Frequently Asked Questions

What is the youngest age to begin? 

Although some children are prepared to start as young as 3, some children are not ready until they become 4 or even 6. Only once did a child begin lessons at 2 years old. An evaluation is offered at no charge to determine whether your child is ready to begin lessons at this academy. Your child will need to be able to demonstrate all of the following prerequisites before formal instrumental lessons may begin.

  • Listening and following teacher commands
  • Sitting motionless 30-60 seconds.
  • Alphabet letters A through G familiarity
  • Numbers 1 to 5 awareness
  • Fine motor finger skills
  • Singing Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star
  • Visual and auditory tonal up and down skills
  • Performing a well balanced bow
  • Sitting quietly during observations

How can a child so young learn to play the piano? 

Parent participation is the key to the success. The parent attends the classes to learn how to practice with their child and then practices at home together with their child. It is this parental commitment that ensures proper practice which makes this a highly effective system. Additionally, the repertoire is a selection of folk songs where a child learns to play the tunes that they recognize. These songs are written so that the hands of a small child can play them with ease.

Should piano lessons be a parent's choice or child's choice? 

Some children know that they want to play piano, but may not understand the commitment of practice. While some parents want to give piano lessons for their child, but don't want to force it upon them. Ultimately, it is up to the parent to decide whether music will be a part of their child's general education. This decision makes piano lessons a "no choice" subject. It becomes a commitment to do the work like any other school subject (e.g. math, reading, science).

Do I need a piano before I begin lessons? 

Surprisingly, the answer is no. If you already own a working piano, that's great. But if you don't, first decide whether this music program and teacher is right for you.

Can I begin piano lessons using an electronic keyboard? 

This is not a simple yes or no answer; much depends on the kind of music you are going to study and the method in which the lessons are taught. At the Academy of Musical Arts beginning on an acoustical piano is highly recommended, second best is an electronic keyboard. If a keyboard is the instrument of choice, there are a few features that it must have to fully benefit what we offer. The keyboard must have 88 keys that are the standard length of an acoustical piano. It is preferable that the keys are hammer weighted and touch sensitive. Your local piano dealer can guide you on choosing the appropriate instrument and details about digital pianos.

What are some of the advantages of an acoustical piano versus a digital piano? 

Lessons conducted on a piano like tone quality, volume, touch, mechanical technique (e.g. key control and pedal usage), may not be able to be replicated on the digital piano at the home.

Even with advanced technology, a sampled sound through a speaker does not equal the tone quality produced from a live piano.

The convenience of volume control on the keyboard may too often be a disservice. Students who practice with headphones or adjustable volume settings will not truly learn the relationship of physical exertion to the amount of volume produced.

There are a variety of keyboard designs to artificially replace the standard use of gravity, leverage, and weight used in a piano. However to the learning student, the touch of a piano key feels different than some of these designs. The Kawai digital pianos have come very close to the standard.

The digital piano has made advances in reproducing touch and tone but have not completely matched the mechanical working parts of the piano. Specifically, the key release and pedal resistance have not been replicated. The key release is the ability to control how and when the sound is terminated. Pedal resistance is the sensation the performer feels to assist in the control of pedaling technique.

Some keyboards have less than 88 keys, which can create confusion when trying to find the correct key to play.

In spite of the advantages a piano offers, there are situations when the digital piano may be a better choice. Ask your teacher and your local piano dealer for the pros and cons.

What kind of commitment is involved? 

Parents are required to play an active role in the class lessons and home practices. Parents are expected to help achieve weekly assignments with regular practice.

We have a history of developing long term relationships with families lasting years of piano lessons (the longest being 27 years). We ask for a one-year emotional commitment for new families. This will allow us a chance to give you the experience of a full cycle.

How much practice is recommended? 

Both the regularity and the quality should measure practice. Beginning students are encouraged to establish a routine to develop a habit of regular practice. Start with short 10-15 minute sessions and gradually build to 30, 45, and 60 minute practice sessions, while considering the age and skill level of your child. Still, the quality of the practice is far more important than just the amount time.

How do I get started? 

Contact us by phone or email to set up the first appointment. Enrollment is a family decision so it will be necessary to have your child and all deciding family members present. At your first interview I will cover the details of the program and costs as well as answer any professional questions about the school. You will have the opportunity to observe any class and be offered a sample lesson, at no charge. The sample lesson will allow me to assess the readiness of your child.

The next step is to go through a 4 lesson trial period. This will give your family a chance to experience the level of commitment and provide an opportunity to evaluate our compatibility.

If you feel that you would like to move forward after the trial period we will need to arrange a final meeting. Historically when a family has enrolled into our program the relationship has become long-term. As with any long-term relationship it is important to open a dialogue between each other. The final meeting will give me the opportunity to share my personal side and provide you some in depth Q & A time.


Academy of Musical Arts • 12910 Brushy Pine Place • Tampa FL 33624(813) 264-6448