I offer classical piano lessons on the NW side of Portland in my Hillsboro studio (near Reedville Creek Park off Baseline/Cornelius Pass Rd). Please email me via the “Contact” page to inquire about an audition/interview lesson.
Schedule an interview lesson to see if the Fisher Piano Studio is a good fit for your family! It’s a great chance to talk about your child's musical background, mutual expectations for lessons and discuss any questions you may have. A trial month is also recommended to give us a better opportunity to get acquainted, and ensure a good fit (generally easiest to schedule in the summer months). I work with children of all ages and abilities, and am most concerned with a students’ willingness to work hard, practice with consistency, and desire to grow to their full potential, whatever that may look like. For some students, this means pursuing competitions and later a music degree, but for many it means striving to grow in their personal skill and appreciation for music each week, so they may enjoy the beauty of classical music more deeply and share that joy with others. Both paths are worthy of our time and diligent efforts.
The primary curriculum I use for young students is the Piano Adventures series by Randall and Nancy Faber (or the Royal Conservatory's Celebration Series for older intermediate students) . For technical development, I use TCW Resources Keyboard Gymnastics program, which is a fun, yet comprehensive and systematic way for students to work through essential exercises (such as scales, arpeggios, cadences, transposing, diatonic triads and chord inversions). Etudes are also an integral part of each students' technical development. Classical repertoire is central once students achieve basic competence, and we have a rich and diverse library in the piano literature for varying levels. I’m also open to incorporating other genres of interest to your child on the side including jazz, blues, boogie, and learning to read a chord chart. However, this is primarily a classical piano studio so our emphasis is on learning and mastering that genre and "pop music" is never studied or assigned using lesson time. Sight-reading development is also emphasized in a way that is appropriate to the level and age of the student.
With occassional exceptions, I recommend students begin private lessons when they enter first grade, or when they are becoming proficient in their reading and writing skills. This often coincides with musical readiness, signaling the time they will experience the most success and greatest joy in their musical study. The most beneficial preparation for younger students is participation in quality, educationally sound early childhood music classes (such as Music Together, often available at your local community center). Another great option in our area is participation in a children's choir (I can recommend the children’s choirs at Studio Thomas in Bethany). When choosing a piano teacher, keep in mind your child’s first exposure to piano lessons will have a significant impact on their future success (as someone said, “if the first teacher isn’t good, there probably won’t be a second”). Having a solid foundation for your musical education is invaluable and promotes great confidence and allows children to maximize their musical aptitude and long-term enjoyment of the art.
I offer weekly, private lessons near Hillsboro/West Beaverton. PLEASE NOTE: If you are dropping your child off for lessons, please drop them no more than 5 minutes early as I am unable to be in the music room prior to that time. Prompt pick-up is expected at the time each lesson is finished. Supervision is not available beyond the scheduled lesson time each week.
Students are expected to maintain a respectful attitude in lessons. This includes the basic courtesies of not playing during verbal instructions, willingness to try new technics when asked, attentive listening, and following instructions that are given both during the lesson and directed toward practice times. This ensures an efficient learning environment and optimal use of lesson time. If parents sit in on lessons, they must be in observation mode to minimize distractions and keep the students' focus on their music. If students are in the waiting area before or after lessons, they must be courteous and quiet out of respect for the next student.
I prefer you have an acoustic piano in your home, but a full-size keyboard (88 keys) with weighted keys, such as a Yamaha Clavinova, can suffice for a time if necessary. Your piano should be tuned every 6-12 months and I recommend finding a certified piano tuner near you, listed at www.ptg.org/findATechnician.php. (I can personally recommend Joseph Garrett of "G Piano Works" as a fine technician in our area. His website is http://gpianoworks.com).
RECITALS and MASTERCLASSES
Two recitals are given each year, as well as a pre-recital masterclass (performance class with theory games, practice awards and refreshments) prior to each recital. Participation in additional competitions is offered to serious students interested in those opportunities:
Spring Recital: This is a formal recital featuring memorized solo music in mid-May to early-June. Participation is required for all students who have studied with me for more than one year (with the exception of adult students who are gently encouraged to perform but certainly never required).
Winter Recital: Each December, we perform a casual recital of holiday ensemble music at a local retirement center. This is an excellent opportunity to work on collaborative skills, encourage community service, and bring joy and cheer to an enthusiastic audience.
OMTA Festival: Once each year, students are given the additional option of participating in a "Period Festival" through Oregon Music Teacher's Association where they perform one or two works from a particular style period. (This is not a mandatory event but is available to students desiring more performance opportunities, generally in February or April).
Payment may be made by personal check or through Zelle (an online payment service). An annual registration fee of $50.00 per family is due at your first fall lesson to assist with the cost of recitals, masterclass supplies, piano tunings/maintenance, professional development and organizational dues. The flat monthly fee for tuition is due at the first lesson of each month and may be paid with the registration fee (for specific tuition rates, please contact me). Tuition remains the same whether there are three, four or five lessons in the month. Vacation days are balanced out by months with five lessons, provided you attend all scheduled lessons (the masterclass and recital each count as one lesson at the end of each semester). A $30 late fee should be automatically included in tuition checks submitted after the 10th of each month.
Semester-long contracts are signed at the beginning of each term (September- December, then January- June). The studio schedule generally aligns with the Beaverton School District calendar for major holidays and breaks. Exemption mid-contract is granted in cases of debilitating upper body injury, unexpected family relocation or a serious/debilitating extended illness.
In case of illness or family emergency, I do my best to offer a make-up lesson, though it is not guaranteed. Much like University tuition, you pay for a specific class time whether attended or not. Since I can’t recover that time or give it to others, I can’t offer make-up lessons for reasons such as conflicts with sporting events, travel, or social events like birthday parties. In case of lessons missed due to student illness, one designated make-up day per semester will be offered on a separate day in an effort to keep sickness from spreading to other students. In the event of serious or extended illness, make-up lessons will be determined on a case-by-case basis.
All students are strongly encouraged to continue lessons during the summer, even if on a modified schedule (6-8 weeks spread across the summer months to allow for vacations). This is arranged individually according to your needs. Priority in the fall schedule is given to those who have studied for a minimum of 6 weeks in the summer.
I will provide the necessary materials and have you reimburse me. I highly recommend that you purchase a metronome and ask each child to have a designated, spiral-bound notebook for their weekly assignments. I highly recommend the Korg KDM-2 metronome for ease of use and functionality, which is available through amazon and other online retailers.
A consistent, daily practice regime is essential. Our time together is very important and directive, but your progress will depend heavily on the amount of regular, attentive, and quality practice time invested. All assigned material should be covered thoroughly each day and we decide at your first lesson how much time that should include (usually 30 minutes/5-6 days a week for beginning students and 45-60 minutes for intermediate students). Advanced students require more time depending on the difficulty of their music and goals of their study. You will be amazed at how rewarding and satisfying your musical experience will be as you give it concentrated attention. Your musical training is an important investment and a wonderful privilege, bringing unique beauty to your life and to those around you.
I do not advocate practicing with mindless repetition (10x on each piece and your practicing is complete). This leads to bad habits, unrecognized errors, and little growth. Instead, focused attention should be given to each piece as we study together the next steps for progress and you are assigned specific practice technics to help achieve this. In the words of Charlotte Mason, a great British educator at the turn of the 20th century:
"It is impossible to overstate the importance of this habit of attention. It is, to quote words of weight, 'within the reach of everyone and should be made the primary object of all mental discipline'; for whatever the natural gifts of the child, it is only so far as the habit of attention is cultivated in him that he is able to make use of them.”