Rock Canyon Piano

Rock Canyon Piano


About this pro

I have a well-rounded program, teaching hymns & popular music of various levels, as well as classical music and music of contemporary composers that are selected by the students as part of their festival solo and duet preparation.  Every student also gets to play a large pipe organ in December, and I try to teach some conducting also.  Students use various computer programs to learn theory and sight reading every week, as well as use various theory books and materials, so that they are able to thoroughly understand the music they are playing.  This prepares them to particitpate in the 10 levels of AIM (Achievement in Music) and/or take AP Music in High School.  This is possible by having 2 students come at the same time, so while one student is at the piano, the other is able to work on the computer or in workbooks.

I like to see students be successful in their endeavors, and watch them grow up and mature over the years.  Several of my students have been able to play the organ for their wards, or piano in other organizations, or accompany, or have gone on to major or minor in music at various universities.  Some students have been able to earn a 60 point Gold Cup in festival (this takes 12 years or combining points from concerto festival), have been able to compose works played by the Utah Valley Youth Symphony, have also entered hymn or concerto festival in addition to solo and duet festival, have played a concerto with a symphony, and all students get to play for a retirement home twice a year. Some students have been able to complete all 10 levels of AIM - for more info on this, please see the UMTA website.  Each year on completing AIM, students get medals, certificates, composer statues or money, and if they make the honors recital, this last year they got $20. 

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Provo, UT 84604
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What is your typical process for working with a new student?

First I have an interview with a questionaire that the students (or parents if a young child) have to fill out.  I listen to some pieces that they have played if they are a transfer student, or if they are a beginner I like to see if they have figured out how to play anything on the piano, or if they can sing in tune, and how their sense of rhythm is by having them clap back to me some simple rhythms.  I also like to see any theory books that they have completed if a transfer student.  I also like to use any books that the student  already has at home, and then supplement the books he already has with various other books.  The interview costs $10 and usually takes 45 min - 1 hour, and then I have a booklet of materials and info that the parents and students can borrow to read. I like to eventually use a variety of books, and gradually work up to using more books, but originally I try to do a lot of rote technic work and fun rote things like chopsticks and the fist song.

What education and/or training do you have that relates to your work?

I took piano lessons from age 5 through 5 years of university study.  I majored in Music Ed with a vocal and piano emphasis and studied both piano and vocal pedagogy at BYU.  I also received an Elementary Ed. degree and have taught in both Elementary and Junior High.  I taught both voice and piano at Schenectady, NY Conservatory of Music, and have taught piano privately for many years.  I also received an MA in Music Ed.  I have been a ward organist since high school, and our Stake organist for over 20 years.  I took Don Cook's group organ class at BYU and am currently on Level 5 of his 6 levels of organ mastery.  I went with Doug Bush on his last organ tour to Europe in order to play all the organs that Bach played during his lifetime.  I have been an active member of our Provo/Orem chapter of UMTA for many years, in which every month we learn new ideas on how to better improve our teaching.  UMTA also sponsors a state conference which is dedicated to spreading ideas on how to become a better piano teacher.

Do you have a standard pricing system for your lessons? If so, please share the details here.

From Sept - May I charge $75 a month for half hour lessons for young beginners (usually stay for an hour each week to work on theory and computer during the other half hour), and $90 a month for 45 min. lessons (usually stay 1 1/2 hours, or if combine with another sibling, I can alternate a half hour lesson with a 45 minute lesson so that two students stay 1 hour and 15 minutes.  In June, I divide that charge by 4 so that they only pay for the lessons they receive.  I don't usually teach in July or August, except for the last week of August when I sometimes will start some lessons.  I also charge $50 registration per family that I use to pay for books, materials, and fees for participation in Festivals and AIM, which I purchase and deduct from their $50.  If I run out of that money, I ask for more.  If needed I try to use used books if possible to lesson the cost of materials, but I try to not use many copies, as that is usually breaking the copyright laws.  The monthly charge includes mini recitals to prepare for festival participation etc., playing for retirement homes, and other recitals, as these are very important for improving motivation to practice diligently.

How did you get started teaching?

After completing a BA from BYU, I taught 4th grade in Schenectady,NY and taught piano and voice in the evening at the Schenectady Conservatory of Music.  After marriage my husband was in the Air Force, so I would at first travel to people's homes to teach piano or voice until we were able to afford to buy a piano.  Since we moved frequently at odd times of the year, it was not possible to teach in public schools.

What types of students have you worked with?

I've taught very gifted 4 yr olds through high school mostly, but I have also taught adults.  Usually I like to start beginners after they can read somewhat fluently, or have their parents stay for their lessons and help them with their theory and computer.

Describe a recent event you are fond of.

My students played for Legacy Retirement Home in April, 2018.  The person in charge of scheduling forgot to post the announcement in the Legacy Bulletin so none of the residents knew we were coming, the upright piano in their meeting room was out of tune, the grand piano in their meeting room had disappeared, so the only grand piano available was in the lobby of the 2nd floor, right near where 2 of my former neighbors had their apartments and next to the elevators.  We got some folding chairs and my students helped to set them up, and there ended up being quite a few residents there to hear them, plus everyone who walked in the building.  All the students got to play, had fun and treats afterwards, and it turned out to be very successful. 

My grand-daughter had studied piano with me for 12 years, received a 60 point gold cup in duets and solos from Federated Music Teachers for her participation in festival, received medals from AIM and FAIM for having achieved the highest level - level10, and then her school orchestra played a 5-8 minute orchestra piece that she had composed all by herself.

What advice would you give a student looking to hire a teacher in your area of expertise?

Set goals for yourself to practice on a regular basis.  Record your practicing on the practice chart I give you.  You will only make as much progress as you are willing to put effort into your practicing.  I suggest in 2nd grade, it should be 20 minutes 5 times a week, in 3rd grade it should be 30 minutes 5 times a week, in 4th grade it should be 40 minutes 5 times a week - up to an hour by 6th grade.  Parents should be willing to help make sure that a practice record is kept.  I do not require 2-4 hours a day of practicing, which is what is generally required to compete in concerto competitions locally and nationally, but generally if you want to be able to play hymns for seminary by 9th grade, it is necessary to put in the time practicing.

If you can't put in that amount of time, you can still learn to enjoy making music, and will learn enough to be able to competently sing a part in a choir, conduct, know a little bit about the organ, and be able to play many simpler pieces.

What questions should students think through before talking to teachers about their needs?

Music lessons take time because of the practicing that is involved, so don't overload yourself with tons of extra curricular activities.  I am willing to change times to accommodate changes in schedules, if possible. 

The handouts that I give during the interview usually answer lots of questions, and that is also a good time to ask questions.