Frequently Asked Questions
What are Classes Like?
The simple answer is FUN!
Movement is a big aspect of class time. Activities change frequently throughout a class, moving from they keyboards to the circle area where children can let out some energy in a fun way and reinforce musical concepts that are being taught that week. A great example of this would be our Hokey-Pokey activity where children learn a version of the tune and get up and dance to it!
Solfege singing (as in, DO RE MI) is an activity that is done in every class, at every age group, and helps students to develop the skill of “audiation,” the ability to think in music. Solfege singing also develops “absolute pitch,” which helps with note reading and facility at the keyboard, as well as music composition and improvisation later on.
Movement is another component of our classroom setting. Activities change frequently throughout a class, moving from they keyboards to the circle area where children can let out some energy in a fun way and reinforce musical concepts that are being taught that week. A great example of this would be our Hokey-Pokey activity where children learn a version of the tune and get up and dance to it!
Ensembles are another aspect of the class setting that is usually a favorite amongst students because they are making music together! Playing in ensembles teaches children to learn to play with others, a vital musical skill that is not easy to teach in a private setting. Students learn to focus on their assigned part while learning to listen to others.
Keyboard playing is, of course, one of the main aspects of class time. Activities are controlled and supervised at all times with a goal of student success at every try. We hope that children will gain the confidence to learn something new when they have been developing the skills required all along the way. This means that all of the rhythm activities, singing activities, and movement activities are intended to set the children up for success at the keyboard.
Are Parents Required to Attend?
The question here should be, “Do parents get to join in the fun?”
Yes, parent involvement is the key factor to the success of our classes! Parents are just as involved as the students as they sit next to their child and learn right along with them during class time. Not only does this help with keep learning process in progress throughout the week but it also creates a bond between the student and parent as music becomes a part of your family’s life! This means that you also get to dance the Hokey-Pokey!
What are Classrooms Like?
Our classrooms are equipped with up to nine digital pianos and one master teacher piano that is positioned to have a view of each student’s hands during class time. Each child will have a keyboard and parents have a seat behind them. For Toddler Tunes and Music In Me classes ,we use smaller keyboards, without weighted keys, that are easier for the children to play. For Harmony Road classes and up, we have hand selected the Yamaha CLP-535, for its high quality in sound and touch.
What Curriculum Do You Use?
We have chosen the Harmony Road Music method for our group classes because we feel that it fosters the best learning environment for beginning music instruction. Harmony Road is a research-based method that has been developing since 1981 and is still evolving today. It’s core belief, however, does not evolve and this is teaching using an experiential approach versus an instructional approach. Be sure to come to our parent orientation meeting to learn more about the experiential approach to teaching and why it works!
Harmony Road’s foundation is based on the Yamaha piano method (1954) that brought pediatricians, child psychologists, parents, early childhood, specialists, and music teachers together to design a music method truly intended for children - a holistic approach that included the utilization of a child’s natural instrument (the voice), ear-training, games, creativity, parent involvement, and learning through movement. Harmony Road was developed by Jan Keyser, now residing in Oregon City, who was one of the first certified Yamaha teachers in the United States. Until this day Jan continues to research and develop music learning programs, advocate for early childhood music, train instructors, and present at international and domestic venues.
What are the Instructors’ qualifications?
All of the teacher’s at the Academy hold degrees in Music ranging in areas of specialization, from music education to piano performance, piano pedagogy or composition. Instructors for all group classes have been trained and certified in the Harmony Road teaching method by Jan Keyser.
How long should my child practice?
Learning any type of new skill requires practice. We hope that you will help your child get into the routine of practice by scheduling days and times that are dedicated practice times. At the end of each class, your instructor will pass out detailed practice suggestions for the week. Practice time can include activities like listening to your class CD, singing solfege in the car on the way to school, dedicated keyboard playing time after dinner, or teaching the family the new circle dance. We do suggest that students have dedicated keyboard practice at least four times per week but rather than putting a time limit on practice, we prefer to have students go over the suggested at-home activities on a consistent routine, just like one learns to brush their teeth before bed.
During the first year, a practice session can be as little 5 minutes or up to 15 minutes per sitting. As students progress, their practice time will naturally grow but we suggest keeping practice time short and manageable for the young beginner. Parents should be involved in practice by giving students small goals that can be completed in a short amount of time yet take care in acknowledging when it’s time to stop and take a break. We feel that young students can eventually think negatively of practice time if they are overwhelmed with the amount of time they need to sit. They can also become impatient if they don’t “get it right” on the first try. It’s important to help your child change this expectation so that they can learn to enjoy the challenge practice time, rather than feel defeated because of unrealistic expectations. High praise and acknowledging progress (even the smallest amount of progress) during the first year is monumental in helping children enjoy practice time and will keep them motivated as they get used to their music routine.
Examples of short practice goals might be something like asking your child to try a short passage three times and commenting on how and why it’s getting better each time. Depending on the age and attention span of a child, this might be plenty for one keyboard practice session! Your instructor will be able to provide you with other ideas on how to make the most of practice time at home.
Can siblings attend class?
Siblings are asked to wait in our “quiet zone” waiting area, where they may read or do a quiet activity while they wait. We understand that some siblings are not at the appropriate age to wait alone, in which case we do allow them to sit in during class time. If this is the case, we do allow siblings in class, however, we ask that parents use their best judgment to be aware of the other students in class and make sure that siblings are not playing the keyboards, participating in class activities, or causing distractions. For parents with small children or infants, we are aware that you may need to get up and leave for a few minutes to tend to your young child. If you know this may be the case, be sure to get a seat close to the teacher so they can assist during the moments of your absence.
Do I need a keyboard or piano?
We recommend that all students enrolled in classes have a piano or keyboard of some kind. We understand that buying a new piano may not be an option for families with young students just starting out. We have many different options in our store, from small portable keyboards to digital pianos, uprights, and grand pianos. There’s a good chance we have the right instrument to get you started. If not, we will certainly help you find exactly what you need! The number one thing we do not recommend is obtaining free pianos found on craigslist.
What happens if my child misses a class?
We understand that you may have to miss a class due to illness or other unforeseen circumstances. Please email your instructor directly as soon as you know you will be unable to attend class. Your instructor will email you with the assignment for the day so that you can help your child stay on task throughout the week. Under usual circumstances missing a class will not be problematic, especially if attendance has been regular. Topics are reinforced over the course of many weeks and students usually have no problems coming back to class after a week of absence.
Although we do understand that you may miss a class for legitimate reasons, please note that make-ups are not available for missed classes. Tutoring sessions may be scheduled if you have missed more than one class in a row and is charged the cost of one class.
Are we required to attend both sessions that are being offered during the week?
The Academy offers each class on a weekday and on a weekend. Students are only asked to sign up for one and attend once a week. Due to high enrollment, we regret to say that the other class option may not be used as a “make-up” class when your original class time is missed.
How long are classes and how much are they?
Toddler Tunes classes are 30 minutes, weekly. Music In Me, Harmony Road and Young Musician classes are 45 minutes long. Keyboard Prep classes are 55 minutes long.
Our curriculum runs on a semester basis, with four-week introductory sessions in between. One book level is the length of one semester. Fall semesters typically run from September to January and spring semesters from February to June (exact dates vary by year).
Tuition for classes vary by age group (please see our group classes page) but can be paid in five installments throughout the semester or paid in full. Semesters that are paid in full will receive a flat discount of $20.00 off tuition. The Academy stays in communication about payment by sending invoices and installment reminders by email so it is very important to make sure the Academy is in your email’s contact list.
A 10% discount off of tuition will be given to the second child of the same family that is enrolled in classes. A 15% discount off of tuition will be given to the third child of the same family that is enrolled in class.
Can I register after classes have begun?
For Fall/Spring Semesters, students may register for a class up to four weeks after a semester has begun. Online registration closes one week before classes are scheduled to begin but registration may be made by phone. One tutoring session will be offered to prepare the student and parent for material that was missed and will be counted as one class. The remaining classes that were missed will be prorated.
For 4-Week intro classes, students may register for introductory classes after the first week. A tutoring session will be offered in the place of the first class that was missed.
A fee of $7.50 will be charged for rush shipping of materials after our book order deadline (7 days before the start of a term).
Are classes prorated if I know I cannot Attend class for an extended amount of time?
No. Classes will only be prorated if a student has registered for a class after a class has begun.
Where do we buy our books?
Harmony Road books are licensed and distributed to the Eugene Piano Academy and can be purchased at the Eugene Piano Academy. Books are ordered on the student's behalf after the non-refundable registration fee has been paid. Registration fees that have not been paid before the book order deadline will run the risk of not having a book on the first day of class and also be charged a rush shipping fee of $7.50
What is your Refund policy?
Withdrawal made 7 days prior to the beginning of any given term will be fully refunded.f a student must prematurely withdraw from a class refunds will be given only after a written two-week notification. Tuition that has been paid in full will be refunded for the number of classes remaining
If a student must prematurely withdraw from a class refunds will be given only after a written two-week notification. Tuition that has been paid in full will be refunded for the number of classes that remain after the two-week period.
Accounts that are being paid in installments will be assessed for the remaining amount owed or amount to be refunded, depending on the timing of the two-week notice.
Registration fees are non-refundable.