Third Street Music School's Piano Department welcomes students of all ages and levels. New students age five and under, or students with prior playing experience, will have the opportunity to meet with the Department Chairperson for placement.
With a variety of methods and approaches, Third Street’s eclectic Piano program offers training in all musical styles for students of every age and level. Children as young as 2.5 years can enjoy weekly class sessions with friends in Piano Party, and at age 3.5, they can become part of our Suzuki Piano program, which pairs individual lessons with a weekly group class. Traditional lessons are available for students from ages 4 through adult, and are designed to fit individual needs and learning styles.
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Class Types: Traditional & Suzuki Instruction Methods
The traditional approach is best suited to children over the age of five and adults. Parent/guardian participation in a child’s lesson, though desirable, is optional with the traditional method of instruction.
The Suzuki Method of instruction is available for piano, violin, viola, cello, string bass and flute. As much a life philosophy as it is a method, The Suzuki Method of instruction was developed by Dr. Shinichi Suzuki in Japan after the end of World War II. Dr. Suzuki believed that all children are innately musical, that they can excel musically and that a “beautiful heart,” sensitivity and discipline can be achieved through hearing and playing music when started early in life. The Suzuki Method is most effective when started with very young children.
Here are some hallmarks of the Suzuki Method:
- The method is based on the way children learn their native language—by listening and imitating. Pieces are learned by ear (without reading music) and played from memory. Note reading is introduced according to the readiness of the child, and incorporated gradually in the child's training.
- Parent, teacher, and child are all active participants in the learning process. Parents must be willing to learn the instruction method and make a commitment to attend lessons, group classes, and performances. Parents are also required to participate in at-home practice.
- The curriculum uses a common repertoire which is organized by books of advancing levels, starting with Book 1. The common repertoire enables students to play with each other and creates an international community of Suzuki learners.
- In addition to individual, partner or group lessons, young Suzuki students are required to attend a weekly repertoire class. The purpose of this class is to review and reinforce pieces learned in lessons and develop musicianship and ensemble skills. Games are often used to highlight important technical points and encourage note ready. Repertoire classes also promote the development of musical rapport among students.
Students are introduced to the basic elements of jazz theory and improvisation, focusing on chord voicings, jazz scales, swing rhythms, and more.
Interested intermediate and advanced keyboard players learn how to play the harpsichord – the precursor to the piano used during the Baroque and Renaissance eras – and are introduced to works by Baroque masters such as Handel and Bach.
Our youngest musicians ages 2.5 – 4 are introduced to the piano and general music instruction in rhythm and ear training skills in a group setting. Designed as a prelude to individual Suzuki lessons, Piano Party is a great foundation for instrumental study and prepares students for all piano methods. Students must be accompanied by a caregiver.
Piano Fun for Adults
This stress-free group class is ideal for those new to piano or picking it back up. Moving at their own pace, students learn how to read music, improvise, follow a lead-sheet, accompany a melody with chords, and more.
Third Street Music School offers many performance opportunities to its students, including Music Hours, Studio Recitals, Department Recitals and more. Click here for details on these fun and fulfilling opportunities.
Students are divided by level into groups of 2 – 4 pianists to explore ensemble repertoire and participate in a minimum of three performances per year. Students are encouraged to join and play in one of the School's other ensembles including Chamber Ensembles, Jazz Bands, Rock Bands and Piano Instrumental Ensemble.
The Eda McFarlane Clark Piano Certificate Program
The Eda McFarlane Clark Piano Certificate Program, based on The Royal Conservatory Music Development Program, is a rigorous curriculum that charts student progress through two preparatory stages and ten levels of achievement. Students who participate in the program will have performance opportunities, receive external adjudication, and will be awarded a certificate of achievement at the completion of each level at the year-end Honors Concerts. Those who complete the highest levels will have a well-rounded music education.
This program is free and open to all piano students who take individual instruction at Third Street. Click here to read the guidelines. If you are interested in participating, talk to your teacher or the Piano Department Chairperson, Joan Forsyth. Current participants, click here to view the 2016-17 results.
The Piano Olympics are a fun way for students to strengthen skills and gain a sense of accomplishment. Students are divided into teams by skill level and age, and compete for their adopted “countries” with prizes given to all participants. The emphasis is on participation, preparation and team spirit. The Piano Olympics conclude with an international reception. This program is free to all students enrolled in piano instruction.
Piano Monster Concert
A Piano Monster Concert is for large piano ensembles of up to 16 players who play with a conductor. Piano students of all ages and levels are invited to perform in the Monster Concert on the last Saturday Music Hour in June. Students may sign up for a piece at their sight-reading level.
100 Days of Sight Reading Challenge
This program is designed to motivate and encourage students to develop their note reading skills. It is a free program and all Third Street piano students are invited to participate regardless of their age or level. The students are given a list of suggested repertoire based on their level, however, any materials appropriate for their level can be used. The main goal is to motivate students to practice and develop their music reading skills. Students use a form to keep a record of their practice each day.