Welcome to PIANO LESSONS with JULIE (678) 775-8489


10025 Twingate Dr, Alpharetta Georgia - Click here for directions.

Piano lessons for kids of ALL ages - Click here for rates.

July 25 2009

Learning to Play the Piano: Avoiding Beginner Pitfalls

burning_pianoAs with any new activity, being able to play the piano involves acquiring a balanced mixture of both knowledge and skill. Basic facts come easily, such as where the notes are on the keyboard and how they relate to each other. However, learning all of the intricacies of how music is written and played can take many years of study. Learning the necessary physical skills involving the hands and fingers takes plenty of time and practice as well.

In the beginning, it is best not to jump in too far or too fast. Just as we learn to work with numbers first by recognizing them, then counting, then adding, then subtracting, then on to higher and more complicated problems, so too with music.

The first step is to study the keyboard and understand it well. There are seven notes, all in their own distinct places within the black key/white key pattern. This pattern is simply repeated up and down to form higher and lower pitches. Thus, if you learn a simple song, it may be played at higher and lower tones quite easily.

The next step in learning to play is to understand how the fingers are used. They are numbered 1 through 5 ( thumb, index, middle, ring, pinkie). It is important to remember when reading beginning music that the numbers may at first seem to always indicate a certain note on the piano, but this is only in the early stages and the student must never rely on a number to tell them what note to play. At some point, the beginner must study and practice reading music to be able to discern one written note from another. Numbers are used only to indicate which finger should be playing the note written.

As students begin to use their minds to understand the “rules” of music (how notes are written and songs composed) it is vital to develop skills with the hands/fingers. This requires much repetition – but the exercises do not have to be boring. On the contrary, learning finger skills can be very exciting in the beginning because many do not require the student to be able to read a single note of music. Thus the sounds produced may be very impressive coming from a new pianist!

In addition to the problem that many beginners have in believing that a finger number always  indicates a certain note, many times an issue arises where the student , instead of truly reading the notes on the page, figures out a song’s melody (with much trial and error), memorizes it, then plays while watching the hands. Thus, it may seem that the student is progressing well when, in fact, they are taking a “short cut” that will eventually land them in a nasty rut! But, you may think, “What is so bad about a student being smart enough to find, learn, and memorize a melody? That sounds like a very impressive thing to me.” Let me explain that the practice is not inherently “bad”. It is however, an ability that may seriously hinder a student’s progress in learning to read music.

What can a teacher do to help students who have fallen into the highly undesirable habit of watching their hands when they play? My solution is to demonstrate how easy it is to play with the eyes closed. Most pupils do not believe themselves capable of this incredible feat – until, to their utter amazement, they try it out and discover that they are. Wow! What a confidence builder! Playing “blind”  is a fun and exciting challenge for beginning students – and the perfect lead-in to some “piano logic”.

Fact 1: If you can play with your eyes shut tight, that means you do not have to watch your hands when you play.

Fact 2: If you do not have to watch your hands as you play, then you are able to keep those eyes on your music!

The students’ ability to be able to always keep their eyes on the music is crucial to their continued progress. If this skill is developed from the very beginning, the student and teacher will avoid much frustration in later lessons!


pink pianoWritten by - principal piano instructor for Piano Lessons with Julie.
Piano Lessons with Julie provides affordable piano instruction for kids of all ages and is convenient to Johns Creek, Alpharetta, Duluth, Forsyth, Norcross, and Northeast Atlanta Georgia. You can find piano lesson rates and directions to piano teacher's home by clicking the links or just visiting the website - www.johnscreekpianolessons.com

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March 31 2009

From Alpharetta to Johns Creek – What it means to live in a brand new city

When my family moved to Alpharetta, GA back in 2002, we had no idea that in a few short years, our address would change to Johns Creek, GA. Alpharetta was a well known area and we were happy to have an Alpharetta address.

All that changed a few years back and, suddenly, our house was no longer in Alpharetta. We belonged in a new city district – and a lot of people had no idea what happened. Of course the people in the new city knew what was going on – we voted on city-hood. I am talking about people who live nearby who were not involved in the political process and had no way of knowing that Johns Creek was made up of parts of Alpharetta, Roswell, Duluth, and Suwanee.

I am writing this blog to make it clear that, even though my address is officially in Johns Creek, I am in what used to be Alpharetta. If you are looking for a piano teacher in Alpharetta, then I am probably convenient for you. Don’t let the Johns Creek address throw you off – this area was Alpharetta for a long, long time before the city of Johns Creek was voted into existence.

Please take a look at the rest of my site – there is a map that shows exactly where I am and how to get to my home from all of the surrounding areas – Norcross, Roswell, Duluth, Alpharetta, Cumming, and Suwanee.

Thanks for visiting!


pink pianoWritten by - principal piano instructor for Piano Lessons with Julie.
Piano Lessons with Julie provides affordable piano instruction for kids of all ages and is convenient to Johns Creek, Alpharetta, Duluth, Forsyth, Norcross, and Northeast Atlanta Georgia. You can find piano lesson rates and directions to piano teacher's home by clicking the links or just visiting the website - www.johnscreekpianolessons.com

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February 24 2009

My Piano Lessons, Part II

In my previous post I shared my piano lesson experiences from age seven (2nd Grade) to age 13 (7th Grade). In a nutshell, I confessed that my first months of lessons were stressful and difficult, and I did not make much progress. It took quite a bit of time for me to catch on and have fun playing, but it did happen eventually.

So, on with the story:

In the summer of 1974 my family moved from California to Athens, GA – and my dutiful mother soon found a new piano teacher for me. Her name was Mrs Randolph, and she was very different from my first teacher. Mrs Randolph had a degree from the prestigious Julliard School of Music, and quickly set about fixing my bad playing habits (that I didn’t even know I had) and teaching me music history and music theory.

Mrs Randolph did an excellent job rounding out my musical knowledge. I learned about composers and different types of music, and all about scales and intervals, chords, harmonies, key signatures – you name it. For the first time in my many years of lessons I was shown how to do finger exercises, and they helped greatly with my playing and technique. I left my pop tunes behind (well, a lot of them) and began playing what most people think of as “classical” music. You know, those songs with the highly imaginative names like “Minuet in G” and “Sonata in F” or, simply, “Dance”. I can’t say that my piano lessons ever became the high point of my week, but, for the most part, I enjoyed my time with Mrs Randolph.

So, why did I quit? Two words: Mandatory Recitals. Some people are comfortable performing, and some are not. I definitely fall into the latter category, and the recitals were terribly stressful for me. I think that sometimes teachers can lose their perspective, and end up placing too much emphasis on their students’ public performance skills as a measure of their own success as instructors.

My goal as a teacher is to motivate each student to reach their individual playing/learning goals without a lot of unnecessary stress. Lessons are about the students and how to help them do their individual best, so that they can feel proud and encouraged about their achievements.


pink pianoWritten by Julie Chapman - principal piano instructor for Piano Lessons with Julie.
Piano Lessons with Julie provides affordable piano instruction for kids of all ages and is convenient to Johns Creek, Alpharetta, Duluth, Forsyth, Norcross, and Northeast Atlanta Georgia. You can find piano lesson rates and directions to piano teacher's home by clicking the links or just visiting the website - www.johnscreekpianolessons.com

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February 07 2009

Piano Lessons with Julie – Website Launches

Alpharetta Piano Lessons & Duluth Piano Lessons Websites Launched

We have launched two new websites to make sure that parents looking for affordable piano lessons for kids in the north Atlanta area will be able to find us easily. The two sites - www.AlpharettaPianoLessons.com & www.DuluthPianoLessons.com are sites designed to be easily found and used by piano lovers who are looking for piano instruction in the northern Atlanta, northeast Atlanta area near Alpharetta, Duluth, Johns Creek, Norcross, Cumming, and Forsyth townships.

These websites have pages for affordable rates for piano instruction, directions to Piano Lessons with Julie, and piano student applications which will be processed by and responded to by the staff at Piano Lessons with Julie.

We hope that you find the sites useful and will share them with your friends. They are part of our mission – to bring affordable piano lessons to kids of all ages in the north Atlanta area.

You can read the annoucement of the Alpharetta Piano Lessons site here; you can read the annoucement of the Duluth Piano Lessons site here.


pink pianoWritten by - principal piano instructor for Piano Lessons with Julie.
Piano Lessons with Julie provides affordable piano instruction for kids of all ages and is convenient to Johns Creek, Alpharetta, Duluth, Forsyth, Norcross, and Northeast Atlanta Georgia. You can find piano lesson rates and directions to piano teacher's home by clicking the links or just visiting the website - www.johnscreekpianolessons.com

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February 05 2009

My Piano Lessons, Part I

Julie in fourth gradeOnce upon a time (1968) in a land far, far away (Glendale, CA) a little seven-year-old girl (that would be me) began taking piano lessons.

The lessons were very stressful at first because there was just so much to remember at once! Learning to read the notes on the page, and then to play the right key with the correct hand with the proper finger at the specified time…. Whew! That is pretty overwhelming for anyone. But especially for a kid.

It was hard for me, and I struggled. And because it was hard, it was not much fun. Now, I don’t care if you are 7 or 70, if something is not enjoyable, you do not want to do it any more than you have to. So I didn’t.

Week after week I went to my lessons and tested the patience of my piano teacher to its fullest. I do not remember how long it took me to finally make it through to the end of the Leila Fletcher Piano Course Book One, but I would not be surprised at all if I had won the All-Time-Slowest-Learner Award for my pitiful effort.

But then, something amazing began to happen. I actually got better! All those lessons finally started to sink in and in a few years I was able to have lots of fun when I played. My mom would get the music for songs that were popular at the time – songs by Simon and Garfunkel, Carole King,The Carpenters, etc. – and, after a bit of practice, I could play them well.  I could even show off a little and play Beethoven’s "Fur Elise" (the easy part!) for my friends.

For me, those early years marked the beginning of a lifetime of musical enjoyment. There is something magical about being able to make music – even  music as simple as clapping out a catchy beat or playing a fun and easy "Heart and Soul" or "Chopsticks" duet with a friend.

My goal as a teacher is to make my piano lessons as fun as possible as early as possible.  It is all about the kids and being creative in the ways that I teach so that they do not feel pressured to perform or to get things exactly right all the time. That is not reality! Kids respond to patient, relaxed guidance, and if there is any yelling to be done, the words should be things like, "Great job!" and "I am so proud of you!"

I love teaching kids, and if I do my job well, they will enjoy learning and always look forward to their lessons. 

I hope you have enjoyed reading about my musical beginnings- there is more to come in My Piano Lessons, Part II


pink pianoWritten by Julie Chapman - principal piano instructor for Piano Lessons with Julie.
Piano Lessons with Julie provides affordable piano instruction for kids of all ages and is convenient to Johns Creek, Alpharetta, Duluth, Forsyth, Norcross, and Northeast Atlanta Georgia. You can find piano lesson rates and directions to piano teacher's home by clicking the links or just visiting the website - www.johnscreekpianolessons.com

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February 04 2009

Duluth Piano Lessons – website launched

Welcome to Duluth Piano Lessons

We launched this site so that people who live in the Duluth area, or in the Johns Creek area will know about a wonderful new resource for parents who are interested in having their kids take piano lessons – Piano Lessons with Julie.

Piano Lessons with Julie is a service that I started to provide affordable piano lessons for kids of all ages. Most of all the lessons are fun. You can find our rates and send an application for admission by visiting the piano student application page.

You can find Piano Lessons with Julie on these other sites as well – www.JohnsCreekPianoLessons.com & www.DuluthPianoLessons.com We are convenient to Duluth, Johns Creek, Alpharetta, Norcross, Cumming, and Forsyth. We look forward to talking with you.

January 29 2009

Welcome to the Piano Lessons with Julie blog!

I’m Julie Chapman and I want to welcome you to the blog for Piano Lessons with Julie. It is my pleasure to give piano lessons to kids of ALL ages. I teach kids to read music, play the piano, and most of all it’s fun.

Please visit often. In the coming days and and weeks we will be building the site and adding articles.


pink pianoWritten by Julie Chapman - principal piano instructor for Piano Lessons with Julie.
Piano Lessons with Julie provides affordable piano instruction for kids of all ages and is convenient to Johns Creek, Alpharetta, Duluth, Forsyth, Norcross, and Northeast Atlanta Georgia. You can find piano lesson rates and directions to piano teacher's home by clicking the links or just visiting the website - www.johnscreekpianolessons.com

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