FAQ

Why do you teach 45 minute piano lessons?

45 minute lessons are in the best interest of the student. I actually make less income per hour doing 45 minute sessions, than if I do 30 minute lessons. I have chosen this time frame because it allows sufficient time to prepare the student for a successful week of home practice and helps build a better foundation of skills.  It also allows time for fun off-the-bench learning activities and creative improvisation experiences that often don’t fit into a 30 minute lesson.  In the lesson I take time to present new material and help the student learn how to practice it during the coming week so the student is not just learning songs, but learning how to practice them effectively. A typical lesson also includes time going over the student’s assignment from the preceding week, an improvisation activity, rhythmic skills, technique work, aural skills and theory games and activities. In my opinion, 30 minute lessons are not in the best interest of the student because they do not allow sufficient time to develop a solid foundation.

 My child is only in kindergarten. Won’t 45 minute lessons be too long for them?

Actually, I have found 45 minutes to be an ideal time frame for early beginners. I alternate on-the-bench playing with off-the-bench games, skill work and movement activities so we are definitely not just sitting on the bench for the whole lesson! I also plan ahead for each lesson to be sure periods of concentration are followed by activities that are less intense to keep students engaged and at their best!

What are Piano Prep lessons?

These are designed for pre-kindergarten age students, from age 4 1/2. Lessons are 30 minutes in length.  Piano Prep lessons will help your child develop the basic skills needed to eventually move into regular piano lessons.  Lessons utilize puppets, movement, stories, playing instruments, props and visual aids to make learning fun. Concepts worked on include steady beat, loud/soft, fast/slow, high/low, short/long, same/different, basic rhythms, finger numbers, key identification, aural and singing skills. Students will also begin learning age appropriate songs on the piano.

How much will my child need to practice?

I emphasize smart practice skills more than the actual amount of time spent practicing. Much time is spent in lessons learning effective home practice strategies, but the following guidelines can give you an idea of the amount of time needed for your child to make good progress:

  • Piano Prep: 5-10 minutes (5 days)
  • Kindergarten: 15-20 minutes (5 days)
  • Grade 1: 20-25 minutes (5 days)
  • Grade 2: 25-30 minutes (5 days)
  • Grades 3-5: 30-35 minutes (5 days)
  • Grades 6-8: 35-40 minutes (5 days)

What is your cancellation policy?

  • 24 hours advance notice is needed
  • If the absence is due to illness, a make-up lesson will be scheduled
  • Make-up lessons will be scheduled during times when another student has cancelled

What is unique about the piano studio of Donna Neradt?

Because of my experience as a piano teacher and a music educator in the public schools, I am creative in my approach to teaching. I include many learning activities that make piano lessons fun, such as drumming to develop rhythmic skills, using manipulatives for theory and practice games, and a variety of teaching props to increase student interest. Also, while I love working with students of all levels, I am especially good with young students. While some teachers recommend waiting until a child is in 2nd or 3rd grade to begin lessons, I have the skills and teaching materials to work successfully with students as young as 4 1/2 through my Piano Prep program. I also have had great results working with regular piano students starting as young as kindergarten through high school ages.

Another unique quality of my approach is that I spend time helping students develop their ability to create music through regular work on improvisation skills. I think students who experience music as a creative art, as opposed to only learning to read the notes on the page, are more likely to discover the joy of playing for life.  I also do lots of work on reading skills and other areas that are traditionally emphasized in piano teaching, but I try to include the creative aspect as well.

Another area of strength is making connections with students and their families. I believe students learn best when they are part of a team that includes the student, parent and teacher all working together to help them have a positive experience playing the piano!

Why do you charge monthly tuition, instead of just charging per lesson?

Students who pay monthly tuition tend to have better regular lesson attendance than students who “pay as they go.” This translates into better progress and students who are more likely to develop a love of playing. Also, equal monthly payments are less confusing for families since they can budget for the same amount each month.

It is also important to understand that when you take lessons with a quality instructor you receive much more than 45 minutes of weekly lesson time spent with your child, so it is not really accurate to look at fees in this way. A quality teacher spends preparation time before and after your child’s lesson each week, as well as time spent picking up music and supplies, performance planning, professional development and the many tasks involved in keeping the piano studio up and running. Your monthly tuition covers all these areas, plus your child’s actual time spent with the teacher.