Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Who may apply for the Piano Project?

A: Any child from the age of six through high school, who has an acoustical piano (preferred) or a digital piano (full keyboard with weighted keys), can apply. No previous training is necessary for a child of any age.

Q: How do I apply?

A: Fill out a form found on the application page of this website or write us at the following address:

Piano Project
Butler School of Music
2406 Robert Dedman Drive
Stop E3100
Austin, TX 78712-1555

You will be notified about the audition time no later than Friday, January 27th, 2017.

Q: How many openings do you have?

A: Since the Piano Project is not a school of music for gifted children but rather a training program for UT music students, the number of openings every semester depends on the number of university students enrolled in piano pedagogy courses. For this reason, we can only be certain about the number of student openings after the University registration has been completed.

Q: Who gets admitted?

A: Our first priority is directed toward the students who have already been in the program. Their re-admittance is not automatic, though, and depends on the consistent practice and progress of the student. For the remaining openings, students will be selected through auditions.

Q: How should I prepare my child for the audition?

A: The best prepared child is a well-rested and relaxed child. No other preparation is necessary.

Q: Does the program participation take much time?

A: Yes. Students are expected to practice daily at home and come to lessons well prepared.

Q: This sounds like a wonderful opportunity, but isn’t it a lot of hard work?

A: Yes. Mastery of a musical instrument requires much hard work and discipline, but few activities are more satisfying than creating beautiful music. We feel the rewards are commensurate with the investment.

Q: What are parents’ responsibilities if their child is accepted into the Piano Project?

A: Parents see that their child attends classes regularly and practices daily. In the case of younger children, parents will attend lessons and supervise home practice.

Q: What if my child has a scheduling conflict and cannot attend a lesson?

Our young teachers are undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in a variety of highly demanding music degrees. Your child’s lesson time is scheduled very carefully in consideration with many demands our young teachers have to meet. Makeup lessons are not a part of our policy. Should your child miss a lesson, a possible makeup lesson will be entirely up to the courtesy of the teacher.

Q: What if my child has a scheduling conflict and cannot attend a recital / rehearsal?

A: Once again, Piano Project is not a school of music for gifted children, but rather a training program for UT music students. It is important to understand that the entire semester’s work culminates in a publicly presented recital that is important not only for your children, but also for their teachers.

They work very hard into making their students into young artists, and part of their semester grade is based on the final recital. As always, the important dates for the upcoming semester can be found on the Piano Project website weeks before the semester begins. Please note that these dates are commitments. If you know your personal circumstances will not allow you to attend the announced dates in the upcoming semester, please consider choosing another program for your child.

Should you be interested in finding a qualified private teacher for your child, please contact Prof. Gilmson directly.

Q: How will music study affect my child’s school work?

A: Researchers have found that youngsters studying musical instruments in addition to their school program tend to develop greater powers of concentration, which enhance academic success.

Q: Do you teach Suzuki or traditional methods?

A: We teach traditional methods. We believe in teaching physical adjustment to the instrument, reading, and ear-training in a highly integrated manner which stimulates students’ harmonious development

Q: Would it be helpful to augment my child’s musical experience by hiring another piano teacher concurrently with the Piano Project?

A: No. Young students do not benefit from studying with more than one teacher at a time. They get confused by different approaches and overwhelmed by additional demands, therefore our policy prohibits concurrent enrollment. If your child is currently enrolled in lessons it is assumed that upon admittance to the Piano Project, your child will cease lessons with the other teacher and study solely with the Piano Project.

Q: How do you choose the repertoire?

A: We would like each student to get a healthy “diet” that consists of folk songs, popular material that is already familiar to students’ ears, original pieces composed for young students as well as fine examples of classical music originally written for the piano. We exclude simplified arrangements of classical music; for instance, a simplified arrangement of “Moonlight Sonata” is not acceptable.

Q: Where are you located?

A: We are in the Music Recital Hall (MRH) in the Fine Arts complex just north of Memorial Stadium on the University campus. Piano Project meets on the fifth floor (MRH 5.246).

Q: My child did not get accepted. We would like to know why so that we could prepare her/him better next time.

A: Piano Project is a small program designed as a training practicum for our students. The nature of the program explains limited number of openings we have.  Given this limitation in addition to the fact that the teachers are largely inexperienced, we are looking for the applicants who will most likely succeed in our program. During the auditions, we observe children’s response to the musical games we offer. Those who focus well, follow the directions easily, and display genuine pleasure in doing so receive our preference.

Each child develops differently, and we must respect these differences.  I personally am always heartbroken after the auditions because almost every child would be potentially a good student, and certainly every child should receive piano lessons. And yet, we have to choose.

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