Q. Are you a local business?
Yes! We live and work in Ballard, Seattle. Some of you may have noticed that we have a couple of phone numbers, including a 425 number. The 425 number is a Google number that forwards to all of our phones so that we can always answer your calls. Unfortunately, Google didn't have any 206 numbers available when we requested ours!
Q. What are your class sessions? When are the best times to sign up?
A. We follow the Seattle School District calendar, so we run our classes September-June. The best registration times are September and January- but we enroll all year! Don't hestiate to give us a call or use the "Contact Us" tab above to send us an email with any questions you have about registering. We also have great Summer Camps and a 6 week long Summer Session- perfect for new students or those who want to keep up their skills over the vacation.
Q. How do I know which class is the best fit? There are so many to choose from!
A. Let our experienced office staff help you determine which class is the best fit for your child’s interests and personality! Feel free to give us a call or stop in to discuss teachers and classes. We also provide a progess report or teacher recommendation form at the end of the year to give you an idea of what your child showed interest and promise in.
Q. Can my child try out or observe a class before signing up?
A. Certainly! We encourage students who might be unsure or shy about a class to come and observe or give it a go. Please give us a call to let us know which class you would like to try before coming in. Some students need some time to adjust to a class- if your child doesn't seem to want to participate, try observing for a couple weeks and soon enough they will feel comfortable enough to join!
Q. How many students are in a class? Will my child still get individual attention if need be?
A. Classes ages 2 to 6 range from 7-9 students; ages 6 and up are 10-12 students. We keep our class sizes small in order to give your child the best learning experience. Teachers are able to give students individual attention if they need it, and the classmates work together and make new friends!
Q. What if my schedule changes, or my child doesn't like their class anymore? Can we switch into a different class?
A. Of course- sometimes a student needs to switch into a new class for a better fit, or maybe just needed a new day and time. All of our teachers are highly qualified and have plenty of teaching experience- you can't go wrong! Students who switch classes after January may need to pay an additional costume charge for the new class' costume to participate in the June recital.
Q. Do you do recitals? What can I expect?
A. We have two performance opportunities- Winter Showcase in January are low-pressure in-studio recitals to give kids a chance to show off the skills they've learned so far, and get used to performing in front of a crowd. Next is our big year-end recital in June! June recitals have special costumes, and each class does their own number. We strongly encourage all of our students to participate in the June recitals, they are the culmination of all their hard work. Just like you wouldn't miss the big soccer tournament at the end of the year, you wouldn't want to miss the big recital!
Recital dates, costume charges, and other particulars are all planned and set up in advance. For more information, see our policies and procedures page, or give us a call.
Q. How many classes should my child be taking? How much is too much for a young dancer?
A. Dance is like any other sport or skill you want to master. The more time you spend working at it the faster the results and the more proficient you become at the skills. The more hours you spend with instruction, regardless of the discipline the more rewarding the experience is. This is true for all ages- 3-4 year olds included! We have lots of young students who take two weekly classes, and up from there! Essentially it comes down to what your child is interested in and what fits best for your family- each student is different.
Our schedule is specially created to give you options to bundle your classes, either for the same student or siblings! If you're here for a ballet class, why not stay for the jazz class after? Or have your 3 year old ballerina in a class at the same time as your 6 year old tap dancer! More advanced students can also enjoy options of ballet, jazz, hip hop and more during the week to keep improving their skills.
Q. My child has taken previous classes at a different studio, and is interested in the higher level classes. What is your criteria for enrolling in higher level classes?
A. Generally, classes at the 1 level (Ballet 1, Tap 1, Jazz 1) require at least one year previous experience in that style of dance. Level 1As require two years, and level 2 or 3 is based on trial or teacher recommendation. If you are not sure which class your student will fit into, please contact us for advice! Your student can also come and try a class and talk to the instructor to find the right placement.
Q. How do you differ from in-home lessons?
A. Attending lessons in a professional school environment means that the teacher and student are free from home distractions (TV's in the next room, door bells and after school friends, siblings, and pets). Students tend to take their music study a little more seriously when they are coming to a school situation, bringing their books and materials to the lessons each week. Also, students gain excitement about the music making process when they are surrounded by other people of all ages engaged in music learning for many different instruments. We also offer yearly recitals that most in-home teachers cannot provide.
Q. Is the teacher qualified?
A. Yes. All of our teachers are university trained. Our teachers are experienced professionals and are chosen not only for their qualifications, but for their love of teaching and their ability to relate to the students. Our faculty have spent years developing their skills on their instruments or vocal training and studied with many master teachers.
Q. What if the student's and teacher's personalities don't mesh well or the student is dissatisfied?
A. This is one of the advantages of taking your lessons at our school - we have several teachers for each instrument so if a problem occurs - which is extremely rare - you can switch to one of the other teachers. If you think you may get more out of lessons from a teacher with a different teaching style, we have the flexibility to change you to another instructor.
Q. What are the names of your teachers?
A. We have many teachers on our faculty. Once you decide on a day and time, we will give you all the information on that particular teacher. We don't want to overwhelm you with detailed information on a teacher that you won't be taking lessons with or who does not have space available on their schedule.
Q. What if my child starts lessons and does not like the instrument?
A. Usually students have "begged" to start music lessons on a particular instrument, so we suggest that the student sticks with their instrument choice for several months before switching to another instrument or voice lessons. If this situation occurs, the parent should contact our office right away so we can give the teacher any feedback and discuss ways to generate more interest. Students can switch to another instrument at any time during the year.
Q. Can I just take one month of private music lessons?
A. Yes. We have a Quick Start Series so you can get started with the instrument, meet the teacher and check out what lessons will be like before enrolling for yearly lessons. This series is taught at a slightly higher tuition rate. Lessons at the standard rate are month to month, with a two month minimum up front.
Q. Can I sit in on my child's private music lesson?
A. Yes - we have an open door policy. It is your choice when to sit in. Some students find it distracting and some work better with Mom or Dad in the room. The teacher will give you some advice on this after they get to know your child. Many parents take advantage of our observation week, which is the last week of every month. During observation week, parents are free to come into the last part of their child's lesson, and check on their progress.
Q. Can we take lessons every other week instead of every week?
A. At first this might seem like a good idea, but we have tried this in the past and we do not recommend it (if you miss a lesson, it would be an entire month before you saw your teacher again!). It is really important that the teacher checks your progress and corrects your form every week. Also, attending weekly lessons will continue the learning momentum and generate the mastering of a skill more quickly.
Q. Do we need a real piano at home to take piano lessons?
A. Although a real (acoustic) piano, or a digital touch sensitive piano are always best, they are not necessary to start. Some students can start with keyboards and once they decide they like to play piano, then you can look at an acoustic or digital piano for your family. The most important thing to know when purchasing a keyboard is that it must have full sized keys. It is best to get a keyboard with at least 60+ keys so that you don't outgrow it too quickly (a regular piano has 88 keys).
Q. How long will it take me to be able to play?
A. That varies from student to student and really depends on the individual, how much practicing they do, and their age. Playing is a physical skill so it does take repetition to improve. Typically if you start piano in August or September, by December you will be able to play a recognizable Christmas carol. With something like guitar, in a few months an adult will improve dramatically. Most students take a minimum of one year.
Q. What is the earliest age that my child can take lessons?
Please discuss individual placement with our desk staff. Some students are developmentally ready at different ages.
Q. Is half an hour long enough for a private lesson time for beginners?
A. Yes. In the beginning the half hour lesson gives the student a lot to practice at home. In a half hour they will get enough material to be able to learn well and develop proper technique. As they progress, at the advice of the teacher, you can go to a longer lesson time.
Q. Will music theory be included in the private lesson?
A. Yes. Students can focus on their individual goals at lessons, and can always request that their teacher spends more time on music theory.
Q. How much practice is required each week?
A. We recommend setting aside time for music practice at least 5 days out of the week. For beginning students the teacher usually assigns repetitions instead of a time amount. For example, do this scale 2 times a day, this song 5 times a day, etc. Younger children find practicing repetitions easier than a set amount of time. Typically, a beginning student practices 20 - 30 minutes a day and the practicing goes much better if the parent supervises. Home practice is not required for 4 and 5 year olds (families should encourage music time at home together several times during the week).
Q. Can we start in the middle of the year?
A. Yes. We have year-round open enrollment. You can join a group class as a beginner, as there is always review at every class.
Q. What do students learn in a beginning piano lesson?
A. In addition to the material in their piano lesson book which teaches them how to read music and play the songs, the teachers will cover the following: sight reading, ear-training and technique (scales, etc.).
Q: I don't have any musical background or ability; can I still help my child practice?
A: Yes. Even if you don't have a musical background you can ask the teacher for advice on how to help your child practice. By simply monitoring that they are doing exercises a certain number of times per day the student will progress. Many parents occasionally sit in on their child's music lesson to get an idea of the proper way a song should sound or how the student should be positioning their hands.