Frequently Asked Questions
At what age can my child start lessons?
We accept students as young as 18 months old. We even have a early childhood music program for kids; Music Classes for Preschoolers engineered by Music FunTime is an innovative, structured,and progressive curriculum derived from Johns-Hopkins Research exploring the magical connection between math & science through music for children newborn thru 7 years of age. Children learn to read music notation, rhythms and symbols, and play the instruments of their choosing. Instructors at The Voice Shop Music Academy receive specialized information about childhood development in relation to music instruction as part of their orientation.
Do you teach adults?
Yes. Our oldest student to date was 84 years young!
Is the instructor qualified?
Our instructors have formal musical training and/or extensive musical experience. Our instructors receive special training in areas including: child development, multiple learning styles, classroom management techniques, and human psychology.
Can I attend my child’s lessons?
Yes, you are welcome to attend lessons with your child. Programs for younger students may require parental attendance with their students. As children get older they naturally become more independent so parental attendance may become less important. But, it is always recommended that the parent stay current with their child’s assignments, stay involved, and show interest in their child’s music.
Can my two children have a lesson together?
Possibly. We try to place students who are in the same age range and skill level together in a group lesson. If the children are in similar developmental phases siblings often work well together. The older student may progress faster. If the skill gap becomes too wide, one or both siblings may need to be placed in private lessons. As your children grow the developmental gap tends to close. For example a 5 year old probably cannot keep up with a 7 year old. But, an 8 year old can probably keep up with a 10 year old. Once students reach age 13-14 or so, it is usually okay for them to learn together.
Can I just take one month of lessons?
Once enrolled you may withdraw from lessons by giving notice to Knoxville Academy of Music by the 15th day of your final month. However, in one month you really do not have enough time to give your lessons a fair chance. Give it time, learning music can be a lifelong endeavor. Ensemble and other special programs are typically for a fixed period and students must enroll for the duration of those programs.
Do we need a real piano at home to take piano lessons?
Although a real (acoustic) piano is best, it is not necessary to start, and they need regular tuning which can cost $200 or more a year. Many students start with electric keyboards and once they decide they like it, then consider an acoustic piano. The best electric keyboard to rent or purchase is called a digital piano. What you want is a keyboard that has full sized keys (each individual key should be the same size as an standard piano key) and is touch sensitive (if you hit the key hard it makes a loud sound, if you hit it softly, it makes a soft sound). Get a keyboard with at least 60+ keys so that you do not outgrow it too quickly (a regular piano has 88 keys). Weighted keys are a big plus, they give digital pianos a more realistic feel. Some of the high end digital pianos have a very realistic sound and feel and are suitable for advanced students and professional pianists.
Can my child and I have a music lesson together?
A parent with a child 13-14 years of age and up is usually okay. However, because of differences in how adults and children learn, it is generally not recommended for parents and children under the age of 12 to take lessons together.
What if my child begins lessons and dislikes the instrument?
Children usually stick with an instrument if the parents show continued interest in their progress and praise their achievements. However, if you do decide you want to try another or an additional instrument just speak with the office staff. They will be happy to help you find an alternative lesson.
What if we do not like the instructor?
Not every teacher is a perfect fit for every student. If you or your child wants to change instructors, just let the office staff know. They will be happy to help schedule with a different teacher.
How long will it take me to be able to play?
This varies from student to student and really depends on the individual and how much practicing is being done. Playing music is a physical skill. It takes repetition over time to improve. You can probably learn a few simple songs or tunes in just a few lessons, but the world of music is near limitless. There is always something new to learn. Most students take lessons for at least one year, while many choose to study their instruments for many years, and some never stop.
What is the earliest age that my child can take voice lessons?
You can start singing at any age but parents should know that the student’s voice will change with adolescence. Many classical voice instructors agree that professional type voice training should be delayed until after puberty. This is because of the changes that happen as the child matures physically, such as development of lung capacity, vocal-chord changes, etc. However, our instructors know that children love to sing, and that learning by singing can be a fun and valuable way to develop musical skills. It is recommended for younger students that they study singing along with an instrument such as guitar or piano to work with singing along with music they are learning on their instruments.
Is a half-hour lesson long enough for beginners?
Yes, in a half hour an instructor can provide plenty of musical material and exercises for the beginning student to practice at home during the week. As you advance you may wish to upgrade to full hour lessons, if you practice an hour or more each day.
How much should a student practice each week?
To master the physical skills necessary to play an instrument takes spaced repetition. For best results, play frequently and regularly for brief amounts of time. Try to schedule at least five days of practice a week. Young beginners may only need to play 10 minutes at a time to get through their assignments. More experienced students may need more like 20 to 30 minutes. The more you practice, the faster you will improve, but don’t overdo it. Some advanced musicians and professionals practice many hours daily. If you plan to practice an hour or more be sure to take a short break every half hour or so, to reduce risk of repetitive strain injury (RSI).The important thing is this: If you really engage yourself in the activity of practicing, and do it frequently, briefly, and regularly, you will have success learning learning to play music.
What is your make up lesson policy?
First, learning to play music is a long-term endeavor (for many it is a lifelong experience). Students and parents should not be overly concerned by an occasionally missed lesson. The most important thing is to continue regular practice at home. Students who miss their regularly scheduled lessons are not entitled to private make up lessons, and are responsible to pay for all appointments, regardless of appointments missed. However, as a service to our customers,The Voice Shop Music Academy has an awesome free group make up lesson policy. Group makeup classes are offered on a Saturdays. Our group make up lessons are unlimited; any time you miss your regular lesson for any reason (vacation, sickness, whatever), you may sign up for a group make up class. To sign up for group make up classes just speak with the office manager for a date and time (classes do fill on a first come first served basis)
As an alternative, if you know in advance you are going to be missing a lesson, you may just want to ask your instructor for extra homework (home-play) assignments.
I called in advance to inform the school of my absence, why can’t I have a free private make up lesson?
In most cases, if the student is absent at the scheduled time the instructor must be there anyway. So, to be fair to the teachers we pay them regardless of whether the student attends the lesson or not. We understand you want to get the most value for your money. But quite frankly, if we gave free private make up lessons to all those that missed their regular lesson we would go broke. Please also consider that, unlike a doctor’s office we do not double and triple book appointment times (just in case someone does not show up). Not only that, we work hard to keep our instructors on schedule so you do not have to wait 30, 60, or even 90 minutes for your appointment like you do at many doctors’ and dentists’ offices. Many music schools (and other learning centers) across the country do not offer any make up lessons at all. Their take is that you contracted for a specific time, and if you don’t come that is your decision. For example, at the university I (Jeff Comas, director) attended, I did not get to schedule another guitar lesson (or any other class or lesson) if I did not attend at the scheduled time. Same thing with the private lessons I took as a young man. I understood their time was spent whether I was there or not. We try to be more generous by offering FREE, one hour long, group make up lessons. These classes should be considered complementary education, rather than a substitute for your private lessons. The purpose is to add value to the experience and help the developing musician. Remember, learning to play music is a long-term endeavor (for many it is a lifelong experience). Students and parents should not be overly concerned by an occasionally missed lesson. The most important thing is to continue regular practice at home.
I have a school, or work activity, etc., that I cannot avoid. Can I have an exception to the make up lessons policy?
The Voice Shop Music Academy has a free group make up lesson policy. Group make up classes are offered on Saturdays. Our group make up lessons are unlimited; any time you miss your regular lesson for any reason (vacation, sickness, whatever), you may sign up for a group make up class. To sign up for a make up class, contact the office staff for a date and time (classes do fill on a first come first served basis).
I am ill and cannot make it to lessons – Can I have a make-up lesson?
Voice Shop Music Academy has a free group make-up lesson policy. Group makeup classes are offered on Saturdays. Our group make up lessons are unlimited; any time you miss your regular lesson for any reason (vacation, sickness, whatever), you may sign up for a group make up class. To sign up for a group make up class, contact the office staff for a date and time (classes do fill on a first come first served basis).
When can I start lessons?
You can start lessons virtually any time. When you are ready to enroll contact the school to discuss available days and times, and we will get you started.
How do I reserve my time slot?
Come in and fill out the simple enrollment form and pay the registration fee (you may also pay the registration by phone with a Visa or MasterCard) and your time will be reserved. Once lessons begin your lesson time is yours, until you request a change in lesson time or withdraw from lessons. Tuition must be paid before lessons can begin.
Lessons generally meet once a week on the same day and time for 30-minutes on an ongoing basis. Lessons are taught year-round. The schedule is based on a 48-lesson year. There is an average of 4 lessons per month, however in some months you may receive 3 or 5 lessons. The tuition is averaged and is the same each month to simplify your bookkeeping. Breaks are typically scheduled around major holidays; i.e. July 4th, Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc. Schedules are posted at the schools and copies are available for you to take home.