Category Archives: FAQs

What are the advantages of shared lessons?

Posted by in FAQs,Updates and Workshops | October 26, 2012
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The Advantages of Shared Lessons

There are many advantages of shared lessons. These include:


The dynamic group environment accelerates musical learning.

  • Multiple types of learning through observation and experience.
  • Variety, physicality and group dynamics are energizing and fun for students and teacher, dramatically increasing students’ attention and engagement.
  • Questions and comments not all students would think of on their own.
  • Interactive discussion can deepen learning.
  • Pairings and mentor groups increase in-lesson educational support.
  • Classmates provide opportunity for out-of-lesson educational support.
  • Presence of others facilitates singing along, providing more holistic musical learning.
  • Playing and singing together gives ensemble performance experience.
  • Playing in front of others provides public performance experience.
  • Constructive peer pressure – groups increases students’ sense of accountability and can speed up those who would have been slower.


Music returns to its natural context as a joyful cooperative activity.

  • Students develop social skills and engage in teamwork.
  • Group dynamics create room for each unique personality.
  • Appreciation for multiple perspectives – everyone learns from everyone, not only from the teacher.
  • Community, camaraderie, friendship – within piano learning and potentially beyond as well.
  • No student is on the spot with the teacher for the entire lesson – opportunity to hide when needed based on personality, mood, etc.
  • Students learn to teach others – faster students in particular can take on a leadership role.
  • Parent/coach gains support from other students and parents/coaches.
  • Many of the musical advantages are social ones as well.


The return on investment increases dramatically.

  • Significantly lower financial cost per lesson.
  • Greater opportunity to exchange classes to avoid missing a lesson.
  • Classmates can help students catch up when a lesson is missed.

All the musical and social benefits would be missed in private lessons.

Can a missed class be made up?

Posted by in FAQs | October 23, 2012
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If students miss a class at their regular time, they are free to come to another class that is appropriate for where they are in the Foundation Program. Contact me for more information.

Do you offer group classes?

Posted by in FAQs | October 23, 2012
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At my studio, I offer Simply Music Piano in either shared lesson (small group) or individual format. I also offer group classes through Skype. While shared lessons may on the surface seem impractical, the dynamic, interactive format of our lessons actually allows a powerful, effective experience via its application of multi-sensory, receptive and generative learning strategies. At the same time, they are fun and cost-effective and allow students the opportunity to experience playing for and learning from their peers.

Do you offer in home or Skype lessons?

Posted by in FAQs | October 23, 2012
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I offer Skype lessons for those who find it more convenient to work virtually or are unable to travel to my location. Skype lessons are available both individually and in group format. Please contact me for more info.

Is it true that you don’t mainly reach how to read music?

Posted by in FAQs | October 23, 2012
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We certainly DO teach reading, but we DELAY the process until the student has developed a confidence and breadth of experience of actually playing.  If you think about the way we learned our first language, we began by learning to speak, developing a practical grasp of communication before the additional layers of complexity such as reading and writing were added. If you remove the complexity of deciphering the code on the page, you will be free to establish a natural, musical relationship with the instrument, and will then be free to focus more fully on sourcing instructions from the page.  Typically, this process begins towards the end of the first year of lessons.

Do I have to play in a recital?

Posted by in FAQs | October 23, 2012
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Recitals are very rewarding experiences, and give us a goal to work toward. But while recitals are meant to be a fun and enjoyable experience, I know there are some people for which the idea of performing in front of a group is enough to make them quit piano. So, while I strongly encourage participation in by recitals, they are not required.

What is your cancellation policy?

Posted by in FAQs | October 23, 2012
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This is covered in my Policies and Procedures.

Do I have to pay for my own materials?

Posted by in FAQs | October 23, 2012
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I will ask you to pay for course books that we use during the lesson. If I have extra copies of other music on hand, I will give them to you at no charge. As a convenience, you can buy the materials right in my website store, and they will be shipped to your house.

A little more about Simply Music

Posted by in FAQs | October 23, 2012
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Here’s a little more about Simply Music, the revolutionary, Australian, playing-based piano playing method:

Who We Are – Simply Music

The Simply Music method looks at music learning in a totally new light and pioneers a new direction in music education. It presents a philosophy and methodology that profoundly differs from the more common and traditional approaches that, although modernized over the years, are still based on fundamental principles that have remained largely unchanged for generations. Simply Music stands in stark contrast to traditional methods and, in order to understand how it achieves such unprecedented results, it is important to spend a moment to briefly explore the existing culture of music education.


The Culture of Traditional Piano Teaching

Reading-based Programs

Playing the piano is highly regarded in our culture, and millions of students continue to have piano lessons each week. For centuries however, traditional methods have required that students learn to read music as the means of learning how to play. The sad result is that this ‘read first, play later’ approach is slow and frustrating. Many students never feel as though they experience much freedom with regard to their playing ability. And far too many students even lose their desire to learn piano altogether. As a result, learning piano has become shrouded in a multitude of myths: “learning piano is hard”, “you have to start when you’re young”, “it takes a long time” or “you have to have a special talent” etc.
The reality is that expecting students to read music before they have learned how to play, is like expecting children to read and spell before they have learned how to talk!In fact, we all talked for years before we learned how to read and spell.Similarly, the Simply Music program temporarily delays the music reading process, and begins by distilling music into a fascinating array of special concepts that unfold directly onto the keyboard. Beginning students, with no need to have their attention on music reading, are free to relate directly to the piano. Within months, they experience a real freedom with their playing and develop a deep connection to their instrument as they build an extraordinary repertoire that includes contemporary, classical, blues, jazz and accompaniment pieces.


‘Aural’ (Listening) and ‘Technique-based’ Programs

Some traditional programs focus on developing the ability to ‘play by ear’. In this environment, the student’s success is determined by the strength of their aural-physical relationship with the instrument. Commonly, however, students who have a strong reliance on ‘playing by ear’, often rely on this to such an extent that it becomes a distraction and a major hurdle when music reading is introduced. Other traditional programs concentrate on developing perfection with regard to students’ ‘technique’ – the physical aspects of performance – posture, positioning, execution, fingering etc. Understandably, this requires teachers to have high-level playing abilities and extensive formal training. Whilst these qualifications are necessary in order to teach the very select few who wish to pursue a career in concert-level performance, they usually become the very obstacle in creating a successful, fun-filled and highly positive experience designed to suit the needs of the majority of the population.In reality, most people want to have music as a pleasure activity and a companion in their lives. People want to experience the feeling that comes from immediately playing great sounding music. For this very reason, traditional programs remain largely inappropriate. Like most of the things that we learned throughout our lives, and now do on a daily basis, such as tying our shoe laces, brushing our teeth, driving a car etc., we learned by doing those things, experiencing them directly, and not by studying the ‘theory’ of the subject or referring to notes. Similarly, Simply Music teaches students to play the piano by immersing them in the actual process of playing, and providing a subtle balance between guidance, discovery and direct ‘hands-on’ experience.As a result, Simply Music students accumulate a vast repertoire of great sounding music and, with this as their foundation, develop an appropriate technique, learn how to read music more easily, and (as a by-product) naturally begin developing their ability to ‘play by ear’.


The Culture of Simply Music

‘Playing-based’ Methodology

Simply Music actively ignores the myths about learning music, and bases its program on the premise that every single human being, without exception, is deeply and naturally musical.  Each day, every one of us expresses this in a thousand ways – through our body’s instinctive rhythms, our heartbeat, our breathing, our movements. Our innate musicality is precisely what gives us the ability to walk and to talk! Simply Music draws on and feeds this natural sense of music we all possess, and places highest priority on the fun and sheer pleasure of playing music – immediately– from the very first lessons. The Simply Music program is ‘playing-based’. We use students’ existing visual, aural and physical skills, combine these with their natural sense of music, and subsequently achieve unprecedented results. The bottom line is that Simply Music students get to experience the absolute joy and satisfaction that comes from immediately acquiring a huge repertoire of great-sounding music.Unlike learning by rote, this program is tactile, experiential and multi-sensory, with students being physically, visually and aurally absorbed. After building a repertoire of 35 to 50 pieces, covering a broad range of musical styles, students go on to learn Simply Music’s unique approach to reading music, as well as develop a powerful foundation for learning the more formal aspects of music education.

How do Simply Music Lesson Rates Compare?

Posted by in FAQs | October 23, 2012
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Compare Lesson Pricing

It’s pretty amazing when you compare learning to play piano the traditional way vs. learning to play piano at Tahoe Piano Lessons with the Simply Music method – check out the statistics:

Traditional Piano Lessons v. Simply Music Lessons

What is the real cost (time and money) of piano lessons?


Simply Music

Active songs in playlist after 1 year



Active songs in playlist after 3 years



Genres mastered



Able to compose new songs?



Able to arrange songs you hear?



Able to accompany?



Able to read music?



Cost per hour



Lesson time per month (hours)



Cost per month



Time to learn to play well

3 years

1 year

Practice time required (hours per week) 4+ 2+
Cost to learn to play well (3 yrs. vs. 1 yr.) $4320 $1524
Savings! 0 74%*

* Yearly cost of $1524 and savings of 74% (compared to traditional lessons) do not include specials and discount rates!