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Additional Parent Information


Technic or technique is the ability of your fingers to do what your brain tells them to do. This is achieved through the rehearsal of various exercises including scales, thirds, octaves and arpeggios. For a more indepth article, please click here


Repertoire is a fancy word for a list of songs the student can play upon request, preferably by memory. "Happy Birthday" is a good choice for a song to have memorized. The goal is to build a repertoire of songs in each category in which the student is interested.


Individual WRITTEN (at home) Theory books are required weekly. Most students also have a Notespeller to be done at home. DO THESE IN PENCIL! It is easiest to do these as soon as possible after the lesson while the instructions are still clear.

Ear Training:

Music is an aural art. Therefore, the ear should develop simultaneously with technical facility in performance. Students who develop ear traning skills from the earliest years of study are able to: Ear Training also helps to develop the ability of each student to hear the difference between the basic chord types; to hear intervals such as thirds, fifths, sevenths; and to hear chord changes as they occur. The Ear Training book is used for this purpose.

Playing Opportunities

All students will prepare for the Northern Virginia Music Teachers'Association Spring Festival and 2 recitals. While strongly suggested, the decision to perform will be made in a parent/teacher conference. A Festival Gold Cup is presented to students accumulating 15 points. A Superior rating in any event is worth 5 points. The more Festival events entered per year, the more points earned. Each student could enter Solo, Ensemble and/or Hymn Playing (not memorized).

Playing Classes

Playing Classes will occur about once a month during the school year to help students become used to playing for others, develop confidence, and create a quality performance. These are always on Saturday mornings at 10 am in my studio. Please check the Calendar for more information. Attendance at Playing Classes is expected.


It is recommended that each beginning student practice the lesson at least twice a day in periods of 15 minutes each. Very young beginners will probably find 5 to 10 minutes sufficient. If more time is available, great, but two segments of 15 minutes or more is a minimum.
An intermediate student should try to devote at least one hour.
All students should concentrate on difficult areas. Do not just "play through" disregarding errors.


The progress of each student will be evaluated at the end of each school quarter. These reports will be mailed. Progress in areas such as technique, sight reading, theory and chord facility will be addressed. Each student is expected to progress to the best of his or her ability. If at any time you feel that your child is not progressing - please call! YOU are essential to progress.

At the conclusion on each level (Lesson Book), a written and playing test will be given. If the student does not seem to be progressing well, that material will be reviewed, using another method, before starting the next level.

Parent Meetings

These Parent Meetings will help parents understand exactly what the student is to be working on at home and will help them learn tips from other parents. This is especially helpful for non-musical parents. These meetings will occur about once a quarter.

Sight Reading:

Sight Reading is a basic skill and students who read fluently will be able to enjoy playing the piano for a lifetime. Most teachers believe that sight reading should be a part of the student's daily practice routine. Pianists who have good sight reading skills are able to learn more music since the time required for learning new repertoire is reduced. In addition, students who sight read regularly learn more about stule characteristics of composers, improve memory and improve their concentration.

Other Information

The student should keep the Practice and Progress Notebook open during practice time. Follow instructions carefully. Record the time practiced in the notebook and have it signed by a parent.

Please do not let anyone write in books you have borrowed so others can use them as well.

NOTE: Written assignments (at least 1 per week) should be completed by the day after the lesson, IN PENCIL, while the instructions are still fresh in the mind.

If you decide to discontinue lessons, please call as soon as possible, but you must finish the remainder of the month as you will be charged for it. This lead time is necessary in order to schedule someone from the waiting list.

If you would like to have tapes made of the lessons, please send in a blank cassette. Every few weeks , tapes will be made of all lessons. When parents listen to these tapes and sign the area for "listened to tape", the student will get 2 bonus Alphabet Sticker points.

Information about the Alphabet Sticker Program will be distributed in October. This program always begins with the first Playing Class of the year, around the end of October. It runs until early June with the prizes awarded at the June Recital.

Parents are always welcome to sit in on the lessons.

You may wish to consider a metronome as a birthday or holiday gift.

Please be sure to bring all books and materials to every lesson, even if there was no assignment the previous week. This will enable us to go over the assignment for the next week and explain the new material. The Studio does not have duplicate copies of every book in use.

Neither gum nor any kind of food/drink is allowed in the Music Studio.

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The O'Connor Music Studio
is located
in Fairfax, Virginia
Piano, Organ
Electric Keyboard

For more information:
Email Mary O'Connor

Many thanks to Dearest for everything!

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