What you need to begin ...
This may seems obvious, but if you don't have a real (acoustic) piano at home, please let me know! Students MUST have a real piano at home for daily practice. Please go to the "Your Instrument" page to learn more, including tips on how to start looking for a piano if you don't have one, as well as how to take care of your piano if you do have one.
If you don't have one, please don't settle for the "one-size-fits-all" of a fixed (hard) bench ... it really does not fit everyone! Whether students are small or tall, it's essential for all students to sit properly at the piano and play with correct posture, position and technique. I highly recommend that all my students have an adjustable bench to improve comfort, posture, and technique. You can Shop on Amazon.com HERE. Also, consider one of these affordable benches HERE or HERE.
If a small student needs an extra boost in height, or you just need to make the bench more comfortable, you can also use a piano bench cushion.
This is necessary for small students. When a student is sitting properly on the bench (all the way up, not tilting on the edge of the bench) , but their feet don't reach the floor, then they must have something to support their feet. Dangling and swinging feet are not only distracting, but pull the entire body out of good alignment, foster bad habits, and can prevent a student from playing with correct technique. A simple wooden stool may work as a quick, cheap fix, but it’s best to get one that actually adjusts so you can fit it to the student’s size. Also, it's best to get one with pedal attachments, which allows students to use both soft and damper pedals, without having to remove the footstool or go back to sitting in an undesirable position. There are many options online: My favorite is the one I have in my studio - the “PE-2”. You can also find other (less expensive!) ones like these on Amazon.
... with lined paper. Bring this to each lesson, so we can write all the assignments and directions for the week's practice. Students are required to use it every day when practicing at home!
Keep any photocopied pages of music or assignments I give you in your folder, so they won't get lost or crumpled up.
You need a bag that is devoted to holding all your materials, including music books, folder and assignment notebook. This protects everything from getting lost, dropped in the dirt, or rained on as you go back and forth to lessons. Each week, you can just grab your bag full of all the things you need, ready to go to the lesson! At home, keep your things stored in the bag, so you always know where your materials are when you need them (and family members won't accidentally move or misplace!).
This is a tool that all musicians need to have! It helps students correct problems with counting and speed, and helps them develop a steady sense of beat and rhythm. I design many practice assignments for students to use the metronome in their practice time at home. I highly recommend getting a pendulum style Wittner Taktell metronome - they have a wide variety of full size, mini or even animals! No batteries required and it will last you forever. Plus, the pendulum swing is a great visual aid for students who need to see and hear the beat at the same time. There are also a few good Apps for metronomes, but ... Beware: not all metronome apps are accurate! (an important feature of a metronome). Try this one, which I recommend on the Music Apps page.
Learning music is like learning a foreign language: there are many vocabulary words, terms and symbols used in music that students need to learn and recognize. Once students enter their 2nd year of piano lessons, they should have a music dictionary on hand. You can find many on Amazon for around $10.
PENCIL & HIGHLIGHTER
Always keep a pencil at the piano, to use for theory assignments (never use pen!!), and for writing in fingering or other notes in your music as you practice. Use the highlighter to circle missed notes or measures in your music that you need to look at extra carefully or where you need to fix something.
Keep your fingernails short and neat so they don't get in the way of playing with good finger shapes and proper technique. For young children, please have parents do this! Get in the habit of trimming your nails 1-2x a week, and always check your nails before a lesson, so you don't come to a lesson with long nails!
PRO-TIP: Set a scheduled reminder on your mobile device for every week, the day before your lesson - you'll never forget!