Home Piano Lessons in the Crouch End, Muswell Hill and Finsbury Park vicinity
Hello there, I'm Alvin.
I am a piano teacher offering home piano lessons.
I travel to Crouch End, Hornsey, Muswell Hill, Islington, Finsbury Park, Highgate and Wood Green. The range of postcodes I cover includes N4, N5, N6, N8, N10, N17, N19 and N22.
I teach you to play adaptations of well-known music. I cover genres such as classical, pop, rock, anime, metal and jazz. The music I use in lessons is familiar, current, and at a suitable level of difficulty.
I also prepare students for graded practical examinations and teach song-writing and composition.
I have fifteen years' experience, and have full and current DBS clearance.
Why Learn the Piano With Me?
You learn positively, with music tailored to your abilities.
We work from music that you can play and move on to more difficult repertoire as your skills and concentration improve. The focus is positive, on what you can do and what you can aim for.
I develop your current piano skills so you can continually play harder, impressive-sounding music.
You get to play music you like.
Piano playing requires co-ordination of six or seven tasks, and it is always reassuring and satisfying to know you are playing the correct notes.
Playing songs you are familiar with also helps with improve the reading of musical notation, because you have already have an idea of what the music should sound like, and hence know what the written notes, rhythmic symbols and expression marks are trying to convey.
In my own time, I write out and arrange your favourite songs at a suitable level of difficulty for you to play, at no extra charge to you.
Do you know any other piano teacher who does that on a regular basis?
I charge reasonable rates and am flexible.
My rates vary depending on your location, but they are comparable to rates charged by local music services for children's piano lessons in schools. The current rate charged by Haringey Music Service is £32.00 per hour for the academic year 2017-18.
In some cases - such as when siblings have lessons, and if I'm already in your area - I charge the school lesson rate, or less !
I teach in areas such as Crouch End, Hornsey, Finsbury Park, Muswell Hill and Wood Green, and my travel costs are shared among students. Please contact me to ask - my rates are frequently lower than most teachers who do home visits.
You have control over the timing.
I visit your home to give piano lessons, which means you have a great degree of control over various factors. The first is the timing.
If you are considering piano lessons for a child, it would be good beforehand to know that piano lessons in school may sometimes be timetabled over lunch time (unfortunately, music teachers are paid an hourly rate so it works to their advantage to timetable lessons as closely as possible). If you have a child signed up for piano lessons in school, they may either have to miss a bit of lunch time, and make up for a bit of missed academic time if they are pulled out to attend piano lessons timetabled during these times. Your child may also have to remember to turn up for lessons of their own accord as these will not be made up if missed.
The latter point is especially true if they are in secondary school, because music tutors are not expected to fetch students out of classes to do piano lessons. Secondary school students have piano lessons on a rotating timetable so they do not miss the same academic lesson, and have to come out of different lessons, which may be difficult for them to remember, or they may not be let out by class teachers because they may be doing an important science experiment, having a test, or a supply teacher unfamiliar with instrumental lesson procedures may not let them out to attend their lessons. Choosing a piano teacher that visits your home means you have a lesson at a time that works for you.
And what if the piano lesson is for yourself, a working adult? I work around your schedule and try to find mutually convenient times, which may or may not be on the same day every week. I have taught junior doctors who worked shifts, professionals who travel frequently, and artistes who have had to carve out piano lesson times amidst rehearsals and shows.
You have control over the setting.
Besides the timing, you also have control over the level of background noise. Considering the piano teacher in your child's school? Piano lessons in schools may be timetabled over lunch or break times, which means that not only might your child feel resentful over missing out on playtime, there is a lot of noise coming from the outside which may impact on concentration and ability to focus.
You also have control over where you site the piano. In one school where I was a visiting piano teacher, the only place for the piano was in a shared room, which meant the children having piano lessons had to try to focus while some learning support lessons were going on in the other part of the room, which is not ideal. In another school I teach at, the piano room is set within the main music classroom, so there is always the sound of keyboards, pianos, guitars and drum kits outside the practice room. Piano lessons interfere with class lessons, and vice versa.
By having me visit your home, you have control over the teaching location and you get a piano teacher who works along with how you want to set it out. You arrange things the way you like them and I work with that. Furthermore you can manage the level of extraneous noise and set out the best conditions for yourself or your child - whoever it is that is having the lesson - to focus.
You get better, direct communication.
Peripatetic music teachers often teach in various schools during the day, as well as privately after school hours. If your child is signed up for piano lessons in school, the only time you may have an opportunity to see the piano teacher would be at parents evenings, which instrumental teachers may not be obliged to or may not be able to attend. (They are not necessarily paid to attend such meetings, or may be teaching.) Hence there is little opportunity to discuss with teachers about progress, and for many, the only contact between teacher and parent is an annual report. Sometimes there may also be a student lesson notebook where you can record messages but you would have to wait a week for a reply.
Having piano lessons privately with me means we can discuss progress and areas of concern immediately after the lesson. The feedback loop is instant, ever-ready, and you can even sit in on the lessons and observe your child's lesson if you wish. It's your house!
I have no cancellation fees.
I am particularly understanding if you need to cancel at short notice (e.g. due to child illness). Or maybe you've suddenly remembered about another appointment - as long as I've not appeared at your doorstep, that's fine!
Other music schools or tutors may require you to give 24 hours' notice for cancelling a lesson. I don't - no one plans an illness in advance! - and I understand that life sometimes just gets a little bit complicated for our liking!
Need a recap?
Music you like
A positive learning process
Control over timing and setting
No cancellation fees, no contract, no notice period!
If you are considering lessons either for yourself or your child, please contact me via one of the following ways:
by email: email@example.com
by text or phone: 0795 203 6516
In order for me to comprehensively answer your query, it is always useful for me to know the following:
(i) Your location (road name and/or postcode is sufficient);
(ii) The kind of piano you have (either upright, digital or electronic keyboard);
(iii) If you have been learning the piano elsewhere before, and for how long (if at all); and
(iv) The days and times you might possibly be free to have lessons on.
Blog Snippets - more in the Posts section!
In the years before recording and broadcasting became popular, or before it became possible to record sounds onto media, instruments that played pre-set tunes were very popular. If you had one of these instruments, the need for a live musician was no longer a requirement. You could get music for entertainment simply by turning a handle or some sort of lever to provide an audience with music for functions such as social dancing, entertainment or religious ones such as church services. That is in stark contrast to today's society, where you are almost inundated with music in a world where people try to use it to influence your behaviour. Society is full - arguably too full - of electrical and non-electrical devices that will give you music even if you don't want it!
One of the more popular mechanical instruments in 18th century Italy was the barrel organ. The instrument was popularised by Giovanni Barbieri, and went on to assume his name - at least in French circles, where it was known as the orgue de Barbarie. In a way it is not dissimilar to the broken chord Alberti bass pattern, which took on the name of the musician that made it well known. Barbieri's organ was a small instrument that rested on the player's left hip while the player's right hand turned a handle. The handle in turn moved a drum with raised studs or pins, which as it moved came into contact with triggers that opened panels that deflected wind from the bellows to enter into different pipes, each pipe playing a note in the music.
Each full rotation of the barrel produced a complete song.
In the nineteenth century, the size of the organs grew in proportion to the complexity and length of the music. Some organs also had more than one barrel and could hence play different tunes.
Barbieri's instrument and the technology (for its time, anyway) grew to be more popular than the pioneer himself. So much so that in France, the instrument was increasingly marketed as "un veritable orgue de barberie fait par les sauvages". In the early 19th century, an Italian living in Paris by the name of Gavioli started making large portable ones by replacing the barrel with cardboard strips. This made the organ lighter although it did not necessarily result in an overall size reduction. Gavioli's organs were made portable by carrying them around in hand carts, where they were pushed out to streets and played by people known as "organ grinders"!
The orchestra of the future? Not quite, but you can see where the invention was headed for. The orchestrion was a organ that attempted to recreate the sound of the orchestra instead of the monotonous drawl of the organ, which must have seemed quite futuristic at that time. This resulted in it having an immense range of pipes of different sounds to imitate the orchestral instruments, even including percussion instruments like cymbals and drums, taking up a lot of space, and costing a lot. Only wealthy households could afford an orchestrion.
As with many things, when the move towards bigger and grander designs had been explored, the mood shifted towards smaller and sleeker items that could do the same job. So as the taste for bigger musical instruments became satiated, their popularity declined. In the 1820s and 1830s the music box and its the clockwork driven cylinder mechanism made an emergence. The pins on the cylinder raised the tongues of the steel comb, and when they pinged back in place the vibration of the tongues produced notes. The later arrival of the gramophone, however, relegated the music box to status of novelty item.
All these musical instruments of the past - the barrel organ, the orchestrion and the music box - may seem antiquated in comparison to today's music playing devices, and they are - can you imagine having one Iphone for every four or five songs you listened to? But if you ever looked at the inner mechanism of one, even the humble music box, it is difficult not to appreciate the both the simplicity in materials used for the construction as well as the design of one. Who could have thought that a cylinder with a few raised studs on it would be the technology behind the mechanical instrument?
It is also difficult not to appreciate the craft and skill that has gone into creating the music "sheet", the flat metal with studs that eventually goes around the barrel. While later craftsmen who created the replica tunes for subsequent machines had a template to follow, how did the pioneering craftsmen work out the differences in spacing between the pins of the barrel that would ensure the tune produced would be correct, right down to the last semiquaver? If some studs were a little too close, the music would sound too fast in sections; too far apart and some notes would sound late. Either way, a high degree of precision was needed to make sure the studs aligned both vertically and horizontally.
Take your typical piano sheet music. Turn it ninety degrees to the right, so the bass and treble clefs are at the top. Each dot on the staves represents a stud on the barrel or cylinder that instrument makers have to create but on a much smaller scale. The notes that are viewed horizontally have to match, so that they come in at the same time, and the vertical spacing between studs has to be right so that the duration of notes is correct before the next one comes in. In the humble music box the accuracy has to be right down to the last millimetre.
For the barrel organ, which relied on air being correctly funneled to pipes, the same level of accuracy was required. If the panel opened too much because the pin was too big, too much air entered the pipe and it sounded too loud.
So how did the instrument makers go about creating the music sheet for these instruments? The answer is no surprise, because the principles are the same with learning any craft or skill. The craftsman working on the music box had an idea of what he wanted to achieve and went about in a methodical way to attain the result. He had some idea of where the marks were going to be; some sort of general impression. In the course of the actual construction work he rechecked his marks by wrapping the partially finished sheet over a cylinder and going over the notes to check they were playing correctly. He would then turn his attention to correcting any errors, then playing through sections to check if the studs were correct and would play the correct notes in the correct time, and repeat the whole process, until he had a whole song. But the song wasn't always necessarily constructed in a linear order from start to finish. In more complex songs, sections of music were broken up, and the pins were worked on in different sections before being assembled together.
We can approach a piece of music in the same way. Get a general impression of a piece of music before you attempt it. Listen to a recording to get an idea of how it sounds, and then try sight reading it just to get a general idea. Work on extensive pieces of music in short sections, rather than in a linear fashion wholly from start to finish. Go over the bars of music that are incorrect to improve them rather than be too enamoured with the parts that you have played correctly. It is rewarding for the ego to hear yourself playing nice music, but to bring the sections that are weaker in performance to the same standard as the others. Then you have something that is consistent in quality throughout the duration of the piece.
Home Piano Lessons | firstname.lastname@example.org | 0795 203 6516