Lessons FAQ

Is my child ready for music lessons?


Some 4-year-olds do great in instrument lessons. Some 7-year-olds still aren’t quite ready for the intensity of the one-on-one setting. If the student: - Is comfortable with numbers, letters, and right vs. left hand - Has expressed interest - Can focus on an activity for some time Then let’s give it a try! Students not quite ready for the private lesson setting may enjoy Kindermusik or group music classes in the meantime.




Am I... too old for music lessons?


Nope




Should we do virtual or in-person lessons?


In-person lessons are definitely richer; it’s easier to see and correct technique problems, student and teacher can play together freely; far less time is spent describing a spot in the music and trying to get (literally) on the same page. Both I and my husband (who is around occasionally, working from home) are vaccinated. The studio will follow DC’s guidelines regarding indoor masking, and may also continue to require everyone to wear a mask until the younger kids can be vaccinated. Luckily, wearing a mask really doesn’t impede piano- or harp-playing at all! Virtual lessons are also an option, either regularly or as-needed in case of student or teacher illness. Online lessons will also be offered in the case of inclement weather or other emergency situations. For virtual lesson success, students will need: - A tuned instrument - Seating at the proper height - A music stand, footstool, metronome, and/or other supplies as appropriate - A device for Zoom larger than a phone (tablet, computer) - A tripod/holder or stack of books or something to position your device for optimal angle Please see photos for proper device-body-instrument setup for virtual lessons.




How do we get to the studio?


The studio (my condo!) is located in the Regency building at 2141 Wisconsin Ave NW. If you live nearby, definitely walk, bike, or bus! If you need to drive, there is meter parking often available right outside on Wisconsin Ave, but it’s not available from 4-6:30pm. There are two visitor spots for the building which you may use and can be found by turning down the alley on the north side of the building. Another option is the "Park America" lot behind Ace/Breadsoda; during business hours there is supposed to be an attendant, but once the attendant has left for the day, you may park there for free. During business hours, the double glass doors at the front of the building are unlocked. After hours, use Zoe’s code 065 on the callbox. (Zoe will answer and unlock the door.) Walk all the way through the courtyard to the next set of glass doors; use the same code 065 on that callbox. Come in and take the elevator to floor 4. Unit 401 will be at the end of the hall.




Should I sit in during my child's lesson?


It’s up to you and the student. For very young students, it can be helpful for the parent to be present so the parent can help guide practice at home. For some students, it’s intimidating for the parent to be there, or sometimes I find that students don’t open up to me as much in the presence of family members. If you want to drop your child and pick up after the lesson, let me know if you need me to meet you downstairs to escort.




What is needed in an instrument for practice at home?


Piano: I always recommend a "real" acoustic piano, even from the beginning, as the touch and weight of an acoustic piano is much better for developing good technique and sensitive listening. There’s no need for the piano to be brand new, or top quality, or a baby grand, or anything like that. If you find a good second-hand piano, the cost of moving and tuning it may be more than the actual cost of the piano (worth it!). You can expect to pay around $200 for a normal tuning, and I can recommend a piano technician. Electric pianos/keyboards are, admittedly, easier in terms of portability and maintenance. If you want to start out with a keyboard, you should look for one that's full-size (88 keys), with weighted keys, and a damper pedal. Harp: I have a small pool of rental harps, as well as connections and advice on finding other harps to rent. Beginners can start on a small (~26-string) harp with or without levers. Don’t worry about a young child being too small - there are small harps to match. Students moving into late beginner and intermediate levels will need a mid-sized (~34-string) harp with full levers. If you’re buying from the beginning rather than renting, you’d better go straight for the mid-sized to avoid having to upgrade after a short time. Or, if Aunt Betty gifted you her long-unused pedal harp, that’s great, and we’ll work with that!




What is the cost of a harp?


To rent a lever harp, you can expect to pay between $40 - $80/month based on size and quality. Pedal harp rentals will be much more, around $150/month. To purchase a lever harp, there will be a wide range of price points based on what you’re looking for. You may find a deal on a good quality used harp for $1800, or you can get a tricked-out harp with custom decals and installed pickup for $6,000+. Pedal harps - necessary for those pursuing advanced Classical repertoire or playing with an orchestra - are a much more serious investment. I bought my pedal harp from an ex-orchestral harpist for $12,000, which was a super duper deal. Check this out! I have purchased all of my instruments second-hand from individuals; well-made instruments should have decades of life.




What resources do you recommend to find second-hand harps?


- Harp Column classifieds - Virginia Harp Center - new and consignment instruments, rent-to-own program - Washington Area Folk Harp Society - seems never to be updated but I keep hoping - House of Musical Traditions in Takoma Park - Facebook group “Harp Rent, Sell or Buy” - Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist