Piano Project FAQ

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String Project

Who may apply for the Piano Project?

Children ages 6-12 who have an acoustic piano can apply. No previous training is necessary for children age 6-8.

How do I apply?

Fill out the online application!

How many openings do you have?

Openings vary by year based on the number of university students enrolled in piano pedagogy courses and the number of students graduating from the Piano Project. Spots are finalized after university course enrollment is closed at the onset of the University’s academic year.

Who gets admitted?

Returning students in good standing are given priority placement. Maintaining good standing means students have shown a commitment to practice and sustained progress. After all eligible returning students have been placed, remaining openings are offered to new students through an audition process.

How should I prepare my child for the audition?

Auditions can be stressful, and we find that children who show up relaxed, yet prepared usually perform best. If your child has previous training in piano, please have them be prepared to play something during the audition. Previous experience is not required for children 6-8, so those auditions are a series of fun musical games where our panel can observe responses and assess a child's compatibility in the program.

Is the program a big time commitment?

The short answer is yes. Just like learning a language or new sport, mastering piano takes time and consistent practice. In addition to weekly lessons and theory instruction, students are expected to practice daily at home and come to lessons well prepared.

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

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

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

Parents see that their child attends classes regularly and practices daily. For younger children, parents will attend lessons and supervise home practice. The establishment of healthy, regular practice habits is far more likely through consistent parental input, guidance and motivation. 

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

Our teachers are undergraduate and graduate students with demanding weekly schedules. Your child’s lesson time is scheduled in coordination with their assigned teacher's limited availability. As a result, makeup lessons are not officially offered. If your child misses a lesson, makeup lessons are given at the discretion of the teacher.

Would it be possible to request specific time slots for my child’s private lesson and group class?

Unfortunately, we cannot accept specific time slot requests. To participate in Piano Project, your child must be available between 5:00 and 7:00 pm on Tuesdays during the school year. 

What if my child has a scheduling conflict and cannot attend the end of semester dress rehearsal or recital?

All of the work put in by both students and instructors culminates in the final recital. Piano Project is a teaching lab for Butler School students, and It is imperative for both the progress of the student and the training of Piano Project instructors that students  participate in the dress rehearsal and in the final recital if selected.  

Important dates for each semester can be found on the schedule page weeks before the semester begins. By participating in Piano Project, you are committing to participate in these important events. If you know your personal circumstances will not allow you to attend the announced dates, please consider choosing another program for your child.

If you are interested in finding a qualified private teacher for your child, please contact Margarita Denenburg directly.

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

Researchers have found that youngsters studying musical instruments tend to develop better concentration skills and enhanced academic success.

Do you teach Suzuki or traditional methods?

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

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

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.

How do you choose the repertoire?

We want each student to get a well-balanced “diet” that consists of folk songs, popular material that is already familiar to them, original pieces composed for young students as well as excellent 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.

Where are you located?

We are located in the Music Recital Hall (MRH) on the University of Texas at Austin campus. Piano Project meets on the fifth floor, in MRH 5.246. Visit our Directions & Parking page for more information.

My child did not get accepted. We would like to know why so that we can better prepare them for next time.

Piano Project is a small program designed as a training lab for Butler School students. Space is limited in order to provide a good experience for both your child and our student instructors. Given this limitation, we are looking for applicants who will be the most likely to succeed in our program. During auditions, we observe a child's response to the musical games we offer. Those who focus well, follow the directions easily, and display genuine pleasure in doing so receive preference.

Each child develops differently, and we must respect these differences. It is difficult to deny any child into the program because every child has the potential to be a great student, and certainly every child should have the opportunity to take piano lessons. However, space is limited.

If your child is not selected for Piano Project, it is not in any way a reflection on their musical talent or potential. We encourage you to find another program or teacher for your child, and to audition again in the future.