Poll

You have pre-paid for a full semester at a private school for after hours piano lessons for your grade school child.  What do you need?

a grand piano or a baby grand
2 (1.6%)
an upright piano
10 (7.8%)
a full sized keys and weighted keyboard/electric piano
13 (10.2%)
a neighbor or grandparent who is fine with daily and consistent visits and practice sessions
5 (3.9%)
a small keyboard or a keyboard app on an e-reader
5 (3.9%)
nothing, wait and see how lessons go, and maybe Santa will bring a piano
7 (5.5%)
options 1-4 are ok
86 (67.2%)

Total Members Voted: 128

Voting closed: September 16, 2012, 02:54:13 PM

Author Topic: What you need for piano lessons:  (Read 6778 times)

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thedudeabides

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Re: What you need for piano lessons:
« Reply #15 on: September 11, 2012, 03:37:59 PM »
We had neither the money or the space for a full piano at home when I was growing up, but my piano teacher didn't have a problem with my parents getting a non-weighted keyboard for me to practice on. 

And just because the OP thinks finances aren't a hardship doesn't mean that either they really aren't or that the parents want to invest in a full piano when they don't even know if their kid(s) will continue to play.

rashea

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Re: What you need for piano lessons:
« Reply #16 on: September 11, 2012, 03:43:27 PM »
I think you could probably even get away with not having weighted keys until Christmas. A keyboard that was big enough for the first few months of songs would work.

They might also see if a local school or college has practice rooms they could borrow.


The problem is that, unless the teacher also has a keyboard as well as a piano, the touch is very different.  It can be pretty discouraging for a beginner to keep switching between a keyboard at home and an acoustic piano at the teacher's.  I do understand parents being reluctant to invest in a piano if they don't know whether the student will sustain interest - although I do believe that renting pianos is an option in some areas.

I know this is out of the OP's control since she teaches at a school - but for a private teacher who has lots of beginners I'd think a keyboard would be a good investment.

To me, for the first few months, this difference isn't the major issue. After the first few months it matters a lot more. But, the child could always bring the keyboard to lessons if need be.
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FoxPaws

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Re: What you need for piano lessons:
« Reply #17 on: September 11, 2012, 03:45:17 PM »
Am I correct in assuming that the parents know that the child won't be able to practice at school and they will have to have a way of practicing at home?  I could see the parent wanting to make sure the child at least enjoyed playing the piano before buying one.  Not really something you could rent, like a violin, I would think.
Actually, you can rent pianos in some places. My sister rented a piano when my niece began lessons. I don't know what it cost, but she was a single middle class mom at the time, so it couldn't have been too expensive.

OP, i would pull the parents aside once and explain that junior's inability to practice between lessons is going to make it difficult for him to progress or stay interested. Whatever happens after that is on them - at least at that point it's an informed decision.
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Zilla

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Re: What you need for piano lessons:
« Reply #18 on: September 11, 2012, 03:47:44 PM »
Well I would wait and ask the teacher.  But usually it is to my experience, the following.


If lessons are at the teacher's home, I expect them to have a piano.


If the lessons are at MY home, I provide the piano for my child.  Whether it be a baby grand or a electric keyboard but never an ipad with a keyboard app.


If the lessons are at school, if I knew there was a piano there, I would expect kid to use it OR be prepared to bring a keyboard if there isn't or the piano cannot be used for lessons. 


In your case, why don't you simply ask the school to provide their email so you can email them what to bring OR provide your email to them and have them contact you.


ETA Okay so based on the responses, I think I misunderstood.  I would provide the child at home in between lessons options between 1 and 4 depending on finances.  I thought you were talking about what students need to actually BRING to a lesson.
« Last Edit: September 11, 2012, 03:51:49 PM by Zilla »

Germane Jackson

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Re: What you need for piano lessons:
« Reply #19 on: September 11, 2012, 03:48:19 PM »
I started playing the piano when I was 8. At the time I had a little Yamaha keyboard with non-weighted keys. I stuck with it for a year or more until my grandmother  bought me an upright piano, so I think an inexpensive starter one is fine. I didn't need the upper and lower registers at that stage anyway.

rashea

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Re: What you need for piano lessons:
« Reply #20 on: September 11, 2012, 03:50:42 PM »
Of course, I see them for free on craigslist all the time. They aren't great, and you'd probably need it tuned, but fine as a starter instrument.
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RegionMom

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Re: What you need for piano lessons:
« Reply #21 on: September 11, 2012, 03:59:12 PM »
snip
I think lessons at a [regular academic] school a parent would have the reasonable expectation the student would have regular access to practice at school.
snip

There is no time during the school day to practice for after-school lessons, like dance, photography, brass lessons, piano, etc...

It is extra difficult to arrange make-up piano lessons, and there is NO scheduled practice times  because of the limited availability of rooms with pianos, that are not already being used for other lessons/activities after school at the same time.

For instrument rentals, my town has several stores that offer low priced monthly rentals.  Most of the music teachers direct parents to "Main Town Music Store" for books, and they highly advertise and promote rentals for just about any instrument!

This is a private school, with no scholarship offerings, and lessons are not required.  If you choose lessons, you must prepay for the entire semester up front, and that can be a few hundred dollars.

Yes, all the parents received a welcome e-mail, including my cell. 

The methodology that I use has students playing many octaves high and low to recognize note naming patterns.  The first lesson does not involve sitting at all, since we touch almost all the keys and walk up and down as we play. 

ex)
I encourage them to choose one note to play as LOUD as they can, and then that same note as softly as they can, teaching the vocab to go along with that.  Then we try it in a different register.  Some students think that low notes = loud, and high notes = soft.  When they play a low bass super softly, and a music box high note really loudly, they get a light bulb moment! 

I am interested in these responses!  Keep them coming!

:)

I will tell you what I told the mom tomorrow. 


Fear is temporary...Regret is forever.

Veronica

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Re: What you need for piano lessons:
« Reply #22 on: September 11, 2012, 04:01:55 PM »
snip
I think lessons at a [regular academic] school a parent would have the reasonable expectation the student would have regular access to practice at school.
snip

There is no time during the school day to practice for after-school lessons, like dance, photography, brass lessons, piano, etc...


I think this is exactly what the school needs to be telling the parents.  Do they tell them that?

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Cleargleam

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Re: What you need for piano lessons:
« Reply #23 on: September 11, 2012, 04:13:08 PM »
I voted "1-4" but I was pretty much basing that on private individual lessons and an expectation of doing better (there are a lot of reasons to learn music and actually being good at playing it aren't' the only reasons). 

I think lessons at a [regular academic] school a parent would have the reasonable expectation the student would have regular access to practice at school.  I also think its reasonable for the parents to wait 3 months and see if the kid even likes and wants to play piano as buying even the least expensive and smallest of options 1-4 is a pretty major investment of money and space.

When I was in mandatory music class in a regular public school (20+ years ago), there was still an expectation that I would practice at home.

Calypso

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Re: What you need for piano lessons:
« Reply #24 on: September 11, 2012, 04:18:43 PM »
I'll be very interested in what you tell Mom and how she reacts! I hope she can understand that, while her child can go to lessons once a week and never practice, they won't actually retain anything worthwhile without practicing, let alone be able to actually play music. Can you explain that the student has to develop muscle memory to play the piano, and that just doesn't happen without lots of practice?

If the parent doesn't want to rent something for their child to practice on, they shouldn't waste the kid's time with piano lessons.

TootsNYC

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Re: What you need for piano lessons:
« Reply #25 on: September 11, 2012, 04:24:55 PM »
I would expect a kid to have access to the instrument *somehow*.

Since you can rent a clarinet (I did), but not a piano, I might hopethat a school that provides this instruction would make its own piano(s) available on a sign-up basis after school hours if at all possible. (If I were the band man, I would try to do that somehow--even if it was rolling a piano out of the band room and into the English teacher's room or to the end of a hallway.)

I might also devote some energy to finding other piano options (like, is there one at the county courthouse? Ours had one for some reason; are there churches who would let a kid come in and use theirs? Ours would have--small town, though. But even now in NYC, we have 2 at our church, and if some kid wanted to practice, we might figure something out.)

I would not need to be told that my kid wouldn't have time in the school day to practice a musical instrument--not even mandatory music lessons.

And I would think that even if you couldn't splurge on a WEIGHTED keyboard for the first 3 to 4 months, you could be expected to get an electronic keyboard w/ full-size keys (you don't need the full length until you've gotten going).

So I might also, as the band man, try to buy a bunch of them used, or get them donated, and keep them to rent out.

Surianne

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Re: What you need for piano lessons:
« Reply #26 on: September 11, 2012, 04:29:49 PM »
We had neither the money or the space for a full piano at home when I was growing up, but my piano teacher didn't have a problem with my parents getting a non-weighted keyboard for me to practice on. 

And just because the OP thinks finances aren't a hardship doesn't mean that either they really aren't or that the parents want to invest in a full piano when they don't even know if their kid(s) will continue to play.

I agree on both points.  I did piano lessons for years with a 4-octave, non-weighted keyboard.  I learned a lot and had fun, and my teacher had no issues with it. 

Also, for 3 months, I've known kids who have started lessons and practiced at home on a piece of cardboard made up to look like piano keys.  They can practice the theory and understanding how the notes are arranged, fingering, etc.  I know quite a few teachers who are okay with that.  It's a good way for the parents to see if the kids will take it seriously, before investing money.  The kid gets the experience of playing on the actual piano at the school/teacher's place, and gets a start on theory and fingering at home.

I also agree that you cannot assume these parents' financial situations. 

In addition, it is imperative to make it clear the children will have zero access to practice pianos at school.  Normally, I'd expect if the school had practice rooms, kids would be able to play on their lunch break or before/after school, so that needs to be made absolutely clear.

Outdoor Girl

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Re: What you need for piano lessons:
« Reply #27 on: September 11, 2012, 04:43:01 PM »
Also, for 3 months, I've known kids who have started lessons and practiced at home on a piece of cardboard made up to look like piano keys.  They can practice the theory and understanding how the notes are arranged, fingering, etc.  I know quite a few teachers who are okay with that.  It's a good way for the parents to see if the kids will take it seriously, before investing money.  The kid gets the experience of playing on the actual piano at the school/teacher's place, and gets a start on theory and fingering at home.

This is what I was thinking when I said I thought a small keyboard or a keyboard app would be OK until a decision is made on purchase/borrowing of a piano.
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Re: What you need for piano lessons:
« Reply #28 on: September 11, 2012, 05:02:14 PM »
I had 13 years of piano lessons and was a music composition major in college, so this is near and dear to my heart  :)

1) If the student doesn't have a piano at home, I'd suggest providing at the first lesson a paper/cardboard piano keyboard.  My teacher gave us laminated paper keyboards, with regular-sized keys (~2 ft x 8" or so) which we used to "practice" in places with no piano, like in study hall or in the car on the way to a competition.

2) I'd also make up a short list of cheap keyboards and where you can get them, such as links to Amazon listings (including the price).  I'm thinking the <$50 range here - nothing they'd want to keep forever, but something you can hand out to parents who don't want to spring for a piano.

3) I'd make a point of telling parents who don't already own a piano that their student will do MUCH better with a real piano or full-sized weighted keyboard at home.  Parents who don't play the piano themselves might not realize that a 3/4 size unweighted keyboard (suitable for electronic music) just isn't going to compare to learning dynamics and touch on a real piano, and you don't want them to shell out a few hundred bucks on something that's not really going to be good enough.

stargazer

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Re: What you need for piano lessons:
« Reply #29 on: September 11, 2012, 05:17:44 PM »
Maybe they want to see if the child actually likes the piano before shelling out big bucks? 


I will tell you what I told the mom tomorrow.

This - I find annoying.  If you have an update, then post it but don't drag it out like that.  This seems more like a plea for attention and get posters hoping for an update.