Teacher Spotlight: Allison – Piano Teacher in Dallas, TX

Allison is currently earning her Bachelor’s degree in Music Composition at Southern Methodist University. She loves being a music student almost as much as she loves teaching and sharing her passion for piano, music theory, and composing. She has traveled throughout America and Europe sharing her music, even spending a semester at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam and attending the International Music Festival of the Adriatic in Italy. She always looks forward to coming back home to help teach the next generation.

Allison expects her students to work hard and practice diligently, but believes that the learning process should be a fun and positive experience for everyone involved. She is committed to helping students learn any kind of music they are interested in – classical, film music, video game music, pop, etc. – while still establishing a basis of good technique.

Allison teaches all ages and all levels, from beginner to professional. Lessons with Allison are engaging and fun, and Allison’s hope for her students is that they develop to be great musicians, not just great pianists.

Here’s what others are saying about Allison:

I had the distinct honor and pleasure to serve as Allison’s piano teacher for 10 years. I taught her from the very beginning until the time she left for her University studies at SMU in Dallas.

Allison is a fine musician. She is very detailed and thorough. She is always punctual in arriving for appointments. She always steps up to meet the challenge in front of her. She has a strong sense of determination. She puts forth whatever level of effort is needed to learn a piece of music and excel at it.

I invited Allison last summer to meet with one of my current students who is also considering a major in Music Composition. Allison did a lesson with this young lady and I was very impressed with her down to earth interest in my student along with the practical advice she gave. Allison assisted my student in playing a song she was learning. Allison was very patient and kind as well as being very thorough.

I have taught for many years and I am preparing to retire from teaching. I have thought many times that if Allison would be doing her Master’s work in San Diego, I would gladly and proudly transfer all of my students to her. I’m convinced they would be studying with the very best! I would recommend Allison to my students and friends!

Music Teacher, San Diego, CA

Allie has wonderful interpersonal skills and relates well with students and their families. She always has a smile on her face and never complains about any task. Her demeanor and character are what you want to see in a teacher. She is considerate, kind, and compassionate. It is clear that Allie loves music and she’s enthusiastic in any music endeavor she faces.

Allie is very bright and has such a delightful personality. Allie loves music and her love of music is infectious! She makes you excited about whatever she’s working on. Allie’s training at SMU combined with her natural engaging personality makes her ideally prepared to be a music teacher.

I would enthusiastically recommend Allie to anyone I met who was looking for a private teacher.

Associate Director of Music Admissions, SMU Dallas, TX

If you are looking for a fabulous piano teacher in Dallas, TX, look no further! Contact Starlight Music Lessons today to schedule a trial lesson with Allie!

The Importance of Effective Piano Practice

Is practicing a chore at your home? Developing consistent and effective piano practice habits is often the biggest struggle for those learning the instrument. Sometimes you just need a little help. If practicing is a struggle in your home, you could definitely benefit from our Practice Pals program. This program allows you or your child to have a Practice Leader actually practice with you three times each week! This is a great opportunity for beginning students as well as for those who have been playing for years.

Practice Pals can help teach a student how to practice the piano by walking with the student through his/her piano practice assignments throughout the week in a fun, engaging way. This will help lay a solid foundation for long-term musical success. It is crucial for a student to not only practice, but practice in such a way to make that time effective. If a student doesn’t know how to practice, much time will be wasted. Many students get discouraged due to ineffective practicing habits, leading to quitting private lessons. We have spoken with many adults who have had that experience themselves, only to regret their decision to quit music lessons.

We want to help! Practicing doesn’t have to be a chore! Give Practice Pals a try and see the amazing difference in your child’s progress! Don’t let your kid be the one who grows weary of the process and quits, only to regret that decision for the rest of their lives. Contact us today to get started with Practice Pals!

Teacher Spotlight: Jeremiah – Piano Teacher in Dallas

pic.jeremiah evansWe are so pleased to introduce Jeremiah, our fabulous piano teacher in Dallas, TX!

Education Background:

  • Jeremiah graduated from the Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts.
  • He is an alumni of the Boston University Tanglewood Institute (Piano Program).
  • He attended Texas Tech University as a piano performance major.
  • Jeremiah also studied piano privately for four years at Southern Methodist University.

Teaching Background:

Jeremiah began teaching piano lessons while he was a music major at Texas Tech University. He has been teaching private piano lessons in Dallas since 2003.

Personality and Teaching Style:

As a teacher Jeremiah enjoys catering each lesson to fit each student’s intent and specific goal(s). He understands that some students are very serious about their long-term musical goals and need assistance preparing for competitions and auditions. Many other students want to study the instrument for fun and leisure. Jeremiah seeks to understand which category his students fit into and works works diligently to meet each student’s individual musical needs.  

Feedback:

Jeremiah was knowledgeable, dependable and very patient while teaching my children. His passion for teaching became quite evident. – Dallas, TX

Jeremiah is very friendly, personable, and likable. He is a pleasure to work with and spreads joy everywhere he goes! – Dallas, TX

Special Skills:

Jeremiah is also a very accomplished concert composer. His music has been recently performed in London, New York and San Francisco. His music has also been heard in Europe and Asia.

Jeremiah teaches in: Dallas, Plano, Allen, Mesquite, Desoto, Lancaster and Duncanville

Jeremiah is a wonderful teacher. If you choose to have him come to your home for piano lessons, you will not be disappointed! If you are ready to enroll, click here to fill out our quick enrollment form.

Click here to contact us about scheduling a trial lesson with Jeremiah. If you live in another city in DFW or would like to inquire about our other teachers, let us know! We will do everything we can to match you with your ideal teacher!

How to Practice While Away From the Piano

Is your child in and out a lot this summer and having difficulty finding time to practice? While I can’t stress enough the importance of spending time at the piano practicing, did you know there are some things a piano student can do to improve his/her skills even when away from the piano?

POSTURE

Good posture is very important for a piano player. Even when the piano player is away from her beloved instrument, she can practice correct posture. This practice away from the piano will make it easier for her to have correct posture while sitting at the piano.

HAND SHAPE

To play the piano correctly a student must learn to keep her hands in the proper shape while at the piano. Many students like to rest their hands flat on the piano, but this is a bad habit that negatively effects the playing and must be corrected, sooner, rather than later. Encourage your child to practice holding an invisible ball or bubble. This creates the hand shape necessary for playing the piano. The more a student becomes familiar with this hand shape, the better equipped he will be at playing the piano with the correct hand shape.

FINGER CONTROL & RHYTHM

Obviously, playing the piano requires much hand/eye coordination and individual finger control. While away from the piano a student can practice gaining control over his individual fingers. Here’s a simple game that can be fun to play when you have a few minutes to spare. Think: Waiting room, car trips, grandma’s house, etc.

To Play:

  • Have the child hold up both hands, with fingers spread.
  • Call out different finger numbers for the child to wiggle. (Ex: Left hand #4!)
  • The goal is to help your child remember piano finger numbers and practice moving fingers individually.
  • For older/more advanced students you can call out one finger from each hand. (Ex: Left hand 5 & Right Hand 2!) They should practice responding quickly and accurately, and wiggle both fingers at the same time.

This game can be fun and lead to lots of giggles while sneaking in extra practice. 🙂

To add rhythm practice into this game, you can bring along your child’s piano book. Have your child “play” his songs with the correct fingering and rhythm. The child can practice playing the rhythm on a table or on his lap. The fingers will gain practice which can help a student improve, even while away from the piano.

FLASH CARDS
Ah, flash cards…. Some people love ’em, others hate ’em. Frankly, whether a student enjoys or hates flash cards often is a reflection of the attitude they’re presented with. If it is presented as a boring but necessary task, the child will trudge through flash cards only when forced. This doesn’t have to be so! Flash cards can be loads of fun and something that your child actually requests to do! Easiest way to make flash cards an enjoyable task? Make it fun! Make it easily accomplished. Don’t just hand your child a stack of flashcards and say, “Learn these.” Start with 3-5 flashcards. Have the child spend 5 min (or less if they catch on quickly) with those few cards. Then you’re done for the day! The next day have them do those first few cards again. Once they are strong on those, add 1 more card. Now the child only has 4-6 flash cards to work with, but most of them are easily recognized.

If you stay consistent with this method and have your child work on flashcards just about every day, he/she will have the entire stack of cards memorized in a couple of weeks! That might not sound like a great accomplishment, but IT TRULY IS! Usually what holds beginning students back like nothing else is a struggle with identifying notes on the staff. If they can learn to identify the notes with ease, learning new songs and progressing to bigger and better pieces is SO much easier! Click on the picture below in order to print out free flashcards for the Treble Clef and the Bass Clef.

You can also turn flashcard practice into a game: a race against the clock! Set a timer and see how many flashcards you can do in that amount of time. Then see if you can increase your score every day. Encourage your child to tell his/her teacher about the progress he is making in his flashcard time. His teacher can be a cheerleader and extra encouragement to get those flashcards learned!

If you have a child that can easily identify note names, don’t think they are done with flash cards! Oh, no! You can use this same simple method to help him/her quickly master a plethora of crucial music theory concepts such as intervals, dynamics, and other important theory. Hint: This method is also a great way to study for tests in all subjects. Remember, rather than trying to soak it all in at once, break the subject into smaller chunks. Go over that small chunk multiple times until it’s imprinted. Then add another small chunk. This is the best way to retain large amounts of information quickly.

Other ways may be used to improve music skill while away from the instrument, but this is a quick overview of a few ways to get your child practicing today! Don’t let the busyness of life get in the way of improving!

Want to hear a fun piano prodigy? Click on the video below. Hint: If you just want to hear the piano playing, skip ahead to 3:20. Do you think this child was born with incredible skill? Perhaps. But what is more likely is that he practices every day. If you want your child to improve on his/her instrument, even 15 minutes of practice per day can make all the difference! Consistency is key. Enjoy your summer, and enjoy that practice! 


Pssst! Did you know that Starlight Music Lessons offers a Practice Program that makes practicing fun?

Practice Pals
We take the dread out of Practicing!
Practicing is a must. Period. But practicing can also be fun! Our Practice Pals program is an add-on program available to those taking lessons. When you enroll in Practice Pals, your practice leader guides your practice sessions three times per week online via webcam. Practice Pals makes your practicing fun, engaging, efficient and motivating. Students who practice regularly will progress faster, enjoy learning more (since they can quickly see progress) and are more likely to build a life-long love of music.

Introducing Derek, Starlight’s Newest Music Teacher in Ft Worth

We are thrilled to introduce Derek, our newest member of the Starlight Music Lessons Team! Derek teaches Clarinet, Saxophone and Piano lessons in Ft. Worth, TX. 

Derek
Derek

Derek studied music education with Dawn Marie Lindblade at Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond, Louisiana.  During this time he participated in the SELU Wind Symphony, Clarinet Choir, Symphonic Band, and marching Band.

Derek has over six years of teaching experience; this experience varies from directing the single reed methods course at SELU to conducting music clinics in various churches in various states. As a music minister, Derek has taught many piano (chord approach & note reading) students in preparing them for Worship Ministry settings.

Derek believes in instilling and equipping the student with the proper motivation and skills to excel in their instrument. If the student can learn to love and enjoy their instrument, nothing is impossible!

Styles and methods Derek can teach include: Beginner, chord approach (beginning to advanced/worship ministry -098preparation), Jazz, R&B, Black Gospel, Contemporary, Traditional Hymns, Ear training (playing by ear), Southern Gospel/Country. Beginning to intermediate Clarinet. Beginning Saxophone.

Would you like to hear what others have to say about Derek? Previous students say,

“Derek is Headstrong, determined, organized, and a good person. He’s good with kids and has a good heart. Good character, good integrity. Good morals. Derek is just such a good person.” – Dallas, TX

“Derek has allowed me to see clearly and understand that music is fun and is important in my life!” – Slidell, LA

Derek has served as a Music Ministry Director for six years. He has just recently moved to the Dallas/Ft. Worth area in accepting a new Music Director position. In playing music for over ten years, Derek has developed a strong background in the chord approach and preparing students to play in a church setting. Derek’s current employer says:

“Derek is a fantastic young man, super talented, and has the temperament and personality to be a fantastic teacher with students.” – North Richland Hills, TX

Also overheard by those who have had the privilege of working with Derek:

Derek is an amazing person and amazing musician. He definitely has musical integrity and is a great person. I don’t recommend a lot of people, but I absolutely recommend Derek.  His main strength is that his musical intuition is very strong. He is very gifted and very trained. Way above average. Derek understands excellence and brings his best foot forward to his students.” Slidell, LA

If you are looking for a great clarinet, saxophone, or piano teacher in Ft Worth, it looks like you have found him! Contact Starlight Music Lessons to schedule your trial lesson today! If you are not in Ft Worth but are looking for a high-quality teacher in the DFW metroplex, give us a call to meet a teacher near you! You can learn about our teacher selection process here.

Introducing…. Natalie! Our wonderful piano teacher in Dallas, TX

We are proud to introduce Natalie, another one of our star teachers. Image

Natalie began learning piano at the age of four and continued to study music with different instructors in China’s rigorous and competitive musical culture. During her musical training in China she passed the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music piano exam with a high score. She also holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Music from the Texas Woman’s University’s School of the Arts.  

Natalie has been teaching piano since 2008 and has experience teaching children in private and group lessons.

Natalie’s goal for her piano lessons is to let her students feel the joy of music and be touched by the soul of it. Music is a unique form of expression and communication which has the ability to connect people. Every piano student is unique, therefore Natalie’s methods in teaching each student will vary according to his or her personality and musical knowledge. Learning piano is much more than learning how to press fingers on the keys; it is about expressing feelings and emotions. Natalie’s students will certainly learn to play songs, but Natalie doesn’t stop there. Her students will learn to understand the theory behind the music they play. Natalie is passionate about connecting with each of her students and sincerely cares about her students’ music progress.

Styles & Methods Natalie can teach include: Beginner, Classical, Chord Approach, Pop, Hymns, Group Piano Classes, Competition Preparation, Piano Accompaniment, Music Theory. Natalie is also good at composition and has been writing songs for church since 2009. She is bilingual and capable of teaching Chinese.

Here are what others are saying about Natalie:

Natalie is always thoughtful and nice. I am glad to have her as my kid’s piano teacher. – Dallas, TX

Natalie is very sweet. She truly cares about her students and loves music. –Dallas, TX

I wanted you to know that Reaghan’s first piano lesson went wonderful. We really like Natalie and are looking forward to continuing. -Dallas, TX

 If you are interested in piano lessons in Dallas, TX click here to contact us today!

Introducing Yujie, our newest Piano Teacher in Grand Prairie, TX

Are you looking for piano lessons in Grand Prairie, TX? Look no further! We have a fantastic teacher for you. Her name is Yujie.

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Yujie began learning to play the piano at three years old and continued practicing with a well-known piano professor at Sichuan Conservatory of Music in Chengdu, China for 15 years. During this time she passed Piano Performance Band 10 (highest level) at Sichuan Conservatory of Music at 11 years of age.

Yujie also served as an accompanist and a singer in collegiate level choir while an undergraduate student at UESTC for four years. During her tenure at UESTC, she won the 2005 Beijing First National University Art Performance First-Class Award and participated in a live performance at the Great Hall in Beijing, China.

Yujie holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Engineering from The University of Electronic Science and Technology of China (UESTC) which she completed in July 2007. She graduated from The University of Texas at Dallas in December 2010 with a Master’s degree in Computer Science and continued to work as a Research Assistant for the Department of Computer Science post graduation. 

Yujie has experience teaching children and novice adults in private and group settings. Her teaching style is incredibly motivating and sets her students at ease. It is important to her to be able to build relationships with her students so they view her as a friend as opposed to being afraid of her. Along with her pleasant, motivational personality, Yujie is highly analytic and always pays attention to detail. Her success throughout her engineering education was due to her focus, determination and drive for positive results. She takes the same approach when teaching piano to her students.

Coming from a fierce piano competition environment in China, Yujie teaches her students techniques used by the professionals. A few examples include: proper hand posture, agile finger movements and increased endurance.

What others are saying about Yujie:

“Yujie is extremely nice and patient. She is a good teacher for children.” – Dallas, TX
“Yujie has very good personality and can communicate very well with students. She is active to communicate with students and is good at creating a good and relaxing atmosphere.”  – Dallas, TX

Yujie teaches in-home piano lessons in Grand Prairie, Arlington, and Irving, TX.

Click here to enroll in piano lessons today!

Give the Gift that will last a Lifetime… MUSIC!

Planning for your next special occasion? Looking for that perfect gift that is quick and easy but still personable? Purchase a Starlight Music Lessons gift certificate, and we’ll give YOU a discount and a referral bonus!

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Our git certificates are good for one month (4 lessons) of 30-minute private in-home lessons. Because you are a valued customer, we are offering you a $30 DISCOUNT off the regular price of lessons. Your 4-lesson gift card is a $130 value, but will cost you only $100!

In addition to your $30 discount, you’ll earn a free month of lessons through our referral program if your gift card recipient chooses to continue lessons!*

To purchase a gift card, simply email or call us to let us know how many you are purchasing. We’ll respond back with a couple of quick questions, and you’ll be all set! Once you place your order we will mail your giftcard no later than 3 days after we receive your order. If you are short on time and need the Gift Certificate rushed for your special occasion, we can email you a digital copy.

Contact us at: info@StarlightMusicLessons.com or 877-251-3609

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Jack’s First Music Recital Performance: Part 2 of 2

Last time I told you about my beginner piano lesson student, Jack, who was getting ready to have his first musical performance. The excitement he showed rubbed off on me!

The results are in—my student’s first music performance was a huge smashing success!

From the moment I walked in the door for his piano lesson, his mom and dad could not stop talking about how everything transpired. They couldn’t believe that their son was so calm and collected in front of such a large audience. They had the entire performance on video, and they wasted no time in showing me the entire thing.

There are a few tips I wanted to share from his experience, in the case that anyone has any music recitals or performances coming up:

First of all, find out what type of piano will be used for the performance. If your student is used to practicing on a keyboard, for instance, he will find an upright or grand piano’s keys harder to push. Find a time for your student to get used to playing on a different kind of piano.

Secondly, have your student practice his/her piece slower than usual. When the “performance adrenaline” kicks in, he or she might find that they are going too fast.

Last but not least, have your student practice walking up to the piano, setting down their music, finishing, taking a bow, and then walking off with their music in hand. It may seem trivial, but going through these motions will alleviate many of the “what-ifs” and allow your student to process what is going to happen ahead of time. Hopefully, this surprisingly easy trick will ease any jitters!

Written By: Kelly Cone
Starlight Music Lessons Staff Writer and Teacher

Jack’s First Music Performance: Part 1 of 2

One of my piano lesson students, Jack, has his first real performance coming up. Instead of just playing songs in front of his music class, he will be performing in his school’s talent show. A student’s first performance signifies a turning point in their piano career—it’s almost as though they go from “beginner” to “seasoned piano player extraordinaire!” overnight. And for a piano teacher, this is one of the most fun and exciting transformations to watch!

Am I exaggerating? I think not. There is such a discernable difference between a music student who has performed, even for a small audience, and one who has only played within the safety and shelter of their own home. Even the most confident and self-assured music student still wonders if he or she has what it takes when compared to others. Knowing that they actually had the courage to stand up and play and hearing the applause of the audience are both affirmations of the fact that they have a talent worth sharing. Within that moment, a dream becomes a reality. An astute observer can almost see the transformation take place, and it is breathtaking to see.

My young beginner piano student can’t put most of this into words, but he knows that something important is about to take place—a milestone to mark this event within his young life. During our lesson together, a type of jittery buoyancy replaced his usually calm demeanor, as though his anticipation was lifting him up like helium. I asked him if he was nervous, but he just shook his head and said, “No, I’m excited!” I don’t think he realized that I was too. First performances aren’t just a milestone for the music student; they are also a turning point for the music teacher.

Stay tuned for the results of how his first music performance went!

Written By: Kelly Cone
Starlight Music Lessons Staff Writer and Teacher