Here are questions I often get from folks. Maybe I can answer one of yours below.
Q: Do I have to read music to play an instrument?
A: Nope. Reading music is lots of fun, but Keith Richards can’t read a note, and it didn’t hold him up any.
Q: How old should someone be to start lessons?
A: On piano, a 5-year old can receive benefit of spending time with a teacher at the keyboard. On guitar, wait until the child has some fine motor skills available to press down the strings. This would be 8 years and older, but of course there are exceptions.
Q: Am i too old to learn an instrument?
A: NO! I love teaching older folks. I love to see them acquire a skill they’d always wanted, and have the joy of playing music.
Q: What kind of guitar should I start with?
A: I recommend starting with a classical style guitar. It is the easiest to play because it has nylon strings and a wide neck. You do compromise on sound, though, because it is softer and quieter than that of a steel string. If all you have is a steel string, we’ll just start with that.
Q: What’s the difference between a classical, steel string, or electric guitar?
A: A classical guitar has nylon strings and so is easier to play than a steel string. A steel string guitar has steel strings and a narrow neck, making it a challenge for beginners, but the sound is rich and projects well. An electric guitar has steel strings, but it has better “action” than a steel string, meaning the strings are closer to the neck making the easiest guitar to play. An electric guitar needs to be connected by cable to an amplifier to project its sound.
Q: Do I need a piano, or is an electronic keyboard ok for piano lessons?
A: An acoustic piano does not have to be plugged in. The sound and power can be wonderful, but acoustic pianos will go out of tune and you need to have someone come in and tune it once a year. If you need a piano, I recommend a digital piano, also called electronic or electric. Check out Craig’s List for second-hand pianos such as the Yamaha Clavinova, Casio Privia, or Korg B1SP 88.
You can also use less expensive electronic pianos, but I do recommend sticking with the companies mentioned above. These sometimes come with all kinds of cool patches and sounds and built-in metronomes which are great assets. I do recommend that the keyboard have at least 64 keys (a full-sized piano has 88 keys). Also, try to get an electronic piano with “weighted” keys – it plays more like a real piano. Feel free to text me at (703) 957-8056 with questions or if you want my opinion on the instrument you are considering.
Q: Can my special needs child learn to play piano?
A: I cannot speak to all special needs, but I have taught several students with mild autism and dyslexia. We shared many profitable, engaging hours together. I am willing to meet with anyone who is truly interested in learning a to play a musical instrument.