We are currently teaching all of our lessons online. We use all the best technology and teaching strategies to ensure our students progress smoothly and still have heaps of fun each and every week.
I focus on maximising the fun factor from the very start, getting kids creating music from the word go! I teach piano off the page as much as possible by playing super fun games, incorporating technology, doing improvisation with children and getting students to compose their own music.
We have such a good time together that your child won’t even realise that this is an “educational experience”. They come to lessons because they love it.
It’s this environment which I believe can instil a lifelong love for music and all the benefits that come along with it.
OUR ONLINE LESSONS
We have been doing online lessons since long before any of us had ever heard of a “coronavirus”, using them as a way to help students attend lessons when they couldn’t get to our studio.
Because of this, we already had the basics of the technology down and have since upgraded our online lesson experience further. All of us have ways to show overhead views of the keyboard when needed so that students can easily follow our directions. We also use online games and interactive elements in our lessons so that even our preschoolers stay engaged and have fun learning online.
Online Lesson Games
As well as the Colourful Keys Piano Studio, I also run a membership, Vibrant Music Teaching, which provides creative and fun resources for teachers around the world. Games are a big part of what we do there so when teachers first started to shift towards teaching online, we immediately started converting our games for the new format. Students at Colourful Keys get the benefit of being the first to try out the latest games and innovations.
Although I’m excited for the time when we get to have a big studio recital and provide that experience for students, our online concerts have been no less special. We have now had 2 recitals hosted on YouTube Live and students have loved the opportunity to experience a different performance experience.
Since the videos are pre-recorded, they also get to record them multiple times until they’re happy with them. And they get to be in the audience and on-stage simultaneously so family can heap praise on them!
Piano Lesson Options
Buddy Piano Lessons
Students at the Colourful Keys Piano Studio get the benefit of private and group lessons as there is a 30 minute overlapping or “buddy” time with the next student. During this time we work on duets, theory games, and ensemble improvisation.
Students under 6 years old will start with 60-minute buddy lessons or Mini Musicians group lessons, students age 7 and over will start with 60-minute buddy lessons or Piano Launchpad group lessons. Don’t worry if your child seems to have a short attention span – children are able to stay focused for the full time with a variety of activities and gamified learning strategies.
Adult Piano Lessons
Adult students generally prefer to take 45-minute solo lessons, although if you have a friend that would like to learn too you’re more than welcome to come for partner lessons. Read more about my approach to teaching adult piano students here.
Learning to play the piano should be an exploration of all music. Lessons at Colourful Keys are not just about classical music. I include some less commonly taught aspects of the piano in my lessons such as:
- Pop style chord progressions
- Simple jazz & blues
We also learn new concepts & skills in many different ways:
- Rhythm through movement
- Board & card games
- Large scale manipulatives
- Percussion instruments
- Flipped learning
I keep my piano lessons fresh, exciting and interesting, because after all when we’re having fun we learn faster no matter what age we are!
I hold two concerts every year which all students are invited to perform in. The concerts are relaxed and nurturing environments where students can build their performance skills and their confidence.
Here’s a small sample of our concert in May 2017.
Students at the Colourful Keys Piano Studio also get to attend up to four group workshops every year. These workshops are called “piano parties” – because we have so much fun!
At the group workshops, we play theory games, improvise together and learn to perform in front of others in a low-pressure environment. You can find out more about the value of these piano parties here.
All students at Colourful Keys are welcome to sit piano exams with the Royal Irish Academy of Music. Exams can be a great motivator for some, but they’re not for everyone.
I never push a student to do an exam if it’s not something they are interested in. Exams should always be a positive and rewarding experience, not something to be anxious about.
Part of learning to play the piano is daily (or nearly daily) practice. The parents role in this is crucial to their child’s success. You will need to be ready to help with keeping the routine of practice and structuring practice-time by helping your child follow the teacher’s notes.
It doesn’t matter if you can read music or not, all parents can help out at home. For more information on how to help your child practice check out the ‘Parent’s Guide to Piano Practice’.
The better quality your child’s practice instrument is, the better quality their practice will be. Piano students need at least a weighted keyboard to practice on. Find out about more about choosing a good quality instrument in this guide.
Lessons are held at my home studio in Kimmage, Dublin 12, South Dublin or at your house if you opt for at-home lessons.