Q. What can we do while we wait for a student?
A. Students may be dropped off and picked up later inside the studio. Caregivers and siblings may use the waiting lounge. Caregivers may also observe a lesson through the door observation windows or by sitting quietly in the lesson.
Q. How do we know if we are choosing the right instrument? And what is the best age to start?
A. The Academy offers the Instrument Preference Test for a charge of $10. The test is a reliable and valid test that is easy to take (a 20-minute pencil and paper test with a CD—choose which sound you like best). In addition, the results may be discussed in a 30-minute interview with a teacher. Call the office if you are interested in taking the Instrument Preference Test or scheduling a teacher interview. Call the office for more information about starting ages for instrumental instruction.
Q. Do we need to purchase a piano before taking a piano prep class?
A. Yes. We require that all of our students purchase a piano when they begin lessons. Even preschool/kindergarten students enjoy their lessons and learn more when they have access to a piano between lessons. Rental options are available if you are not ready to make a purchase.
Q. Where can I rent or purchase a Band or Orchestra instrument?
A. Meyer Music in Grand Rapids sells instruments and has a rent-to-own program.
Q. What kind of piano should we purchase, and where can we find one?
A. A good acoustic piano is preferable; however, digital pianos (requiring electrical connection) are acceptable. We encourage students who begin with a digital piano to plan to switch to an acoustic piano after a few years. For a helpful discussion about digital vs. acoustical, grand vs. upright, and buying or selling a used piano, check this piano teacher blog at Musical Resources.
We highly recommend West Michigan Piano as a resource for purchasing used and new digital and acoustic pianos. Keyboard World specifically offers the Yamaha brand. Many of our families appreciate the rent-to-own policy at Meyer Music, where they offer a nice entry level Yamaha digital piano.
Q. How often should I tune my piano? And can you recommend a piano tuner?
A. Pianos need a minimum of one tuning a year. Neglected pianos are difficult to tune to pitch. We highly recommend Lyn Nelson at (616) 292-3290. Lyn tunes the pianos for West Michigan Piano.
Q. I don't have any musical background. Can I still help my child practice?
A. Yes. Parents have a role in the learning process even if they are not musicians. Supervising your child's practice is an important role. But that does not mean you need to understand music. You just need to understand how to motivate and encourage your child's practice. And you may need to help your child read and follow instructions.
Many parents make the mistake of delegating responsibility for their child's practicing either to the teacher or to the child. Ensuring that the child practices is not the teacher's role. The teacher is the educational expert and does not go home with the child each week. Children must be taught to be diligent in their studies, and the responsibility for learning diligence cannot be delegated to the child. When the child does not follow through on his or her assignments, it is the parent's responsibility to provide the motivation and discipline necessary to see that the child completes his or her tasks.
Q. How much should my child practice?
A. The more students practice, the more they learn. However, each child is unique and each family circumstance is unique. Realistically, do the best you can to encourage practicing and a long term commitment to learning an instrument. Some weeks will be better than others. Some years will be better than others. Keep in mind that the longer your child studies, the more he or she will benefit.
Q. Is there anything else you can say to help me support my child's music education?
A. Sometimes parents (or students) do things that they believe are helpful, but which actually interfere with the learning process. Here is a brief list of parent DON'TS to help guide your efforts at home:
1. Don't write finger numbers or note names in the music unless specifically assigned by the teacher.
2. Don't go ahead in the books without the teacher's approval.
3. Don't attempt to teach your child topics not covered by the teacher or in a way not presented by the teacher.
4. Don't interfere with your child's lesson.
5. Don't speak for the teacher.
6. Don't let problems go for weeks without letting the teacher know about them.
7. Don't leave lesson materials or assignment books at home. And don't rely on the student to remember everything.
8. Don't automatically assume everything your child says about the teacher or lesson is true.
9. Don't forget to listen to your child and enjoy his or her music playing and creativity.
Q. May I sit in on a lesson?
A. Parents are welcome to sit in on a lesson to observe. Comments from parents during lessons, however, interfere with instruction. Keep in mind that some students learn more easily without extra adults in the room.
It's easy to take the next step:
Lessons are first come, first served,
so contact us today to arrange your first lesson
6143 28th St SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49546
one mile east of I-96
Offering quality instruction in piano, piano prep, guitar, bass guitar, ukulele, mandolin, voice, drums, strings, and Music Together®
in Grand Rapids, MI