Piano Lessons by Nancy Frase
Discovering your unique path to musical achievement
Are you associated with Main Street Music by the Dollar Store?
No, nor am I associated with the Piano & Guitar Institute located near Stuft Burger. I am an independent piano teacher with a private studio.
What is the earliest age at which you would be willing to teach my child?
The short answer is: about age six or seven -- but it depends on the child.
I do tend to start sooner with children who have special needs because the timing of the intervention can hugely impact brain development, which greatly affects quality of life down the road. Traditional options are often not a good fit for these younger children -- I find great satisfaction in providing a solution for that gap.
I offer an option to parents of children under age six where I spend an hour or two with the parents to educate them on some basic musical concepts. In turn, the parents can pass along that education over a longer period of time in everyday situations (for example, brushing teeth to a four-beat rhythm). (More info: Lesson Format)
Also, there are other music educators in the area who offer programs specifically geared for the younger age group -- they are better equipped to handle the perpetual high-energy motion of younger children. (More info: Helpful Links)
Do you teach adults?
Yes, yes, yes! Traditionally, about 5% of my students have been / are adults. Adults come with a wealth of life experience that makes for very interesting lessons (and they don't wiggle quite as much as children). I am especially passionate about working with those who are enjoying their golden years -- the learning and practicing helps keep their brains young. (More info: Lesson Format)
But, am I too old to learn how to play the piano?
If you are able to sit upright and pay attention for a period of time, and at least one of your hands is more or less functional, you are still "young enough" to learn how to play the piano. I've worked with students who are dealing with arthritis, improperly healed finger fractures, partial paralysis, limited sight, limited hearing, short term memory loss -- all of that just gives us more excuses to laugh at ourselves in the process. Keep in mind that my eldest student was 85 years young . . . she set the bar rather high for everyone else.
And, the joy is in the process of learning, not in the "arriving" -- there is no particular level of proficiency that we have to achieve before your lessons are considered a success. You officially become a "pianist" on day one. (More info: Lesson Format)
How much should a student practice?
There are two conditions that keep students encouraged and interested in continuing lessons: 1) steady progress, and 2) a sense of fun. So, there needs to be enough practice that progress is being made but not so much that it becomes drudgery.
A good guideline for total number of minutes of practice per week can be determined by this formula: [child's age] x [12 minutes]. For adults, four to six hours per week is a good guideline. It is best to divide the practice into shorter, more frequent sessions. (More info: Practice Guidelines)
What kind/quality of piano do we need in our home for practicing?
Basically, you have two options. One option is a traditional acoustic piano and the other is a digital keyboard. A "real" piano (meaning an acoustic one) offers the best experience. There is nothing like the feel and sound of a real piano, assuming that piano is in good condition and is in tune. Keeping an acoustic piano in good playing condition requires significant money and some time. If those are in short supply for you, then a higher quality digital keyboard may be the better option. (More info: Buying a Piano)
What kind of piano do you have in your studio?
I have two Wurlitzer acoustic upright pianos that I use as my main teaching pianos. I also have two digital pianos: a Yamaha YPG-625 and a Yamaha YPG-635. Their feel and touch are very consistent with an acoustic grand piano. The second piano has a full bank of pedals including a damper pedal that allows for a half-pedal effect. Both pianos have a bunch of really cool bells and whistles that support the creative side of piano playing. (More info: In My Studio)
Where do you teach?
My piano studio is in Windsor, three blocks north of the intersection of Main Street and 7th Street. Most students come to the studio for lessons. However, under rare circumstances, I have been known to travel to the homes of my students (travel fee applicable) for lessons. (More info: In My Studio and In Your Home)
During what hours do you teach?
I tend to maintain a fluid schedule so I can adapt to whatever is occurring in my life in the moment. That also allows me to be more flexible around when I am available for lessons.
During the school year, I typically teach Monday through Friday evenings, and during the daytime on Tuesdays, Fridays, and Sundays. (More info: Fees & Schedule)
Do you teach during the summer?
Yes! And, my schedule is more flexible in the summer. Some of my students are college students who take lessons only during the summer because they are too busy during the school year. (More info: Fees & Schedule)
What are your fees?
Children - 30 min - $29
Teens - 45 min - $37
Adults - 60 min - $45
Fees increases, if any, occur on June 1st of each year..
Lessons can be scheduled for every week or every other week. I am available to teach 50 of the 52 weeks each year.
Travel fee per trip (mileage calculated one way from my studio):
1 mile - $6.50
2 miles - $9.00
3 miles - $11.00
Each additional mile: $1.50
The fee structure is per-lesson. If there is no lesson, there is no fee. I do not utilize monthly flat-fee contracts.
Payments are due on the day the fees are incurred. However, some people pay for a block of lessons in advance with a single payment. Either way is fine.
There is no registration or set-up fee.
(More info: Fees & Schedule)
Is there a discount if siblings are taking lessons in the same time frame?
Yes! The fee would be based upon the overall time period. For example, if you have two siblings who are scheduled, back-to-back, for 30-minute lessons, the discount would be $5 per pair of lessons (two independent 30-minute lessons would be $29+$29=$58, while two back-to-back 30-minute lessons would be $53 for the both). (More info: Fees & Schedule)
Which curriculum do you use?
I prefer the Faber course of study for children and the Alfred course of study for adults. However, if a transfer student is already using another course, I am happy to continue using that course. (More info: Lesson Format)
Can you describe a typical lesson?
Lessons usually focus on technique (how to play a piece of music accurately), ear training (how to identify and name what you are hearing), music theory (the architecture of music) and composition (creating original pieces of music).
Depending upon the learning style of the student, I may focus on only one of those components for a lesson or two until there is a "breakthrough" in understanding, or I may touch on more than one within a single lesson to "keep things moving". (More info: Lesson Format)
How much involvement do you expect from parents?
For younger children (ages 6-8), I expect the parents to be heavily involved in the lesson and in the practice sessions. During the lessons, the parent sits at or near the keyboard with the student, taking notes and sometimes actually playing along with the student. Essentially, there will be two students -- the parent and the child. During practice sessions, the parent needs to be at the keyboard, actively assisting the student with learning the material.
For children who are a bit older (ages 9-11), I expect the parents to remain in the waiting area (or even in the music area) and to actively listen to the lesson. The parent should listen in on the practice sessions and offer guidance at times.
For children age 12 and above, the parent and the student can jointly determine what level of parental involvement is best. (More info: Lesson Format)
Do you provide any supplemental activities?
Yes! I hold two recitals per year, one around Memorial Day and one just before Thanksgiving.
How do we get signed up for lessons with you?
Before we make any agreements, I would like to meet with you and your child (if applicable) for a no charge, no obligation initial consultation. The consultation usually lasts about 30 minutes and is best held at the location the lessons will occur. This will help both parties determine if this partnership can be successful before we make any commitments. If we do decide to move forward, we can figure out the details during this consultation. (More info: Fees & Schedule)
My child is asking to learn guitar instead of piano -- what do you recommend?
I'm a bit prejudiced, of course . . . I recommend your child learn how to play piano first. The piano provides a very solid foundation for learning other instruments -- the piano is unique in that way. After a year or two of piano lessons, you'll be in a better place to re-evaluate and decide if your child should switch to guitar lessons or if he/she should study both instrument simultaneously. (More info: Why Piano?)
What makes you different from other piano teachers?
The three most distinguishing characteristics of my teaching style are:
How long have you been teaching?
I started teaching in Windsor in July of 2008. I also taught when I was in high school and college.
What qualifies you as a teacher?
While I do not have a degree in music education, I have a lifetime of experience as a musician:
I also have an extensive experience as an educator and public speaker, and plenty of experience working with children. In 2016, I graduated from Colorado State University with a B.S. in Psychology with an emphasis on memory, learning, and sensory perception. I am currently attending Adams State University. I plan to graduate in 2020 with a master's degree in Counselor Education with a dual emphasis on clinical mental health and school counseling. I also have a private counseling practice located here in Windsor.
(More info: About Nancy)
Are you going to continue teaching in this area for the foreseeable future?
That is my plan! I have invested a great deal of time, money and energy into establishing myself professionally in Windsor -- and I truly love teaching my students about the wonder of creating music. I really became emotionally invested in the Windsor community during the tornado clean-up as I stood shoulder-to-shoulder with my neighbors working to restore our town. I'm not leaving anytime soon!