Frequently asked questions
How is PianoGarden different from other piano studios?
PianoGarden approaches students from an equilibrium of the intuitive and creative on the one side, and a considered sense of structure and pedagogy, on the other. Each lesson is tailored to where the individual student is “at” in the moment, and offers the choice of a satisfying musical experience, regardless of mood or technical skill. Students have the opportunity to access their own untapped resources through composition and improvisation, and are coached to make their own interpretive decisions in their practice/performance pieces. Excellence and mastery are cultivated without a focus on competition.
Do I need a piano, or can I use a keyboard for lessons and practicing?
A small beginner’s keyboard with weighted action is adequate for beginning students (66 keys). However, as students progress and begin to appreciate the possibilities offered by a more complete instrument, they often make the decision to buy either a full-size keyboard or a piano. Acoustic pianos are a “sound” investment if they are cared for properly, and should be tuned twice each year. Regular tunings help not only the instrument but also educate the ear of the student player.
How much time will I need to practice?
Frequent practice is initially more important than duration of time spent. Even a few minutes spent each day by a young beginner helps to establish a self-motivated practice routine. It is that desire to return to the keys often that engenders an indelible and real connection that can last a lifetime. That being said, a general guideline might look like this: 5-10 minutes each day for very young beginners; 15-20 minutes per day for K-6 students; and 25-35 minutes per day for young/adults. For the most part, these parameters should give students enough time to accomplish noticeable progress.
Do I need to buy my own music?
You will need to pay for your own music. PianoGarden will provide you with internet links so you can purchase the music you need for lessons. If you want to research music on your own, I can advise you so that you make choices that fit your learning level and musical interests.
What if I need to reschedule a lesson?
There are two ways to reschedule: by trading an individual lesson with another student or by going directly through PianoGarden for a fee (see Rescheduling Policies). It is vital that students choose a lesson time slot that works for them. Rescheduling becomes a challenge once the quarter has begun and the schedule has filled up.
Will there be student piano recitals?
PianoGarden hosts three PianoParties during the academic year with opportunities for students of all ages to perform for family and friends. Currently these events take place online (see PianoParties).
Do you provide additional opportunities to your students?
PianoGarden offers an extensive lending library of sheet music and books to its students. As of now, students can receive music by email or they can stop by to borrow actual books. In addition to three yearly recitals, all students receive emails about upcoming music events in the Twin Cities and online, as well as articles of interest.
Can I take the summer off?
Students who take off the summer are faced in the fall with a significant drop in both physical and emotional momentum. By continuing to practice and to study through the summer, my piano students continue to make stable progress. Special learning opportunities are offered during the summer months. Students have the chance to co-design their own learning curriculum, which may focus on a particular area such as improvisation, theory, or even music history. Pick a Composer! is a one such popular offering that allows young students to study the lives and accomplishments of particular musical creators, culminating in the student’s own creative project. Summer lessons are scheduled flexibly to fit vacation and camp schedules.
Do online lessons cost more?
No, the charge for online lessons is the same as in person lessons. However, PianoGarden offers a discount to student families who take their own notes. To learn more, click the Registration tab and go to Pricing.
How effective are remote lessons?
Remote lessons have proven to be not only effective but highly enjoyable. The lessons have a different flavor which can be hard to define. There is a kind of intimacy available, with less distraction, when we are both focusing through the lens of a camera.
Do I need a special kind of keyboard for online lessons?
No. We can use what you already have, whether it is acoustic or electronic. The better your instrument sounds on your end, the more we have to work with. That is true from a remote standpoint, just as it is from the perspective of your own musical growth.
When can I start?
It is always a good time to begin. At any given time, there are usually available lesson slots. However, the PianoGarden schedule often fills up in September, so the best times to check availability are June through late August, or before each quarter begins, during November, February, and May.
Before you begin lessons, you will need a reliable instrument, a quiet space in which to practice, and the resources necessary to finance regular lessons. You will also want to consider how practicing will fit into your life, i.e., how much time and energy you can reasonably contribute.
PianoGarden lessons run from early afternoon to early evening on Mondays and Tuesdays and from mid afternoon to early evening on Wednesdays. You can discuss time slot availability with Liz once you set up a time to talk on the phone.
If you have questions that are not answered here, feel free to click the "Contact form" link in the footer, below, to send a message to Liz.
What methods of payment do you accept?
PianoGarden accepts payments via PayPal and personal check.