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Piano lessons for kids in Canberra?

By Watson - 6 June 2011 11

My 6yo wants to start piano lessons.

I am a bit worried I won’t be able to afford the $30 per half hour price tag. That’s also what the teachers doing the classes before school at our primary school ask.

Anyone know about any group piano lessons?

Or at least duo lessons that might be cheaper?

Obviously, I still want a decent teacher and one who can motivate her through the boring bits.

We’re in Watson.

What’s Your opinion?


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11 Responses to
Piano lessons for kids in Canberra?
Watson 3:48 pm 08 Jun 11

Westoner said :

Good luck Watson. As a former piano teacher, it’s a fact that lessons cost a fair bit of money – after all, the best lessons are one-on-one. It’s great your child wants to start – when your child wants to learn it usually means they will stick with it far longer than when pushed into it because of the parents’ grand dreams. It is an excellent skill to learn and something they won’t regret. Six is quite young (8 or 9 tend to be the magic age) but by all means go with it if your kid is keen! Might I suggest making sure they study music theory as they progress (maybe start in about 6 years or so) – an excellent way to expand their musical knowledge.

There are some decent first-starter pianos out at Tiny’s shed at Mugga Lane – yes some of them are out of tune and probably some not able to be tuned very well at all, but at this stage it doesn’t matter. They are great to start out on and shouldn’t cost you more than a few hundred dollars at most.

Thanks Westoner. She really is keen to start. She’s been trying to play songs on the multiple toy keyboards we have lying around the house. Sometimes it doesn’t even sound that bad! But she gets frustrated that she cannot get it right without any help from anyone.

I grew up in Belgium where they offer cheap and income tested (ie. free for low income families) music education in every suburb. When I was a kid it was a requirement to study music theory in conjunction with learning an instrument. In fact, you weren’t allowed to start instrument classes in these music schools until you had succesfully completed the first year of theory. And then you had to do the full 4 or 5 years or they would kick you out of the instrument tuition class. Not sure if that is still the case now. I tried the music theory in primary and found it so boring that I quit. I think starting with the instrument and then doing the theory lateron sounds like an excellent idea.

And thanks for the tip on the pianos, but I think we’re alright now, thanks to the immense generosity of a stranger. 🙂

Westoner 2:07 pm 08 Jun 11

Good luck Watson. As a former piano teacher, it’s a fact that lessons cost a fair bit of money – after all, the best lessons are one-on-one. It’s great your child wants to start – when your child wants to learn it usually means they will stick with it far longer than when pushed into it because of the parents’ grand dreams. It is an excellent skill to learn and something they won’t regret. Six is quite young (8 or 9 tend to be the magic age) but by all means go with it if your kid is keen! Might I suggest making sure they study music theory as they progress (maybe start in about 6 years or so) – an excellent way to expand their musical knowledge.

There are some decent first-starter pianos out at Tiny’s shed at Mugga Lane – yes some of them are out of tune and probably some not able to be tuned very well at all, but at this stage it doesn’t matter. They are great to start out on and shouldn’t cost you more than a few hundred dollars at most.

Harriet Vane 6:26 pm 07 Jun 11

Watson said :

Ooh, that sounds very interesting! You can send me an email at Watson2602[at]gmail.com if you like.

Done 🙂

lulu 12:15 pm 07 Jun 11

It is a sad fact that a musical education is considered an elite privilige in this country (I understand that some music courses in public ACT secondery colleges require students to be having private instrumental lessons at their own expense outside of shool hours!) It’s nice to hear that a more egalitarian approach is taken elsewhere.
On the bright side, there are some excellent community music organisations in Canberra that may be worth checking out. Music for Everyone and Canberra Youth Music spring to mind. They are both based at Ainslie Arts centre and offer a variety of courses and activities.

Watson 10:09 am 07 Jun 11

Harriet Vane said :

Watson, I have an electric piano sitting around collecting dust that I’d be happy to see go to an enthusiastic kid if you’re interested. I was very lucky to be given the opportunity to learn two instruments as a child…while I never kept it up after I left school, being able to appreciate and read music (and, if in the mood, play something basic!) is something you never lose.

Ooh, that sounds very interesting! You can send me an email at Watson2602[at]gmail.com if you like.

I was in a great choir from when I was 5 till I was 20. So were my 3 sisters, who also followed music lessons for singing and various instruments, so there was always music in our house too. I only did some classical guitar when I was in my late teens. I loved it, but then I moved to another town and never bothered finding a new teacher.

Harriet Vane 8:54 am 07 Jun 11

Watson, I have an electric piano sitting around collecting dust that I’d be happy to see go to an enthusiastic kid if you’re interested. I was very lucky to be given the opportunity to learn two instruments as a child…while I never kept it up after I left school, being able to appreciate and read music (and, if in the mood, play something basic!) is something you never lose.

Watson 8:14 pm 06 Jun 11

lulu said :

While I understand only too well the financial pressures of raising kids, it is a fact that the main reason why it’s hard to find a good music teacher is because people expect to pay them far lees than other professionals are paid. To graduate from a piano performance degree, one has to have had many thousands of dollars worth of lessons as a child and young person followed by a 3 or 4 year degree that costs as much as any other degree. It also takes a great deal of talent and dedication.

What would you expect to pay a counsellor, physiotheropist, doctor, tradesman or even a massage theropist (with far less study under their belt) for half an hour of their professional time? In every case, the cost would be significantly more than $30. More and more studies show that music education is great for the brain and for self esteem. However it’s a drain on the self esteem of all adult professional musicians that their skills are undervalued in the market.

I was once in the happy situation of being able to do a skills swap with a lovely piano teacher for my son for two years. For my other child, grandparents assisted with the cost of violin lessons and I paid for the instruments. When she reached year 8, she qualified for the ANU school of music’s MUST program and received some free music education.

It’s lovely to be in a family that speaks the language of music. Good luck in your quest! I hope you can find a solution than will provide your son with quality teaching and help to keep a fine, local musician in the industry.

I wasn’t at all suggesting that piano teachers ask too much for their classes. Just that $300 a term will stretch my budget, which isn’t the teacher’s fault. And I regret that there is no funding to help kids from lower income families learn music, but that’s another rant. (I grew up in a country where music education is cheap and income tested!)

I’ll get some feedback on the piano teacher at the primary school first.

Suemac, where is Stephen located?

And ‘housebound’, I’ll take your advice on board. The shared lessons I’ve found aren’t that much cheaper anyway.

(Now I just have to win that keyboard on ebay, because there’s no way I’m buying her a real piano! Unless she turns out to be a virtuoso. Hehe!)

Thanks for your input all.

lulu 3:41 pm 06 Jun 11

While I understand only too well the financial pressures of raising kids, it is a fact that the main reason why it’s hard to find a good music teacher is because people expect to pay them far lees than other professionals are paid. To graduate from a piano performance degree, one has to have had many thousands of dollars worth of lessons as a child and young person followed by a 3 or 4 year degree that costs as much as any other degree. It also takes a great deal of talent and dedication.

What would you expect to pay a counsellor, physiotheropist, doctor, tradesman or even a massage theropist (with far less study under their belt) for half an hour of their professional time? In every case, the cost would be significantly more than $30. More and more studies show that music education is great for the brain and for self esteem. However it’s a drain on the self esteem of all adult professional musicians that their skills are undervalued in the market.

I was once in the happy situation of being able to do a skills swap with a lovely piano teacher for my son for two years. For my other child, grandparents assisted with the cost of violin lessons and I paid for the instruments. When she reached year 8, she qualified for the ANU school of music’s MUST program and received some free music education.

It’s lovely to be in a family that speaks the language of music. Good luck in your quest! I hope you can find a solution than will provide your son with quality teaching and help to keep a fine, local musician in the industry.

suemac 3:34 pm 06 Jun 11

Contact Stephen 0404 844 603, he a great teacher, my kids have been really happy with him.

housebound 3:06 pm 06 Jun 11

My observations of the group lessons is that the kids are still playing twinkle star after a year or two – the lessons are cheap, but they’re not worth the money.

The bigger problem is going to be finding a teacher who is any good. The best ones all have waiting lists. It matters because a bad teacher can do more harm than good, and leave your child having to spend a year or more unlearning bad habits acquired through poor instruction. (The grandchildren went through this from having to go to a stand-in (poor) teacher for a year – it is soooo demoralising)

Start looking for a good teacher now, and then if money is an issue, see if you can get fortnightly lessons. The total cost will be less, but even one lesson every two weeks will far outclass a weekly lesson from a bad teacher.

Gungahlin Al 12:17 pm 06 Jun 11

Our 6yo is doing well with lessons through Piranha Music in Mitchell – nice and close. The $30 gets one-on-one rather than group for the same rate. Don’t know of any group lessons sorry.

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