Interested in joining the Mefford Music Studio? I have been teaching piano almost as long as I have been performing, coming up on 10 years. I started teaching beginners when I was just a teenager, and as I learned more about pedagogy and about piano myself, I branched into teaching more advanced students. To date, I have taught lessons to over 100 different students ranging in age from 5 to 70, and ranging in skill from complete beginner to college piano performance major.
I studied pedagogy in my undergraduate degree from master teachers Dr. Irene Peery-Fox and Dr. Jared Pierce, who taught me both how to run a studio and how to manage individual lessons at different levels. Right out of college, I got my first teaching job at the Utah Piano Conservatory, where the fast-paced nature of lessons taught me how to adapt quickly to students’ needs and be efficient with limited time. My second job, I had the opportunity to be the first ever teaching assistant for the now famous Key Lime Piano Studio in Lehi, UT, just as it started expanding. Here I got the opportunity to teach on a more individual level and learn how to build a quality teacher-student relationship, as well as learn to develop my own teaching style with the freedom afforded to me. These opportunities prepared me greatly to be a self-sufficient private teacher now.
In a trial lesson for a new student to me, my approach can vary slightly depending on whether or not the student has studied piano or another instrument before. If they are a brand new beginner completely new to music, then we will start out with some very basic exercises or activities to familiarize the students with the instrument as well as start to learn a couple very simple songs. If the student has had lessons before, or has studied another instrument and knows some about the piano, then we will spend the first part of the lesson discussing or having the student demonstrate what they already know. I will then spend the next part of the lesson discussing with the student or parents my observations about what they do and don't know and where we will be able to go from here in lessons with me. We will discuss expectations and goals in that first lesson, which can vary from being very specific or more broad depending on the student's needs and abilities. Common goals include improving rhythm, learning to read music, improving technique, or improving ability to interpret a piece. Not every student is going to think I’m the best fit for them. I expect consistent practice, completion of assignments, and attention to detail in music. I have had many trial lessons that don’t pan out because the student or parent thinks my expectations are too high for them. Make no mistake; I expect a lot, but I also care deeply about music and have great understanding and sympathy for those who genuinely try. I love helping students make musical breakthroughs, especially if it is something they have been struggling with for a while. The excitement of realizing a new way to approach music is something that never gets old, and it helps me to remember when I first made that breakthrough myself.
Lessons are either online over Zoom or in person at my studio in downtown Peekskill, NY. Contact me with any questions and set up a trial lesson today!
Speaking about my music while on a performing tour.