Conferencing technologies: Facetime and Zoom

Payment technologies: Venmo, Zelle and Paypal

Rates: $50/hr. One half-hour lesson per week is typical for a beginner.

Contact: srpartyka AT gmail DOT com

When the coronavirus struck my community, I feared that I would lose all my students. Surely piano could not be taught online, I thought. Still, as a last resort, in March of 2020 I informed the students in my studio that I would only be teaching remotely.

Much to my surprise, every family continued to take lessons with me. Even more remarkable was how little the online format changed the structure and the pace of the lessons. Over time, all my students continued to improve (those who practiced, that is).

There are some advantages to online lessons, particulary the elimination of travel. Either the student (and the student's parent, usually) must visit the teacher, or vice versa, if the lesson is to be in person. Typically, this will triple or quadruple the time commitment for each lesson. If the teacher travels to all the lessons, he is almost certainly prevented from teaching enough students to make a living. Teachers who do this don't last, unless they are supported financially, or reconcile themselves to living permanently in poverty. Travelling also prevents some students from reaching any teacher at all.

To be sure, the very finest degrees of touch and shade cannot be taught over the internet. But these are aspects of technique that even professional pianists seldom master, and it is questionable to what degree these abilities actually are taught. Perhaps each great pianist discovers these subtleties of sound and motion independently, in the practice room.

Other aspects of the lesson structure play a far more important role in the success of the student. A well-ordered curriculum is necessary for the quick progress of a beginner, and this is not something which can be discovered simply by purchasing a method book, as some teachers lazily assume. And good practicing, of course, plays the most important part in a student's progress.

Some things are essential to the success of online lessons. The camera should be set up with a view of the whole keyboard, angled from above so that the movements of the hands and fingers can be easily seen. And perhaps it goes without saying, but a strong internet connection is necessary.

If you are skeptical about trying online piano lessons, I suggest that you do try. I offer a free sample lesson to prospective students.
Pictures of Sam by Robin Radin