Frequently Asked Questions
Reasons to start learning a musical instrument:
Choosing to play a musical instrument builds many new skills and has been shown to reduce stress, build confidence, develop metacognitive skills and most of all, improve creativity. For parents who have never played an instrument themselves it can be a difficult decision choosing the best instrument for a child to start on.
Why Choose Piano?
Piano is an excellent starter instrument and suitable for most children from around the age of four. Playing piano is very visual and students can spot musical patterns and see which notes sound good with other notes. Learning piano is a great way to get a head start on musical theory that will be useful if they choose to take a second instrument in the future.
Starting piano is also great for adults who have never played before. Beginning an instrument at any age still gives the same emotional benefits and is great at maintaining healthy brain function.
It should be noted that all music learning provides challenges for the learner, and should not always be easy. Challenges help build resilience and problem solving skills. Whilst commencing learning an instrument can be a fun activity, hard work and persistence is required by all students in order to progress.
What is the youngest age to start lessons?
One to one lessons are usually offered from about 4 years of age. For most children aged four or lower a group setting designed to explore music is recommended before proceeding to one to one lesson. Undertaking a brief consultation session in person is usually recommended for young students. This session is used to learn the students ability to undertake instructions, identify patterns and observe their physical capability to sit independently, move their body to music and their level of fine and gross motor skills.
How much do lessons cost?
Lessons are charged by the term for enrolled students. Casual lessons are available by request, subject to availability.
Enrolled (weekly lessons, per term rates)
Casual (adhoc and online)
Private (one student)
Weekly 30min lesson $350
$70 per hour (or part thereof)
Partner (two students, rates per person)
45min lessons $350
60min Lessons $700
$140 per hour (or part thereof)
Preschool Group Lessons (min 4 required to proceed)
45min Lessons $180
$20 per lesson
Group lessons - other levels
What other costs can I expect on top of lesson fees?
Annual administration fee $30 per student. This is paid in the first term of commencement and then at the beginning of each subsequent year.
Resource costs $50-100 per year. This includes sheet music and music book purchase.
Entry or registration fees $0-100. Exam registration fees or entry to competitions are not included.
Instrument maintenance $200-300 per tuning for an acoustic piano.
Can I used my Creative Kids Voucher with you?
As a registered Creative Kids provider your Service NSW Vouchers can be redeemed towards lesson tuition. Instructions on how to redeem vouchers are included on invoices. Haven't got your vouchers yet? Jump to Service NSW to see if you qualify.
What kind of instrument do I need?
When it comes to instruments, there definitely needs to be something available at home to practice with. Having a suitable instrument at home will ensure that progress is uninhibited. Waitlisted students will be prioritised based on the quality of the instrument available to them at home.
Acoustic Piano: These come in varying conditions, but generally are the preferable choice. Acoustic pianos will have the most similarity to the instrument used in lessons and last for many decades when well cared for. A good quality acoustic should have no missing keys or hammers and be tuned to A440 tuning. Tuning should occur every 12 -24 months, which costs about $200-300. Owning a piano also comes with associated moving costs, which can be prohibitive. Please be sure to speak with a qualified piano technician before making a purchase to ensure the instrument you choose will be suitable.
Electric/Digital Piano: This is the second best option for a student. A digital piano should be full sized (88 keys) with weighted touch, meaning that pressing a key softly plays a quiet noted and pressing hard creates a loud note. Weighted keys should also have some resistance when playing, which imitates the feeling of playing an acoustic piano. Ideally a sustain pedal should be available as this can be introduced in the first year of learning. Purchased new can start from about $800 and if looked after will last many years. Brands I recommend are Kawaii, Yamaha and some Korg models.
Keyboard: A keyboard is a good temporary option when a student commences lessons. Keyboards that are not touch sensitive would actually be considered a toy. Keyboards are usually reduced in size, only play one volume when a key is pressed (no loud or soft unless you change the volume button) and will have a buzzing sound. Keyboards are really only suitable as a starter and students are recommended to upgrade to a digital or acoustic piano as soon as possible. Progress will stall when using an inferior instrument long term.
What books do I need?
Many resources are used during lessons. The teacher decides on methods to suit varying learning styles. Currently beginner students mostly use Piano Safari. Books are not included in tuition costs and are charged as needed. These will be added to invoices on an as needs basis. A method book will usually last 6-12 months of lessons. Method books are usually favoured in the the first three years of learning, before moving onto repertoire books.
Do students get an opportunity to perform?
Studio wide concerts are held throughout the year to give students the opportunity to perform. Sharing music with one another is the best way to learn. It is also a great way for students to be exposed to future repertoire played by others.
Students are encouraged to participate in any of their school based music groups.
There are additional performing opportunities at the Eisteddfods around the region. Entry fees are not included in tuition, but guidance and assistance in entry and preparation can be given in lesson time.
Are group lessons available?
Partner lessons (two students) are encouraged for a minimum of 45min for any age. During school holidays larger group sessions are occasionally offered. These include more interactive playing among students for a longer duration (1-2 hours).
Preschool group lessons (4-6 students), Mini Musician Classes are offered where numbers permit during term.
How much practice is required?
Unlike other after school activities, most music learning occurs away from lessons. Lessons are used to introduce new themes and techniques that then are explored and developed independently at home.
Doing a little practice every day will result in quicker progress. Practice sessions should be relevant to the students age and can either be in small portions or in one go.
- Young students and beginners: 5-10 minute sessions most days
- Elementary students: 15-20 minute sessions most days
- Intermediate students: 30-45 minutes most days
- Advanced students: At least 1-2 hours practice every day.
Practice should involve playing thoughtfully and paying attention to correct technique, rhythm, finger numbers and notes. Suggested strategies are often noted in student lesson notes to help guide parents through what is needed for the week. Parents attending lessons and observing is the best way to support correct practice at home.
What happens if a lesson needs to be cancelled?
If a student will be missing their lesson for any reason, they notify via text, phone or email with as much notice as possible before scheduled start time. When notice is provided within 24 hours and another time is available that week it will be offered.
Alternate times are not guaranteed and makeup credits are not carried over into subsequent weeks.
If for any reason a lesson is cancelled by the teacher, a makeup time will be offered if available. If a suitable time isn't available, a credit of that lesson will be carried into the next invoice.
Refunds for lessons cancelled by a student are only offered in the event of extenuating circumstances at the owners discretion.
Two weeks’ notice or payment in lieu of notice should be given prior to discontinuing lessons. Refunds will be given for unused lessons when appropriate notice is given.
Where are lessons undertaken?
Lessons will be undertaken in Lake Cathie. Travel to other venues will only undertaken if there are a large number of students consecutively.
Where do I find the full studio policy?
The 2022-2023 policy is available for download here.