Frequently Asked Questions

1. Are there lessons on the weekends?

No, lessons are scheduled M-F between 1 and 8pm

2. Are there recitals?

We have 2 Shin-Gigs (read: Shin-dig–a party, plus Gig–a music event a performer has!) per year, as well as opportunities to perform in Senior Living facilities.  These are informal celebrations to showcase the student’s progress, give them an outlet to perform, and share in the giving and receiving of music.  Students are encouraged, but not required to participate. 

3. How old does my child have to be to start piano lessons?

4 years old.

4. How old does my child have to be to start violin lessons?

4 years old.

5. Do you teach adults?

YES! Both adult beginners as well as those with previous experience.

6. Where do I get a violin?

You will be directed to rent a violin from Ifshin Violins in El Cerrito, or buy one from a variety of sources.

7. We don’t have a piano! Do we need one to take piano lessons?

Yes! A keyboard or electric piano works just as well, but an instrument is required to start lessons.

Choosing a Piano.

8. How much do lessons cost and do you offer sibling discounts?

SKMS does not turn away any students based on the lessons fees, as we offer a sliding scale based on financial need. The fees will be discussed at the Parent Information Session (for piano) or via phone call (violin).

9. How long do I need to practice?

5 days a week, minimum, for about 15-20 minutes will set a great foundation.  (For younger students it will start with only 5-10 minutes!) As the students progress and mature, the practice time will increase.  Bottom line is that the more time and focus you put into your practice, the more results you will achieve!

10. Will I learn how to read music?

YES! Violin students (beginners) start learning to read music after they can play about 5-10 songs (about 3-6 months) and piano students start after they can play about 30-50 songs (up to one year). By learning to play first, students have an experiential relationship with their instrument before layering in the theory from the page.  (think: talk first, then read!--not the other way around, right?!) The result is that learning to read comes very naturally, and as another stream to becoming a well-rounded musician, rather than as a means to being able to play.  

11. My child has had another teacher.  Will starting with Strings and Keys Music Studio be in conflict with what they have already learned?

Not at all! We will simply build on the strengths they already have while learning a new "way of learning" that will result in them becoming their own teachers (i.e. being able to "self-generate"–learn from sheet music, a lead sheet, a fake book, compose, improvise, arrange, etc.) and having music in their lives as a companion, passion, or career! 

12.  Am I too old to learn how to play piano or violin?

NO! No age is too old to learn.  : )

13. When can we start/sign-up?

SKMS operates year-round and takes new students when there are openings throughout the year.  Popular enrollment months are January, June, and September, but lessons can be started during other months as well, pending openings.