FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions
Q1: What is the best age for a child to start lessons with you?
A: With my teaching style, it really depends. I have had success teaching a 2.5-year old and a few 4-year olds, but couldn't keep a 5-year old and a 7-year old engaged. That's why with young children, the first 2-4 lessons are more like trial lessons with me. Given my current stage in life, if you answer "yeses" to ALL the questions below for your PreK or under child, I would consider meeting with you and your child:
a) Does your child show a strong interest in music, such that he or she can play by ear a segment of a song on the piano using one or two fingers?
b) Can your child read all 26 alphabets?
c) Can your child count to 10 (the more the better)?
d) Can your child put one finger per key on the piano without stretching his or her fingers out, thereby each finger falls comfortably onto five adjacent keys?
If you answer "yeses" to only some of the questions above, you might want to enroll your child in a group music class such as "Music Together" or "Kindermusik" first, or find another teacher who is willing to teach very young children.
Q2: What if my child is older than PreK and he/she does not meet all the conditions in Q1 (a) through (d) above, does it mean he/she isn't ready to begin lessons with you?
A: Not necessarily. Older children usually have more knowledge and school experiences that I can keep most of them engaged in lessons.
Q3: What brand or model of instrument should I buy? I don't want to buy one until I know my child will stick to lessons.
A: I understand the hesitation to invest in an instrument when you don't know whether it will be a battle to get your child to learn it. I would ask local piano stores whether they have a rental program. I know one of my former students rented a piano from Evola music in Canton. Please do call King's Keyboard House in Ann Arbor to inquire as well. Regarding what brand or model to buy, it really depends on your budget. If you have a brand new, or a well maintained, acoustic piano, it is good enough to start lessons. If your piano is one of the reputable brands like Steinway, Boston, Essex, Yamaha, Kawai, Young Chang, Bosendorfer, Fazioli, more power to you! For digital pianos with weighted keys, some of the reputable brands are Yamaha, Kurzwell, Casio, Roland and Kawai. I prefer you get digital piano with heavy weighted keys, because heavier weights help you to develop stronger fingers. This will ease your transition to acoustic pianos if your skill level becomes more advanced.
Q4: How long do I need to wait when I'm on the waiting list?
A: I cannot answer this question definitively because your spot on the waiting list doesn't correlate well with how soon you can get into my studio. The reasons are:
a) not everyone on the waiting list is still waiting for a spot,
b) not everyone on the waiting list can get into the time slot that opens up (for example, #1-4 on the waiting list cannot take a 4 PM opening slot because they would still be just getting out of school, while #5 on the waiting list can),
c) there is no formula that predicts when a student will leave my studio other than high school graduating seniors,
d) siblings of my current students might want to begin lessons and my policy is to serve enrolled families first, and
e) if too few of my students are at the intermediate or advanced level at the time of an opening, then a prospective student at that skill level will be contacted before beginners who are ahead of that student on the waiting list. In the past, a beginner student might have waited a couple of years in order to get in, and another waited for only a few months. It just really all depends.
Q5: Could you recommend any other piano teacher?
A: In order for me to refer a student to a teacher, I need to know a student or a family well enough to know what kind of teacher best serves the student's needs. Therefore, without knowing much or anything about a prospective student, the best I can do is referring you to the Ann Arbor Area Piano Teachers' Guild's "Find a Teacher" page. There are many well qualified, good piano teachers in town. I'm sure you will find someone who can work well with you when I have no openings to serve your needs. Thank you for your interest in my piano studio!