How much are lessons?

Most students attend a lesson every week during term time. For these students, I charge £30 per hour of tuition, so the cost of a lesson depends on how long you need. I offer lessons between 20 minutes and an hour depending on the needs and level of the student, so the cost of a lesson is between £10 and £30. I bill in blocks of five lessons, and fees are payable in advance by cash, cheque, PayPal, debit or credit card online, or direct bank transfer.

Some students may only want a few lessons, or are unable to commit to a regular lesson (perhaps due to shift work, or frequent holidays during term-time). For these students, ad hoc lessons lasting between 30 and 90 minutes are available at a rate of £36 per hour. Ad hoc lessons are paid for individually, online by debit or credit card only, and up front at the time of booking.

Can you give me lessons in my own home?

Unfortunately I am not able to travel to students’ own homes for tuition, as my busy timetable does not allow the additional time needed for travel between lessons. However I welcome students to the well-equipped music room at my home in Selly Park, where I have a wide range of resources for use during lessons.

Do you give free trial lessons?

I do not offer a trial lesson as such, but all new pupils are offered a consultation, free of charge, before we start lessons. The consultation is a chance for us to get to know one another a little, to answer any questions you might have, and to talk about the best way for us to get you started with music lessons. It might include some playing, particularly if you have had lessons before and can demonstrate what you’ve already learned.

Do I need my own instrument before I start?

Piano: not necessarily. A piano is a big investment both in terms of money and space in your home. Many students start off with a keyboard or digital piano, and upgrade to a full-size instrument later on. I would usually recommend that students have at least a keyboard to practice on at home, and that they have a full-size piano or digital piano if they wish to progress beyond Grade 1.

Flute: ideally, yes. Flutes may be purchased relatively cheaply second hand (on eBay, for example), and there are a few fairly inexpensive models on the market that may suit a beginner. I have a limited number of student flutes available for hire on a short-term basis.

How much time do I need to spend practising at home?

How long is a piece of string? Any amount of practice is a good thing, if it is effective and meaningful practice; even 5 minutes a day is worthwhile. The more, and the better, you practice, however, the more it will pay off and the more rewarding it will be. I would usually suggest that at Grade 1, 15 minutes would be an appropriate practice time; at Grade 5, 30 minutes; at Grade 8, upwards of an hour.

What maintenance does my instrument need?

Pianos should be tuned regularly – once a year is usually enough for a lightly used home piano, twice if it gets a lot of use or if your house is particularly changeable with regard to temperature and humidity. I can highly recommend John Bishop at www.getintune.co.uk, who has taken very good care of my piano for a number of years.

Flutes should be cleaned inside with a dry cotton cloth after every playing, and kept in their cases as much as possible (tempting as it is to leave them out, they do tarnish and the pads suffer). A silver cloth can be used for polishing as and when needed. If the joints are very tarnished or grubby, or your pads are sticky, I can help with more thorough cleaning. Your flute should be professionally serviced every 12-18 months. This involves stripping parts, thorough cleaning and oiling, making sure all the springs and screws are in place, and replacing any pads that are worn. I use, and highly recommend, Matt Sheward at www.sheward-mir.co.uk.