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  • Where are the lessons held?
    Lessons are held weekly at the Myerstown Community Center, 2nd floor, 101 S Railroad Street, Myerstown. The entrance is at the driveway loop & door on Carpenter Street (see below). There is furniture in the hallway where siblings or parents are more than welcome to use while their student is inside the classroom for lessons.
  • How long do lessons last?
    Depends on which format you are using and which teacher is available. Some teachers prefer 30-minute lessons while others insist on having 45-minutes. Group lessons are 1 hour in length.
  • What music books do I need?
    We use a variety of method books and supplemental material. Sometimes it works to use lesson books that you already have. When choosing books, age & past experience will factor into what is chosen. While we order the books, they are the responsibility of the student or parent to pay. Some teachers have substantial lending libraries that are of benefit to the student. They are loaned without fees.
  • How are Lessons Scheduled?
    With a large studio, scheduling can be tricky since many pieces need to fit together like a puzzle. We will work with the schedule that you have and try to come up with an agreeable time for both of us. If you need to switch your time, we will do our best to accommodate but cannot guarantee whether that will be possible or not. Please try to be on time for your lessons as it is not possible to stay 10 minutes even if you arrive 10 minutes late. Should a student arrive late the ending time will remain the same. Similarly, please be on time to pick-up your student promptly at the end of lessons. Particularly for those who are younger, it is not possible for us to monitor your student while they wait for you to come.
  • Do I need an instrument at home?
    Yes, you will definitely need a practice instrument. Whether you’re taking piano, violin, guitar or viola, you’ll need an instrument to practice with. For piano lessons, an acoustic piano is preferable since the pedals and touch of the keys are difficult to duplicate. Please ask if you are needing one. We occasionally get offers to remove unwanted pianos for free. However, a growing number of families have keyboards that have weighted keys. A description might say “keyboard with progressive hammer action & escapement.” Or “weighted action keybeds.” These can be adequate substitutes. Please ask about good models to purchase since the sea of options is difficult to navigate. For a decent keyboard, you should expect to pay $800-$1000. If you taking violin, viola, or harp lessons, the instruments come in and if renting is an option.
  • How much should I expect to practice?
    This depends on the level and age of the student and how fast they want to progress. Of course, it’s most efficient and effective to practice every day but 5 days a week is still a good target. It is our goal to assign enough songs so the student has enough to work on throughout the week but not give too much that it feels overwhelming. Young students might only practice 10 minutes a day while intermediate students should shoot for 20-30 minutes. In middle school you’re old enough to handle 30-45 minutes and in high school, even more would be superb. However rather than counting the minutes, developing a habit of getting to the piano is far more important. The truth about practicing? 1) When parents get involved, it usually goes much better; 2) a regularly scheduled time works best; and 3) if there is no progress, there is probably little to no practice. Simply coming to lessons doesn’t make a musician and students will undoubtedly lose interest quickly. More than counting minutes, it is important to master the material that is given for that week! We’ll work on ways to practice and emphasize practicing well rather than practicing long.
  • What if I didn't have time to practice?
    Please do not cancel lessons because your practice has been slim to none. First, you are still charged for the lesson, and second, there are numerous things that we could explore together even without reviewing repertoire! While it would be beneficial to review the pieces for better at-home learning, these lessons with low practice also give opportunity for sight-reading, ensemble playing (duets), improvisation or composition! Any of these would be perfect for a lesson that isn’t ready to be heard. Forte teachers were students at one time too, and like you, we have busy lives. We understand a week that goes awry and doesn’t afford much practice time. While it’s disappointing to see this become the norm for a student, we certainly do not want to make someone feel bad for not meeting expectations.
  • Are games really appropriate during music lessons?
    Most children & teens enjoy playing games and at the piano studio, some teachers have a growing library of games, many of which are quick & short, to help students review or reinforce musical concepts that are being learned. Games are a great way to check what we think we already understand and to help us see things from a different perspective. We use games as often as time allows!
  • What ages do we teach?
    Age 4 & up. For our youngest friends, take a peek at the Mini Musician class, perfectly designed for the 4-or 5-year-old preschool student. Piano Lessons could start as early as 6 years of age. On the other hand, we welcome adults at every stage. Currently we have older & younger adults enrolled and their work & desire is inspirational. If you are interested in guitar, because of what is required to play the instrument, you’ll find much better success around age 10 or so. Because violins & violas come in quarter or half sizes, it is possible to begin this at younger ages.
  • Are there opportunities for the students to perform?
    Yes. We hold a spring recital (late in April) and also seek opportunities in the fall which are more casual or lower key. An example of this would be at an assisted living facility. There are no extra fees or extra charges for the recitals. While all are encouraged to participate in the recitals, we do not make them mandatory. Sometimes we perform for each other at a group lesson as well.
  • What if I miss lessons?
    We do not guarantee you will be able to get a make-up lesson. Specific times are reserved for specific students and when you are unable to attend a lesson you will simply miss the benefit of that lesson. Schedules are tight and often there is simply not an available place to move the student. We understand that misses happen sometimes and trust you understand this as well. That said, if you know ahead of time you will be missing, please let us know. If the teacher is able to work in an additional lesson, it would be a bonus, not an expectation. For any teacher, including music teachers, you already know that there is a lot more to do than just the actual time spent with students. (see “Is that payment just for the actual lesson?”)
  • What about bad weather?
    This is tricky because there are no make-ups, even for bad weather. In general, we try to follow the school district. If ELCO is closed or early, Forte Studio will follow suit. As we learn of these changes in schedule we will try to email or be in touch with you concerning your lesson. However, because sometimes cancellations happen because of early morning weather & by afternoon, roads are basically clear, it will more often be up to you if you’re comfortable coming. Please be in touch with your teacher if you are unsure about attending lessons during inclement weather.
  • How can I pay for lessons?
    At the end of each month, you will receive a Forte invoice for the next month. You will have the option to use the PayPal tab that is linked from the invoice. For some, this is very handy. Please be aware that there is a 4% convenience fee added for PayPal fees. We also have a Venmo account which can be found @Fortepianomusic. Checks are common and perfectly acceptable as well. They should be made out to Forte Piano Music Studio. Some prefer cash, and that is also okay. Annual & semester & quarter payments are made available with graduated discounts. If payments become burdensome due to a changing family circumstance or difficulty, please communicate that with us that we may help if possible.
  • What to expect for tuition?
    Forte students will be offered 36 lessons in the school year, beginning September – June. Our 2023 school year begins Tuesday, September 5 and goes through June, 2024. During this time, students will have the opportunity for 36 lessons. Your payments are based on an annual tuition fee that is divided between 10 months for your convenience. This means you pay 10 equal monthly payments. Often there are 4 lessons in the month, but this means that whether there are 3 or 5, the payment is the same. Graduated discounts will be available for annual, semester, or quarter payments.
  • What are the tuition rates?
    30-minute private lessons are $92 each month September - June. Group lessons, one hour, are $92 each month September - June. 45-minute private lessons are $123 each month September - June.
  • Is the tuition just for the actual lesson?
    While tuition payments do cover the actual time you spend here for your lesson time (private lessons, groups, camps) you also know it includes a great deal more. Tuition helps cover: Time preparing for the student: searching for music, lesson planning, bookkeeping, curriculum. It has been cited by professional music journals that for every hour enrolled in piano lessons, you are investing in at least 2 hours of the teacher’s time! Teacher training & over 20 years experience Recital costs & preparations. Programs, refreshments, prizes, gifts, photography & sound. Studio expenses: Copying, ink, paper, incentive programs, computer help & assistance. Instruments, newsletters, camps. Piano tuning, repairs & maintenance A large loaning library of music books & supplemental materials. It continues to expand and new things are being added regularly. Games that are used in the lessons to reinforce or introduce concepts. Preparations & systems to organize Property taxes, self-employment taxes, insurances, business licenses, The independent music teacher has no employer to assist in providing health and life insurance by matching funds. Tuition helps cover the increased living costs of your self-employed teacher. Lots of time learning, exploring or selecting repertoire. Fees and memberships allowing for professional development. Webinars, video chats, manuscripts all take time. These offer many opportunities for new ideas and growth. When I’m growing, you’re ! Office equipment costs (computers, apps, keyboards, printers)
  • Are there any fees?
    An initial $30 registration fee is to be paid at the first lesson for all new students. This is not annual but a one-time charge for set-up. It also includes a Forte t-shirt or cinch, if you would like one. A $10 late fee will be charged for lessons not paid by the second lesson of the month. There are no fees for recitals, extra classes, or borrowing music
  • Are there are any Summer lessons?
    We do continue to teach over the summer but with a more limited schedule. Lessons will be optional in July & August and paid separately. That schedule is prepared in the springtime and your options made available at that time.
  • Forte Merch
    If you would like to purchase a Forte t-shirt, cinch bag, or water bottle, they are for sale and can be acquired at any lesson. T-shirts are purple, gray, red, & blue and come in children’s sizes 5T – youth XL, and adult sizes S to XL.$15 Cinch are great for carrying piano books! $12 Water bottles help with your hydration needs! $12
  • Are there preschool classes?
    Our class for 4-5 year olds is called Mini-Musicians! This is not the same as piano lessons but is a great first step for our youngest members. We get to move, listen, create & learn about rhythm, notes, and even piano keys. We’ll learn simple songs & listen to child-friendly music during our time together. See more on the home page under Mini Musicians.
  • Is there a waiting list?
    Yes. Forte is a growing studio with over 100 students coming for lessons each week. We do not have a quick or large turn-over. Most students stay and study long. It means you may need to wait a while until there is an opening. However, the reality is that students do graduate and some do move on to other things, so you know that openings will come. We will fill those vacancies on a first-come, first-serve basis until we find a schedule that can accommodate the available time slot.
  • Are there summer camps?
    Sfzorzando- (It.) A strong emphasis, all of a sudden. Forte’s Summer Sfzorzando (Sfz) sfort-SAHN-doe (or Zando) is our summer learning program with a variety of options for students to choose from. Summer Zando is designed to be an exciting time of learning about music topics or endeavors in a focused or concentrated way. Students in the studio & community are invited to be involved in these week-long or part of the week classes. In past years we have enjoyed learning about Tchaikovsky & his famous work, The Nutcracker. Saint-Saëns and his Carnival of Animals was another adventure. We explored Classical Times learning about three Classical Greats and activities centered around them. The Beat Goes On is a rhythm camp for elementary & middle school students inside & outside of the studio. Older high school students are participating in a piano quartet working through ensemble music. We’ve enjoyed Goin’ Baroque & Composition Exploration. Students have the choice to pursue lessons over the summer, or participate in 1, 2 or 3 Summer Zando offerings. It is expected that all students will have some involvement over the summer months with the studio.
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