Katherine H.
1053d ago

I played piano for several years when I was young and took a hiatus for ten years or more, forgetting much of what I once knew. Niki has been a patient, knowledgable, and encouraging teacher to me the past 6 months and was quickly able to refamiliarize me and expand upon previous piano knowledge/skill, aiding in my ability to swiftly surpass my earlier level. She inspires her students to choose songs that interest them while also introducing theory so as to progress consistently to new curriculum and skill sets. She is able to read the needs of her students well, carefully noting when to slow down and take additional time on a unit, and when to speed up or continue to new information. I look forward to our hour together each week and am consistently amazed by how sweet and well-behaved her children are!

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Niki Knowlton is a private piano and voice instructor who teaches from her home located  in Ringgold, GA and  twice a week in Dalton, GA.

About Me

Hi! My name is Mrs. Niki Knowlton, but most of my students call me Miss Niki. I began private piano lessons at the age of 4 and began taking voice lessons my freshman year of high school. I graduated from Southern Adventist University with a Major in Elementary Education and a minor in both Voice & Piano.  I have been teaching private piano and voice lessons since 2004 as well as directing middle school and high school touring choirs and coordinating elementary music education programs and musical productions .  I have been happily married to my husband Tim since 2004.  We have a 6 year old boy and identical twin girls born in May of 2013.  I love animals and have had over 60 pets in my lifetime!  I currently have a dog named Abbey.  I like to play board games, card games, paint and go bowling. I collect pianos (figurines and souvenirs, not ACTUAL pianos or I'd be broke :D).  My favorite flowers are daisies. I love chocolate, the colors blue, green and yellow and I especially love music.

What Makes Me Stand Out

I TRULY enjoy both my students and music. I am not what most would call a "musical personality." Although striving for perfection and doing ones best is something I want to instill in my students, it is more important to me that each student learns to enjoy and appreciate music and what it can do for them personally and spiritually. I strive to make music as much a pleasure for them as it is for me. Music is my release; it feeds my soul. I want my students to experience that.

My Philosophy of Music

I have been making music ever since I can remember. I’ve taken lessons from many different teachers with just as many different approaches. In my years as a music student, I learned that the two most important factors in either learning to sing or play any instrument well are to practice hard and enjoy it.

The Pleasure of Practice

When a student does not practice enough, they become discouraged at their slow progress and want to give up.  Lack of practice can also cause a student to have to repeat the same song for many weeks at a time, making lessons boring and monotonous.  On the other hand, when a student does practice, they see results faster and find music more pleasurable.  Students also gain great benefits from the discipline of daily practice and the internal rewards that can offer.

Making it Fun

I enjoy listening to, playing and singing many different types of music. To help make lessons more fun, I try to get students to try a variety of music. I encourage students to bring music that they are interested in learning to their lessons. This helps students not to get bored, introduces them to many different musical genres and gives them a lot of versatility in the future. When a student picks their own music, it gives them a sense of ownership and pride in what they are accomplishing.  Also, when a student enjoys making music they are more highly motivated to learn and are more likely to stick with it. 

The Way I Teach

Although I believe that music should be fun, there is some work involved in becoming a skilled musician. The books that I choose to use with a student vary depending on the students' age, experience and readiness, but these are the general guidelines I use with my students.  Supplemental books and materials are also used based on student needs.

  • When I teach preschool group lessons (ages 4-6), I prefer using Alfred's Music for Little Mozarts series. They are catered for young learners with lots of games, accessories, stuffed animals and rewards.  They also introduce musical genres, classical composers and music history.

  • For individual private lessons for very young children unable to read yet (ages 3-5), I use WunderKeysEvery activity, image, song, and story in the WunderKeys Program is designed with preschoolers in mind. This one-on-one piano program helps preschool children acquire the piano skills, mathematical skills, keyboard awareness, and rhythmic understanding they need for a successful future at the piano. Ask me about the free one-month trial!

  • For children ages 5-6 I use either Music for Little Mozarts (view above) or Faber and Faber's My First Piano Adventures series. My  First Piano Adventure captures the child's playful spirit. Fun-filled songs, rhythm games and technique activities develop beginning keyboard skills. My First's three levels, A, B, and C, each have a Lesson Book with CD and a Writing Book.  I also 

  • For older beginner students who are capable of reading (ages 6 to 13), I use Alfred's Premier Piano series.  It takes the emphasis off of hand position and focuses more on making sure the students know their notes, regardless of which finger they are using. Like the Music for Little Mozarts and My First Piano Adventures series, the Premier Piano series introduces many musical genres, classical composers and music history.   Students will know their scales and have an understanding of chord usage and structure helping them to learn to play by ear and compose music as well.  

  • Beginner adult and advanced students are taught using many different genres and techniques catering to their individual needs.  All advanced students are instructed on how to accompany others as they sing or play as well as how to embellish hymns and other chordal songs.  Students are given as many opportunities as possible to sight read music.  

  • For voice students, I help students learn to control their breathing, use proper diction and develop various singing techniques. I use mainly classical vocal techniques, but am able to teach some more contemporary styles and techniques as well. 

It is my firm belief that music students need to be given the tools to make practical use of their skills in the future, not just for themselves or others, but for God and His purposes.   Musical talent is a gift from God and should be used to praise Him.