Q: How do I get started in lessons at Fowler Piano Studio?
A: After reading through the studio policies submit a form through this website or contact me by email, text, or phone to setup a preview. A preview is an informal, no cost, no obligation meeting where we discuss piano lessons together and make sure that its a good fit for the both of us. After a successful preview, you will be invited to enroll in lessons if schedules allow. If the studio is full but you want to be on the waiting list, I recommend still scheduling a preview as this will move you to the top of the waiting list.
Q: How long are lessons?
Q: How much are monthly lessons?
Q: What methods do you use in teaching?
A: I use a variety of methods intended to help each student become a well-rounded pianist and musician. For beginning students, I like the Faber and Alfred series but I don't keep students in those for very long, usually not past Faber 2B or Alfred Level 3. For intermediate and advanced students, I follow the Royal Conservatory of Music Piano Syllabus. I also supplement with improvisation exercises and occasionally will do some arranging with students. I am more concerned about building a well-rounded musician through consistency than adhering to a particular method or loyalty to a particular school of playing. Music is universal and everyone can make music.
Q: When are lessons? What if I have to cancel a lesson?
Q: Does my child have lessons during winter breaks and holidays? What if a lesson falls on a holiday?
Q: What is a preview? Why is it required before I start piano lessons?
Q: What if I just want to have one lesson to try it out? Can I do that?
Q: How can parents be helpful in my child's music study?
Q: How much do piano students have to practice?
Q: Are recitals required at FPS? What if my child gets nervous?
A: Recitals are not required, however they are strongly encouraged. Performing is the best way to demonstrate students' hard work. Recitals also reinvigorate students to keep working hard. Recitals at FPS are very fun and students perform in a safe, encouraging environment. Students also experience a great sense of accomplishment. We all get nervous with performances and presentations. At FPS students will not be forced to participate if they do not want but they will be encouraged to face their fears. This usually takes time. Concerning recitals, the FPS motto is: "Students who are prepared give great performances." As the instructor I work hard to make sure students are prepared.
Q: What materials do I have to buy?
A: Materials will be decided upon by the instructor, but cost is responsibility of the student/parent. A set of method books are usually assigned and these books are used in every lesson. As a student progresses new method books will be required. Depending on the method, books run anywhere from $20-40.
Q: What if I don’t have a piano to practice on? Will an electric keyboard be ok to practice on?
A: Practice at home is key to a student’s success; without a decent instrument to practice on the student will struggle to make progress. There are several ways to acquire a good piano. I can help identify local resources where you can purchase a piano new or used. An electric keyboard can work temporarily but consult your instructor before purchasing an electric keyboard. See locally Tri-City Music or Ebony & Ivory Pianos.
Q: What is the benefit of participating in programs such as Ribbon Festival or The Statue Program? Is participation required? Is there extra cost involved?
A: When students participate in these programs they have an opportunity to present their work to the public. Accountability (i.e. deadlines, performances, or exams) motivates students to excel. Though not every student wants to be a concert pianist, every students should receive recognition for their hard work. There is a lot of positive reinforcement that comes with these activities. Students may pick and choose in which programs to participate. All FPS students are encouraged to participate in any or all of the programs. Generally, with any of these extra programs there is extra cost involved. Usually, these activities ask a nominal fee but not all. If the cost of the activities is a concern please speak with your instructor for options.
Q: Is it possible to be dismissed from Fowler Piano Studio?
A: Only in serious circumstances will students be asked to leave FPS. Students are welcome here as long as they progress and work hard. Dismissal usually comes as a result of not following the studio policies on a repeated basis. Parents/students will be informed if they are under consideration for dismissal. The hope is that any problems can be corrected and that we can move forward with making music and learning the piano.
Q: What is a coaching?
A: A coaching is a lesson with me for students outside of FPS given to prepare for an upcoming competition or chamber music performance. The student's current teacher should be aware of the coaching (even invited to attend if desired). The student should already be well prepared for the performance. The coaching time will be spent in helping the student make advanced preparation for their performance. The student remains under the tutelage of their current teacher and a coaching does not constitute acceptance into FPS. Coachings are decided by how much time you'd like to spend in advanced preparation (30 - 120 mins.) and are billed according to the hourly rate ($60/hr). Payment is due upon completion of the coaching. You may schedule several coachings in preparation. It is recommended to schedule coachings within a month or two of the performance date. If you would like to schedule a coaching, click here.
Q: Is Your Goal to Make All Your Students Competition Winners?
A: Not at all. Competitions can be a good way to measure progress. I'm happy to support students interested in participating in competitions. I've participated in several in my life. However, I have serious ethical issues with music competitions. I'm more interested in helping student become lifelong musicians. This comes from helping students develop skills that they can use throughout their lives. Music should be a joyful activity. There can be joy in competitions but when people decide winners and losers in such a limited setting and under such subjective circumstances, its hard to see the long-term good of music competitions.
Q: What's your stance on COVID-19 Vaccinations and Masking in the Studio?
A: Vaccination is not a political issue for me. In a public health crisis, one should do all they can to protect themselves and their loved ones. Depending on the local situation you may be asked and even required to mask-up as part of taking lessons at FPS. However, I do believe that in-person lessons are the best way to teach piano and I will only substitute in-person for online in extreme cases. Humans are not meant to live in lock down but humans can be smart enough to mitigate risk. The vaccine is a modern-day miracle in the fight against COVID. However, whether you get a vaccine is your decision but you assume any and all risk and liabilities that comes with your decision. Concerning masks, I ask that during this time students and parents wear masks but I acknowledge that it is not my job to enforce mask wearing. My hope is that a person would not needlessly put themselves in harms way just to make a political point.