Tag Archives: online lessons

Lesson status and album release

Hello, everybody! Since my previous update at the end of last year, not much has changed on the lessons front. All of my lessons are still currently being given online using Skype and Zoom. I understand that potential new pupils might be sceptical about starting with e teacher this way, so my usual offer of an hour of free tuition still stands.

Over the last year and a half I’ve learnt a lot about ways to support online learning – I’ve recorded more audio and video examples for my pupils than in the entirety of my career so far! Good lesson notes, both from me and my pupils have proven more important than ever and I’ve had to refine my use of language and how I explain concepts. I feel that I’m better equipped as a teacher than ever. If anyone is thinking about starting lessons online with me but isn’t entirely convinced about them being online, I’m open to an additional hour of free tuition on top of the usual one that I offer.

I other news, I’ve spent the best part of 10 months writing and recording a solo piano album. Over the years I’ve had a tendency to begin compositions before finding another interesting idea and moving on to that. As such, I’ve had quite a few pieces of music left unfinished for a long time. The oldest piece on this album actually began life in 2013! As I’ve had fewer lessons to teach during the pandemic, I decided to take a project through to completion. The result is my new album, Let the Journey Begin!

My biggest inspiration for the album comes from old video game soundtracks – in particular, old JRPGs like Final Fantasy and Chrono Trigger. With older games, the lack of graphical power and disc space meant that facial expressions and voice acting for characters were limited, and thus the music had to carry the emotional weight of the scene and tell the story. These qualities are what I’ve tried to emulate with my writing.

My album is available to purchase on Bandcamp (click the link to be taken to my Bandcamp page). For the princely sum of £6, you’ll receive not only the audio, but also sheet music for every track. If you feel that my music is worth your money, this is a great way to support me.

If you prefer to stream music, you can listen on Spotify or on YouTube.

The cover artwork for my album was done by the wonderful Shannon Leslie. She works in traditional media and I highly recommend checking out her website: https://www.shannonleslieart.com/

Current status of lessons as of 31.08.20

Hello everybody. It’s been a while since I last posted any news and that’s because, up until the COVID-19 pandemic, lessons were running regularly.

Since the government declared lockdown back in April, I switched over to teaching online with the pupils I already had and didn’t take any new pupils. While I do believe online lessons are effective, I feel that it’s a lot easier to demonstrate concepts to a beginner in person.

That said, I’m now offering lessons to new pupils (with the first hour free, as usual). There are a few requirements I have:

  • Pupils must already have a piano or keyboard. I know there are some beginners who prefer to try a lesson before committing to the cost of buying an instrument, which is fine for in person lessons, but won’t work online.
  • Pupils must be able to set up a webcam/laptop/tablet/phone at one end of the instrument so that it’s possible to see the length of the keyboard plus your hands, arms and torso. This view will probably leave your head outside of the camera, which is a little strange, especially when talking, but necessary for each of us to see what’s being demonstrated or practised and general posture.
  • For kids (especially those who are beginners), I require that a parent or guardian is in the room with them for at least the first few lessons and is willing to learn alongside them. Some kids can be very shy coming along for lessons in person and I imagine that that goes double for online lessons. If the parent/guardian wants to continue learning alongside them for longer than the first few lessons, that’s fine by me.

As I mentioned previously, the first hour will be free. I offer this for in person lessons to make sure that pupils are absolutely happy with me as a teacher before they begin paying; for online lessons it’s also to make sure that pupils get a chance to decide whether online lessons are for them and to sort out any technical issues that may arise.

Finally, since it’s always a leap starting lessons with someone new, I plan to create and upload some tutorial videos aimed at beginners so people can get an idea of what my teaching is like.

Thanks for reading and stay safe.