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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June 21 2009

Home-Schoolers: Registration is open for Fall

This message goes out to all the amazing home-school families in the North Atlanta area – it is time to start planning your fall curriculum (but you probably know that already!)

As a former home-schooler of 8 years, I know how overwhelming it can be to find the best teaching resources from the ocean of choices that are now available. ( I ended up going “cafeteria style” and chose what I felt were the best materials from a number of different sources.) But I know that, curriculum preferences aside, all home-school families have a common purpose and goal:

To develop in their children a true love of learning.

Talk about easier said than done! There is no simple formula – because there are no “simple” children. It is amazing to note the differences in even the closest of relations, namely brothers and sisters. How can kids from the same parents be so different from each other?? One thing is for sure – Our Creator knows everything there is to know about being CREATIVE.

I delight in teaching because of the very fact that my students are so diverse. It is a thrill and a challenge to find ways to make the most of their individual talents and to encourage them through difficult stages in the learning process.

If you are interested in having piano lessons as part of your home-school program. I would be honored to be chosen as your teacher.
Please fill out the student application form and I will be sure to get back with you in a timely manner.


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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May 30 2009

Learning Together: Parent/Child Lessons

As I gain more experience as a teacher, one thing has become very clear to me: Children really need parental support and involvement to get the most out of their lessons. This is especially important if they are young children ages 3-6.

There is so much to learn in the beginning that it can be overwhelming for a child to take it all in. I am very careful not to try to teach too much all at once, but then there is the problem of keeping things interesting and fun. Going over the same old thing week after week may avoid overload, but BOREDOM can be just as deadly! I can always give assignments to reinforce the lesson…. but what happens when the child goes home and forgets the instructions? (Nothing!)

So, what is a teacher to do? My solution is to offer Parent/Child lessons where the learning is done together. This type of lesson is unique because the emphasis is on the parent and child learning together through games and activities that can be done during the week. Because the parent is present and attentive during the lessons, I am able to explain the purpose of each activity and give instruction when needed. For parents without musical experience, it is a wonderful opportunity to learn alongside your child. Parents who already know about music will learn fun and effective ways to reinforce musical knowledge and concepts with their children.

If you have a young child who is interested in music, taking a class together will not only be fun, but the learning will LAST.

Please visit our Rates page to learn about fees and scheduling.


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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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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March 26 2009

What Kind of Keyboard Do I Need?

Help! What Kind of Keyboard Do I Need?

Honestly, having to search through all of the different brands and types of keyboards available on the market today is a big job – even for someone like me who knows what they are looking for! Then, once you have found what you want (or think you want) THEN you have a new trail to blaze on the web to make sure that you are getting the BEST DEAL available. By the time you are done with all of that you are probably ready to go hibernate somewhere for awhile… Whew!

So, I have done all the nasty searching/price comparison work for you so that you can easily decide between just 3 different products. All three happen to be made by Yamaha, and each one listed is sold at the best price I found on the web – AND the shipping is free on any model you choose.

If you are spending your hard-earned money and precious time on piano lessons, then it only makes sense to have something decent to play when you are at home. A plastic floor mat piano or a little kiddie- multi-colored-tiny-keys keyboard it NOT what you want. Period.

The keyboards I recommend all have full size keys (very important) and are touch sensitive (also very important).

Touch sensitive means that you are able to play softly or loudly depending on how light/hard you press on the keys. In other words the volume button is in your fingers. They each also come with a stand – no playing on the floor!

The entry level keyboard has 61 keys, and includes a stand and headphones. It is the Yamaha EZ200.

Most students will do well with this model, and it is easy on the budget.

The mid level keyboard has 76 keys, and includes a stand and headphones. It is the Yamaha DGX 230

Mid-size keyboards are hard to find – this one, however, isn’t just bigger than the entry level product, it is also built to play more like a real piano (called “Graded Soft Touch Action”).

The Yamaha DGX 530 is as close to real piano as you can get (for the price). 88 full size keys, built to play like a “real” piano -Graded Soft Touch Action – and has a very nice furniture-like stand and a pedal.

If you are serious about having something really nice to play that you won’t outgrow – this is it.

And, budget-wise, it is a tremendous value. Old, beat-up real pianos usually cost more than this – and they will never sound as good.

I hope that this post has been helpful in your keyboard purchasing decision. For more detailed information and/or to purchase a keyboard, click here for my online store


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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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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