Frequently Asked Questions
Why are piano (or music) lessons so important?
Besides the scientific research detailing the academic and developmental benefits, music is beneficial for the personal and social pleasure which lasts a lifetime. Studying music helps students learn problem – solving skills, and through expression of this art students learn more about themselves and the world. The student/teacher relationship is also important for building social skills and learning to relate to and communicate with others.
What makes music lessons at the Blakemore School of Music unique?
We seek to balance a high level of artistry and expectation with a positive learning environment that allows students to make mistakes and learn how to improve themselves. We want our students to grow as people, not just pianists. Through studying the music, history, and other art forms of the past and present students learn to develop their tastes and articulate themselves fluently in many subjects. We want our students to understand why music was important to the people who made it and why it is important to us today.
How do I register for lessons at The Blakemore School of Music?
Students can visit our registration page on the website here to register online or download the PDF version of the application for which can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
How old do you need to be to sign up for lessons?
If you have a young child who is showing musical talent, we would love to meet with you and give you a complimentary lesson. Every student is unique and we believe that spending time with summer is the best way to build a relationship with them. We observe students’ ability to follow instructions and their cognitive skills and coordination and talk with parents and families about when the right time to begin lessons is. Even if a child is not yet ready for private piano lessons there are numerous musical outlets they can pursue to develop their natural gifts and experience the joy of music even at an early age.
Do you teach adults?
While our focus is on pre-college students, we do teach adult students and we believe that piano is a lifelong endeavor.
Do I need to have an instrument at home?
We believe that time spent playing on an instrument is vital to growth as a pianist. We do have some students with electric instruments, but we always advise our families to purchase a piano, since the sound and touch feedback is essential for students to learn how to control each tone and how to develop their artistic sensibility. No electric instruments can completely mimic the sensitivity and response of a real piano, and our students who purchase a piano after practicing on the keyboard prove this is true by the way their tone quality and playing dramatically improves.
How much does my child need to practice?
At The Blakemore School of Music, we advocate quality over quanity. We do not mandate a specific amount of practice time, but we expect students to practice for at least the length of their lesson four days per week. Necessary practice time depends on the weekly assignment, and students are expected to practice a sufficient amount of time to accomplish their assignments and meet their goals. Sports teams often practice every day for several hours and music study likewise depends on consistent, productive practice to build proficiency.
Are parents required to attend lessons?
While not required, we strongly encourage parents to observe the lessons, especially those with younger students. Parents who participate in lessons are better equipped to assist and support practice at home and we see a direct correlation between parental involvement and student success.
If I do not have any musical training, can I still help my child practice?
Yes! By observing lessons parents can follow along with practice assignments, take videos of each goal and even attempt to play what the students need to learn. Students love to see their parents interested in their music and we encourage students to contact us between lessons with any questions or send us recordings/videos of their progress.
Which teacher will my child get?
We try to honor any request or preference you may have to take lessons with one or the other of us, and we also take into account the student’s personality and whom they seem to work best with. We will do our best to work with you and provide the best lesson experience possible. Regardless of who is the primary teacher, students of the Blakemore School of Music will benefit from the opportunity to get exposure to both Ryan and Lydia's teaching style and musical input through the various group classes, performance classes, and other activities.
Can I just pay by the lesson?
We use a tuition-based payment system because we structure our program yearly and plan out our teaching sequencing accordingly. We plan the repertoire, technique achievements, and performance opportunities months in advance, and working with someone on a week-to-week basis with no long-term goals undermines the possibility of accomplishing the same goals and limits the amount of progress that can be gained.
How often do I need to tune my piano?
Piano technicians recommend servicing a piano at least once per year, and more often if the piano is moved, if the room temperature changes, or if the piano is against an exterior wall.
Do you know any local piano tuners in the greater Orlando area?
We have used Steve Riesen to move and tune our pianos since moving to Orlando and have been very happy with his professionalism and quality work. His phone number is 321-303-9391.
Do you do in-home lessons?
In-home lessons are a possibility depending on your home location and availability. Contact us for more information!
Are students required to participate in the recitals and performances?
We expect all our students to share their music through performance. We have numerous performance opportunities throughout the year in multiple venues and contexts. Beginning in the 2017-2018 school year, the recital fees will be built into the tuition, and while we never force students to perform, we strongly encourage them knowing that performing is an excellent incentive to practice, gives them a way to share their music with others, and helps them develop stage presence and confidence as a performer - all skills that they will use someday!
What are the monthly group musicianship classes and why should we attend?
These monthly classes are included in tuition for all BSM students. We feel that these classes give the students an opportunity for eer interaction and group participation which allows students to meet and built friendships and learn things that are not covered in private lessons. In these classes, we teach music history, composer biographies and stylistic elements, as well as musical skills like conducting and ear training.
What kinds of music will students learn in lessons?
We teach students to play all kinds of music: classical, ragtime, jazz, pop, movie soundtracks, etc… We want students to be proficient and have the skills to interpret and perform any music the are interested in. In order to do this we have all students learn to read music and learn standard technical patterns and develop their musical ear so they can be successful in any musical environment.