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FAQ

 
 

Why group piano classes instead of the traditional private lesson?

Piano lessons have traditionally been in a private setting mainly because of the instrument itself - teachers could rarely afford more than one piano and multiple acoustic instruments made for a loud and chaotic environment. Group piano classes are now possible with the invention of digital pianos, providing a modern and dynamic approach to learning music.

Students thrive in group learning in school, dance, sports, and band. So why not piano? The social element and exceptional support of a group environment produce a unique and deeply enjoyable personal experience. Students are inspired to try their best as they learn the importance of working together. Positive peer pressure also motivates students to practice since they regularly play in front of and with each other.

Group piano students also gain the skills required to collaborate with other musicians. In addition to learning how to play solo, students learn how to accompany or “comp” - a necessary skill for anyone interested in playing in a band or other ensemble. Learning music in a group setting also leads to increased confidence and counting skills.


What is the process for new students?

To get started, first fill out the Sign-Up form. This will immediately add you to the waiting list, and you will receive a follow-up email to set up a 3-week trial.

The trial is meant to help establish new classes and make sure everything is a good fit before committing to ongoing lessons. Once the trial is complete, you will have the opportunity to continue regular lessons, or perhaps try a different class that may better suit your needs.


How much is tuition and what does it include?

The 3-week trial is $120 and includes three 45-minute classes and all necessary starting materials.

Once the trial is complete, regular tuition is $170/month from September - May (2018-2019) and includes a 45-minute class once a week during every available teaching week in the studio calendar. Summer tuition information will be released by March and may be adjusted to reflect accurate availability.

Tuition is the same regardless of the number of available teaching weeks in any given month.

Additional materials are billed separately and as needed.

All studio events are included in regular tuition.


Is my child required to take piano classes during the summer?

Yes. We all know how crucial it is that students continue to read through the summer. We wouldn't even think of letting a student go 3 months without reading because we wouldn't want them to lose those skills. Piano is the same way. Without regular exposure, fingers get weak, concepts are forgotten, and momentum is lost.

Since we are a group class studio, it's important that each student stays current and doesn't fall behind. During the summer months, our weekly schedule will continue, but our focus will be on creative approaches to learning and solidifying skills that we may not have time for during the school year. Summer classes will give students a chance to relax from the stress of recital prep and re-energize with new music and focuses.

Summer details will be available as early as March.

Due to family vacations and travel, the make-up policy will be extremely flexible during the months of June, July, and August, allowing you to attend different classes within the same teaching week, as long as you receive approval ahead of time.

If you decide to take the summer off, you will be moved back to the waiting list. You may not be able to rejoin your group in September, so think carefully before you risk your spot.


Where is the studio located?  

Our studio is located at Mulberry School in Los Gatos. We are inside the main Hub building near the stage. This is also the location for almost all of our recitals and events.


Do you need an instrument at home before starting lessons?

Absolutely! Student success hinges on their ability to practice between lessons. It’s very important to provide a good quality instrument and set up a dedicated practice space before your first lesson. There are many options out there spanning from digital to hybrid to acoustic.  Check out these resources for more information:

Minimal requirements for your home instrument are:

  • 88 keys (full keyboard)

  • Weighted action

  • Music stand

  • Damper/sustain pedal

  • Appropriate stand for the keyboard, including a bench that supports good posture


When will my child be ready for lessons?

Our classes start as young as 4, but that may still be too young for some students. Parents should refer to this Readiness Checklist to help determine whether their child is ready to start learning piano.

Please note, children will need parental support during home practice until they are about 10. To get the most out of lessons, parents should also consider whether they are available to help their student with regular practice.


How long and how frequent are lessons?

Classes are 45 minutes long and held once a week year-round. September through May will closely follow the local school calendar, and then June through August is more flexible.

Please refer to the studio calendar for full details.


How do group lessons work?

Classes are small (3-5 students) and each student learns at their own piano. All classes meet for a 45 minute lesson each week. Discounts are available for families with multiple students and for referring new families to the studio.

Classes are formed based on age and level compatibility so that students can experience music-making in a relaxed and open environment among their friends and peers.


Do you teach to the slowest, middle, or most advanced students in the class?

Our approach is to teach to the most advanced. We have found that because of the positive peer pressure of the group setting, most students will rise to the occasion and push themselves to stay at the top. Additionally, this approach helps motivate hard-working students.

That being said, almost every activity has an array of options to help every student participate successfully and grow at their own pace. Students choose to modify the activity to fit their skill and ambition, whether they feel ready to challenge themselves or if they need more time before taking the next step. This approach provides an inclusive classroom environment where we embrace the diversity of our students.


What if my student is too fast for his/her class?

Your student's progress is continually monitored. If the teacher feels like your student could handle a more challenging class, you will be contacted and arrangements made to switch classes. Please feel free to contact the teacher if you feel your student needs to be moved. Private lessons can also be taken during the summer to move your student up to a more advanced class in the following year.


What if my student is falling behind in his/her class?

Student progress is continually monitored. If your student is falling behind, 90% of the time it's a practicing issue. The teacher will contact the parent and review ideas to increase the quality of piano practice at home. If practice goals are being met and the student is still frustrated, arrangements can be made for the student to try a less-difficult class.


How does practice work?

Students are expected to play as often as they can between lessons. Parents are strongly encouraged to help their children practice and maintain a practice routine. Practice incentives and events are also offered to help motivate students. Student progress is a result of how much they practice and how well they are supported at home. 

Read more here: "The Progress Matrix"

Check out these helpful resources for Piano Parents.


How long does it take to learn the piano?

This depends on countless factors, but the short answer is that you can spend your whole life learning the piano. Accomplishment is a matter of perspective, so it’s important to consider what your goals are for your student.

Student progress is mainly based on how much they practice, but parent support, teaching approach, age/maturity, and home instrument quality all factor into a student’s accomplishments.


 

Progress is not a straight line.

Every student will experience periods of accelerated growth or progress plateaus.

Persistence is what really counts if your goal is to become a lifelong musician.