Our quiet, clean and intimate studio, unmatched in the Tallahassee area, is equipped with two Baldwin 6’3 L concert grand pianos, as well as one Kawai 801-C upright acoustic piano. Several keyboards are also available. The backbone of any piano studio should be a well-regulated, quality instrument. Due to their extensive use, the grand pianos in my studio are tuned at least two times per year (with additional tunings as needed for special events, such as audition recordings and master classes). Temperature and humidity are carefully regulated and monitored to this end. The hygrometers inside the pianos aren’t just tools to ensure consistency, but also conversation starters for my students’ parents. Once they inquire about them, I can chat about the importance of keeping the piano tuned and well regulated, optimal humidity and temperature conditions, placement within the house, etc.
I have put a lot of thought and work in designing my piano studio. The art is fun, irreverent, yet pertinent. I fell in love with a set of composer banners that I saw at my local music store. Upon inquiring, I was told that they were not for sale, and that they were part of a publicity campaign. After a couple of phone calls and e-mails to Germany, Baerenreiter Publishing graciously shipped a set free of charge. My students love the funny composer pictures and quotes.
A positive environment should extend not just to the student and instructor, but to the parents and/or siblings that are waiting, sometimes in excess of 90 minutes, for a lesson to end. Therefore, I set aside a small waiting area, with comfortable seating, refreshments, coffee, Wi-Fi, and a table with pertinent literature.
Recitals can be a frightful experience for students, and dress rehearsals in the recital venue are not always feasible due to complicated schedules and overbooking of the halls. My studio incorporates a “mini recital hall” with seating for 50. Although far more informal and low-key than the real deal, it is a great aid to be able to conduct dress rehearsals and group classes so that all students –from the newbie to the seasoned performer- can experience firsthand the challenges and thrills of the presence of an audience.
The studio is also equipped with state of the art video and audio equipment, available to KNPS students for their college/conservatory audition taping. In addition to occasionally videotaping lessons (both individual and group) for self-feedback and effective teaching, I also record orientation videos for new students, as well as instructional videos for more seasoned students.
I operate a lending library, fed largely by my own collection as well as donations from present and past students, as well as complete strangers. Students in financial need of a gently used method book, or those simply looking for an obscure piece, appreciate having access to free educational materials.
Although it may seem superfluous, the type of bench a teacher uses makes a difference in the experience of the student. I find the traditional artist benches (with the knobs on the side) to be cumbersome and time-wasting. Older students with physical problems find the turning difficult, and it is also often hard for the younger students. The newer hydraulic benches, adjust easily and expeditiously. Superfluous? I don’t think so! Before the hydraulic benches, students spent, on the average, 90 seconds adjusting the bench. With 10 students every day, that amounts to upwards of 15 wasted teaching minutes daily. Details do matter.
Students have access to three PCs equipped with the latest music learning software and games, as well as countless fun learning aides, such as flashcards, movies, and more.
The studio is conveniently and centrally located near Riggins and Mahan, next to shopping and entertainment venues, as well as many medical offices.