For very young beginners:

If the parent or guardian doesn't "play", then take 6 or more months to  explore your piano with your child, prior to enrolling for private lessons.

 Encourage your child to play around and with  

 the piano prior to lessons. You can't break a  

 piano by playing it. 

 If you don't know where to begin with regard 

 to exploration - try this:

   Use the BLACK KEYS, and see if you    

   can invent songs. Then add some white

   keys. Explore and listen. Keep it light. 

Make note of how your child explores the


The right teacher is going to want to know this



Do they like thehigh sounds, or the

                                                  low sounds

Is the middle of the piano where they prefer  to play?

Does everything sound percussive (this is fine - the piano is part percussion - part string), 

Does your child enjoy singing words, or

  even nonsense syllables along with playing

  the keys?

     Share these

     observations at the

     time you

     interview with

     prospective teachers ... 

 ...and I recommend interviewing  

      not less than 2 or 3 teachers. 


 Is your child able to distinguish between their left and

 their right sides?

Have them "jump to the left", and "jump

 to the right".

Have them look at how the thumb of their

 left hand forms the letter "L". 

 Ask them if the high notes are on the right side of the

 piano, or on the left? ...same for the low notes.  

 Turn everything into a game!

 It's no secret that piano

 teachers enjoy giving out stickers -

 implement a similar

 system in your home to reinforce

 the fun side of piano


 Information on this website has been adapted from

 several other resources - please feel free to explore the

 web on your own for more suggestions & excellent

 additional resources (explore this site for many excellent 

 online sites & sources!)

Shad Wenzlaff Piano Studio

A professional piano studio

located in Madison, WI

The Music Studios at 615 N. Sherman Av

Madison, WI 53704

The studios are open by appointment only -

please email or call for your interview lesson.

Thank you for perusing my site.  




Click for more advice.

Diane Hidy suggests that you

"go with your gut" when you meet a teacher - trust your instincts.

Shad's studio lobby. A perfect place to wait in a quiet and comfortable atmosphere. Glass doors to the studio allow parents to "glance" during lessons.




​Shad's teaching space featuring a Kawai Studio Grand Piano and a Boston Grand Piano - courtesy of the

Steinway Gallery Mineral Point Rd. Madison, WI

Before you start piano lessons, 


All students who study with Shad MUST have a piano with 88 weighted keys. A standard height piano with a suitable bench & footstool for younger students - make sure it is adjustable to grow with the student.  It is best to own an acoustic piano.


Second, please think about where you will place your piano in your home.

Ideally, your piano is not in the room with the only TV in the household. Make sure the room where you locate the piano is "not lonely".

The piano should not be located in the student's bedroom. ​

Three of the biggest reasons children don't practice 

  • they are either lonely, or
  • somehow you have sent the signal that piano is not normal. 
  • the piano is out of tune

If you have space in your home for an acoustic grand piano - purchase one!

By the best piano you can afford. View owning a piano as a smart investment in your child's education and in creating a lovely environment in your home for sharing and spontaneous concert giving.

Steinway Gallery of Madison


​Also, show your child that the lowest note on the piano is A, and "climb" up the piano keys from ABCDEFGABCDEFG etc.  

Before piano lessons begin, make sure your child knows the difference between the MUSICAL alphabet

   A B C D E F G 

As well, ensure they are fluent with the full standard alphabet. In music, after we reach G, the musical alphabets begins again with A. If they can go forward and backward with ease, you're well on your way to acquiring a basic music vocabulary.

If you've made it to the top of the piano (88 keys), you will discover you end on C. 

Can your child count

each WHITE key?
...each BLACK key?

Can they count all 88 keys - both black and white?