Here are some common questions about:
Jazz Piano Lessons in London, on Skype, Online, and Workshops.
Do you take complete piano beginners?
Sometimes, although not commonly. You must already be listening to jazz, be highly dedicated with a positive attitude to learning. You need to appreciate the length of commitment you’ll be making to the journey ahead. You will need an assessment lesson in order to be accepted. You should already be trying to teach yourself to play, no matter what you’re starting with. It is the goal that you become “you’re own teacher” and therefore those who are already doing this will stand a better chance of success with getting lessons and playing in general.
I haven't played for years. Can you teach me?
It’s not an uncommon story. It will be easier to help you if you’re already trying on your own. It doesn’t matter what you’re working on, as long as you are trying to do something and are having regular contact with the piano.
Am I too late in life to start?
This is a hard one to answer because it really depends on what’s been going on so far. Most (not all) of Shan’s students are somewhere between 20 and 55 but the age isn’t as important as having piano experience before coming for lessons. Shan has successfully taught students of retirement age who have played some jazz before.
What's the youngest age you take?
The youngest age considered for lessons is normally 16. There may be rare exceptions where the student is already accomplished and highly committed.
How many lessons do I have to book?
Shan has no need to tie you down to any particular course of lessons. He has taught one-off lessons but also has many students who chose to stay for several years.
How often do I need to have lessons?
Most students have their lesson either every week or every two weeks. Unless the student has a high level of jazz experience, coming less often doesn’t seem to work that well. However, there is no specific requirement to commit to any duration of lessons.
Do I need a piano at home to begin lessons?
Yes you will definitely need a piano to practice on. Some people are not sure about continuing with the piano and want to try it out before purchasing one. In such cases, you may be better off getting started with a non-specialist teacher and come back when you’ve made some progress.
What kinds of students do you have?
Enthusiasts without professional ambitions, singers, professional jazz musicians, piano teachers, music university teachers and students. Anyone with enough experience and drive to get something out of lessons.
How much practice do I need to do?
You should really start from the perspective of how much practice you’re interested in doing and willing to do. Students who succeed want to practice and enjoy playing piano, figuring out chords, scales, and more, rather than just aiming toward a certain result. It’s about the journey, rather than the destination. You should try to fit in practice most days, even if it’s not a long session. Panic practising the day before the lesson is not a dedicated approach, and it won’t get you very far. Little and often is the key for busy people.
Which slots do you have free?
As students are not tied down to terms of lessons or contracts, it is sometimes hard to predict what will become available. Before you will be offered a regular slot, you will need to pass an assessment lesson at the start. This lesson provides you the opportunity to see what is involved in the lesson and to see if you would like Shan to teach you. Given these factors, please contact us for up-to-date information regarding bookings.
How long does a lesson last?
It is normally 60 minutes, but a 30-minute lesson is also available, if you prefer.
Can I give lessons as a gift?
Possibly. Every student must have an assessment lesson before gaining entry to lessons. Given this requirement, you won’t be able to buy a course of lessons immediately. You may instead be able to get a one-off lesson, to get things moving. To avoid disappointment, please contact me to find out whether I’m free for the location and time slot you prefer.
How much do lessons/workshops/site membership cost?
For full information, see the Times and Prices page.
What if I cancel my lesson?
It would be great if you didn’t cancel 🙂
Consistency and dedication are encouraged. However, if you really need to cancel your lesson, you can do this at no charge within a full 24 hours’ notice, by email. There may be slots that require more notice, such as Monday lessons; you will be given full information about that. If you fail to provide the required notice of cancellation, you will be charged the full lesson. Shan has a fully booked diary with students often waiting for lessons, so things run smoothly if we all stick to the plan.
What's so different about these lessons?
The content itself is quite different from most jazz education plans, with chord movements being a good example. As this conversation goes far beyond the scope of FAQ, please look at What happens in a lesson for additional information.
How is a lesson structured?
There is no regimented time allocation to particular tasks. Instead, each student has a theme for his or her lesson at any given point. Learning Jazz is not a linear experience but Shan has organised the concepts well. Shan will often ask you which areas have been your focus and go from there. Sometimes, the lesson will focus on a piece of music, while other days the focus may be on a chord sequence, scale exercise, solo practice, etc. Lessons are lively, fun and hard work! 🙂
Do we read music in lessons?
The notation used in Shan’s lessons is basic, as compared to classical music, with treble clef and chord symbols serving as a blueprint that leaves room for students to personalise their pieces once they play more fluently. The biggest difference between Shan’s lessons and competitors is that you won’t just learn to read one piece of music after another without any “musical understanding.” Instead, you acquire and strengthen the skills to understand fully what you do in each piece and how it works.
Are styles other than jazz taught?
They may be touched on but Shan is one of the few quality and specialist jazz educators around. You can certainly apply the skills to other jazz-based styles but the lessons will focus on jazz playing and appreciation.
Are exams taught?
Shan will teach you how to actually play, to understand music as a language and the way he uses it as a musician, rather than using formal grade exams. However, he also understands your need to quantify your progress and has his own “Jazz Belts” system.
Do Skype Lessons Really Work?
Yes it absolutely works! Shan has trained Skype students all over the world for over a decade. He was the first jazz pianist in the world to offer lessons on Skype and since then, has trained many musicians to a high level on Skype. Many of whom had never played jazz before. Technology has improved massively and no matter what device you’re using, you probably already have a webcam and mic built in. Shan doesn’t even need to see your hands as he has a very strong ear. You will see him, his hands and sometimes a shared screen with music or other visuals.
What equipment do I need?
PC, Mac, iPad, or other similar device,
Broadband Internet connection, and
Skype free software, available at Skype
Most new devices already have a webcam and microphone built in.
What if I have technical problems during the lesson?
Lessons normally run very smoothly. However, in the unlikely event that you do have a technical issue, Shan will do his best to help you. If you have a technical issue that cannot be immediately resolved, you will not be charged for the unusable portion of the lesson.
What is the cost of a Skype lesson?
Please see this link for current prices and to convert to your own currency: Prices
What is the subscription?
Jazz Skills is the membership website (nothing to do with 1 to 1 lessons) that you can subscribe to instead of lessons or in addition to lessons. It has over 330 lessons recorded by Shan on all aspects of Jazz Piano.
Who is Jazz Skills for?
How much does Jazz Skills membership cost?
See this link for up to date prices.
How do I get started?
Head on over to http://www.JazzSkills.co.uk