Frequently Asked Questions
How long does it take to learn an instrument?
Sorry, there is no set answer to this question. With regular practice a basic level of playing can be accomplished in as little as a few months. Of course for a more advanced level it will take longer. The majority of our students continue lessons long term because they want to constantly improve and they find the lessons stimulating and enjoyable.
Do I need a piano at home to take piano lessons?
Ideally, having a piano at home is the way to go, but you can start on an electric keyboard. We recommend a keyboard with full sized keys and a touch sensitive response. (A touch sensitive response means the harder you hit the key the louder the sound that results, and vise versa.)
My child is interested in learning the guitar. Does he have to begin on an acoustic or is it ok to start on an electric?
Since most parents began learning guitar on an acoustic they often think that it is necessary for their kids to start that way. In reality a child can learn how to play using either an acoustic or an electric because the notes and the chords are the same. We always advise the parent to get the opinion of the child if he has one, since for some children emulating their favorite artist will motivate them to practice more. The advantage of beginning on an electric is that it has lighter string tension which means it will take less strength to get a good tone. The advantage of having an acoustic is that you can practice anywhere because you don't need an amp. Parents don't have to worry about the electric being too loud because most beginner amps have a headphone jack so the child can practice without disturbing others.
Do I need a full drum set to take drum lessons?
No, a full set is not needed to begin drum lessons. Students can start by using a practice pad. This is a small, dinner plate sized pad that is used for practicing basic drum rhythms. There are child size drumsets for the young beginner that are under $200. Often having a full set of drums, even a beginner set is a good motivator for most kids to practice more.
I don’t have any musical background or ability, can I still help my child practice?
Yes, even though you are not able to play an instrument yourself, you may be able to help your child. Simply monitoring that a child has practiced his or her instrument is a great help. Parents are also allowed to sit in on the child’s lesson to get an idea of what the song is supposed to sound like, or the proper position for playing the instrument. There is also a weekly lesson plan given to each student which outlines what they are learning each week. Parents are encouraged to ask the child if they have practiced each item on their lesson plan. If they have practiced it they should be able to show the parent.
My child is only interested in rock and roll, can he benefit from taking lessons?
No matter what style of music a person is interested in, the fundamentals of music still apply. Learning the terminology (language) of music and developing a comprehensive knowledge of music does not impede one’s ability to “rock out”. It actually will allow a person to develop to a higher level of playing no matter what style they prefer.
Is the teacher qualified?
Yes. Our teachers are experienced professionals and are chosen not only for their musical qualifications, but for their devotion to teaching and their ability to relate well with different ages and levels of students. Our faculty members have spent years developing their skills on their instruments. Most have university degrees, and those that don’t easily make up for it with touring, recording, and performing experience.
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 lessons at a school instead of maybe someone’s house. For most instruments we have more than one teacher available 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 style, you have the flexibility to change to another instructor when available.
What are the names of your teachers?
We have many teachers on our faculty. Once you decide on a day and time, we can give you all the information on the teacher that is available. Or if you are looking for a particular musical style or teaching method, we can tell you the teacher that we would suggest. 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.
My child wants to play the drums (or other instrument) but shouldn’t he/she learn to play the piano first?
There is no doubt that learning to play the piano is a huge plus for any student, but for the greatest probability of success, let the student study the instrument that he/she is attracted to. For a student that is not big enough to start guitar, drums, etc. it would be wise to start on the keyboard until he is big enough. Otherwise the desire for learning the specific instrument is a powerful means to bring about musical success. Don’t kill it.
Since my child has never played before, what if he/she starts the lessons and does not like the instrument?
If this situation occurs, the parent should contact our office right away so we can give the teacher any feedback and discuss ways to resolve the problem. Sometimes switching to another instrument is the best answer and sometimes a change in approach or repertoire is all that is needed. If an instrument change is desired, it can be done at any time.
Can I (the parent) sit in on the lesson or class?
For group lessons we allow the parent to sit in the first session if the child seems scared or anxious, but discourage more than that because it is important that the class focus on the teacher and not have distractions. For private lessons, parents always have the option of sitting in on the lessons unless the teacher has trouble getting the student to focus. Then the teacher may suggest that the parent wait in the lobby.
Can my two children (or my child and I) have a music lesson together?
Yes. Two siblings studying the same instrument can have a semi-private lesson. The fee for the second student is half price (teacher addresses both learning levels during the lesson). A parent and child can also do semi- private lessons. When and if the disparity between the levels of the students becomes too great, the teacher will suggest that it is time to move on to private study. Semi-private lessons are only offered to family members.
Can we take lessons every other week instead of every week?
We do not recommend lessons every other week due to lack of consistency and the advantage of having progress monitored weekly. Also scheduling becomes a nightmare when every week looks different on the teacher’s schedule. Sometimes a student will not be available every week, and when this happens he can have a family member alternate in his slot if he wishes.
What is the earliest age that my child can take lessons?
Our studio will start piano or violin as early as 5 years of age. Other instruments usually start a bit older. (Refer to our free report ’Ways to Get the Most Out of Music Lessons’ to see the age recommendations for your particular instrument. We do sometimes allow a student that is a little younger than the recommended age to begin instruction if:
- Learning the instrument is the student’s idea, not the parent’s.
- The student comes in for a 10-15 minute evaluation with an instructor to make sure the student can concentrate and physically manage the instrument.
Is half an hour long enough for a private lesson time for beginners?
Yes. In one half hour the teacher can check the progress the student has made during the week and give the student a lesson plan designed to last for the upcoming week. The real time is put in at home keeping to a regular practice schedule. As the student progresses, at the advice of the teacher, he can go to a longer lesson time.
Will music theory be included in the private lesson?
Yes. Music theory can even be studied exclusively by a student that is preparing to attend college or someone with extreme curiosity on the subject. However, usually theory is incorporated into the lesson as part of the overall picture. With children, overloading them with facts and memorization is a good way to kill their love for the instrument. Our teachers will explain all about scales and chords and the theory behind the music, but only as an enhancement to actually playing music which is why the majority of students wanted to learn in the first place. This is why private instruction is advantageous, some students want to know everything about what they are playing and some get turned off if you try to get too deep.
How much practice is required each week?
We recommend setting aside time for music practice at least 4 to 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 students will not be expected to spend as much time practicing.
Typically, a beginning student practices 20 - 30 minutes a day and the practicing goes much better if the parent supervises. Like in regular school, the older you get, the more you are expected to handle. The beauty of private lessons is that you can ask the teacher to ease up or pour it on at your convenience, matching the time you have available to practice.