FAQ Section

1.  When should my child begin piano lessons?

The age to begin piano depends on each individual child, and the way that child will be taught. For all beginning students, Karen strongly recommends the Suzuki method. This style of learning is based on the way we learn to speak: listen, try, become comfortable, and then learn to read. The same process can be applied successfully to music where a child listens to recordings of music, establishes their own musicianship and then adds in music reading skills at a later point.

Also important is the ability to sit and focus on one specific task for to sit for ten to fifteen minutes while simple rhythmic and melodic patterns can be taught. Various piano books, rhythm instruments, compositional activities, and duets are used to provide the child with a positive attitude and engaging learning experience during their piano lessons, but a constant focus is required throughout.

2. How much do lessons cost?

Because each student learns at a different speed, has different levels of interest and commitment, and plays at a different level, Karen consults and provides fees on an individual basis. Her fees are consistent with the Alberta Registered Music Teachers Association suggested minimum of $60.00 per hour. Lessons usually run for 30, 45, 60, or 90 minutes once per week and as a student progresses into a higher lever, a longer lesson is needed. Please contact Karen to discuss current fees and methods of payment.

3. How can I register for piano lessons? Do you meet with students before lessons begin?

Karen is now accepting new students for the 2015 – 2016 school year! In order to register for lessons, send an inquiry email through the “Contact Us” page of the King Music Studios website or call 587-284-1217 to reach Karen’s home, cell, and business line. She will respond promptly to your inquiry, provide details of fees and available lesson times, and arrange a meeting with the parent(s) and student(s). Karen enjoys meeting with students before lessons begin to make sure everyone is clear about studio policies, to introduce herself in person, and to establish a rapport with students before lessons officially begin.

4. How long should my child practice?

There is no set time for practicing, however, it is important that a child spends quality time with his/her piano rather than quantity. Each week, the student is sent home with a list of projects and specific goals for the following week’s lesson. Some students may complete these in 10 minutes and others in 25 minutes. It is very important to have concentrated and focused practice session on a regular basis and practice until all the required projects for that week are completed.

Here are some suggested practice times to build from:

Beginners:   15 – 20 minutes daily
Grades 1 to 4:   30 – 45 minutes daily
Grades 5 and 6:   45 – 60 minutes daily
Grades 7 and 8:   60 – 90 minutes, daily
Grades 9,10, Diploma Level:   90 – 120 minutes daily

Remember that there is no such thing as “too much practicing” – you can try it. You’ll only get better!

5. How long will it take my child to be able to play Fur Elise, the Star Wars theme, or Pachelbel’s Canon?

The main goal for the first year of lessons includes simply being able to play beautifully. If a student can play with a sense of poise and musicianship, it does not matter if the student is playing Mary Had a Little Lamb or Brahms’ Concerto in D Minor. Once a personalized sense of musicality is developed, students express themselves freely and advance rather quickly. However, the original versions of these songs listed above are rather difficult and may take upwards of 10 years to build the necessary skills to play.

While simplified versions of these tunes are available to maintain interest along the way, remember that music is a lifelong pursuit which is much like reading books. It’s hard to confidently claim you’ve read every great novel in existence, much like it’s difficult to say you’ve played every great piece of music ever written. Karen hopes to create lifelong learners and lovers of music and hopes that parents can appreciate the time commitment it takes to become a fluent player.

6. Are you a Registered Music Teacher? What is an RMT?

Yes, Karen is a Registered Music Teacher. The Registered Music Teachers’ Association is a Canada-wide federation of private music teachers encompassing ten provinces, with over 3200 members. To become a member, the teacher must hold a degree or diploma from a recognized university or conservatory or meet the necessary qualifications set by the registering province, thus ensuring a high level of training and a commitment to professionalism. The aim is to encourage and provide the highest calibre of music education possible and to promote high standards of music in each community.

7. Do we need to own a piano? What kind should we buy?

Yes, you absolutely need to own a piano! Taking piano lessons without a regular instrument to practice on is much like taking hockey without owning skates.

An acoustic piano is always the instrument of choice: touch, dynamic control, pedal effects, and many other factors make acoustic pianos preferable to electric pianos. Students with digital pianos notice differences in touch and tone, and often struggle to overcome these obstacles.

8. Do you enter students in Music Festivals, Exams, or other Competitions?

Karen regularly enters students in Royal Conservatory of Music and Conservatory Canada graded practical and theory exams, Trinity College of London diploma exams, the Kiwanis Music Festival, the ARMTA student recitals, and other awards and bursaries. This is not something that is required of students and presented as extra, optional projects. They make great goals to work towards and provide a sense of pride and accomplishment, but are always considered optional.

The event that all students participate in are the annual recitals, normally mid-winter (January) and early-summer (June). This is a great opportunity to display to family and friends the hard work of learning to play and hear other students of similar ages and abilities share their music.

 9. Where is your studio located? Do you travel to students’ homes for lessons?

Karen teaches from her home studio located in the Queensland (SE) area of Calgary. For security reasons, the exact address is not published on this website but will be provided on an individual basis before lessons begin.  Her studio is equipped with a 6’1” grand piano, music library, rhythm instruments, books, toys, games, and more.

By travelling to students’ home for lessons, Karen is not able to accept as many students or provide as enriching a learning experience. First, the travel time required to go between students’ homes mean that fewer students each day get to take piano lessons. Next, students who take lessons from home are often distracted by siblings or pets, rarely get the chance to play on a grand piano, and miss the opportunity to play supplementary music, use rhythm instruments, and play music games because these are not easily transportable. Finally, lessons often get confused with practice when everything happens at home. In short, Karen does not travel to students’ homes.

10. I used to take piano when I was a child – do you teach adult students?

Karen teaches very few adult students and is the first to admit that this is not her area of expertise. It is far easier for her to relate to children and teenagers because she has experienced their mindsets. Having never been 40, it is hard to relate to others that age. Further, Karen find that adults like the idea of piano lessons, but struggle with the follow through. As she provides a very goal-oriented learning environment, adults cannot always find the time to practice in order to accomplish these goals.

Karen does not generally teach adult students but would be happy to recommend other teachers in your area who do.