FAQs

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“Marie has not only taught my daughter great technique, but inspired her to want
to sing better…She even likes to practice!”  Meghan C. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What age is best to start music lessons? Suzuki training can begin at age three on piano or violin.  Five years old is a good age for many other instruments. At an early age it is the personality and temperament of the child that is most important. CHMA has teachers that are specially trained and experienced with very younger children.  The teenage years are certainly not too late to start and we teach many adult students as well.

What instrument is best for beginning students?  Whatever instrument that the child takes an interest in is the best to start with.  We believe that a teacher should meet the student where they are and use their current interest or fascination with an instrument to open the door to the world of music.  If the student has no preference we recommend piano because it is easy to create a sound and because music theory is visually laid out on the keyboard.  If the child likes to sing you can try voice lessons or an instrument such as guitar that is good to accompany singing.

Can we do a trial lesson?   Yes. When getting started we can arrange for an introductory lesson or two.  After that, students commit on a month to month basis and pay an easy one time monthly fee.

Can we have two children take lessons at the same day and time?   Yes. We have a large staff on various instruments so we can often arrange for all members of the family to study on a different instrument at the same time. This makes it convenient for busy families.

Do you teach adults as well?  Yes. We’ve had many adult students. Returning after many years or taking up a new instrument later in life is a wonderful and enriching experience.

What instruments do you teach?  We teach all instruments, at all levels, in all styles.  Our offerings include: piano, guitar, violin, viola, cello, drums, voice, trumpet, saxophone, clarinet, flute, banjo, mandolin and ukulele. We also offer A Musical Theater Program and a Rock School.

Where can I buy an instrument to start with? You can rent locally, buy on-line or we can direct you to a local music store.  Just contact us for ideas.

Do I need to spend a lot on a first instrument?  No. Families often prefer not to spend much on an instrument until they see if the student is really interested.  Often an inexpensive instrument  is just fine to get started.  Piano students do not need to invest in a huge expensive grand piano to start. Electronic and digital pianos can work just fine. Student sized instruments of all kinds are readily available.

How much are lessons?  We have an easy monthly payment method. You pay only $125.00 per month. Tuition includes a weekly 30 minute private lesson as well as our 4 free student concerts and our great unlimited makeup program.

How do I choose the right teacher?   This is crucial. Director  Mickey Leone has over 25 years as a music director, teacher and school operator. He will personally work with you to choose the right teacher from the great and varied CHMA staff.  The key is to artfully match the student with the right teacher. Student temperament, learning style, gender, age and interest are all taken into account when choosing your teacher. Then we follow-up regularly to be sure everything is going well.

Do you have a variety of teachers to choose from?  Our staff has been careful chosen to be role players. We have male and female instructors, classical and pop players, formal and casual personalities. We have great variety in our staff that reflects the variety of students that we see. This insures a great match for every student.

What is your approach to music training? We do not have one approach. Our method is customized for each student. However, we do believe that young students should get a basic grounding in the fundamentals. In addition, we work hard to keep the student interested and motivated with music that they truly love to play.  There is a delicate and important balance to strike here. We work hard to find the right approach for each student.

Do all students learn to read music? We believe that all young  students should learn to read music. As a universal language it is a wonderful skill to have and the early years are the best time to acquire that skill. With older teens or adults we may choose a different approach with more emphasis on ear training, pop, folk or rock music.

Do you teach rock and pop music? Yes, many of our students want to play the music that they love from their favorite artists or bands.  If it makes sense we can start right in with repertoire from their favorite artists.

Do you take a formal classical approach? Yes. If it is appropriate. When the student is studying an instrument that is more classically oriented like brass, woodwinds or strings, a classical approach is often best. Here note reading and a grounding in the fundamentals is essential.  Many of our teachers are classically trained.

Do you offer bands and ensembles?  Yes, We have a program of ensembles and a complete Rock School. In a group setting students learn to play with others, cooperate,  listen and communicate. All crucial skills for music and life.   Groups are put together under the guidance of a CHMA staff  teacher.  Each band session culminates in a performance.

Can my child sample instruments to see which one they like?   Yes. We call this “instrument sampler”. Often parents of young children want them to sample various instruments before making a choice. We have teachers specially experienced at providing this unique and valuable service. Families can design the program themselves. For example, we may plan to meet for a number of sessions to sample violin, guitar, piano and voice, After that the student may choose an instrument  to concentrate on.

What will a student learn in music lessons? A student at CHMA will learn to love music. That’s our chief goal and your chief benefit.  Young students will be trained to read music. Each student will learn songs and pieces chosen in collaboration with student, parent and teacher.  A unique customized program of study will be created to suit the temperament, interests and personality of each student.

How long does it take to get good on an instrument? That depends.  The more time a student spends playing the faster they will improve. Setting and then meeting goals is important. Most students can be playing simple songs or pieces within a few months.

Can we learn popular or rock music? Yes. Many students like to work on songs that they know from CDs, TV or the radio.  Whatever music keeps students excited and learning is what we will emphasize.

Can my teen be a rock star in three weeks?    No. However, rock music is relatively simple and with just a few basic techniques and a little practice anybody can play a great variety of rock hits.

Can I choose a male or female teacher? Yes. We understand that each child has their unique preferences and learning style so we strive to make a great match from our large and varied staff.  If you feel that your child will do best with a certain type of teacher we will do our best to accommodate your wishes.

Do you have a special teacher that can really make a connection with my unique child?   We hope so.  First you will be interviewed to gather some important information on your goals and the student’s personality and learning style. Then director Mickey Leone will assign the teacher that seem the best fit.

What styles of music do you teach? You name it – we teach it. Rock, Pop, Classical, Country, Rap, Hip Hop, Folk, Blues, Jazz.

Are your teacher trained and qualified?  All of our teachers are carefully chosen, screened and supervised. Each has a music degree or extensive professional experience. Most importantly, our teachers are chosen not just for their credentials but also for their ability to connect with families and inspire young musicians

Are your teachers carefully screened and supervised? Yes.  Each of our teacher goes through a careful screening process. They have passed the PA child abuse and Criminal Background clearance. Teacher evaluation and supervision is standard procedure at CHMA.   We also seek feedback from students and families through interviews, surveys and parent-teacher conferences in an ongoing effort to improve our service to our students.

Can I sit in on the lesson with my child?   Of course.  Parents are welcome to sit in on as many lessons as they like. Especially with younger children it is often helpful to have a parent in the lesson who can then help with practice at home. Our special Suzuki program for very young children requires parent participation as a keystone to learning.

Do you have concerts and recitals at CHMA.  Yes.  CHMA offers 4 student recitals per year. Concert fees are included with your monthly tuition.  The concerts are also free to the public so you can invite you friends and family. Concerts take place in the beautiful and historic St Paul’s Hall and Sanctuary.

How do we get started at Chestnut Hill Music Academy?   It is easy to get started.  Just call our office at 215 233 2560 or e-mail us at mickey@chestnuthillmusic.com