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Bonnie Western

Hampton VA | 23669

About me

I have been teaching piano since I was 16. I started helping my Dad teach piano classes on Saturdays at a local music store in Colorado and from there I started teaching private students. My husband was in the military and teaching piano allowed me to have work where ever we went and I could teach while I had my children. I studied Music Education at the University of Colorado-Pueblo (it was Southern Colorado State College when I attended). In addition to teaching piano, I also play violin with Symphonicity, the Symphony of Virginia Beach. I do not teach violin (nor do I want to).

I came from a musical family. Both of my parents played piano. As I said earlier, my Dad taught piano, although he was not a full time teacher because he worked for the Post Office. Dad played the violin which is also what inspired me to want to learn violin. My two brothers played piano as well and other instruments. I started piano and dance at age 4 and violin at 10.

I have thoroughly enjoyed teaching piano as it has been so varied. No two students are alike and it's inspiring to watch them grow. Not all have been or are great students but they have a love for music and that's important. I have taught students of many ages- from 4 to 75+. I have taught group music classes and started a preschool music program for a local music store several years ago. I am also playing piano for a Preschool in the area during the week. It's great because they are learning what music is all about and having fun too! I don't know of any other type of work that allows us teachers to be able to be flexible and still have fun while having students learn how to play the piano. In my 45 years + of teaching, I've only had 2-3 students that didn't work out. As one ages, most people consider retiring but I don't think I will ever retire because I can set my hours, the number of students I can or want to work with and still take a vacation when I want to.

Currently I have the best group of students that I've had in a while. I've always had a couple along with the others, but these are all good working kids and I look forward to seeing them every week. They make my time worthwhile. Most take 30 minute lessons but I do have a couple who take hourly lessons.

My goal is to teach every student how to read music and be able to have fun and enjoy music. Hopefully, they will continue on with music as they go on with their lives. I know most will not be music majors but to be able to play well enough to relax when they need to and have fun!

I also freelance in the area on both piano and violin.

Lesson details

I strongly encourage students to do technic daily and we begin our lessons with scales, or hanon, etc. Then we progress into the assigned lesson. We work out any issues that need to be worked on (i.e., fingerings, notes, counting, etc.), and then I make sure they can play the corrected piece the way we worked on it. Then go on to other pieces. If it is time for a new piece then we go through it looking for things to be aware of and go through it hands alone (mostly). If there is time left, I let the student choose what he or she wants to finish up with. Sometimes, it is a piece we've already worked on and sometimes it might be sightreading. I do offer computer programs to encourage students to supplement their learning skills.

Education and Accreditation

I have 5 years of Music Education study but I do not have a degree. I chose not to finish at the time because I made the decision not to teach Band or Orchestra in Public Schools. (I lack classes for math and science). I spent two weeks doing student teaching in a beginning orchestra and found it 'painful' to work with as I have perfect pitch. I knew then that teaching piano was what I was going to do and that's where I've been ever since. I have taken certification classes and could pursue that but I don't know if that is practical at this point in my life. I was doing a double major in both piano and violin. I also studied clarinet for several years. I attend conferences and workshops when possible to keep up on current issues.

I am a member of Music Teachers National Association, Virginia Music Teachers Association, Peninsula Music Teachers National Association, Tidewater Music Teachers Forum, and National Guild of Music Teachers. I do participate in Guild auditions and put students in other festivals or competitions in the area as they are prepared for. (Lions Club here has a Bland Competition and I have entered students in that- one went through several levels) and a competition that a local Church sponsors.

I have had students with varying disabilities and made things work for both of us. It was challenging at times but the rewards of working with the student to help him/her learn to play was well worth it.

Testimonials

Experience

more than 20 years

Rates

$39 & under

Availability

Monday 1 pm - 6pm
Tuesday 1pm - 5:30pm
Wednesday 3 pm - 6pm
Thursday 1 pm - 6pm
Friday 2 pm - 5pm (In many instances I am flexible depending on the student's schedule)
Saturday N/A - N/A
Sunday N/A - N/A

Teaching location

Teachers Studio

Genre

Childrens Music
Classical

Methods

Alfred Method
Bastien Method
Faber and Faber
Thompson Method

Instruments and Subjects

piano

Levels taught

Beginner
Intermediate
Advanced

Type of students

Children
Young Adults
Adults
Seniors

Languages

English

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