On-Line Lessons

We specialize in online lessons and both our students and faculty are loving it!  Nearly 95% of our students are online and we continue to enroll new distance-learning students across the country. This speaks to both Foothills and our students' love for music and commitment to keeping quality musical instruction in our lives.

Here are some responses from parents of our distant learners:

            "My high school son and middle school daughter have taken lessons from many teachers, including teachers in Switzerland. For the first time they love their lessons and often play piano and cello together. Thank you for making music a permanent part of their lives" - K.G. 

       "Perfect!  Thank you for doing the online lessons!!!  It is helping to keep some sort normalcy  to his schedule and day now". - B.C.

        "Thanks for braving the new world of online.🙂. Appreciate your patience! He finished the lesson and said he liked it ... that's a two thumbs up!" - S.W.

"We were unsure of online lessons, but my son is definitely progressing. It was nice that when we moved from Seattle to Harrisburg we could continue with lessons." - A.H.  

"Sounds like all went really well. I am so happy you are gutsy and willing to try something new." - M.C.

"Thank you. He loves it. He practiced this morning quite a bit" - B.D.

What a typical lesson looks like:
* Warm-ups/ scales/ technique
* Play song/literature requiring this scale/technique
* Screen share music and discuss/annotate what we see/what parts are difficult and jointly      determine why/how to get over that hurdle.
* Screen share theory/composition and work/complete in class
** Some "buddy" lessons. We invite friends to join and play in a "round robin" setting and       compose/improvise together.

Now is a perfect time to begin lessons. For all the reasons our parents are citing, lessons  bring routine, purpose, interaction, and above all a "happy place" for creativity and imagination. You can be a complete beginner! 

This is about connecting and keeping the joy/love of learning in our lives.

-Catherine and staff

Foothills Music Academy 

Foothills Music Academy
 offering:  piano, violin, viola, cello, and cello squad

 serving:  Duvall, Monroe, Redmond, Carnation, Woodinville, Bothell, Mill Creek, Distance Learners




Enrolling New Students for 2021-2022 school year both on-line and in-person!


Foothills offers private one-on-one musical education in: Piano, Violin, Viola, Cello, and Composition/Theory throughout the United States. 

What makes Foothills unique is that we offer opportunities for in-person and on-line highly-specialized private lessons with teachers located on both coasts; pacific and atlantic. Foothills celebrates diversity in skills, learning styles, and personal goals while nurturing the spark of learning.

Our Director, Catherine Lowell, has taught orchestra and choir in several school districts and understands how to bring musicians together collaboratively. All of our teachers perform professionally and fully understand the art and joy of creating music.

We encourage a sense of family and friendship within the studio with the goal of developing a lasting foundation of musical enjoyment and appreciation in all its forms, long after lessons are completed.


Please email: foothillsacademy@yahoo.com or call Catherine at 425-753-0820 to arrange a time to see our studio and meet our teachers, so you can experience our unique approach.


All our best,

Catherine and Faculty

Foothills Music Academy
 offering:  piano, voice, violin, viola, cello, bass and cello squad

 serving:  Duvall, Monroe, Redmond, Carnation, Woodinville, Bothell, Mill Creek


Why Foothills Music Academy...

-  all individualized lessons include:
   
     * Theory/Composition - This allows each student to know why and how theory works
     * Positive and patient environment teaching fundamentals.
     * Emphasis on note-reading, rhythm and technique
     * Custom written music for the student to play

- in addition, if the student chooses:
     * collaborative musicianship opportunities.
     * solo ensemble preparation
     * autism-spectrum teaching experience and curriculum
   

Private Instruction Offered




At Foothills Music Academy we offer the following private instruction:

Piano - Keyboard - Voice

Violin - Viola - Cello
Bass

Theory - Composition

Cello Squad 

All levels and ages welcome!

Foothills Music Academy - To Catch a Fish!


My daughter fishing in Anchorage Alaska

Foothills Music Academy is a unique place to learn.

We use the analogy of learning to fish when describing Foothills Academy's approach to teaching.

The traditional teacher instructs the student by having them mimic or write in the note-names on the music. The student then proceeds to "memorize" and play by rote a beautiful piece of music, but only as the teacher has taught it. They are insecure in attempting to play a piece of music they have not seen before, create their own music or arrange a piece and make it uniquely their own. Much like receiving a beautiful fish but without the knowledge of where to find a good fishing hole or how to care and feed eventually it dies.

We like to teach our students how to fish, meaning they understand the logic as well as artistry behind the music and are not afraid to try new fishing holes! Not all students excel in reading music or following the theory rules, but they can all excel at creating their own music. Sometimes the fish is not the prettiest, nor the fastest, but it is the healthiest and will continue to survive years after the student has caught it.

Our goal is that each of our students will pass on the knowledge of how to fish...


-Catherine

INTERESTING OBSERVATION OVER MY 40 YEARS OF TEACHING:

Stage 1 (ages 4-6): “Listen to me play, everybody!”
In this pre-piano stage, children love to make sounds on the piano just for the sake of being able to make sounds themselves.  The concept of music is fascinating and they enjoy being able to be in control and produce sounds out of an instrument with their own hands.  Children typically learn through peer group interaction and like being in groups, hence their motto: “listen to me play, everybody!”
Stage 2 (ages 7-8): “Not now, later.”
Once piano students enter the beginner and late beginner stages, they find that playing the piano actually takes practice.  This is different than before, when playing the piano was fun and like playing a game.  All of a sudden, motivation levels have dropped because now piano actually takes work.  Note reading is difficult and each lesson is getting progressively harder.  The student gets discouraged.  The lesson time is often spent with the teacher practicing with the student what they were supposed to practice at home.
Stage 3 (ages 9-10): “Look mom – with my eyes closed!”
Students have gotten past the difficult stage of note reading and music concepts begin to make sense.  For some reason, something has “clicked” in the students’ minds and they figured out note reading through ‘every good boy does fine’ or other means.  Usually at this stage the student’s goal is to play as fast as possible or play pieces memorized with their eyes closed, in attempts to show off to family and friends.  At this age, students enjoy flashcards as a means of learning, showy pieces, and tunes they recognize.  Regular practice time can still remain a challenge due to distractions at home (i.e., video games, television, internet, friends, etc.).
Stage 4 (age 11): “Why can’t I have good music – like rock or pop?”
At this age, the adolescent child begins many changes, and it can be quite difficult to continue with piano lessons.  Their world is moving out of the family structure and into a world of peer association and approval.  Students are in the early intermediate stage and teachers often begin introducing students to easy pieces from the classical era (i.e., Minuets, Sonatinas, etc.).  This type of music is so far out of line of what the student enjoys to listen to on a daily basis.  The student wonders why they can’t play “cooler” music like the Harry Potter theme song or the rock song they heard on the radio.  The student gets discouraged, do not care much for their progress at the piano, and playing the piano is no longer cool.
Stage 5 (ages 12-14): “I want to quit.”
After Stage 4, students often have resentment towards learning the piano.  It takes away from the student’s free time, it is hard work to learn the music concepts, and requires a lot of practice that the child does not have diligence for.  The teacher has expressed some frustration toward the child and the parent is placing pressure on the student to keep practicing, furthering the child’s resentment towards music lessons.  The student is not playing music he or she likes anyway, and figures the easiest thing to is to quit lessons.  Unless the parent continues to force the child to go to lessons, many students quit at this age.  Parent involvement and support is very important at this stage to ensure that the student continues learning.  Even if the parent just has the student merely “show up” to the weekly lessons until the student passes the growing pain hurdles, that is better than the student quitting on his or her own terms.  This is the stage that adults who once learned piano often look back on later and regret that they quit.
Stage 6 (ages 15-16): (If you get past the growing pain hurdles) “No more kid stuff.”
After a rough patch of frustration by the student, parents, and teacher, the student will begin to gain an appreciation for classical music in the advanced repertoire.  Students will begin to feel satisfied from their ability to play difficult pieces, and the teacher will begin guiding the student on artistry and interpretation aspects of music pieces.  The students are approaching adulthood and begin to take on responsibility without reminders.  Usually they are taking piano lessons because they want to.  The student and teacher begin to develop a strong bond of mutual respect and students can become very close to their piano teachers.


Washington Music Educators Association Award!

Performing at the Northshore Performing Arts Center

Only 35 musical groups from around the state are invited to play at the Washington Music Educators Association convention. This year only 1 elementary orchestra was chosen...and it is my orchestra out of Northshore! This September my colleague and I were notified that we are invited to play at the President's day convention to be held in the Meydenbauer center ballroom in Bellevue. What an honor. This is the first time an elementary orchestra has been chosen. We now have lots of work to do to prepare, but it is a lot of fun!

Way to go kids!!!



Piano Lesson Fees and Policies

Tuition Fees:

Monthly Tuition, September through June: 37 lessons per year

30-minute lessons - $140
45-minute lessons - $210
60-minute lessons - $280



What is included in Tuition:
2 Formal Recitals
Use of music library
Studio Supplies
Planning/Search for personal music
Licensed on-line theory books
Performance opportunities within community
Collaborative music opportunities
Practice rooms
No Registration Fee




Missed lessons:
We try to make accommodations, especially for those that must cancel due to musical performances, but due to our limited capacity, often this is difficult. So, on-line lessons can be scheduled when time permits.
Recitals/Performance

Goals set and achieved are important in building self-confidence. Listening and encouraging peers is an integral part of music appreciation, as well as recognition of hard work and a job well-done. To achieve this, Foothills Academy holds a Christmas/Holiday recital and an end-of-year celebration along with several performance opportunities throughout the year.


For Parents: Swimming Lesson Analogy 

I am always told, "my child loves lessons, but doesn't practice".  Be patient if your student is in a slump! Keep in mind the big picture.  I think of swimming lessons: "How is it we learn to swim with only weekly 1/2hr lessons and no pool to practice in?" Your student continues to learn and be exposed to a new skill. Often not until they reach their teens does it become a passion, but they have learned the art of note-reading and hand/eye coordination. (think of all those "garage bands" we started in high school)

Now, if we are looking at "Olympic Gold", then we better swim every day several times a day.

The following stages are what I have observed over my 40 years of teaching:

The 6 stages of piano study

Stage 1 (ages 4-6): “Listen to me play, everybody!”
In this pre-piano stage, children love to make sounds on the piano just for the sake of being able to make sounds themselves.  The concept of music is fascinating and they enjoy being able to be in control and produce sounds out of an instrument with their own hands.  Children typically learn through peer group interaction and like being in groups, hence their motto: “listen to me play, everybody!”
Stage 2 (ages 7-8): “Not now, later.”
Once piano students enter the beginner and late beginner stages, they find that playing the piano actually takes practice.  This is different than before, when playing the piano was fun and like playing a game.  All of a sudden, motivation levels have dropped because now piano actually takes work.  Note reading is difficult and each lesson is getting progressively harder.  The student gets discouraged.  The lesson time is often spent with the teacher practicing with the student what they were supposed to practice at home.
Stage 3 (ages 9-10): “Look mom – with my eyes closed!”
Students have gotten past the difficult stage of note reading and music concepts begin to make sense.  For some reason, something has “clicked” in the students’ minds and they figured out note reading through ‘every good boy does fine’ or other means.  Usually at this stage the student’s goal is to play as fast as possible or play pieces memorized with their eyes closed, in attempts to show off to family and friends.  At this age, students enjoy flashcards as a means of learning, showy pieces, and tunes they recognize.  Regular practice time can still remain a challenge due to distractions at home (i.e., video games, television, internet, friends, etc.).
Stage 4 (age 11): “Why can’t I have good music – like rock or pop?”
At this age, the adolescent child begins many changes, and it can be quite difficult to continue with piano lessons.  Their world is moving out of the family structure and into a world of peer association and approval.  Students are in the early intermediate stage and teachers often begin introducing students to easy pieces from the classical era (i.e., Minuets, Sonatinas, etc.).  This type of music is so far out of line of what the student enjoys to listen to on a daily basis.  The student wonders why they can’t play “cooler” music like the Harry Potter theme song or the rock song they heard on the radio.  The student gets discouraged, do not care much for their progress at the piano, and playing the piano is no longer cool.
Stage 5 (ages 12-14): “I want to quit.”
After Stage 4, students often have resentment towards learning the piano.  It takes away from the student’s free time, it is hard work to learn the music concepts, and requires a lot of practice that the child does not have diligence for.  The teacher has expressed some frustration toward the child and the parent is placing pressure on the student to keep practicing, furthering the child’s resentment towards music lessons.  The student is not playing music he or she likes anyway, and figures the easiest thing to is to quit lessons.  Unless the parent continues to force the child to go to lessons, many students quit at this age.  Parent involvement and support is very important at this stage to ensure that the student continues learning.  Even if the parent just has the student merely “show up” to the weekly lessons until the student passes the growing pain hurdles, that is better than the student quitting on his or her own terms.  This is the stage that adults who once learned piano often look back on later and regret that they quit.
Stage 6 (ages 15-16): (If you get past the growing pain hurdles) “No more kid stuff.”
After a rough patch of frustration by the student, parents, and teacher, the student will begin to gain an appreciation for classical music in the advanced repertoire.  Students will begin to feel satisfied from their ability to play difficult pieces, and the teacher will begin guiding the student on artistry and interpretation aspects of music pieces.  The students are approaching adulthood and begin to take on responsibility without reminders.  Usually they are taking piano lessons because they want to.  The student and teacher begin to develop a strong bond of mutual respect and students can become very close to their piano teachers.