Piano, Violin and Singing Lessons

Looking for a piano, violin or singing teacher? 

 Here are some Frequently Asked Questions about starting lessons:

Who can learn? 

Children aged from three and a half (piano and violin) or five (singing), and adults of any age! Absolute beginners, advanced players and those in between are all welcome. My adults tend to be a bit more camera-shy, so you won't see so many photos of them, but they actually make up about half my Studio.

But I'm not musical!  

You can be! If you've always wanted to learn, but never thought you could, or just never got round to it, I'd love to hear from you. 

And who are you?  

My name is Miss Anna C Smith, and I've been teaching in Darlington since 2007. I'm a friendly, patient, experienced and enthusiastic teacher, who loves to see my students develop and reach their potential - especially those who think they don't have any! I'm a member of the Incorporated Society of Musicians, and have been DBS checked. You can find out more about me here

Where do lessons take place?  

Students come to my home in Darlington for their lessons, either in a specially adapted room with a new digital piano, or my main teaching room with my lovely boudoir grand. 

What happens in a lesson?  

Lessons are interactive, student-centred, and most of all, fun! Music theory and general musicianship are incorporated naturally into the lessons lessons (as appropriate to the student's age and ability). 

How long are lessons?  

It varies, as the most appropriate length is determined by each student's needs and age. I usually recommend starting with forty five minutes, as that works really well for most people - giving plenty of time to fit everything in, without asking children (or adults!) to concentrate for too long. 

How often will I have a lesson?  

Lessons are usually weekly, but other arrangements may be possible. Younger children sometimes benefit from having two shorter lessons a week - rather than one longer one - especially when starting out

How much does it cost?  

See here for details of my fees.  

What do I need?  

Enthusiasm, dedication, and (except for singers!) an instrument to play!  

But I don't have an instrument!  

For piano students what you will need is an acoustic or digital piano, with fully weighted keys. If you don't already have one, I am happy to help with finding or choosing one - just get in touch and ask. There are definitely bargains to be found, and even some pianos available for free!  

Violin students can borrow an instrument from me during the trial period (see below), and then hire one from me until you've acquired a violin of your own. If you'd prefer to purchase your own instrument straight away, I'm happy to advise; with children I would recommend holding off on buying a violin until I have had a chance to measure them, as the general age guides that shops often use to determine which size they need are extremely approximate, and can result in you being sold a violin one, or even two, sizes too big or small! 

Will I need to practise at home?  

Yes! Regular practice makes all the difference to both a student's progress, and their enjoyment of playing. However, I do understand that keeping up with practice is not always easy, especially for busy adult learners. A good aim to start with would be 10 - 15 minutes for young children, or 20 - 30 minutes for older children and adults, five days a week. 

What about exams?  

Students who wish to take practical or theory exams can do so, whilst those who have a different performance goal in mind, or who just want to learn for pleasure, are equally welcome. 

Will I have any opportunity to play with others or take part in a performance?  

Yes, if you'd like to. Music is at is essence a collaborative, social activity, but that can easily be lost when someone is taking one-to-one lessons. For that reason, I offer regular opportunities for my students to play and learn with one another, such as buddy lessons, music fun days and music parties for children; and duet lessons, workshops and ensemble sessions for adults. I can also advise and support students in joining a local orchestra, band or choir

In terms of performing, there are plenty of informal and more formal opportunities. Children take part in a very friendly student concert at the end of each term, and children and adults are also invited to take other opportunities to play for others, such as visits to local retirement or care homes. Hopefully there's something for everyone, but those who just wish to play for themselves are also welcome.  

A special outing to perform in a 'real' concert hall.

Playing together - outdoors and 2m apart! - with two of my adult students in Summer 2020

What is the best age to start lessons?  

This really does vary as every child is different, but I'm happy to advise - get in touch and I can help. With adults, all ages are welcome!   

When can I start?  

Possibly straight away! Get in touch now to see what spaces are available. 

Sounds great....but I'm not sure if it's right for me/my child. Can I have a trial before deciding?  

Yes! The first step is to get in touch so we can have a chat, and I can answer any questions or concerns you may have. If you decide you'd like to go ahead with tuition, everyone starts with a two week trial. After that, you can decide whether you'd like to book further lessons.   

You haven't answered my question here! 

Get in touch, and I'll be happy to answer any further queries you might have.