Music lessons personalized to meet individual goals for you or your child. Emphasis on music for life, rather than music for accolades. Grow and learn at your own pace.
BEGINNING TO INTERMEDIATE
- piano -
- guitar -
- ukulele -
BEGINNING TO ADVANCED
Classical voice technique and repertoire
- and/or -
coaching on musical theater and jazz
*For learners ages 10 and older*
Email to find out schedule and more details.
Lauren has a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education from Florida State University (2005, Magna Cum Laude) and a Master’s Degree in Music Performance from Appalachian State (2010, Summa Cum Laude).
She has over fifteen years of experience teaching private music lessons for students of all ages as well as decade of experience as a gigging musician and recording artist.
Music is for everyone. I strive to create a safe, welcoming teaching environment where students feel comfortable making mistakes, and feel proud when they achieve a skill.
No prerequisites are required. I specialize in teaching beginners of all ages. A good attitude is a must, but prior experience in music is not.
The best kind of learning is cooperative. As a teacher I strive to facilitate an experience, rather than dictate a doctrine.
My job is to make sure each student has access to the right tools. Learning to read music is a helpful skill to have, because it is a language - and knowing how to speak and read a language makes it easier to communicate with others who speak and read that language. But because the language of music is vast, there are infinite paths and options. Some students might find that understanding basic chords on a guitar is the best choice for picking on the porch with friends. For other students, knowledge of musical notation on the staff will help open doors to band or orchestral playing, or to analyzing and composing classical music. Different goals require different skills.
Learning an instrument is fun, but it’s hard work too. The best results come from a healthy combination of an open mind and a strong work ethic. I strive to facilitate a balance between discipline and creative play.
Music is not good or bad, or wrong or right, or proper or improper. I am classically trained, but I’m also a singer-songwriter - a folk musician - a jazz musician - an improvisational musician. I can help a student learn the “rules” of music so that later on they might break them. There are no limits to musical expression. But sometimes it’s helpful to ground ourselves in tradition, before we spread our wings.
“I like that she is confident in me. She knows I can do it and she encourages me. I look forward to going to piano because it’s fun and I get to learn an instrument. She’s really good at helping me learn and she’s really good at piano too. And she knows how to play more than one instrument - banjo and guitar and a bunch of other stuff.”
- CELIA, AGE 7
“She’s a really fun teacher. She makes it easy to understand.”
- BAILEY, AGE 8
“She makes every lesson fun in her own way”
- MAKAYLA, AGE 13
“My 2nd grader has been taking lessons with Lauren for about two years, and has made wonderful progress in terms of learning the foundations of music and growing her capacity to play some fun little songs. Lauren is wonderfully patient with, and supportive of, my young music learner. She has grown my daughter’s love of music!”
"With some trepidation I decided to try to learn to play the ukulele during the pandemic shutdown. I started Zoom lessons with Lauren and they have quickly become the highlight of my week. Lauren is a great teacher and made me feel comfortable immediately despite the over 40 year gap since my last music lesson occurred! She has inspired me to learn to play a wide range of songs. I highly recommend Lauren as a teacher!"
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. When is a child ready for lessons?
There is no easy answer to this question, but my first answer will usually be - try piano first! The piano is FAR easier on small hands than a stringed instrument. The visual layout of the instrument helps makes music theory clear for a beginner. Skills learned on piano translate well to other instruments later in life, including introduction to chords, scales, and both clefs. Ukulele, guitar, and banjo are best for ages 8 and older. Vocal technique is best for ages 10 and older. Every teacher has a different opinion on this topic, but these general guidelines have worked best for me.
Q. What can we expect from each 30-minute private lesson?
Most of the lesson time will be spent on playing/singing. Some time will be spent isolating skills on note-reading and rhythm. Younger children will usually spend 20 minutes playing and 10 on other drills, including written skills, clapping rhythms, and singing scale degree exercises. The combination is tailored to the student’s development.
Q. Will I be able to observe my child’s lesson?
Absolutely! Parents are always welcome to observe lessons whether they are in-person or virtual. I only ask that if you plan to observe, please keep distractions to a minimum.
Q. What is the cost of private lessons?
Lessons are $25 per week for a 30 minute lesson. Payment is due in advance during the first week of every month ($100 per student per month).
Q. What is your cancellation policy?
Two absences per semester are fine, no questions asked. Money will be refunded or prorated to the next month. Three or more missed lessons - I ask that you pay for the lessons and make them up either in person or via webcam.
Q. Why do you only teach voice to kids 10 and older?
Every teacher has a different answer to this question, and I’ve developed my policy based on my own experience. Focusing on technique can be physically hard on young children. Children have a tendency to try to mimic their teacher rather than finding their own voice. Attempting to sound older usually results in tension and sometimes injury. I always recommend piano lessons for children who love to sing. My piano pedagogy incorporates singing into the learning environment without focusing specifically vocal technique. Piano lessons will help develop musicianship and pitch-matching skills that will help the child when she is ready to study vocal technique later. Also, basic piano skills for the adult singer are crucial - so it’s a great idea to study voice and piano side by side.
Q. What is the time commitment for lessons?
I ask that you commit to one month of lessons. I hope that your family loves it and will want to commit to the semester, or to the year and beyond. I completely understand that schedules, interests, and goals change. Since this is my livelihood, I ask that you provide as much notice as possible so that I can fill the vacant time slot.
Q. My child doesn’t have very much time to practice. Will you teach her anyway?
My answer to this question is always “Yes - BUT!” I’ll tell you a secret. I didn’t develop a good practice ethic until early adulthood, and it is something I regret. Childhood is such a great time to build foundational skills that can be hard to catch up to later on - and it’s frustrating when we try. For a student who doesn’t practice, milestones take longer to achieve - and over time, this can cause frustration and burnout. Bottom line, music education is infinitely more satisfying and enjoyable to the person who practices. However! I believe in music education. I believe there are benefits to lessons even if the student doesn’t lay hands on the instrument in between sessions. I do not shame a student who isn’t practicing. I am not offended by slow progress. But I do try to educate the student that the experience will be different (and better) when a practice ethic is achieved.
Q. I’m 60 years old and I’ve never played an instrument but I’ve always wanted to. Is it too late for me to try?
Of course not! For an adult beginner, your mantra will be, “have patience with yourself.” As an adult you have been listening to music your whole life, and as a result, you probably have a good idea about how you’d like to sound on your new instrument. Be patient with yourself as your skills catch up to this idea. (Check out this excellent short talk by Ira Glass on the “taste gap.”)