These are the most frequently asked questions about piano lessons with Ms. Hannah.
How often and how long are the lessons?
Lessons are weekly (same time each week). The amount of lesson time depends on the lesson format. A typical lesson lasts 45-60 minutes.
What happens in the lessons?
Children learn through play. Their play is their work. They also learn socially, which is why I prefer to teach young children in pairs, small groups, or sometimes in an individual/group overlapping format, all depending on what works.
In the early years, lessons maintain an atmosphere of meaningful musical play. Lessons typically begin with a Hello Song and some free exploratory play at the piano. The lesson is a rich sound environment full of songs in many tonalities, chants in various meters, and piano music played by students and teacher. We internalize rhythm by moving our bodies to music. We write music stories and often create musical ideas inspired by students’ original art.
We use puppets to have rhythm and tonal “chats.” I play more advanced piano music for the children when they need a break away from the piano to sit down or draw pictures at the table. We use Marilyn Lowe’s Keyboard Games Books A (and later Book B) as the primary lesson book and add supplemental repertoire pieces as students are ready. The Keyboard Games pieces are very short micro-pieces that act like musical Legos to help students begin developing comfort at the piano and a set of rhythm patterns to “musick” with. Children typically find their singing voice in these early years.
How much do lessons cost?
The tuition rates are determined based on a full calendar year of 35 weekly lessons. Some months have lessons every week and some months may have only two lessons (depending on holidays). Be aware that monthly tuition has accounted for the unbalance in the number of lessons given each month and tuition is set at $150/month no matter how many lessons are given that month. There are discounted options for anyone paying a semester or a year upfront.
$150/month for 10 months. $1,500 annually. See the tuition schedule for payment due dates.
$700/semester for 2 semesters. $1,400 annually. See the tuition schedule for payment due dates.
$1,300/year. $1,300 annually. See the tuition schedule for payment due dates.
What does tuition cover?
Tuition covers all lessons (and makeup lessons), studio recitals, and supplemental repertoire.
What are the other fees?
Lesson books and materials. You can plan to spend not more than $50/year on required lesson books and materials. You will be invoiced for books as your student progresses through the curriculum.
As students grow, develop, and transition into more formal piano instruction, they may be interested in participating in playing festivals. If you wish to participate, registration fees are your responsibility and will be added to the appropriate invoice.
What happens if I miss a lesson?
There are designated weeks throughout the year to schedule makeup lessons. There is also ample time in the summer months to make up any missed lessons during the year.
Do we take lessons during the summer?
The piano calendar is based on a 10-month schedule with 35 lessons over the course of the year. (See the piano calendar.) Lessons do last through June with a summer break in July and early August. Student who are unavailable during the summer may make up their lessons during the Memorial Day Holiday break or in early August before school begins.
Students may condense lessons into consecutive days or continue on the weekly lesson schedule. Students that normally have a later evening lesson may also switch to an earlier lesson time for the summer. Any lessons missed and not made up during the regular year can be made up during the summer break.
These details are subject to change slightly based on TBA summer teaching assignments with the Gordon Institute for Music Learning.
Why do you only take students under 7?
I’ve been teaching piano for many years and have had opportunities to teach in a large variety of settings from private lessons to group classes to high-tech piano labs at the university level. I have learned that I am meant for early childhood music, I am meant to start as a musical guide and, over time, develop mutual trust and respect so that I can successfully bring children into formal music study and continue to guide them to more advanced learning and playing.
All the research, and my personal experience, have shown me how important these early years are for creating neural pathways that support music learning. These early years are also an important time to develop the teacher/student bonds that support a lifetime of more serious music study that may come later.
Do you continue teaching students after they turn 7?
Absolutely! I teach students of all levels. I don’t exclusively teach children age 4-6, but I do require that they START informal guidance lessons at age 4-6. As long as students are enjoying music study and are able to continue lessons, I will keep guiding them towards more advancing repertoire, keyboard skills, and audiation development.