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Piano & Voice Lessons

My teaching philosophy is simple: I want to impart a love and enjoyment of music in everyone I work with—whether it's a brand new student who's never played piano or any instrument before, or it's someone who is looking to further improve their skills, or someone who is looking to learn a new style of music. As a music professional who has done a multitude of gigs in various styles and genres, my experience will guide whichever way you'd like to progress as a musician!

Here are some examples of music styles I teach:

  • Classical - a foundation based on solid technique, musicality, and learning staples of the repertoire from the great composers like J.S. Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, and more!

  • Pop & Rock - how to play the catchy radio hits, to feel the groove, and even to accompany yourself while you sing!

  • Improvisation - taking a basic series of chords and making up anything that comes to mind; using a motif and developing it; being free to play what you want without the restrictions of classical rules!

  • Jazz - 12-bar blues, playing a walking bass line, "comping" to a chord progression, and learning the theory that goes along with understanding jazz!

  • Musical Theatre - between your favorite Disney songs and other theatre classics, playing musical theatre combines classical knowledge, the "feel" and "groove" associated with pop & rock, and incorporating jazz and improvisational elements!

In both the piano lessons and voice lessons I teach, my philosophy also includes:

  • An emphasis on reading sheet music — learning to play music by ear, and learning songs by ear is fantastic! But my success as a professional musician is far more rooted in my ability to sight-read just about any piece of music put in front of me (to a degree; learning to simplify on the spot is also a skill!). All of my students will learn to read music as it's just like learning a language, and the more you read music, the easier (and more fun) it will be to play / sing!

  • Music Theory — learning all about the "why" when it comes to music: why does this chord sound "happy"? Why does this phrase sound the way it does? Understanding music theory is a way to unlock your ability to truly decipher any music  you come across! From the basics of a chord progression like: C major | A Minor | F Major | G Major, to the forms of music (like Sonata-Allegro, Rondo, Theme & Variation), to chord qualities and more, a great pianist and/or singer will have a firm understanding of music theory

  • Technique — for pianists, an emphasis on all the types of scales, proper hand positions, keeping your wrist loose and not tense, and proper posture are just some of the things covered in piano lessons. For singers, understanding proper breathing, vocal projection, vowel formation, diction, and more are some key topics.

  • Musicality — learning to shape a phrase, how to voice a particular passage, and fully understanding dynamics and tone when it comes to performing. Much of what one learns as a pianist regarding musicality can transfer to singing and vice versa.

Expectations:

  1. Weekly lessons with the instructor — To achieve the most success as a music student, having lessons once a week has always been the standard. For students wishing to learn more and progress faster, 2 lessons a week is also possible, but 1 lesson a week is required in Hewitt Music Studio.

  2. A commitment to regular practicing — just like you practice volleyball or soccer, or algebra or French, learning piano and/or voice requires regular practice that occurs between your private lessons with the instructor. For young piano students just starting out, a few times a week for 10 minutes each practice is completely satisfactory. As the lesson assignments increase and become more difficult, practice time needs to increase. It may be easy sometimes, and it may be like pulling teeth, but the reward is there when students commit to practicing. For voice students, practice will not be as frequent as piano students, but nonetheless, practice is essential to improve in any discipline.

  3. Punctuality — on-time arrival to lessons (whether virtually or in-person), prompt payments of tuition when due, and punctual correspondence are all required in Hewitt Music Studio.

  4. Communication — when embarking on lessons in Hewitt Music Studio, the instructor and student (and parent, if applicable), will discuss the expectations and what they desire to get out of lessons. I have had some students who want to play classical music proficiently; I have had some who only want to play pop tunes; I have had students who are primarily interested in musical theatre and even composition; whatever it is YOU want to get out lessons, I want to help you achieve that. Similarly, I expect and encourage honest communication if lesson assignments are too easy, too difficult, or if you want something different. Music lessons are an investment and I want to help you make the most of it.

Important Information:

  • I charge lesson tuition by the month, with each month's payment due at the first lesson of the month. There are usually 4 lessons per month, in which case you would pay for 4 lessons up front. However, sometimes there are 3 lessons, and sometimes there are 5. Since I am not on a "yearly tuition" model (as some studios are), you would simply pay for the 3 lessons or 5 lessons, thus the exact amount you pay per month just depends on how many lessons you take. 

  • Private lessons are 30-minutes, 45-minutes, or 60-minutes in length. 30-minute lessons are generally reserved for students 10 years of age and under, or for beginners or people who can only commit to 30-minutes a week. For more advanced students, 45-minute or 60-minute lessons are required.

  • I will accept piano students as young as 6 years old, and voice students as young as 10 years old. If a student is younger than these guidelines but still wishes to enroll in music lessons, I will consider this on a case-by-case basis. For piano, I have taught 4 and 5 years old before and it can be successful, but there's a big difference in learning when the student can properly read and also communicate so that they can learn most efficiently. For voice lessons, childrens' voices vastly change in their preteen and teenage years, but age 10 is an appropriate time for the young singer to begin receiving private instruction. I work with many children's choruses as piano accompanist, and while the voice is still changing, instruction can be very effective starting around age 10.

  • In-person lessons take place at my apartment in San Francisco, which is 190 Victoria St, Unit 1. For virtual lessons, almost all of my students use Zoom as the platform for video communication. A laptop, tablet, or smartphone, and a fast Internet connection is required for students wishing to take virtual lessons.

  • The first lesson with the instructor will be considered a lesson — we will discuss expectations, goals, and you will learn something even in just this first session! Payment is only required for this first lesson, and should the student enroll, the next payment will fulfill the rest of the lessons for the month.

  • Discontinuation of piano lessons requires a 1-month notice — once enrolled in piano lessons, if you decide to discontinue regular lessons, the instructor must be notified 1-month in advance. This allows the current plan of study to wrap up and to give lessons a natural cadence. If you decide to quit lessons abruptly, payment for 4 lessons (1-month's notice) will still be required.

  • Missing a lesson: the instructor must be notified at least 24 hours in advance if a lesson will be missed for that lesson to be credited in the future. I am happy to make up lessons as my schedule allows, but missed lessons and notice given less than 24 hours in advance will not be made up and the student will be charged the lesson in full.

My aim is to make music lessons FUN, thrilling, enjoyable, and encouraging! If you would like to schedule a trial lesson / "first lesson", please email me at:

christopher@hewittmusicstudio.com

If you have questions or other general inquiries, please don't hesitate to contact me at:

info@hewittmusicstudio.com

Hewitt Music Studio offers lessons Mondays - Saturdays.

Coaching for Singers & Performers

Coaching at Hewitt Music Studio is designed to give the aspiring singer/performer, as well as the seasoned performer, feedback, input, and guidance on their repertoire. Coaching is not only limited to singers, but pianists as well who may want just one or two sessions for some overall feedback.

Coaching can be done a la carte, one coaching at a time, without the obligation to enroll or sign up for a month at a time. I'm perfectly happy to coach singers/performers on a regular basis, but this allows the flexibility of irregular scheduling — perhaps you want just one or two coachings before some auditions, and then in 6 months, you want feedback on your 6 repertoire songs you are perfecting. That's totally possible! In coaching sessions, I'm happy to play the music you bring into me, and work with you on anything from presentation to phrasing, to specific note issues. You may also bring in a recording so that my focus is strictly on the singing / performance.

Coachings are offered at 60-minute / 1-hour slots. In-person coachings work best, but I am happy to do virtual coaching sessions as well! If you'd like to schedule a coaching, please email me at:

christopher@hewittmusicstudio.com

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