What Ages and Levels Do I Teach?

I’ve enjoyed working with students ranging from age five through adult.

Students of all levels have studied with me, from brand-new beginners needing positive foundational experiences to advanced students needing incisive guidance for honing their artistry.

The age and ability of each student necessarily informs how I work with them. I don’t restrict my studio to a particular “profile” of student. I don’t, for example, only teach students who are interested in pursuing music professionally, or students who do competitions. All are welcome.

When are Lessons and How Long are They?

Lessons are year-round, with a regular weekly time slot during the school year and flexible summer scheduling.

The standard lesson length for most students is 60 minutes. Students who have never studied piano before can elect to start with 45-minute lessons, and I currently offer a 30-minute option for beginners ages 5-6 only.

What Kind of Piano Should Students Have?

Success in learning piano depends on regular practicing, so it’s very important for students to have consistent and frequent – ideally, daily – access to a piano, whether it’s acoustic or electric.

Acoustic pianos of any kind are virtually always preferable to electric ones, but they aren’t necessarily practical for everyone’s situation. Acoustic pianos should be periodically serviced and tuned by a Registered Piano Technician.

If it’s an electric instrument, make sure it’s made to emulate the experience of playing an acoustic piano, because not all electronic keyboards are. I require students’ instruments to be full-sized (88 keys) and have weighted keys; an example of a good entry-level piano that I often recommend is the Yamaha P45. The piano should be supported by a sturdy keyboard stand that’s built to handle its weight (not an x-stand), and a compatible piano-style (not square-shaped) damper pedal or 3-pedal unit is essential.

What About Seating?

Benches are generally preferable to stools or chairs for seating, but the furniture’s type is less important than whether it can serve its purpose well with or without adaptation. The seating surface should be level (not sloping backwards) and not too soft. Avoid using any chairs that have arms, or that swivel; if possible, also avoid chairs that have backs since sitting on the front of the seat is essential to comfortable seating at the piano.

Some benches are height-adjustable. Others can be “height-adjusted” using inexpensive items like “puzzle” mats or carpet samples. I regularly work with students on finding a bench height that works for them, and can help you find what you need.

Foot support is critically important for good technique. Students whose feet don’t rest flat on the ground when sitting will need a surface they can comfortably rest on. If the pedals can’t otherwise be moved, a pedal extender can bring them within easy reach. I do loan out a small number of pedal extenders, subject to availability, through my lending library, and recommend consulting with me before purchasing your own.

Do Students Have Performance Opportunities?

Yes! Students will have an opportunity to perform in at least one formal and/or informal studio event (e.g., recital) each school year. While there is no “performance requirement” for anybody in my studio, I absolutely encourage students to do performances and support them through the process.

In addition to studio events, students may avail themselves of opportunities offered through my professional association (Madison Area Music Educators) and other local organizations. These opportunities include masterclasses, community outreach performances, the MAME honors recital, festivals, ensemble experiences, adult music socials, and local competitions.

What Covid Precautions are In Effect for In-Person Lessons?

Masks are currently required for anyone present in the studio (myself, students, parents, other family members over 2 years old). I am not offering in-person lessons without masks.

There are two HEPA air purifiers, one in the lesson area, and one in the waiting area.

Certain high-touch surfaces (e.g. piano keys) are regularly sanitized between lessons, and students are expected to wash/sanitize hands before use.

Do You Offer In-Home Lessons?

I am not offering lessons in students’ homes. Lessons are either in-person at Stanek Piano Studio, or online.

How Do I Find Out if We’re a Good Fit?

Visit my   INQUIRIES page to get in touch with me and request an initial session. Having a lesson is the way to get a sense of what lessons with me would be like.