Frequently Asked Questions

Private Lessons
Do I need a piano at home to take piano lessons?
  Yes, students should practice every day at home, and having a piano is necessary to have productive lessons. Another option, which is not the best choice, is using an electric keyboard to practice on at home, making sure that it is a full-sized keyboard. There is also an option of renting a piano, which usually costs as low as $50 per month.
How long does it take to learn to play the piano?
  There is no set answer of how long it takes to learn an instrument. With regular practice a basic level of playing can be accomplished in a few months. Most of our students take lesson a long term basis because they want to be constantly improving and they find the lessons enjoyable.
I don’t have any musical background or ability; can I still help my child practice?
  Yes. Even if you don’t have a musical background you can ask the teacher for advice on how to help your child practice. You can simply review the latest assignment sheet and make sure that your child follows all the given instructions.

Many parents occasionally sit in the class to observe the instruction process and understand the teacher’s expectations.
What is the Russian method of piano instruction?
  In Russian schools, students begin by understanding a piece’s meaning. This way, the music that students work on should have an artistic image: the meaning. That is why we do not start with mechanical exercises. Our repertoire for beginning students is a collection of inspiring folk songs as well as easy but original music of great composers. The technique of the Russian school of piano comes from Chopin’s tradition. Here, the technique and the music are never separated from each other. Students improve their piano skills not based on what comes first in theory of music, but based on what comes first in piano skills. They then learn the theory of music accordingly.
What makes your method different from other methods?
  The main and very visible difference that one can see in our method is that we don’t give the student a book to go through page by page. Each student makes his or her own piano book with the teacher’s invisible and indirect help. Students choose their pieces and create a story and name for each piece, then, with the teachers’ help, find the skills to perform that story. Our school’s curriculum helps us to make sure all students have the essential knowledge of theory, technique, ear-training, and sight-reading skills before they complete each level.
Can you help students receive a Music Certificate?
  Yes, our teachers are members of MTAC (Music Teachers’ Association of California) which allows their students to apply for “Certificate of Merit”.
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Do we need to have a piano at home to take the Prep-Piano class?
  No. Students don’t practice the piano at this age. You can review the hand-out paper at home with the student if you want.
My child is 5. Can I register for the Prep-Piano Class?
  The prep-piano program was specially designed for 3 and 4 year old children, so the class will be too slow for a 5 year old. At age 5, children are ready to start private lessons.
Can we have a trial before we commit to a nine month program?
  Yes. To arrange a day for your trial lesson, please call 510-710-0995.
Do the students play the piano in class?
  No. They listen to piano pieces that they will play later on when they take private lessons.
What if my child is ready for private lessons before the nine months are over?
  You can always move onto private lessons and we will credit you the rest of the tuition toward the private lessons tuition.
What do students learn during this nine month program?
  Students learn the names of the keys and the musical alphabet (rhythm values, rests, grand staff, and notes). They will develop their musical memory and get plenty of ear training as well.
What do students do during the 30 minute class?
  Class activities are listening and repeating a tune or a rhythm; singing along, learning a musical symbol using colors, stories, and games, and reviewing symbols that we learned in earlier classes.
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