Mike Risko Music has been educating musicians in Westchester County since 1995. We are an award winning music school and store. We are a 13 time Best of Westchester Winner (in the categories of Best Music School, Best Music Store, Best After School Program, Best Unique Birthday Parties) and we are an 8 year National Association of Music Merchants Top 100 Retailer recognized for our innovative programming and we were named Best Community Music Retail Store in 2021. We began offering virtual music lessons many years ago so when we pivoted temporarily to all virtual in March 2020, we already knew what worked. Our 8 physical lesson rooms became 8 virtual lesson rooms. All our staff uses the same platform, Zoom, and the lesson program is managed by our staff from our central office in Ossining, the same way we do in person. Our music lesson instructors are employees of Mike Risko Music and having this team in place enables us to streamline our program and ensures that all of the staff is using the same curriculum and following the same protocols. All our lesson rooms are set up to teach in-person and virtual lessons. We have teachers teaching virtually from our music school and from home.
So how does it work?
Lessons are available in 30, 45 and 60 minutes blocks.
Students are scheduled for weekly lessons and register for a semester of lessons which ensures continuity.
Lessons are available on all instruments and voice for all levels, ages and abilities.
Lessons are available Monday through Saturday, we offer morning, afternoon and evening lessons.
If there are mutliple members in your family studying music with us, we can schedule back to back lessons or if you have multiple devices in your home, several members of your family can study at the same time.
How do I register for lessons?
Students can register over the phone or on line.
We always offer a free trial virtual lesson for any insterested student.
All students are also provided with our "Guide to Getting the Most Out of a Virtual Lesson" booklet which makes the virtual lesson process much easier. We also wrote a children's book called "Graham and the Virtual Music Lesson" which is a great tool for children. It takes the reader through a journey with Graham the Grizzly Bear as he takes his first virtual piano lesson.
How do I access my lessons?
Each virtual student receives a unique log in and they meet their teacher in the virtual lesson room for the lesson. Students should not share their log in info.
If you need books, instruments, music or gear, we can arrange for you to come shop in our store. We are also happy to provide curbside pickup or delivery for anyone who is not comfortable doing in-store shopping or for students are not local.
Virtual music lessons are a great option. We also offer in-person lessons and students can choose or do a combination of both. One on one music lessons translate well to virtual. Lessons are in real time, the teacher can focus on the student and they can communicate with a caregiver easily about homework and progress. Our teachers are engaging and know their material and the platform well. Virtual music lessons at Mike Risko Music are a great way to study music and we work very hard to ensure that your child gets the same quality lesson that they would if they were sitting in the same room with the teacher.
Offering a virtual option has enabled us to provide lessons to students from all over. It also has opened the door for us to have instructors on staff who are no longer local or who are traveling with their band or a show. Since travel is not an issue for instructors, we are not limited to instructors in only our geographical area so our staff comes from all over, with different educational backgrounds and musical experience. Students will benefit greatly from these expanded opportunties.
Mike and Miriam Risko oversee both the In-Person Music School and the Virtual Music School offering their expertise to parents and students on how to practice, how to use the zoom platform and how to keep your child engaged in music. They log into lessons alongside their staff frequently to make sure lessons are going smoothly and to answer questions and make sure students are getting the most out of their lessons at Mike Risko Music School.
While eventually, the world will go back to normal, the Virtual Music School is also here to stay for those who would like to continue down this path. As the world around us eases into more of a post-pandemic lifestyle, students are given the option to do in-person lessons. We also are offering an option to do some outside lessons in our outdoor education area for those who would like additional options to connect with the Mike Risko Music School programs. To register for our Virtual Music School, fill out the feedback form here. For information on our in-person lesson program, visit Music Lessons. However we teach you music, we are looking forward to seeing you and watching you grow into whatever kind of musician you want to be.
Here are a few virtual music lesson best practices:
Make sure you have your log-in ready and log in at the exact time of the lesson.
Do not log into your early because there is likely another student in thevirtual lesson room. Also, if you log in early, you may keep another student from logging in.
Have all your books, a pencil, a notebook and your instrument ready. Make sure instruments are plugged in, tuned and out of the case. Also make sure you have good lighting in your lesson area.
Set up your device prior to your lesson. Be sure to have your device at a good angle that enables your teacher to see both you and the instrument. Your teacher also needs to be able to see you playing the instrument so they can be sure you are holding the instrument properly etc.
Set up in an area with little distractions. Having a wall behind you is best.
Make sure that your camera and mic are both on. Be sure your child knows how to use both before the lesson begins.
Parents are always welcome to watch lessons, but it is important to let the teacher do the instructing. Parents can be helpful by making sure that the above steps are taken. Additionally, it is sometimes helpful to have parents assist in making sure the child is holding the instrument properly or that their hands are positioned correctly. Parents do not have to sit in the lesson but try to be in the vicinty if the teacher needs to speak to you.
Check in at the end of the lesson to write the assignment down unless the child is old enough to do that by themself.
Always leave the virtual lesson when the lesson is over. You leave the lesson by going to the red "leave" button. This is extremely important. When students don't leave the lesson, the next student cannot get into their lesson.
If you need to reschedule anything, always call our office at 914-762-8757 or you can send an email. If there are any scheduling issues, please contact us right away.
Look for emails from Mike Risko Music with information about upcoming opportunities for students like student showcases and more. Get involved and you will find that you and your child will make lots of progress.
Check in with the office as much as you want. We love to hear from the students and we want to know how you are doing.
If you need new books, come by our music store during showroom hours or make arrangements with us to leave books curbside or deliver them to your home.
Stop by the music store anytime for stickers and prizes.