Brian Swager

Piano Lessons for Children

Age of Beginners

The ideal age for children to begin taking piano lessons is usually around six or seven, often as they begin first or second grade. Lessons should be a positive experience, and success is more likely if the child is ready. It is best if they have some basic academic skills such as the alphabet (the note names use the alphabet letters A through G, forwards and backwards) and math (counting the beats in a measure, adding note values such as 2+1+1=4). They need to have an adequate attention span, some patience, and an ability to concentrate, although piano lessons will help them to improve all of these qualities.

Children who demonstrate natural musical abilities may benefit from beginning lessons at a younger age. Such children often spontaneously dance and clap when they hear music and tend to sing in tune. Musical Arts Lessons, alone or with a companion or two, are an option for students who are still too young for traditional piano lessons. These experiential sessions prepare students for lessons while teaching the basic elements of music through activities that may include singing, dancing, rhythm exercises, finding the notes on the piano, improvising melodies and duets, and more.

Scope of Study

All students learn to read music. In addition to learning to play repertoire pieces, the students' creative mind will be stimulated by regular improvisation and composition activities. Included in lessons is training in music theory, sight-singing, and ear training. Students will learn to play music in a variety of styles including classical, jazz, and ragtime. Students will have the opportunity to perform in a group recital once or twice per year.


Daily practice is essential. For beginners, I require a minimum of 30 minutes per day, six days per week. Students who wish to excel in music eventually will need to exceed this basic requirement. Ideally, students come to their practice not merely from of a sense of duty, but out of the love and enjoyment of music. Parents need to support this discipline using, as motivation, the student's enthusiasm for music and the joy of a musical household. Just as many families make shared meal time a priority, the importance of daily time at the piano needs to hold a place in each day's routine, ideally at the same time each day. Families need to have a piano in their homes for practice. The piano should be in good working order and in tune.


Lessons are taught at my home studio in San Francisco's Castro neighborhood near Dolores Park, on 19th Street between Church & Sanchez Streets. Two-hour street parking is generally available, and the "J-Church" MUNI line is very close.
Depending on scheduling and your location, lessons in your home in San Francisco may be available for an additional fee.

Equipment Needed

  • Piano, well-maintained, in tune
  • Fingernail clipper (fingernails must be kept short, hands clean)
  • Music books, as assigned
  • Metronome (when the student is ready for it)
  • Sharp pencils with erasers
  • Tote bag for these materials
  • Clean socks (shoes must be removed upon entry in my studio)


Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or are ready to register for lessons.

I am also available to teach harp and organ. Harp lessons are taught at my home studio. I can help to arrange a rental for students who do not have their own harp. Organ students must have access to an organ for regular practice.

updated: 29 APRIL 2018