Frequently asked questions
How early can a child start piano lessons?
The simplest answer is, "it depends." Children need to have some readiness skills in place. Is the child reading? Can he or she write letters on a line? How long can the child focus attention on one activity? Does the child want to take lessons? Has the child shown an interest on the piano at home? We can start lessons at age 6, and sometimes waiting until seven or eight ensures the child has already developed skills that ease early success at the keyboard. Before that age, I recommend that children take class lessons that focus on a variety of music-related skills that engage the child in gross motor activity, singing simple songs and playing hand-held percussion instruments. Park districts often offer such classes.
May I sit in on my child's lesson?
Parents are encouraged to stay aware of what students are learning and how to practice at home. Occasional visits are encouraged, as long as the child is not distracted by a parent's presence or comments.
Do you offer lessons through the summer?
Absolutely! I do offer lessons throughout the day for those early risers.
My child has special needs. Can he or she still take piano lessons?
As a former Occupational Therapy practitioner in the schools, I welcome children who are interested in piano, and may have some challenges. I am happy to talk with caregivers/parents about how we can make all children successful at the keyboard.
Will you make up missed lessons?
This answer is in my studio policy. I strive as I am able to see children each week to ensure continuity of learning.
How long should my child be practicing each day?
My suggestion is for children who are elementary aged to practice 10-15 minutes twice daily. As they progress and are able to sustain attention at the piano, that can be increased. The quality of practice is much more important than the quantity. The hands and fingers (and indeed, the whole piano-playing body) need time for building strength and stamina through wisely chosen exercises. Some of these can be done off the keyboard in a student's non-practice time. Practice goals are established in my studio, and video communication between home and studio is encouraged.
Will I be taught the same way as my children?
Considering that adults have more developed brains, and lots of experiences that affect their desired outcomes, adults are taught differently. For children, but most especially adults, it is important to start making music right away. Theory is important and learning to read the musical language creates independence and confidence to learn on one's own, an important outcome to studying with a piano teacher. Learning recognizable tunes and simple harmonies in the early weeks of learning assists in sustaining interest and a desire to learn more. Learning from a teacher who can unravel some of the complexities of music-making is invaluable to success!
I have entered my senior years. Is it too late to start piano?
It is never too late to start piano lessons, whether you have studied as a child or come to the piano with no experience. In fact, learning new and challenging things is beneficial to the aging brain, keeps it flexible, improves outlook for life, and has the potential to broaden social support in later years. At Piano on the Pond, I understand that adults already have many skill sets, have made a lot of life connections, and I rely on these to enhance adult learning at the piano. Retirement is a great time to start something that feeds the brain, exercises the the body, and satisfies the soul's yearning for beauty and achievement.