Piano Studio

 

Piano Studio

Sarah Silvia, piano teacher

silviapiano@gmail.com
360-620-8962


Frequently Asked Questions

Why should my child take piano lessons?
Why should I take piano lessons?
What is the “right” age to start piano lessons?
What is a typical lesson like?
How long are lessons?
How much practicing do I need to do?
Do I have to know how to read music?
How much does it cost?
Do I have to have a piano at home?
What happens if I have to cancel a lesson? What if I am running late?

Why should my child take piano lessons?

Perhaps you have heard of the “Mozart Effect”? Stemming from a book written in 1991 and a study done in 1993, the sensation of the “Mozart Effect” confirms something that music teachers have known for a very long time: study in music drastically improves a child’s development in all areas, including mathemathics and reading!

While piano lessons do involve study and the discipline of practice (actual work!), of course the main reason to take piano lessons is because they are fun! Children love music!

Why should I take piano lessons?

An adult should take piano lessons for the same reason that a child should, because he or she loves music! Besides this obvious–but important–reason, adults may have additional goals of their own. Some may be seeking to keep their minds active and sharp, others want to learn to read music. Perhaps you’d like to become a better listener of music, or even simply to add hobby to your routine, or continue to polish one. Whether starting from the beginning, picking up after years of neglect, or you need a new perpective in your already accomplished talent, piano lessons will help you find and accomplish your aim!

What is the “right” age to start piano lessons?

There are as many opinions on when to start piano as there are teachers! Generally, a child may be ready for more formal piano lessons when they begin reading from books. At that point, they have begun the process of association; words on a page can represent actual objects or activities. Thus, piano lessons for many children can begin as early as kindergarten or first grade. This is a general rule though–especially excited young children may be able to start even earlier!

What is a typical lesson like?

Each lesson is custom-tailored to the age (and attention span!) of the student. The youngest of students may find themselves singing and dancing and clapping more than pressing the keys of the piano itself. A beginning student in kindergarten or first grade, however, will have a more “formal” lesson. A lesson will include reviewing practice assignments, learning new concepts, playing (and sometimes singing), stars, and the occasional prize!
There are a variety of “method” books and series of books that can be used for beginning and intermediate students. For very young students, “Music for Little Mozarts” may be used, while “The Music Tree” is the preferred series used for beginning students of school age. For beginning adults, Alfred’s “Group Piano for Adults” may be used.

How long are lessons? How much practicing do I need to do?

The length of the lesson largely depends on the student. The youngest students may have a 15 or 20 minute lesson, while 30 minute lessons are more appropriate for longer attention spans. Older students may have 45 to 60 minute lessons. Typically, these lessons happen weekly.

In between lessons, students are expected to be practicing at home. In most cases, the practicing is structured into various assignments and learning music. The amount of practice required differs from student to student, based on age and level, but all students are required to practice.

Parents are invaluable when it comes to practicing! Children will need all the encouragement and involvment possible from their parents… and, who knows? Perhaps the parent might learn a thing or two in the process!

Do I have to know how to read music?

To begin lessons, knowing how to read music is not required, though it certainly helps! Learning to read music is part of piano lessons.

How much does it cost?

Rates for lessons vary from area to area. Generally, rates are based on hours, or fractions of an hour, of teaching time. Payments are usually made by check at the first lesson of the month for the entire month.

Family discounts are available, though each student will be taught individually. Group piano lessons are not taught presently.

In addition to lesson costs, periodically books will have to be purchased. While most can be bought in music stores or online, in many cases I have the required books on hand and can give them to the student the moment they are needed. In this case, there is a discount on the cost of the book, and the purchase cost will be added to the next bill.

Do I have to have a piano at home?

This question is asked surprising often! Yes, having a piano at home is required to take piano lessons. Piano keyboards are strongly discouraged, as are pianos at relative’s houses. A piano in the home means being able to practice, a key component for advancing. Beginning students may use a keyboard initially, but this will be seen only as a temporary solution, as good technique can only be learned with an actual piano. Despite “weighted keys” and all the technological advancements, there is still no keyboard that is able to suitable silmulate a piano’s “action”.

A piano can cost as much as you want to spend on it. Often, used pianos can be found for free on craigslist.com and similar places, if only you pay to have it moved. All pianos will need to be tuned, especially after being moved. Even with moving and tuning costs, however, you may often find yourselves ahead, compared to the cost of a new keyboard.

Having studied piano construction and history, in some cases assistance is available in testing pianos to make sure you don’t get a “lemon”.

What happens if I have to cancel a lesson? What if I am running late?

Email is a good means of communication, but is not perfect. Most emails will be received in cases of cancellation, but only well in advance. To cancel, a phone call prior to 9 a. m. the morning of the lesson is required. Giving late or no notice of a cancellation is considered a no-show, and will not be refunded, though scheduling a make-up lesson may be an option.

If running late, please call to let me know when you can be expected to arrive.

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