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student performs at recital

Frequently asked questions

The Students

I teach all students from age five and up, from absolute beginners through advanced pianists playing Bach, Beethoven, Chopin, and the likes.
At the very first lesson, a child should have enough motor skills to comfortably use a writing utensil, recognize numbers (1-5) and letters (A-G), differentiate left and right, and keep focus at an activity for up to ten minutes. Most important of all, the child should exhibit great interest and curiosity in music and the piano on his or her own — that is, the interest should not just come from the parents alone!

I have worked with many students as young as four, five, and six years old. While every four- or five-year-old I have worked with were ready for and learned much from their lessons, the six-year-olds definitely made progress much quicker than their younger peers. Therefore, it may be best to wait until your child turns six before starting lessons. However, if your little one absolutely cannot wait to have fun on the piano, then by all means, let’s get started!

Yes! I welcome adult beginners with no musical background, players who have been away from the piano for many years, as well as lifelong pianists who wish to sharpen their skills.
Everyone learns at a different pace, so it is difficult to answer the question of “how long”. Piano skills require a long-term investment of dedication, discipline, and love. Talent helps a little, but success mostly comes from persistent hard work.

As a general guideline, one to three years of dedicated study are needed to achieve a beginning level of piano playing. Two to four years are needed for the intermediate levels. Exceptionally hardworking students may progress faster, and less dedicated students may take up to many years longer.

Early advanced technique and repertoire may require a few additional years to be introduced to the especially studious students. After that, higher levels of musical artistry may take up to a lifetime to polish, refine, and enjoy for amateurs and professionals alike.

Studio Policy

The per-lesson rate is $64 per 45 minutes, and $82 per 60 minutes. Tuition is charged for 40 lessons total from September 1 to August 31 and is collected in four installments. Adult students may enroll for four lessons at a time.

See more details here under “Tuition”.

Prospective students interested in studying at the studio may take an hour-long introductory session, which includes an interview and a first lesson. After that, students enroll for remainder of the studio year, ending on August 31. Adult students may enroll in a more flexible plan.

See complete details here under “Tuition”.

No, I prefer to teach at my studio, where I have all of my teaching resources in one place. The studio equipment includes a Steinway grand piano, a Yamaha upright piano, a studio library, teaching aids and toys, and a camcorder and digital microphone.

Home Practice

Yes, you will need to have access to a full-sized piano with 88 keys starting from the very first lesson. Daily practicing is expected as soon as lessons begin, and is essential for making progress in your learning.

If you are unsure whether the piano is the right instrument for you or your child, please consider the option of renting from a reputable piano dealer. Many dealers offer very affordable rent-to-own programs for as low as $50 a month for an upright acoustic piano, and most to all of the rental fees may go toward the price of purchase. Since many full-sized digital pianos already cost $600+, renting a upright may be the more economical solution. Besides, the resale value of acoustic pianos tends to be much higher than digitals in general. You can find a great piano buyer’s guide at www.pianobuyer.com

I welcome every student who already owns a full-sized (88 keys) keyboard or digital piano with pedals before starting lessons at the studio. However, within a few months, these students may find that their instruments are no longer an acceptable substitute for an acoustic piano. This is because, even with weighted keys, most keyboards and digital pianos only offer the option of playing louder or softer, but not any other variation in tone quality. They do not respond adequately to the variety of expressive and technical demands each student is learning to master in our studio.

Acoustic pianos are actually much more affordable than what most people think. Used upright pianos of decent condition and mid-range brands like Yamaha and Kawai are usually listed in the $1,500 to $4,000 range. That is about the price of a fancy computer. Unlike a computer, however, a good used piano will still last for decades. Rentals start at about $50 per month, and many dealers offer some credit toward purchase. If your home can fit a full-sized keyboard, it already has enough space for an upright piano.

Please keep in mind that the better your instrument can respond to your playing, the better you will sound. The better you sound, the more fun it is to play. The more fun it feels, the more it makes you want to practice. Finally, the more you practice, the faster you will progress.

My guiding principle on practicing is that the frequency and quality of practicing time is always more important than the quantity of practice minutes. Even if you can practice only five minutes every day, it is still more effective for your learning than if you only practice three hours for just one day a week.

See here under “Daily practice” for a guide on expected weekly commitment.