Piano Lessons FAQ

These are some of the most frequently asked questions at Piano with Chelsea. If your question is not answered below, please feel free to get in touch!

What length of lesson do I need?

  • 40-minute buddy lessons work great for ages 4-7 and those in their first year of piano study
  • 50-minute buddy lessons are the ideal choice for the majority of students
  • 45-minute one-on-one lessons are available for adults and students older than 8 who do not wish to work in the buddy lesson format.

Do I need an acoustic piano at home?

The short answer - No, but a toy keyboard will not work either. Each student will need a piano at home where they can practice on a regular basis.

A well-maintained acoustic piano is usually best, but today's digital pianos have made tremendous headway in replicating the action of an acoustic. (A digital piano with a professional action will be superior to many lower quality acoustic pianos or an acoustic piano in poor shape.) I would be happy to recommend my favorite brands and models.

Please see my detailed answer here.     

Is my child ready for piano lessons?

I will take students as young as 4 years old, but whether or not they are ready for lessons is a decision only you can make. Here are some questions to help you think about the decision:

  • Does your child seem intrigued by music, the sound that instruments make, singing, or dancing?
  • Does your child express the desire to make music?
  • Does your child listen to and respond well to directions?
  • Can your child sit still for 15 minutes at a time? Or will your child engage with something they are interested in for 15 minutes at a time?
  • *Are you prepared to be a practice coach and cheerleader at home?*

*For young beginners, this is often the most important question. Young students will require supervised practice support. This means the parent must be willing to sit with them and guide their practice sessions; providing gentle reminders about technique, reading the notes I provide if they do not read yet, and making sure all material is covered.

If you are not ready to commit to that level of involvement in your child's practice, then your young child is not ready for piano lessons.

If your child is older, they will still need you to be their cheerleader. But you can anticipate better practice independence and less required of you as a supervisor.

How often does my child need to practice?

Like a foreign language, daily exposure is best. Progress and momentum will be greatest with a daily practice habit that simply fits into the day.

That doesn’t mean, however, that every single practice session needs to be 100% focused and keyed-in.  I prefer to encourage students to love playing the piano, which means sometimes they do just that – play! If every practice session is endless, unproductive poking around, however, then a better balance needs to be struck.

Most young students will succeed in making it to the piano 3 days per week. Because they are not getting daily practice, their practice sessions must cover everything we studied during our lesson.

Young beginners will be fine with 15-20 minutes of practice. As students get older and more experienced, their music will become more involved and longer. Anticipate practice requirements growing with student development.

I don't play the piano. How can I help my child?

The last five minutes of the lesson will be reserved for questions and communication with parents. The student or I will usually demonstrate any technique skills that are being worked on, and I will point out any special requirements from our music.

Parents are also welcome to observe quietly from the foyer so long as attendance does not hinder the student or lesson flow. This is a great opportunity to hear what is being taught and prepare for any questions you might have.

In addition to hands-on help at the piano, your child will benefit tremendously from your encouragement. Sometimes a song takes more time to come together than expected and the effort involved is tedious and challenging. Remind them of how far they have come. A quick glance back to earlier repertoire is sometimes all that is needed to get the flame burning again.

Younger students will require a parent at the piano with them to ensure they are practicing correctly.

My child has performance anxiety. Can we still take lessons?

Absolutely. No performances are mandatory.

I would encourage students with social or performance anxiety to register for buddy lessons. The overlap time is a great way to get used to playing in front of and with another person, which can provide benefits to other, non-musical settings as well.

Are parents required to stay during the lesson?

Due to space constraints, in most cases, parents are not in the piano studio during the lesson. A small seating space is provided in the foyer, which allows parents to fully see and hear their child’s lesson.

Unless you live in my neighborhood or your errand is very nearby, lessons are not conducive to dropping your child off. Parents generally sit in the foyer, in their car, or walk around my neighborhood.

Families with multiple students enrolled in lessons may drop off as long as they are back in the foyer 5 minutes before the end of lessons.

Most of my lessons take place back-to-back and it is not fair to the next student if I need to cut into their lesson time to supervise a child that is already done at the piano and waiting on a parent to return.

Where are piano lessons held?

All lessons will take place at my home studio in Milton, FL. Please see the About page for more information about the studio.

In rare circumstances, at-home lessons can be arranged. There will be an extra fee for travel.

How can I pay tuition?

I accept cash, check, Venmo and Cash App. Tuition is due at or before the first lesson of the month. Discounts are available for tuition paid for the entire semester.

What books do I need to buy and where do I get them?

In most cases, the registration/book fee will cover the books your child needs for the year. I will purchase them and provide them when appropriate. Occasionally, a student will move faster than expected and will need extra materials. Those books will be billed separately.

What types of music can I learn?

I have the most experience with classical repertoire, but I will teach any and all musical styles. In fact, I believe exposing students to other genres of music is essential in making them a well-rounded musician.

Every student will learn some classical, but they will also have the opportunity to play jazz, pop, and rock.