Piano Lesson FAQ

Do we need a real piano at home?
Yes.  A real instrument (not a digital keyboard) is a key part of serious music education and is absolutely essential for Suzuki learning:  young beginners must develop hand strength/finger position, true self-expression and the understanding of beautiful sound, proper dynamics, and most importantly an emotional connection to an instrument that organically responds to their playing of it.   A real piano is required to join the studio.

But – I don’t know the first thing about playing the piano…how will I help my child practice?!
For the first several lessons, you will be given the same lesson as your child.  You get to learn too!

How much should I practice?
To feel encouraged and successful as a student, Little Music follows Suzuki’s mantra “only practice on the days you eat.”.  However, practicing less than five times per week will likely result in much slower progress and understandably, frustration.  A beginning student should not practice longer than 5-10 minutes a day, and build up from there.

Can my Great Aunt Ethel bring my child to our piano lessons, instead of me?
Parental involvement is key in the Suzuki Method for a few practical reasons as well as psychological ones – so unless Great Aunt Ethel is the one doing the practicing with your child on a daily basis, then the answer is sorry-but-no.   Great Aunt Ethel can come to our recitals, though!

I need to cancel a lesson, do you do make-ups?
Make-up classes are only offered if it is the teacher cancelling.  The only exception is if there happens to be an time slot open that week, it can be offered up.  Momentum is important!

Do Suzuki students learn to read music?
Reading is taught after basic playing skills, good posture/hand position and good tone have been mastered. This does mean that for some years the child’s playing ability is ahead of reading skills; eventually the reading ability develops to the same level.  Exactly the same process is found in the language ability of primary school children, whose fluency in spoken language is normally considerably in advance of their reading and writing skills.

Why do we have to observe the lessons of other students?
Children learn and are motivated most by other children.  Observing other students also creates a sense of camaraderie and community among the Little Music studio families, and often offers teaching points and perspectives to the observer that might be beneficial in some way different from their own lesson.  In the Little Music studio, students are expected to watch 10-15 minutes of either the preceding or following lesson.

Is it a little pushy to start learning an instrument at such a young age?
Suzuki teaching is ideally adapted to the emotional and developmental needs of the youngest learners.  A good teacher will have been carefully trained in all matters concerning motivation, understanding of child development and psychology, and with making learning fun, while at the same time aiming for excellence in the long term, always shaping the far-reaching benefits both for the students and their family.

My child or myself <hack hack> are not feeling very well today <sniffle sniffle> but don’t want to cancel…
If you are too sick to go to work or school, please do cancel your lesson out of courtesy to the teacher and other students who play upon the same piano.  We can do a FaceTime or Skype lesson if your child is up for it!

How long is your waitlist?
There is currently a waitlist for piano lessons, and siblings of current students get priority.  After that, students are accepted in order of application submission.  A Parent Info session (held twice per year), 4 lesson observations, daily listening of the Piano Book 1 recording and a real piano are required in order to move forward with lessons. Lessons sometimes shift around or students move away, so the waitlist time is unpredictable but I will do my very best to accommodate all who want Suzuki piano lessons in as timely a fashion as I can.