Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need a piano to take lessons?
Yes, you will need a piano to participate in private lessons in my studio. However, there are a variety of sizes and prices to meet your needs. You may purchase either digital or acoustic. If you have no knowledge of pianos, I am happy to help point you in the right direction.
What should I look for when purchasing a piano?
If it is an acoustic piano (what you may think of as a "regular" piano, either upright/vertical or grand), play on it to make sure all the keys and pedals are in working order. Ask the owner how it has been cared for. Has it been tuned regularly? How does it sound and feel when you play it? Different acoustic pianos may have an easier or stiffer touch, and may sound more bright or mellow. You want to get one that sounds and feels good to you. You'll need a piano bench as well. If you are looking for a digital piano, you want to make sure it has full-size, 88 keys, with weighted hammer action. This will ensure you are getting a piano, and not a keyboard. If it is not brand new, again you want to make sure that everything works properly. You'll need a piano bench as well. The best set-up is to get an encased/enclosed stand, rather than an X-stand. This will ensure proper height and stability, and will most likely come with pedals. If yours does not have pedals, or comes with one that looks like a flat square, you will want to purchase a piano-type damper or sustain pedal.
What is the difference between an acoustic and a digital piano?
The main difference is that digital plugs in, while acoustic does not. Also, a digital never needs tuning. An acoustic should be tuned about once a year. Digital pianos often come with several different sounds to experiment with, can be used with headphones, and some have software/hardware capabilities for you to make recordings and play along with backing music. Digital pianos often take up less space and are less expensive than an acoustic piano. However, some purists will prefer the touch and sound of an acoustic. Also, if your child wishes to seriously study piano, you'll want a good acoustic. You should play on several different instruments to see what you like best. The best piano for you is the one that motivates you to play!
Why can't I use a keyboard?
Despite looking similar to a piano, a keyboard is very different. It typically has less keys (61 or 76, versus a full-size 88). The keys are also usually a narrower width, which can make it hard for a pianist to go between the two, and develop a good sense of "feel" at the piano. The keys are also not weighted. They may say "touch-sensitive," but this is not the same. Keyboard keys are very easy to push down, and you cannot play with the same dynamic (volume) nuance as you can with a piano. A keyboard is fun to play on, but will not help you become a pianist.
All we have is a keyboard. Can I/my child start lessons with it for now?
I am happy to have you come in for a free meet-and-greet. At that time I can evaluate exactly what instrument you have, and suggest to you what to look for if you need to upgrade. If you only have a small keyboard, I may enroll you on a trial basis of three months. After this period you will need to have a piano, or we will be unable to progress in your lessons.
How much do lessons cost?
Private lessons meet once a week, for 45 minutes, at a rate of $30 per lesson. There is an annual materials fee of $75 for children and $30 for adults. This includes the cost of your books, which I provide to you. Children's lessons are billed by the semester: Fall, Spring, and Summer. Adult lessons are billed every three months. Monthly payment plans are available. Exact costs are detailed to you in an invoice, dependent upon number of lessons occurring in that session.
Preschool Classes are $200 for a 10 class session. This cost includes all books and materials.
Do I need to take lessons year-round?
For children, enrollment in lessons for Fall and Spring is mandatory. Summer lessons are more flexible. I understand schedules may be a little more chaotic for families during the summer months, so I do offer flexible scheduling. I highly encourage a minimum of six summer lessons, to retain knowledge. Also, those families who continue throughout the summer are given priority scheduling for the fall. For adults, lessons do go year-round, as your work schedules do not typically change for the summer! You deserve occasional breaks as well though, so I will accommodate vacation schedules.
What's the youngest/oldest age you teach?
My preschool class is open to students age 3-5. I may enroll a child in private piano lessons as young as age 4 or 5 if certain criteria are met. These criteria are evaluated in our free meet-and-greet. As far as the oldest, you are never too old to learn! My oldest student so far was 87.
How long will it take me to learn to play the piano?
This is a very loaded question, and there is not a one-answer-fits-all! We will start making music at your very first lesson, but it will probably be at least a few years before you start to feel very competent. The amount of time spent practicing is also directly related to how fast you progress. If you have a certain song you've always wanted to play, let me know, and I'll be sure to teach it to you as soon as you are ready!
I am an adult who has never taken music lessons before. Is it possible for me to learn to play the piano?
Absolutely! You are never too old to learn. As adults, we may not pick up on things as quickly and easily as we did when we were children, but I can certainly give you to the tools to have an enjoyable experience with playing the piano.
Where do you offer lessons?
My studio is located in the Sans Souci neighborhood, near to Memorial Hospital on the Southside. Because my studio is located in my home, I do not publish my address. If you wish to schedule a free meet-and-greet, I will provide you the address at that time.