How often should I practise?
Students are advised to practise for short focused bursts each day rather than in lengthy blocks. Practice requires a lot of concentration. It is important students keep tabs on the level of concentration they are able to sustain. Quality is far more important than quantity. If possible students should practise soon after a lesson whilst it is fresh in their minds, rather than leaving it to the day before a lesson. It is suggested that young beginners practise 10 minutes per day. As student's progress the length of practice will increase.
How do I know what to practise?
Guidance on practice techniques and weekly targets will be set at the end of each lesson and recorded in the student's practice diary. Practice diaries are provided by the tutor free of charge.
Why should I choose Michael over his competitors?
Michael has over 20 years of teaching experience. He caters for all ages and abilities; all the way up to diploma level. He is a versatile teacher who tailors his teaching to the individual's learning style and musical interests. He teaches pop, jazz, blues and classical styles.
Students are given the opportunity to perform at summer and winter concerts and to take ABRSM and Trinity College London exams.
For more information on the quality and level of teaching, view Michael's previous exam results.
How frequently will I receive tuition?
Students receive tuition at a regular time and day on a weekly basis during term time. The lesson time and day is agreed at the beginning of each term or when you enrol for lessons. Unfortunately due to high demand, flexible time slots are unavailable. There is the option to continue lessons in the holiday periods by arrangement.
Where do lessons take place?
Michael teaches from his home in Highwoods, Colchester only. He has a purpose built teaching studio with top of the range instruments, including the Kawai K600AS acoustic piano, a Kawai MP11 stage piano and the Yamaha Tyros 2 digital keyboard.
There is free parking directly outside the property and an area to sit in the teaching studio.
How long should my lesson be?
30 minutes: recommended for beginners to grade 3
45 minutes: recommended for grades 4-5
60 minutes: recommended for grades 6 and above.
How do I pay for lessons?
You can pay by cash, cheque bank transfer or PayPal.
When do I pay for lessons?
Payment is required at the beginning of each half term.
What happens if I am unable to attend a lesson?
If you are unable to attend a lesson for any reason, the fee for that lesson will be charged. One make-up lesson per term is permitted if at least 24 hours notice is given.
Is there an age restriction for receiving lessons?
Michael uses innovative approaches to teaching young beginners. Colour systems, musical games and listening exercises are used to enhance the students development and musical experience.
Students require a certain level of concentration, therefore it is suggested they start from 5 years of age. However in certain circumstances younger students will be considered upon application.
Can parents sit in on lessons?
Yes, it is advised that parents sit in on lessons if the child requires their support.
However, a great deal of concentration is needed from both the teacher and student, therefore it is important lessons are conducted in a quiet environment.
If the student is comfortable being left alone parents can drop them off and return 5 minutes before the end of a lesson.
Do I need an instrument to practice on?
Yes, it is necessary to have an instrument to practise on. You will be advised on the type of instrument that will be suitable and where to purchase the instrument. When choosing an instrument it is important to consider the space, student's standard, your budget and tuning costs.
Manns Music in Colchester is an excellent choice for students who live in Essex. They have good customer service and are competitive with their pricing. They also offer a 5% discount on music books. Discount stickers are provided by Michael on request.
My piano needs tuning or fixing, can you help?
Yes, your teacher can provide you with a list of reliable piano tuners in your area.
What exams can I take?
Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music and Trinity College London examinations grades 1- diploma are offered.
How do I apply for an exam?
Entries are made by your tutor to the examination board. You will need to discuss your schedule with your tutor and pay the relevant fees. Information on exam periods and fees can be found on the examination board's websites and will be provided by your tutor.
Once the entry date has passed the examination board will create their schedule. The schedule is sent to your tutor, who will inform you. This process can take a few weeks.
After the exam the results are sent to your tutor. This information will then be shared with you. This process can take a few weeks.
For more information on exams please visit the following sites. I use the ABRSM for piano, theory and practical musicianship exams and Trinity College London for digital keyboard and piano diplomas.
Are exams compulsory?
Exams help create structure in learning. Although exams are encouraged, they are not compulsory.
Is music theory compulsory?
Yes, grade 5 music theory is a prerequisite for practical exams above grade 5.
However the ABRSM also offer grade 5 practical musicianship for students who prefer a more practical approach to learning.
Does Michael have a DBS certificate?
Yes, Michael has a Disclosures and Baring Service DBS certificate. This is updated regularly and available on request.
How will lessons be conducted during the COVID 19 pandemic?
I have scheduled a break between lessons to clean the piano and door handles. This will not affect the length of your lesson; it will start and finish at the agreed time. Please note it is important you arrive and depart lessons promptly to allow time for me to prepare the room between lessons.
Please wait outside the door to the teaching room before your lesson whilst the room is being prepared. I will greet you outside at the time of your lesson. If it is raining please wait for me in your car. I will open the door when it is time for your lesson.
Please use the hand gel provided before and after your lesson. An automatic hand gel dispenser is positioned by the entrance.
Whilst conducting lessons I will wear a face mask. Please feel free to wear your own mask if you wish.
I will be demonstrating on a different piano to reduce contact with students.
Please note only one parent will be permitted to sit in on lessons where necessary.
Toilet facilities will only be available in emergencies. Please use your own toilet before attending lessons if possible.
Please let me know if you have COVID 19 symptoms. For more information please visit If you have symptoms you can reschedule two lessons per term without incurring a cancelation charge. Please give as much notice as you can so I can fill the slot.
I would kindly ask you to check your temperature before attending lessons. Ideally the day before and on the day of your lesson.
I will cancel lessons if I have COVID 19 symptoms. I will give you as much notice as possible if I need to cancel lessons.
When a COVID 19 vaccine is available lessons will resume as normal.
Will COVID 19 affect ABRSM exams?
Good news concerning a syllabus overlap for those of you working towards ABRSM exams!
For candidates wishing to present pieces and scale requirements from the 2019 & 2020 syllabus, there is now a one-year overlap period up to 31st December 2021.
Exams are available to book at a venue from November 2020.
Can I receive lessons online?
Yes this is now possible.
Please contact me for further details.