you can print off from the website) which you can bring along please to the consultation lesson. This provides me with useful information about you, giving me some background. If you are unable to print this off, I can give this to you at the consultation lesson.


What is the charge of the first lesson?

The first lesson (consultation session) will be charged at the current hourly rate.


What if you have no availability?

If I have informed you there is no current availability, but you would like me to put you onto a waiting list, please leave me all your contact details. I understand if you do not wish to wait until a slot becomes available, so if you do find another teacher I would be obliged if you could please inform me that you have done so.


How much Practise should I do?

I recommend a minimum of twenty minutes each day to begin with, more if possible, A smaller amount daily is much better than trying to cram in a couple of hours during the two days before a lesson.


How does the school run regarding the numbers of weeks in a particular term?

There are three main term/series blocks within the year. The year runs from April to April. The number of weeks per series/block is specified on the agreement document and also dates when I am not available.


Do I need a piano at home?

Ideally yes. You cannot expect to make any progress if you do not have a piano to practice on. If you are reluctant to spend a lot of money on buying a piano at the early stage because you are not sure if you will stick at piano, you could consider getting a keyboard as a cheaper short-term option. I do often come across existing pupils selling keyboards and pianos as they upgrade in time, so do mention to me if you are looking to buy a piano or keyboard and I will try to help source one if I can.

I always recommend visiting a good music shop to get professional advice. Here the staff are aware of the most popular and latest models and it is good to have a look around. If you need time to look, I don’t mind the pupil being without a piano or a keyboard for a couple of lessons as I can concentrate on musical literacy and creative exercises in the first few lessons but in the long term a piano will be needed.

I teach classical piano not keyboard but if a keyboard is the only option initially this is better than nothing. There is a vast range of keyboards, so it is best to invest in the best possible and it may be that you are able to purchase a keyboard with a decent action. It is crucial the keyboard has touch sensitive aspect otherwise the ability to control dynamic qualities cannot be learned.


What about books?

Don’t worry about books. If you are a beginner, shortly after the first lesson I will advise accordingly. If you are a non-beginner, it’s a good idea to bring with you the books you have been using. I have my own preferred books and systems, but I still like to see what you have. It may be that we can use some of them, even if it is just for sight reading practice at a later stage.


What age is best to start at?

Regarding young children, I am prepared to consider any age. I have started teaching children as young as four years old. If your child is interested and musical enough they will usually enjoy lessons, especially at the beginning as it will be totally new and exciting for them. Most of all I try to make it fun and a considerable amount of creative activity is involved at this early age and stage. However, it has occurred to me that often parents seem to be keen to get their child involved in lessons at an early age in the hope that starting them off young will give them an advantage over children starting a little older. I do think such a conception can only become a reality if the child is exceptionally bright, outstandingly gifted, and has an incredible amount of self-motivation and thirst to absorb all that he/she is exposed to and is willing and enthusiastic in the main to continue the tasks at home.

At such a young age it will probably be necessary for you as a parent to sit with your child at home regularly helping them with the tasks I have set, and reading the notes I make in their notebooks encouraging and reminding them of what they have to do, as at five and six they will probably struggle to read the notes themselves, and forget they need to practise every day.

The idea of regular practice has to be introduced by the parent and monitored at home. From the very first week if a parent can give some thought to arranging for a certain time in the day to be put aside for practise and that the practice is carried out at this regular time, it will be setting in motion a good routine. The average ability child, (observed from my own teaching experience over the last 26 years) starting lessons at 5 years old will usually only be able to realistically achieve the same grade level at the same age as a child who for example starts at the age of 7, (with the exception of the exceptionally gifted child).

Basically, I am saying that progress tends to be slow for the exceptionally young and it can often become hard work for both myself and the parent to maintain the interest during these early years. It may be better to wait until the child is 6 or 7years old when reading skills have been developed and the child will find the music literacy side of learning easier. At this age there is a more realistic chance of more rapid learning and retention of information. Co-ordination skills can be easier and also the child`s own attitude to learning will be more conducive. If you want to see how your child can progress at 5, I am happy to start them on the initial understanding that it is agreed at the start, that full co-operation regarding parental support at home will be maintained.


Do you teach adults?



What is the current price of a lesson?

From January 2018 the hourly rate is £34.00 and £17.00 for 30 minute sessions.


When and how do I pay?

Most parents pay via direct transfer which seems to be the easiest payment method overall. Please note payment is due at the start of each calendar month covering the number of lessons during that particular month. A full lesson schedule is sent out to every parent at the start of each new term.


What if I overlook payment?

I appreciate prompt payments. A reminder will be sent directly following the first lesson of the new month. Please ensure payment is settled immediately at this reminder at the very latest. Thank you


Is it possible to pay by cheque or cash?

I prefer direct transfer, but cheque and cash payments are acceptable.


Do you recommend weekly lessons?

I recommend half hour weekly lessons for most children starting lessons for the first six months. The frequency enables momentum and interest to be maintained. At the beginning there is much to be introduced and half an hour is enough time to cover new information/tasks for very young children and a reasonable length of time for them to concentrate well.


Is it possible to have weekly lessons of longer time duration?

Yes. Several of my pupils attend for 45 minutes weekly and several for a full hour weekly. I feel 45 minutes is a perfect lesson duration for most children and highly recommend that time length on a weekly basis


Is it possible to have fortnightly lessons?

Yes. A one-hour fortnightly lesson is the most usual arrangement. The timetable is arranged so that two pupils will alternate each week. This is beneficial for adults and older children, for example 11 years old and over, who are responsible in making sure they organise their practice time over two weeks and tends to suit most of my pupils and works well. It can also be less of a strain for parents getting children to the lesson weekly and it also saves on fuel!

All my adult pupils attend for this time length, with some attending more frequently. I don’t mind fluctuating between weekly and fortnightly hourly lessons, as long as the time table can accommodate this, I just insist that there is a minimum of two hours a month booked in order to enable enough lesson content to be covered.


Is it possible to pay for a term of lessons in advance?

Yes. At least half of my pupils prefer this arrangement. I usually issue an invoice calculating how many lessons there will be in a term/series block, which includes a list of all the scheduled lesson dates. The fees can be settled on receipt of the invoice.


Do you prepare pupils for examinations?

Yes. I prepare and enter pupils for practical exams for Grades 1-8 with A.B.R.S.M., Trinity Guildhall and London College of Music examinations. Also Theory Grades 1-5, with A.B.R.S.M. You can visit their websites for further information.


Why do you use three different examining boards?

There are a few reasons;

I tend to try to find a syllabus which I feel at the time will most suit the individual pupil, considering its content.

Ultimately, I endeavour to find a selection of pieces which the pupil will enjoy so I usually perform all the pieces to the pupil within a particular board’s syllabus including the alternative pieces offered, if I have the music. From this selection the pupil will make a start. If at a later point it is clear that a particular piece does not suit the pupil for whatever reason, an alternative is found.

I feel strongly that a pupil should have a go at the pieces which appeal to them. Everyone is different, we all have different tastes and preferences. Once a selection is made, I expect study to commence. A switch to a different piece can be made at a later point should a particular piece prove troublesome. If at the onset of exploring a particular board’s syllabus it proves difficult to make a selection of pieces, I may turn to a different board and present the set of pieces from an alternative board. This isn’t usually necessary as it is usually a quick process making the selection and alarm bells do start to ring if it proves to be impossible for a pupil to find pieces they like.

I think it is also realistic to consider that there will always be one piece which is less appealing, but in any case, it is a useful exercise to immerse oneself in to the learning of and performing of a piece which would probably not be selected if it was not essential to an exam programme. Sometimes, once a piece is studied and performed it can open up unforeseen revelations for the pupil.

Occasionally parents ask me if their child can take a particular board because either they prefer them to do so, or it may be convenient for them to be entered at their school (therefore eliminating the need to take time off from school, in travelling to centres further afield). I obviously bear these requests in mind. Please inform me of these preferences as soon as you possibly can.

On the whole, I like pupils to prepare for their grades using alternating boards as I feel it provides a good experience in a variety of ways. Each of the boards provides slightly different content and I feel that embracing the variety can keep things alive and interesting. For example, Trinity Guildhall offers choices in areas within the tests section from sight reading, aural, improvisation and musical knowledge. I tend to prepare pupils in the areas of sight reading and musical knowledge as I feel these areas in particular are useful to the pupil. Helping a pupil prepare to talk about their piece not only encourages them to think more carefully about the music they are playing but helps them to understand the music more fully. It also helps them to understand the piece within a historic framework and helps to build confidence and knowledge which will further equip them in the aural tests at higher grade levels.

In the ABRSM exams, ear tests are a compulsory element. Many children find them fun to try and a refreshing change from other areas. I find doing these enables a pupil to consider these aspects in their pieces in a new way. The preparation of scales in both ABRSM and LCM boards provides a good grounding in both in terms of exercising the fingers, co-ordination and in key awareness. All three boards have good aspects unique to each.


Do I have to study theory and take theory exams?

No, but theory and practical go hand in hand. If pupils do not process a clear understanding of their music it hinders the learning process practically. For sure it is possible to learn to play a piece parrot fashion, i.e. copying me playing something, but this will not help an individual holistically. When lessons via this method are finished eventually, the limitations of the individual will be obvious. I like to think a child who passes through my teaching will know a great deal at the end of it all.

Ultimately the target is to be able to explore and enjoy an infinite amount of music, but alas this can-not happen if the study of theory and the technical side of learning the piano is ignored. I encourage the study of music theory to Grade 5 level. I promise it will reward the pupil in the end. Bear in mind it will help a pupil with their music education in general and is applicable to the study of other instruments, GCSE and A level music, orchestral, ensemble and composition.


Do I have to commit to a specific course length, sign the agreement document and adhere to the terms and conditions?

Yes. Catherine Leach Piano School is a business. If you are serious about learning the piano there has to be a real commitment over a specified period of time, and usually I recommend a full term/series block to begin with. Everyone benefits ultimately. If lessons are attended too sporadically much of the momentum is lost. I need to regularly assess progress and especially for the younger beginner the necessity to repeat and revise elements weekly is essential to the learning. I also agree to making a commitment to being available for the pupil at the agreed time and this has to be a mutual agreement.


What if my child misses a lesson because of sickness?

I always try to offer a replacement lesson during the week following the missed lesson. Parents need to request this by leaving an email or telephone message. A replacement lesson can only be arranged if it can be possible. If two or more pupils are sick in the same week, it is unlikely that it will be possible to accommodate replacement lessons in the following week, but I do always try my best to make it possible.


What if my child cannot attend their scheduled lesson due to unforeseen reasons, such as a school parent’s evening or trip?

I can sometimes arrange a swap with another pupil if I’m given a full week’s notice. The more notice I am given, obviously the greater the possibility of arranging a replacement lesson. This does depend on the other pupil’s agreement however.


What if my child cannot attend their scheduled lesson and I cannot give a week’s notice?

In this circumstance, I’m afraid the lesson will usually have to be forfeited. If I feel the particular reason for the absence was unavoidable and it is a one off I will always try to offer a replacement lesson. Please aim to stick to your allocated slot so that everything can run smoothly.


What if my child cannot attend because we are on holiday?

As long as I am given one month’s written notice, I will do my best to reschedule the lesson If the holiday is for two weeks this may prove more difficult. If no notice is given however I’m afraid the fee must be forfeited. Please remember, I am preparing your child’s lesson well before the actual lesson takes place, so my time would simply have been wasted.


What if my child does not want to take part in a concert you have invited him/her to?

This is fine. If your child does not want to perform then please encourage them to attend anyway as it is an opportunity to get together with my other pupils, to listen to and share music and will hopefully encourage them to take part in the next event. Listening to music is an incredibly important aspect.

What about books? Are these included in the price of a lesson? Or do I need to obtain books myself?

Books need to be ordered by the parents.


What if I am late getting my child to their lesson?

The lesson will start when your child arrives, but the lost time cannot be made up at the end of a lesson when another pupil is about to start their lesson. All lessons must start and finish on time.


What if I am late picking up my child?

Please make every effort to pick up your child at the agreed time the lesson ends. If you are late your child will have wait in the hall until you arrive. Although it may be interesting for your child to observe and listen from there to another pupil’s lesson this isn’t really totally fair on the other pupil or the parent of the pupil who has arranged for a one to one private lesson. It can be disturbing and disruptive for the other pupil when finally, the door-bell rings and I have to see your child to the door as I cannot allow the child to let themselves out themselves as this would be totally unacceptable from a child protection view point.

I understand that heavy traffic can interfere with being able to arrive in time. However, lesson times cannot be adjusted on the day depending on the parent’s ability to get their child to the lesson as there are other pupil’s lessons to be considered as well as in addition to my own planned and necessary breaks.


Can I sit in on my child’s lesson?

Yes. I do encourage parents to do this from time to time, and obviously more frequently with the younger children. A parent can see how the lesson is structured, how much work is covered and get an insight into how well the pupil is doing within the assessment.

Some of the lesson will deal with HOW to practise efficiently at home and in what areas. Realistic targets will be set, and notes are made in the notebook so both pupil and parent can read them, recapping points raised in the lessons to provide a reminder of the lesson content.

However, there are also enormous benefits to a child having a special one to one with myself. If a parent is always present at a lesson, it is more difficult to build up a special rapport with the pupil. This is fundamental to the teacher-child relationship build up from which learning can be more natural, relaxed and fun, so if you would like to sit in on a lesson please do so occasionally though I would rather this be restricted to just one parent.

On one or two extraordinary occasions I have had an entire family sit in on a child’s lesson. Although useful for both parents however, if siblings are present, I find one of the parents has to deal with the sibling which can be distracting for both myself and the pupil. So, in summary, if you want to sit in on lessons please do so but I’d prefer just one parent please and only in exceptional circumstances the presence of another child.


Can I arrange extra lessons?

Yes, this is usually possible, but would depend on the current timetable. Many parents request extra lessons during the weeks leading up to exams. These must be arranged well in advance of the particular exam week. It may not always be possible to accommodate this, as there may be several pupils requesting extra lessons and please also do bear in mind that it is the work done several months before an exam which is the most important time for preparation. Practise cannot be crammed in during the final few days before an exam as it may be with academic subjects.

I like to focus on the polishing of subtle musical detail, exam technique, running through mock exam scenarios and generally building up of confidence towards the performance and helping nurture a really positive attitude in the weeks prior to an examination. It may also be worth considering that I am only prepared to enter a pupil when all three pieces are accurate in notation and rhythm and fingering, so, with this in mind, be aware of the closing dates for exam entry submissions which are mid-January, April and September.


Could I wait in the car whilst my child is having their lesson?

In Orrell, this is fine and many parents do this. Please try to park on the drive. There is plenty of room. Please do NOT obstruct my neighbours parking area by parking to the left or right side in front of the driveway on the road. If you are just waiting to pick up your child, please wait on the drive if possible, rather than the road. In Rufford the lessons are specifically scheduled with a ten minute gap between lessons to enable cars to enter and exit the narrow driveway and avoid cars clashing.


What about when I pick up my child? Shall I wait in the car or should I ring the door-bell?

Please ring the bell, so that I know you have arrived. Some parents ring the bell and then go and sit back in the car.


Do lessons take place in the school holidays?

The three main blocks will incorporate periods of no lessons which will tend to correspond with school holiday periods. In August, there will be a three week break, in December, a two week break and at Easter and October a one week break. There may be weeks when lessons will continue such as the last week in July and the first week of August and other times when your child is not at school because their particular school has a different holiday week to other schools. On the whole I do aim to coincide weeks of no lessons with the local school’s holidays which the majority of my pupils attend. If you plan to be going away on holiday immediately the school breaks up in July I can usually organise replacement lessons for these missed lessons as long as I am notified in good time.


When do you take your holidays?

I tend to plan my holidays within the school breaks. Very occasionally I may take time off within term time and notification of this time is given to parents at the start of a new term.


What if I want to terminate lessons?

One month’s written notice is required for termination as per clause 6 in the Terms and Conditions document. Once the agreement document has been signed by the parent or adult pupil and myself all aspects including this this becomes binding.


What if I wish my child to have a break from lessons to concentrate on school exam studies?

This is a very infrequent request. On the rare occasion I have agreed to this I have found it to be disruptive. Most pupils are keen to continue their lessons throughout school exam periods. If necessary, the odd lesson can be rescheduled if they clash with exams or revision days. The activity of practice and attending lessons can be mentally restful and therapeutic. Usually musical individuals do not want their precious hobby to be interrupted. I will however consider this if absolutely necessary.


Do exams have to be taken?

No. The decision to do an exam is arrived at via mutual consent by myself, the pupil and parent. The pupil must be totally positive about it from the start otherwise it is a totally futile endeavour. Exams must be taken seriously.


Are you able to help with GCSE Music?

Yes. I am happy to assist in whatever is brought to a lesson. Many pupils have mentioned that they have to do a composition as part of their GCSE, and I can help get them going with ideas and the developing of ideas, structuring a composition, and helping the individual to present it in written music format. I often get involved in helping pupils prepare their chosen pieces for performance, and also assisting with ensemble preparation. I am happy to be involved and go along to the school to help in performance ensembles which I have done on several occasions in the past.


Do you give lessons at the pupil’s home?

No. All my pupils attend lessons at Orrell or at my home. I feel this is much more beneficial for the pupil.


Does my child know what to work on between lessons?

Yes. Notes are made in the pupils note book during the lesson, usually an assessment of progress made, comments, directions, information regarding all of the areas covered in the lesson and specific new targets set for the week ahead, so please encourage your child to read the notes I have made very carefully each week. If notes are not read, it will have been a waste of my time doing this (and your money!). This is an important aspect of the lessons.


Do you issue end of term written reports?

No. I make plenty of notes in the pupil’s note book at each lesson so if you get into the habit of reading the notes regularly you will get a good picture of the progress that is being made regularly. If any parent wishes to speak to me about their child, please telephone me. Lunchtimes area good time to catch me, however it may be a good idea to suggest a time (via email) when you can be contacted during the day time. I am usually unable to talk during the evenings and Saturdays which are my busiest periods. Mornings and early afternoons are better during the times when I may not be teaching, so it’s best to give me a few optional times, or just keep trying. Please do not expect an in-depth conversation on the door step, when another pupil is about to start their lesson. I prefer (and I am sure you would also) a discussion in private.


My Child is currently attending music lessons at school. Do you think it will be okay to have the private lesson alongside?

Possibly. I prefer to teach a child the basics myself. I have found when pupils come to me having had lessons with other teachers, there are often many bad habits already in place which can be difficult and sometimes impossible to rectify. However, it can also be good for a pupil to experience different teachers from time to time. At the beginner level there can be a tendency for conflicting methods to be confusing for the child especially at a young age. (One example would be the learning of stave notes with different sayings). Every teacher has their own preferred method. If a pupil is learning a specific piece with one teacher, I tend not to interfere with the teaching of that particular piece, though I will help if specifically asked, but on the whole, I think it is best if one teacher oversees the development of a piece from the initial stage through to the finished performance. Alternative ideas with how to learn tricky passages can be advantageous to the pupil if a pupil is struggling, as sometimes trying out an alternative method may help the pupil, but to get involved in a piece which is work in progress has to be undertaken with great care I feel.


Do you prepare and enter pupils for festivals?

Over the past seven years I have had a small number of pupils take part in Crosby, Southport and Rainhill festivals when they have been running. Crosby sadly has now finished. Some parents have entered their children themselves to take part in festivals in other areas of the country. Festivals take place all over the UK and abroad.

If you are interested in your child taking part in a festival these can offer a good opportunity to showcase you child performing their exam pieces and help them to gain confidence but do bear in mind the closing dates for entry are very early and often months prior to the event date. If you are interested do let me know.


Is it ok to purchase music books in addition to the ones you recommend?

Yes of course, by all means do this. The more music your child has access to and explores the better! The cultivation of healthy curiosity is to be encouraged for sure. Exploring music has many advantages including the development of good sight-reading skills.


How often do you organise concerts?

I like to bring the pupils together for at least one main event each year. I send out invitations and expect the pupil to prepare a piece to a good standard during the weeks leading up to the event.


What do you consider to be good progress with regard to grade exams?

The average progress tends to be a grade per year, but there is no reason why pupils can’t progress more rapidly. In the past I have had pupils taking grades more frequently, but these are the pupils who invest a lot of time in practice and probably do a minimum of an hour’s practise each day. Achieving grade levels should not be the sole point of learning the piano. If grades are pursued relentlessly one after the other, much can be missed, such as the study of alternative repertoire, ensemble, creative work, repertoire, and the study of technical areas, which build skills that will help the grasp of new pieces to be manageable and tackled easily within the next grade level.


Are you CRB checked?



Are you a member of a musical affiliation?

I am a member of E.P.T.A. (European Piano Teachers Association) and the M.U. (Musicians Union).


What are your qualifications?

I have a B.A.( Hons) a combined subjects degree with Music as a main subject area, the other areas being Art and Psychology, (I studied this course for four years at The College of Ripon and York St John, Affiliated to Leeds University).

I hold a Certificate of Teaching

I have Grade 8 Piano (ABRSM)

I have Grade 7 Violin (Trinity Guildhall)

I have an ATCL in piano performance (Associate of Trinity College London)


Keeping abreast of the current teaching climate.

Over the last fifteen years I have attended regularly the Manchester piano teacher forum meetings which were founded by Miss Joan Greenburgh and co-ordinated by Doctor Valerie Langfield. As well as sharing thoughts ideas and issues in general amongst the teacher group, we invite guest speakers from time to time. I also attend, usually as an observer, the Chethams Summer School which was the brainchild of Kathryn and Murray McLachlan.  This runs in August and is in its nineteenth year next year and is a fabulous opportunity for anyone to soak up the wealth of musical culture on offer. I am also a member of a variety of on line forums.  


Do you teach any other instruments?

I teach violin.


Do you teach singing?

No. I am often asked this question. I teach basic exercises to assist in the singing part of the aural examination. I encourage singing as it can be enormously beneficial.


Is it possible to attend lessons just for theory only?

Yes, and I currently have a couple of pupils who do this.


Are there any other details I should be aware of as a parent?

I ask all parents to make sure their children arrive for lessons with their mobile phones on silent. Please bring all books including notebook. No chewing-gum. No sweets (unless I can have one!) No muddy shoes (if caked in mud please leave at the door). No sticky, inky or dirty fingers are allowed on the piano keys. Pupils are welcome to wash their hands, have a glass of water if they need a drink if thirsty and use the toilet if they need to before a lesson begins or at any point during the lesson.


I expect good behaviour and co-operation at all times in all lessons. Bad behaviour, answering back and laziness will not be tolerated, so please bear in mind if I decide to terminate lessons I may do so if I feel progress is not happening as it should due to incompatible attitudes. Also, pupils should be alert in lessons. If I experience pupils yawning and concentration is lacking I will bring this to the parent’s attention if it tends to become persistent. I like pupils to arrive two minutes early and in this period, they should be taking off their coat and getting their books out of their bags in preparation.


On the matter of girls with acrylic nails, please do consider that these will very much hinder piano playing. The teaching of technique will be totally impossible as will being able to play in general so please do consider the practicality of this aspect when contemplating a trip to the nail salon. It is far more impressive to be able to play the piano beautifully than flaunt decorated nail extensions! If absolutely necessary I can focus on music theory and aural training during lessons until the wretched things are removed or drop off!


If your child has a cough or cold, please remind them to get into the habit of sneezing into a tissue. There are always plenty of tissues in the piano room. If I see a child put their fingers in their mouth or sneeze onto their hands, I immediately ask them to wipe their hands with an antibacterial wipe. I try to eliminate the spreading of germs from one pupil to another and myself via the piano keys. The keys are cleansed daily before each teaching period.


Do you do accompaniment work?

I am happy to consider accompaniment for non-piano instrumentalists for exams and concerts as long as I am contacted at the latest at the start of the term the exam will be taken (i.e. September for a November exam, January for March exam, April for a June exam etc. Ideally earlier! I will look at the piano score and let you know at this point if I agree to it, which will depend on the complexity of the music and working out and if I will have enough time to practise it. Usually I like to get together with the instrumentalist for one or more rehearsals well before the exam/event.

I do charge for this and these prices will vary depending on the difficulty of the music and how much time I feel I will need to work on the accompaniment part. Please bear in mind that I will probably have to spend time rearranging my own regular teaching on the day of the exam/event, and for any rehearsals arranged, which is another reason I need enough time beforehand to plan ahead in order to make the necessary arrangements. There is also my time and expense involved in travelling to and from the venue, so although initially the fee may seem expensive, it is not when all of the above is taken into account. If I agree to do the accompaniment you are guaranteed a quality accompaniment and my promise to be reliable and available for you.

In the past I have had many enquiries for accompaniment work at the eleventh hour when a teacher or someone else has pulled out for whatever reason, and unfortunately it is usually difficult to step in at this late stage especially if the scores are complex at high grade levels. I will consider helping you if the music is relatively straightforward and I am able to rearrange lessons without too much trouble, so it is always worth enquiring letting me know and outlining the works involved. I will try to find someone else if I am not able to do it.


In conclusion

If you have a question I have not addressed, please drop me an email via the contacts page and I will be happy to answer your question.

I hope all the above is helpful. Your cooperation is important in helping everything to run smoothly and essentially in helping you to learn how to play the piano well.