What equipment, software, and instruments do you have in your studio?

Every year, I put together keyboard ensembles for recital, Cantata, and church performances. Many students like to learn pop so I like to keep up with technology. I also use MIDI files during my lessons.

  • I have a Mason & Hamlin 5’8” grand piano that has been recently rebuilt and is tuned regularly.
  • Music workstation set-up with a keyboard, laptop, and speakers
  • 2 Yamaha YPG-635 full size electronic pianos
  • Sound system complete with a mixer, speakers, and microphones
  • Bluetooth speaker system to easily connect with students’ iPods
  • Roland MT300s Music Player
  • Extensive library of MIDI files to accompany the popular piano methods
  • Software for arranging and rehearsing music: Sibelius, Transcribe, Home Concert Xtreme

I have younger children that cannot be left at home. Can I bring them along to the lesson?

The Hummel Music Studio is 750 square feet with its own entrance. It includes a family room that is comfortably furnished so families can relax while lessons take place in the adjoining studio. Families are encouraged to use their waiting time to do homework, read, or to quietly chat with each other. The studio is located right across the street from Jenkins Park, so go ahead and take the young ones to play in the park while you wait.

Do you require your students to practice on an acoustic piano?

There is no denying that the best instrument to learn on is an acoustic piano. However, I understand the it is not always possible due to cost restrictions or size restrictions. There are many wonderful digital pianos to choose from, and every year they get better and better. Piano students who practice on a digital piano make meaningful progress. And there are a few benefits to digital pianos. Because of size, they can be placed in most any room, thereby preventing young students from being isolated from the rest of the family. Also, students can practice using headphones, allowing other family members to continue with their activities without disturbing the person playing the piano.

We want to buy a digital piano. What should we look for?

These are the features one should look for.

  • Full size keyboard (88 keys)
  • Action that mimics an acoustic piano. Look for key words like “touch sensitive”, “weighted keys”, or “grand piano action”.
  • Internal speakers so the instrument can be played without the use of auxiliary speakers or headphones.
  • Keyboard stand
  • Keyboard bench
  • Its own music rest, or a separate music stand
  • A solid sustain pedal. Many keyboard come with small pedals that are flimsy and do not mimic the pedal on an acoustic piano. I recommend people purchase a Roland DP-10 Damper Pedal for about $50.

Where is the best place to buy music?

This area enjoys having a very fine music store that attracts people from far away. Schenectady VanCurler Music has one of the most complete music inventory. Located inside the Proctors Theatre Arcade, 432 State Street, Schenectady, 374-5318. The owners are knowledgeable and can steer you in the right direction. If they don’t have the music in stock, then they will order it for you.
If you like to shop for music online, here are some of my favorite music websites:

  • Primamusic.com
  • Jwpepper.com
  • Musicnotes.com
  • Musictime.com