PIANO LESSONS FOR ALL AGES
With Emma Stephenson
I am an Australian songwriter, pianist and piano teacher. I was trained at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music as a jazz pianist, and I am soon to receive my PhD in research on the implementation of healthy piano technique during jazz improvisation. After performing my original music at the Sydney Opera House in 2017, I was awarded the Freedman Fellowship for Australian jazz musicians under the age of 35. While residing in New York City from July 2017 to March 2020, I recorded my second studio album, ‘I Wrote You a Song’ featuring six guest vocalists, performed live piano karaoke and request shows at some of New York’s most famous piano bars, and nurtured the talents of forty piano students.
Thanks for considering me as you or your child’s piano teacher. If we work together, I promise to attend to you or your child’s musical development with compassion, joy and patience. As my previous six day teaching schedule in New York City would suggest, I truly love to teach and have a bounty of experience with students of all ages, levels and interests to draw upon.
For adults and older children I will accommodate and adapt according to individual learning styles, goals, experience and musical taste. Whether the student is playing music for leisure or with career aspirations, and whatever style of music they would like to play and/or compose, I guarantee a highly personalised and considered approach for each person.
For children between the ages of 5 and 8, I keep lessons play-based and creative, unless requested otherwise by the parents. My lessons with young children always involve the use of pictures, colors, stickers, motivational games, imagination, and storytelling. My goal at that stage of the journey is to help the child to associate music and piano playing with positive emotions, hopefully creating a somewhat addictive experience that will fuel future motivation and encourage persistent practice as they grow older and become more capable of self-directed learning. For these younger students, I also have a YouTube channel: Piano With Miss Emma, dedicated to sharing my tips for teaching and learning the piano, including games and activities that parents with no experience can use to get their child acquainted with the piano at an early age.
FEES AND POLICIES
Last updated July 15th 2020
I am now taking in-person students at my home in Thornleigh NSW, while continuing to offer online lessons to students who prefer to take lessons from the comfort of their own homes. During the pandemic restrictions I developed some systems for online teaching that I have found to work really well for my students. For students over the age of 7, I find that online lessons are generally equally as effective as in-person lessons, and often much more convenient. For younger students, it depends a lot on the child’s personality and the setup at home, but often the in-person interaction is crucial for maintaining engagement and effective communication.
Each student is entitled to 1 free 30 minute trial lesson. It is important that we establish that we are a good fit for one another.
Unless otherwise discussed, all post-trial lessons are 45 minutes long at $70 per lesson.
The policy below is designed to provide students with some flexibility while still protecting me from losses that come with cancellations, reschedules, and extra administration work.
If the student wishes to continue lessons with me after their trial, then I will send an invoice requesting payment for 10 lessons in advance.
Assuming that the lessons are 45 minutes long, the payment due will be $70 x 10 = $700.
Upon receipt of upfront payments, I will reserve for the student an agreed weekly time for a 12 week commitment period. That allows the student up to 2 lesson cancellations due to illnesses, emergencies, holidays, special events etc, without losing the money paid for those lessons. There is no notice required for these cancellations, as the weekly reserved time has been paid for in advance. The $700 payment secures your weekly time for the duration of 12 weeks until 10 lessons are completed.
After each lesson, I will send confirmation in writing of the number of lessons remaining and the date of the 12 week commitment period deadline.
I will not provide make up lessons, reschedules or refunds for lessons missed by the student. If the 10 lessons are not completed within the 12 week window, I will not refund remaining lessons.
If I myself need to cancel lessons for any reason, I will extend the deadline for the commitment period accordingly. For example, if I need to cancel one week of lessons, the new deadline will be 13 weeks after the first lesson rather than 12 weeks.
If I need to cancel more than 3 consecutive weeks of lessons for any reason, I will refund any remaining lessons and offer a fresh start if/when I begin teaching again.
Once 10 lessons are completed, the student/parent may purchase another 10 lessons with a new commitment period of 12 weeks.
Online lessons can be extremely effective, if the camera is positioned correctly. I ask that students position the camera so that I can see a full side profile of their torso and hands on the piano.
I have set up my own camera such that the student can view my hands when necessary, and my face at other times. If this this sort of setup is preferred by the student, I recommend clipping a flexible selfie-stick to the piano or keyboard. This is the one that I use and recommend:
My preferred platform for online lessons is Zoom, where I can set up a weekly meeting with scheduled reminders.
I am also happy to do lessons over Skype or FaceTime.
Unless the otherwise discussed, parents are welcome to be present for in-person lessons. There is a couch near the piano for this purpose. However, students often do better without their parents in the room. If that appears to be the case, we can discuss it when it becomes an issue.
After each lesson, I will make a short video revising what we did in our lesson and providing guidance for what to practise between lessons. This video will be sent to the student within 24 hrs of the lesson. For younger students I will set the video out so that the student can practise along with the video, ideally without the need for parental supervision.
At least once a year I will facilitate an optional recital for my students. Depending on the circumstances, these recitals may sometimes be virtual and sometimes be live. Virtual recitals may involve premiering pre-recorded videos of the students for an online audience of invited guests.
I am happy to prepare students for AMEB, Trinity or ABRSM exams. I am also happy for my students not to take these exams. It is really up to the student and/or parent to let me know what they prefer for their own learning objectives.
Please email me at email@example.com with any questions.