Skyler takes piano lessons and voice lessons at Sage Music, LIC, Queens, NY.

Jason: Alright Skyler, welcome! We’re having this little interview today because we are honoring you as our Student of the Month, so welcome!

Skyler: Thank you.

Jason: You’re welcome. Do you have any idea why we decided to make you Student of the Month?

Skyler: I think because when I’m at home practicing piano, I do my best, and I try and bring my best here at Sage Music.

Jason: Well, this is what I hear from your teachers, from Julian and Nicole, who you’ve taken piano with, and Olivia, who’s worked with you on the voice, they’ve all said the same thing: that you come every week so prepared, and they’re really excited to work with you, because it’s really a pleasure to work with someone like you who goes home and gets things done. Maybe you can tell me a little bit about what you do at home, and how you find yourself so prepared for your lessons.

Skyler: When I come home after my music lesson, I tell my dad about my day and what I learned, and then we go to the piano, and I practice for a little bit. I usually practice twice a day, and for the parts I don’t understand, my Dad helps me. I also listen to the songs that I’m practicing, so that I know what they feel like, and how fast or slow to play the music.

Jason: I see. I hear a lot of good stuff in there. One of the things we know about practicing is that if you practiced one time a day, that’s okay, but if you practice more than once a day, even if it’s for a shorter amount of time, the better we do – it seems to be that the more often we practice, the better. So obviously, it’s showing in your case, yeah? I also think that you must have some great parents because they’re helping you all the time. And that’s one of the things I see with supportive parents, their sons and daughters, like you, often do really well. So, that’s also awesome to hear. So, you told me a little bit about when you practice, and how often, but when you sit down to practice, what do you exactly do?

Skyler: When I sit down to practice, I look at my notes and see what I need to do. I work on it for a couple of minutes, to see if I can get it down, and then I move on.

Jason: Let me ask you a question there. So, you think about what you’re going to do before you do it, is that right?

Skyler: Yeah.

Jason: And then you see if you can do it, is that right?

Skyler: Yeah.

Jason: Do you often find that you can do it?

Skyler: Sometimes I can do it, and sometimes I can’t. Sometimes chords are a little hard for me to play with all fingers at once. So I just practice that for a couple of minutes to strengthen my fingers.

Jason: I see. And so when you say that sometimes you feel like you can’t do it, do you feel like you repeat the activity until you can?

Skyler: Usually I try and break it down and do it slower, to see if I can do it without making mistakes.

Jason: I see. This sounds like a smart solution to me. So when it’s too big to do, you break it into something that’s small and manageable, is that right?

Skyler: Yeah.

Jason: Okay, so I think you’re doing really well with all this. Let’s see if I can help you go even a step further.

Skyler: Okay.

Jason: You’re already doing a great job, but we’re never satisfied with where we are. We can always grow in some way, right? So here’s my thought and you tell me what you think about it. When you think about what you’re going to do, do you think that you could close your eyes and imagine all the movements you’re going to make before you make them?

Skyler: Yeah.

Jason: Do you think that would help you do things better on the first try?

Skyler: Yeah.

Jason: So give that a thought and see if you can imagine the movements you’re going to make before you do them, and that way I think you’ll have a better chance of doing them on the first time.

Skyler: Okay.

Jason: After that, all you have to do is repeat the movement until it becomes comfortable.

Skyler: Okay.

Jason: Some people like to practice until it’s perfect, but it might be better to practice it perfectly until it’s comfortable. Does that difference make sense to you?

Skyler: Yeah.

Jason: Okay, great. So, what advice would you have for your friends who are trying to learn a musical instrument?

Skyler: Some of my friends like to play instruments, but they get really frustrated, like me. So sometimes I tell them, and myself, to calm down, take a deep breath, and if I get frustrated, take a break.

Jason: Breaks are good. So when you get frustrated, you take breaks and you also do things that are smaller?

Skyler: Yeah.

Jason: Do you think that if you imagine the things you did before you did them, it will keep you from being frustrated, too?

Skyler: Yeah, probably.

Jason: Yeah, so see if that will help you as well. Good. So you’re obviously practicing and you’re getting results. What’s your goal with the piano?

Skyler: What I want to do is play the piano really well and play for my family.

Jason: Do you already play for your family some?

Skyler: Yeah, sometimes.

Jason: What kind of songs do you want to play for them?

Skyler: I want to play classical pieces.

Jason: Yeah? Do you have a favorite in mind?

Skyler: Um, not right now.

Jason: Okay. What do you like about playing for your family?

Skyler: My family gets to listen to me and see how well I’ve been doing and practicing.

Jason: So, you feel like you get to make them proud when you do that?

Skyler: Yeah.

Jason: Do you like your family?

Skyler: Yeah.

Jason: Your family sounds really supportive, it sounds really good. Anyway, do you have any questions for me?

Skyler: Um, no, I’m good.

Jason: You’re good? (laughs)

Skyler: Yeah. (laughs)

Jason: Well, I really appreciate you coming out and doing this interview! We’re really pleased to give you this honor, because you’ve always done good work, and we hope we get to help you keep doing it.

Skyler: Thank you.

Jason: Alright, thank you!