Because I teach piano students in several Tucson-area school districts, the Vail School District’s oddball academic calendar, out of sync with those of the other districts, creates a nightmare in coordinating lesson times and seasonal breaks that will be fair to everyone. In and of itself, however, the Vail School District is an ideal one in which to go to school and also privately study a musical instrument. It is encouraging many of the schools here are receiving “Excelling” ratings from the state, and at the same time, the homework demands, per the consensus I have thus far received from students in this district, have been very reasonable, which proves an excellent education can be provided without keeping a student up until 9 or 10 o’clock every evening doing homework.

This creates an ideal combination for taking piano lessons. Although I don’t entirely approve of an academic calendar which sends kids to school in July, as it deprives kids of some seasonal activities such as camp, it does reduce the necessary remedial work to start the new school year, which I suspect is the rationale behind this calendar. This is the same concern for a piano teacher when students go an entire season without a lesson. I often have to practically start over with them, especially if they haven’t touched a piano during that time. The reasonable school day length combined with reasonable homework loads leaves an ample time base for discretionary activities. I encourage you to consider this for taking piano lessons as the new school year gets underway.

If you are considering taking lessons, please be serious! Before inquiring:

  • Discuss the ramifications of taking lessons thoroughly among all involved: husband, wife, and of course the prospective student, and make a firm confirmation. Keep in mind daily practice will be a requirement, not an option. The student must be mature enough to accept that responsibility.
  • Be sure you have a suitable instrument. An acoustic piano is preferred, however, I will teach on a digital keyboard, as long as it has 88 weighted keys and pedals. Laptop keyboards with a couple of octaves are not suitable. You cannot say you’re serious if you’re looking for a teacher and don’t have a piano. Put first things first!


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