Frequently asked questions

Here you will find answers to frequently asked questions about piano lessons and related matters. Is your question not listed here? Please contact me, I will be happy to answer your questions.

Can I take online lessons?

At the moment all lessons are online until further notice. Lessons can be taken via Zoom, Microsoft Teams or Skype.

Can I get a trial lesson?

Yes, a 30-minute lesson costs €20 including VAT and is paid in cash or transferred immediately after the trial lesson. You can register here.

Can I start with piano lessons anytime of the year?

Yes this is certainly possible. Please contact me and I will be happy to discuss the possibilities with you.

From which age can I take piano lessons?

There is no ideal age to learn to play the piano. The most important thing is curiosity and the motivation to learn. Once your child enjoys making music and wants to learn more about it, piano lessons are an excellent idea.

How can I help my child in learning to play the piano?

As a parent, paying attention to your child’s discoveries on the piano and talking about them at an appropriate time will give your child the necessary confidence to make rapid progress. Parents of young beginners receive an overview with tips during the first lesson how to help them practice. The following practical advice also applies:

  • Buy a piano. Your child will not be able to make progress without regular practice at home.
  • Put the piano in a comfortable place in the house, but make sure the TV is away and is turned off while practicing.
  • Have your piano tuned regularly. Children, just like adults, enjoy playing on a well-tuned instrument.
  • Encourage your child to play the piano.
  • Buy a height-adjustable piano stool.

I don't have a piano yet. Can I get help choosing an instrument?

I can certainly advise you. Even with a small budget it is possible to buy a good second-hand piano.

Many piano stores also offer a rent-to-buy plan as an option where you pay a fixed amount per month. After a while the piano will be yours. Suppose playing the piano is not what you had expected it to be, you can simply return the instrument after one year. In this way you avoid having invested in purchasing a piano.

Some questions you should ask yourself are:

  • What is my budget?
  • How much room do I have for the piano?
  • Do I have to consider my neighbours?

What piano do I need at home to study?

Practicing works best on a well-maintained and tuned acoustic instrument. This does not have to be a brand new one, second-hand instruments can also be excellent. When playing the piano, the way your keys respond to touch is essential. With an acoustic piano, not only the sound but also the touch is generally much better than with digital instruments.

If you cannot have a regular acoustic piano due to noise, the next best thing is a Yamaha silent piano. This is also an acoustic instrument, but has the ability to reproduce the sampled sound through headphones.

If your budget is a bit smaller, a digital piano is a good alternative. Digital pianos often have weighted keys that allow you to create dynamics. In general, the rule applies: the more expensive the piano, the more nuanced the instrument responds to the touch. You can then listen to the piano sound with the aid of headphones, or adjust the volume of the speakers.

People often ask me whether a keyboard is also an option. A keyboard usually has about 60 keys instead of the full 88. Often there is a limit to how many tones can be played simultaneously, something one achieves surprisingly quickly by using a pedal. Sometimes the keys are also less wide than on a piano. Finally, these keys are very superficial in touch, completely different from a real instrument and the timbre is uniform and cannot be influenced. That’s why I don’t recommend practicing on a keyboard.

How much should I study?

First of all, it is important that you learn to study effectively. The amount of time you need to get results depends on the difficulty of the pieces you want to be able to play and how fast you want to advance. I recommend beginners to study for half an hour at least five times a week. Before you start studying for three consecutive hours: it is more effective to study often briefly than all at once in a long run.

I cannot read music. Is this a problem?

This is no problem. Learning to play from musical notation is an integral part of my piano lessons.

Can I play pop songs in my piano lessons?

Yes you can, but my expertise and the focus of my lessons is on a classical playing technique. Once you gained this, it is possible to explore all kinds of music styles. If you want to become a keyboard player in a band, it is better to turn to a specialist in pop music as a teacher, unless you also want to explore the classical repertoire.

Is it possible to take lessons at home?

Yes this is possible, but because I cannot teach someone else during my travel time, unfortunately I have to count the travel time as lesson time as well. If you want half an hour of lessons and you live fifteen minutes by bike from the studio, then you have to take one hour of lessons. I calculate travel time in multiples of fifteen minutes due to the starting times of my lessons.

Another possibility is to take online lessons.

Do I have to purchase music books myself?

When students are just starting to play the piano, I almost always work from a course book. Not only is all your material conveniently assembled, you can also find a lot of information in it to read at home. Advanced students also use IMSLP, a free online database of royalty-free sheet music.

Do I have lessons on a fixed day in the week?

Yes, I teach on Mondays and Tuesdays, both during the day and in the evening. If you take lessons on a weekly basis, you have your lesson on one of these days at a fixed time. For lessons on an occasional basis, a date and time is agreed for each lesson.

Can I take piano lessons on an occasional basis?

This is certainly possible for adults. Please contact me and I will be happy to make an appointment. I do not teach children on an occasional basis, because my experience is that with children it’s hard to make progress without regular appointments.

What about public and school holidays?

No lessons are given during school holidays and on public holidays. Here you can find an up-to-date overview of the school holidays that apply to Culemborg (see ‘central regions’) are given. You can find an overview of public holidays here.

What happens if I miss a lesson?

Unfortunately missed lessons cannot be rescheduled.

If I apply for weekly lessons, can I unsubscribe anytime?

If you register for classes on a weekly basis, you are basically registering for an entire class season of 35-40 weeks. You start with a trial lesson, after which a trial period of one month starts. In this trial period you owe lesson costs per week and can terminate the lessons immediately without further obligations. If you decide to continue with piano lessons after the trial period, you can still unsubscribe, subject to a three-month notice period.

I am advanced in years. Can I still take piano lessons?

You are never too old to learn. In fact, there are numerous studies showing that playing the piano later in life helps to keep your memory in shape.

Is it also possible to get lessons in music theory?

Music theory is discussed in my lessons, always linked to practice. If you want pure music theory without a piano lesson, this is also possible. For example, you may want support in preparing for the entrance exam for a conservatory. You may find a specific music theory topic interesting and would like to know more about it. With my background as a musicologist and conservatory training in both classical and early music, I have a broad overview.

Can I get harpsichord lessons?

Certainly! In my studio there is a Flemish and an Italian harpsichord. During the lessons you will become acquainted with different styles.

These styles include the German baroque repertoire (including Bach and Handel), the French school (including Couperin and Rameau), the Italian / Spanish style (including Scarlatti and Soler).

In addition, basso continuo, or playing from a figured bass, is an important part of the lesson. Skill in continuo playing is essential for ensemble playing in the baroque period. Other elements that are discussed are ornaments, historical clefs and playing from manuscripts and early editions.

I sing and would like to practice with accompaniment, is this possible?

This is certainly possible. I have extensive experience in accompanying singers, both on harpsichord and piano. Would you like help with the practice of artsong repertoire, baroque music or opera arias? Would you like extra guidance in rehearsing your choir part? Please contact me and I will be happy to discuss the possibilities.

I play an instrument and would like to practice with accompaniment, is this possible?

This is certainly possible. If you play classical repertoire, I will accompany you on piano. Do you like to play baroque music but you miss the continuo accompaniment? Then I can accompany you on harpsichord. My harpsichords are transposable from 415-440Hz, so almost anything is possible.

Is it possible not to take lessons once a week, but for example once every two weeks?

As an alternative to lessons on a weekly basis, it is also possible to take lessons on a fortnightly basis. The weeks of lessons are planned in advance at the beginning of the season and apart from the lesson frequency, the same conditions apply as for lessons on a weekly basis.

Do you organise a yearly recital for your students?

If there is enough interest, I organize a recital evening for all my students at the end of the year. Participation is not mandatory, but it is great fun. In addition, my experience is that in the run-up to the performance, students suddenly make a leap in their development. Another reason to invite friends and family to share what you have learned during the year.