How do we differ from in-home lessons?
Attending lessons in a professional school environment means that the teacher and student are free from home distractions (TV's in the next room, door bells and after school friends, siblings, and pets). Students tend to take their music study a little more seriously when they are coming to a school situation, bringing their books and materials to the lessons each week. Also, students gain excitement about the music making process when they are surrounded by other people of all ages engaged in music learning for many different instruments. Many of our students come back year after year. Also, we can offer many group music learning opportunities and yearly recitals and festivals that most in-home teachers cannot provide.
Is the teacher qualified?
Yes. All of our teachers are university or RCM trained in their instrument of specialization. Our teachers are experienced professionals and are chosen not only for their qualifications, but for their love of teaching and their ability to relate to the students. Our faculty have spent years developing their skills on their instruments or vocal training and studied with many master teachers.
What if the student's and teacher's personalities don't mesh well or the student is dissatisfied?
This is one of the advantages of taking your lessons at our school - we have several teachers for each instrument so if a problem occurs - which is extremely rare - you can switch to one of the other teachers. If you think you may get more out of lessons from a teacher with a different teaching s tyle, we have the flexibility to change you to another instructor.
What are the names of your teachers?
We have many teachers on our faculty. Once you decide on a day and time, we will give you all the information on that particular teacher. There is no point giving you detailed information on a teacher that you won't be taking lessons with, or who does not have space available on their schedule.
What if my child starts the lessons and does not like the instrument?
Usually students have "begged" to start music lessons on a particular instrument, so we suggest that the student sticks with their instrument choice for several months before switching to another instrument or voice lessons. If this situation occurs, the parent should contact our office right away so we can give the teacher any feedback and discuss ways to generate more interest. Students can switch to another instrument at any time during the year.
Can I sit in on my child's private music lesson?
Yes - we have an open door policy. It is your choice when to sit in. Some students find it distracting and some work better with Mom or Dad in the room. The teacher will give you some advice on this after they get to know your child.
Can we take lessons every other week instead of every week?
At first this might seem like a good idea, but we have tried this in the past and we do not recommend it (if you miss a lesson, it would be an entire month before you saw your teacher again!). It is really important that the teacher checks your progress and corrects your form every week. Also, attending weekly lessons will continue the learning momentum and generate mastering a skill more quickly.
Do we need a real piano at home to take piano lessons?
Although a real (acoustic) piano, or a digital touch sensitive piano are always best, they are not necessary to start. Some students can start with keyboards and once they decide they like to play piano, then you can look at an acoustic or digital piano for your family. The most important thing to know when purchasing a keyboard is that it must have full sized keys. It is best to get a keyboard with at least 60+ keys so that you don't outgrow it too quickly (a regular piano has 88 keys).
How long will it take me to be able to play?
That varies from student to student and really depends on the individual, how much practicing they do, and their age. Playing is a physical skill so it does take repetition to improve. Typically if you start piano in August or September, by December you will be able to play a recognizable Christmas carol. With something like guitar, in a few months an adult will improve dramatically. Most students take a minimum of one year.
Is half an hour long enough for a private lesson time for beginners?
Yes. In the beginning the half hour lesson gives the student a lot to practice at home. In a half hour they will get enough material to be able to learn well and develop proper technique. As they progress, at the advice of the teacher, you can go to a longer lesson time.
How much practice is required each week?
We recommend setting aside time for music practice at least 5 days out of the week. For beginning students the teacher usually assigns repetitions instead of a time amount. For example, do this scale 2 times a day, this song 5 times a day, etc. Younger children find repetitions easier than a set time amount. Typically, a beginning student practices 20 - 30 minutes a day and the practicing goes much better if the parent supervises.
Can we start in the middle of the year?
Yes. We have year-round open enrollment.
What do students learn in a beginning piano lesson?
In addition to the material in their piano lesson book which teaches them how to read music and play the songs, the teachers will cover the following: sight reading, ear-training and technique (scales, etc.).
I don't have any musical background or ability; can I still help my child practice?
Yes. Even if you don't have a musical background you can ask the teacher for advice on how to help your child practice. By simply monitoring that they are doing exercises a certain number of times per day the student will progress. Many parents occasionally sit in on their child's music lesson to get an idea of the proper way a song should sound or how the student should be positioning their hands.