Friday, November 26, 2010

Group Piano Lessons Available in Bemus Point, NY

Sam's Club has this 88-key keyboard in stores today.  Perfect for taking group piano lessons at Cindy's Piano Studio in Bemus Point.  Cost: $499.86.  You'll also need a stand $24.86 to put it on, a sustain pedal $17.86, and a bench $18.83 to sit on. Sam's has those as well.  So for $561.41 plus tax you will be ready to sign up for group piano lessons at Cindy's Piano Studio in Bemus Point, NY.  A perfect Christmas gift for your child or yourself. 
Yamaha DGX530B 88-key piano
Cindy's Piano Studio in Bemus Point has classes forming now for all ages. No musical experience needed.  You will learn how to read music and play simple pieces.  The two-year curriculum will prepare you for private lessons, if you or your child so desire.  Group lessons are a great way to find out if your child really wants to play piano or if it is just a passing phase.  Send an email to pianolessons at to schedule your interview.  I'm not posting a link here to my email due to spammers.  You can click on the link above to go to my website for more information.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Martina Filjak Concert

I took three piano students to see Martina Filjak in concert at St. Luke's.  It was sponsored by the Jamestown Concert Association.  She played a wonderful concert of composers Soler, Chopin, Prokofieff, and Scriabin.  My favorite were the Three Sonatas by Soler.  I enjoyed the lyrical quality and drama of the pieces.  All three girls were excited to meet Martina afterwards; however, only one actually was able to.  I guess Martina was tired and wanted to leave. Not sure.  The others were disappointed but still glad to have gone to the concert. 

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Oliver's First End of Book Recital

Congratulations to Oliver for complete his first book and end-of-book recital.  He is now promoted to Faber's My First Piano Adventures level B.  He did an awesome job at his recital.  The cool thing was that his grandparents in the Netherlands were able to join us via Skype.  Love that technology! 

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Skype and Piano Recitals!

This was a first for Cindy's Piano Studio and hopefully the beginning of many more exciting global recitals.  Oliver had his first end-of-book recital at his home tonight.  His dad is from the Netherlands where his parents still live.  They were able to see Oliver perform live via Skype and we were able to see them.  What a great way to share in each other's lives even though thousands of miles apart.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

New Studio Location - piano lessons coming to Bemus Point, NY

In August, I got the idea to check into renting space again so I could start up Cindy's Piano Studio classes.  The first few spaces were very depressing:  too much money, spaces needed to be bulldozed not rented, bad locations.  And then...we were driving around the lake after getting our last ice cream cone at Boxcar Barney's in Mayville and my husband saw a for rent sign on a building in Bemus Point.  We stopped and looked in the windows.  It looked perfect!  So I called the number, set up an appointment and prayed for favor. 

We met with the landlords, who are very nice, and decided to proceed.  The first step is getting a zoning variance; however, there have been businesses in the space for 30 years so we aren't too concerned about that.  I dropped off the application with check today and am now waiting for the zoning board meeting in October.

I'm 'sort of' excited but not really until the board meeting is over...then I'll be jumping! 

I'm planning on adding piano classes in Bemus Point on Thursdays and possible Wednesday evenings.  All private lessons will remain in my home until I have money to buy a grand for the studio.  Even then, those that are on the west side of the lake will remain in my home.  I'm hoping to add four classes this year and more next year.

Stay tuned!

Thursday, July 1, 2010


Yeah! Summer is here. School is out!  "No more lessons, no more books, no more teacher's dirty looks!"  That includes piano teachers!  Ah, not really.  I don't give dirty looks; well, not often anyways!  Summer, a wonderful time to spend with family. 

Unfortunately, most students don't spend much, if any, time at the piano and so when lessons start up again in the Fall (if they haven't totally lost interest), we have to spend a lot of time reviewing concepts before we can proceed.

You can help change this by prompting your child to "visit" the piano at least two or three times a week during the summer.  Some students will have a big assignment to complete over the summer, such as:
  •  preparing an 'end-of-book' recital for the Fall,
  •  learning a new piece of sheet music to be played at a recital in the Fall,
  •  reviewing part of the book so that the concepts remain fresh.
Summer vacation should be a great and refreshing time for all the family.  It is a refreshing time for me as a teacher.  When we start back in the Fall, I will be fresh and ready with new ideas for making music at the piano fun!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

A Sad Car Story

Luke's dad sold his favorite car.  As it was pulling out of the driveway, Luke ran to the piano and played this for his dad....The Minor Mynah.  His lyrics are:

As the car drove out of the driveway,
I was so so sad.
I cried myself to sleep.

Poor Dad!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

How Can I Help My Child Learn Piano? Encouragement

Everybody needs encouragement once in a while to help them move to the next level.  Your child needs to know that you approve of his piano playing abilities.
  • Ask them to play for you and then praise them for the good (ignore the bad!)
  • Talk about their piano playing with your friends while your child is in the room
  • Encourage them to play for their friends that visit
  • Encourage them to call or email me if they have questions or problems
  • Ask them to play a piece that you enjoy from their lessons and then sit and listen to them with all your attention on them
  • Encourage the rest of the family to sit and listen and praise them also
There is so much criticism in our lives that is seems to outweigh the praise.  Let's change that in our piano world and give more praise.  I think we'll see your child soar to new heights in music making. 

Monday, May 10, 2010

How Can I Help My Child Learn Piano? Snacks

Your child has a lot of demands for his attention.  We don’t want one of them to be his/her stomach.  Plan on giving your child a nutritious snack (NO SUGAR!) before the lesson or before practice sessions so that they can concentrate fully on learning.  Junk food will not help their piano playing unless they are learning a spastic piece!  If your child requires carbs due to low blood sugar, make sure that they have it  before the lesson or practice as well.  You know your child’s body better than I do.  Do what their bodies need before the lesson so that we don’t have to push so hard to maintain the focus needed to learn this new skill.  Your child and I will thank you for it!

Friday, May 7, 2010

How Can I Help My Child Learn Piano? Comfort

Your child is concentrating on so many details when playing the piano. Having clothing that is too tight or uncomfortable in any way is a distraction from learning. They need to be comfortable in their eyesight as well. If they wear glasses or contacts for up close reading, make sure they have them on for lessons and practice.
A wonderful birthday or Christmas gift would be a cushion for the hard wooden bench they have to sit on everyday. For those crafty moms who have lots of time, why not make one? For the rest of us, Friendship House has some nice options here: for about $62 in lots of colors.

Monday, April 26, 2010

How Can I Help My Child Learn Piano? Posture

Tip for the week to help your child at piano...

Encourage your child to sit properly at the piano.
  • They should sit on the front half of the bench.
  • The knees should be just under the keyboard.
  • Feet should be flat on the floor or on a stool if legs aren't long enough.
  • Arms should be parallel to the floor. If not raise the bench using pillows or books.
  • Back should be flat not arched in - will get back aches if arched.
  • Shoulders and arms should be relaxed.
  • Wrists should be straight across not humped or sagging.
  • Hands should be naturally curved so they can play on finger tips (which means finger nails need to be short.)

Thursday, April 8, 2010

I’m So Excited!

Dominique told me last week before we began our lessons:

“I was sitting in chorus class and I was thinking…’I can’t WAIT to come to piano!’ I was so excited I went home and practiced!”

Now that’s the kind of enthusiasm every piano teacher wants for each of their students!  Yes, we did have a good lesson.

I’m proud of each of my students and pray each week that they will go home and practice well and enjoy making music.

Yea Dominique!image

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Ensemble Pics

Our ensemble recital was a hit! The students played well together and had fun. I believe the favorite song of the day was Balloon Pop Polka. Not surprising since it was fun to perform as well. Great job students!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

How to Help Your Child Learn Piano - Theory

imageBecause we only have 30 or 45 minutes in the lesson, I will sometimes assign theory for your child to do at home. The purpose is to reinforce the concepts learned in the lesson.  Writing what they are learning helps to reinforce it in their brains.  I also may assign flashcards to help them quickly recognize note names or music symbols. You can help by reviewing their theory with them as you would their school homework and by doing the flashcards with them often.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

How to Help Your Child Learn Piano – Fly Away Fingers

image The fingers are very important in playing piano.  The first knuckles need to be strong enough to press the keys firmly without the knuckles collapsing.  And the fingers need to stay lightly on the keys so that they can quickly press the keys when required. 

You can help your child this week by observing their fingers.  Are they close to the keys or sticking up in the air.  Just a gentle reminder to keep fingers close to the keys should be enough to help.

Remember the donut holes in the very first lessons?  These are good for strengthening the first knuckles.  Have them do these every day.

Friday, March 5, 2010

How Can I Help My Child Learn Piano? Observation

Rhythm is the heartbeat of music.  It’s what makes music pleasing to our ears and bodies.  We feel the rhythm in our bodies.  Ever noticed your foot tapping or hand tapping the steering wheel as you listen to music?  That’s rhythm.  image

I am constantly reminding students to count, say something, outloud so that they keep the rhythm steady.  You can help by tapping your foot or clap along with their playing. If you can’t, then the rhythm is not correct. (Unless you really have no sense of rhythm. In that case, get another family member to do it! lol)  

Monday, February 22, 2010

How Can I Help My Child Learn Piano? Practice

Why should your child practice? get better at the skill of playing piano.
How should your child practice? Slowly, in small sections, hands alone and then hands together.
When should your child practice? Everyday that they eat. I have given them one day off, so they should be practicing six days a week in order to get better.

The assignment sheet should be helping your child practice. It is a reminder of what we did in the lesson and what should be accomplished during the week.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

How Can I Help My Child Learn Piano? Concerts

My next suggestion for parents supporting their child with piano study is to provide opportunities for them to hear excellent pianists perform. During live performances they can see what the pianist is doing to make the wonderful sounds come out of the piano and observe how to act when performing.

We have a perfect opportunity for your child on Friday, March 19th. Alexander Ghindin, winner of the 2007 Cleveland Int'l Piano Competition, will perform at St. Luke's in Jamestown. It is free for students. I will take anyone who wishes to go with me. However, you too, as parents, can attend for only $10 and have an enjoyable evening with your child listening to great music. Let me know if you'd like tickets.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

How Can I Help My Child Learn Piano? Eyes

Students learning piano need to focus on the music, just like reading a book. The eyes need to be on the writing so they can see what is coming up next quickly. When they constantly look at their hands, they will lose their place in the writing which will cause the speed of the piece to be inconsistent. There is greater accuracy in reading when the eyes are focused on the music.

This is not to say that they should never look at the hands as there are times when we need to see where we are going, especially if it is a large leap. However, when the hands are not moving out of "position", the eyes should be reading music not checking where the fingers are on the keys.

How can you as a parent help? Check to see where there eyes are as you walk by and gently remind them to keep their eyes on the music as much as possible. Looking at hands unnecessarily is a habit that needs to be broken with practice looking at music.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

How Can I Help My Child Learn Piano? Demonstration

Each week I have been giving parents ideas for how to help their child practice piano at home. The home practice time is where the "real" learning should take place. I, as the teacher, present new concepts during the lesson for the student to go home and practice until the concept is easy.

This week, maybe two or three days after the lesson, ask your child what did you learn in your lesson this week and see if they can demonstrate it or explain it to you. If not, have them review the assignment sheet for any clues to help them remember. They should also review the written words in the lesson books. Many times we forget to read the words and just go directly to playing the music. This review will help to keep the concepts fresh in their minds.

Monday, January 18, 2010

How Can I Help My Child Learn Piano? Home Recital

Continuing on with how you can help your child with their piano practice. Last week I mentioned setting a routine and reviewing their assignment with them. This week I'd like to suggest the following:

  1. Each week just a day or two before the lesson, have a family recital where your child plays their current pieces for you. In this way, they will see where they still need work, if any. And, it will help them to always be ready to play for people.
  2. Encourage your child to play for their friends when they come over. Give them as many performance opportunities as possible to help build their confidence. When playing for friends, the should pick their favorite and best pieces to play.

That's it for this week. Stay tuned and Happy Practicing!

A Funny Name

In lessons last week I asked Olivia and Mike what the name of our composer of the month was and Olivia said, "Tchskidoo". You know... Peter Illyck Tchskidoo? He's the Russian composer who wrote the Nutcracker. It was very funny even if our composer of the month was Haydn.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

How Can I Help My Child Learn Piano? Time and Assignment

How Can I Help My Child Learn Piano?
You are spending money each week for your child to learn piano. How can you help him to achieve his goals in piano?

  1. schedule practice time. Mark piano practice on your calendar each day. It is most helpful to establishing a habit if the practice is done at the same time every day, or associated with a certain activity such as right after dinner or after homework is done.
  2. check assignment. Just like you would check their school homework, set aside some time to look at your child's assignment sheet with them to be sure they are following the specific directions that I write down. It is most frustrating to me and the student when they come to the lesson and apologize for not doing something because they didn't look at the assignment. By checking the assignment sheet, they are learning to be diligent and observant. These traits will carry over into other areas of life.

That's all I'll give you for this week. Stay tuned for more ways to help your child in their piano learning.