Frequently Asked Questions
Is my child old enough for private piano lessons?
Students may be ready at the age of five while some may need to wait a couple of years. It’s ideal for students to begin private piano lessons at a young age only if they’re ready.
As a parent of a young child, ask yourself these questions first:
Can my child sit still on a piano bench for 20-30 minutes?
Does my child become easily frustrated when learning a new skill, and does he expect instant success?
Do I have time in my schedule as a parent to sit with my child on a daily basis for practicing sessions?
Am I willing to insist that my child practice daily, even if he doesn’t want to?
Am I willing to insist that he continue with piano lessons if he decides after a short time that he doesn’t like them or becomes frustrated?
Will I prioritize weekly piano lesson attendance throughout the year?
Young children change their minds frequently about what they like and dislike. It’s important that parents commit to continuing piano lessons even during times when students think they want to quit.
What kind of instrument do we need?
An acoustic piano (i.e. an “old-fashioned, wooden piano” – a non-electric instrument) is a requirement to have before starting private lessons through The Piano Spot.
Contrary to what you might hear, keyboards or electric instruments are not the same as acoustic pianos. They typically result in slower rates of progress and a deficiency in technical development. If students do not develop appropriate finger technique at a young age, this often cannot be fixed later on.
Students who receive top marks from judges are typically students who have acoustic pianos at home and are very consistent with practicing and attending lessons.
Can we first start on a keyboard and then buy a piano later? What if she doesn’t like the piano?
This is not an option for the reasons given above. An acoustic piano can be bought and sold or given away just as a keyboard can if you decide to discontinue piano studies.
Students are more likely to dislike piano lessons when playing on a keyboard instead of an acoustic piano. They are more likely to get frustrated due to the technical weaknesses they will develop when playing on a keyboard. People find enjoyment in things they are good at; if students feel accomplished in their piano learning at an early age, they will be more likely to continue.
Did you know…? Music Education research has shown that students are more likely to “stick with” private music lessons if they perceive that their music lessons and music development is important to their parents. If given the option to casually quit piano lessons when they prefer, they will most likely discontinue lessons quite soon in the learning process.
Where do we find a piano? Do we have to buy one?
There are several local piano stores in the greater Houston area that sell and rent used and new pianos. See the “Resources” section of this website for more information.
There are many affordable used pianos. It is not true that electric instruments are always cheaper. You can also find used pianos through private sellers on Craig’s List, Next Door, Facebook, etc.
An acoustic piano can last for decades whereas an electric instrument will most likely last only a few years. Think of how often modern technological devices “die” and must be replaced. An acoustic instrument can be repaired if needed. An electric instrument will most likely have to be thrown away if it malfunctions.
Can you tell us which piano to buy or help us pick one out?
Piano teachers aren’t the appropriate resource to consult when buying a piano because we are not piano salespeople; salespeople at piano stores are more knowledgeable in this field and can guide you in your decision making, which will involve your personal budget, current inventory available, space in your home, whether you decide to rent or purchase, etc. These decisions are best made with the assistance of a qualified salesperson.
Seek an upright or grand piano that is in good working condition – it does not have to be new. When possible, avoid purchasing spinet or console pianos.
How much will my child be expected to practice?
While students can learn to play sports and dance with a few practices or classes each week, learning to play the piano requires daily practicing. A main difference between learning the piano and learning a sport involves the muscles used: Sports involve the gross motor muscles (big muscles), which are easier and quicker to train, whereas playing the piano involves fine motor muscles (small muscles).
All students will be expected to practice a minimum of 30 – 45 minutes at least 5-6 days per week; daily is best. If they practice less than that, their progress will be very slow, and eventually, they might not make any progress or will digress.
Will my child have to perform publicly?
In addition to studio recitals, students may have the opportunity to perform for judges in competitions and festivals, take written music theory exams, and perform in additional recitals. However, performances and written exams are not required.
What specific aspects of piano playing do you teach and what materials do you use?
The Piano Spot places a strong emphasis on a well-rounded music education and solid technical development.
All students taking lessons through The Piano Spot will: Study music theory through written assignments, have ear training exercises, work on technical development through finger exercises including scales, experience a Classically focused repertoire foundation with the addition of other genres (i.e Jazz and Contemporary pieces), experience music performance through performance opportunities, and will learn about music history and appreciation as well as performance analysis.
Materials used include specific method books for young learners (these are chosen from a variety of method book series according to each student’s needs), theory books, finger exercise books, repertoire, flashcards, and the EverNote app for students’ notes.
The Piano Spot only uses music that is Copyright compliant in the studio and teaches students that Copyright compliance is important and a legal requirement. The Piano Spot will not utilize music that was illegally obtained by students or families. This includes illegal photocopies from previous teachers, illegal downloads that students found on the Internet, etc. Thus, there will be occasional fees that families pay for the purchase of legal music.