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Piano Detectives Club

From the Creators of Piano Detectives Club

By Janet Hart and Dr. Christy Miller

Kindergartners make such wonderful piano students! This unique time of discovery, wonder, and enthusiasm in their lives makes it an ideal time to begin piano study. When we first began dreaming up a new group piano program, we hoped to create a program that celebrated energetic bodies and brief attention spans as advantages rather than limitations. The Piano Detectives Club curriculum emerged from a desire to provide young beginners with a way to learn that engaged every part of their being. It is a way of teaching that guides students towards learning to play the piano in a way that is so captivating that it doesn’t even occur to the children not to be interested. Students also get to participate in the program with other children their own age, adding to the magnetism of the experience. Having children revel in their own success builds self-esteem and confidence in learning new things, and this is what draws educators to the program as well. Nurturing whole and skilled learners, full of curiosity and wonder at how music works, is how we carry on Frances Clark’s tremendous legacy.


The New School for Music Study has been teaching and testing our curriculum for us since 2011, and we are honored and delighted by the success the program has experienced in their care. This fall, we are unveiling a major upgrade to the curriculum: new classroom tools, improved design, and refined lesson plans that build on the solid Piano Detectives Club program already in use under the leadership of our dear friend and colleague, Rebecca Pennington.


The Piano Detectives Club approach surrounds the students in an atmosphere of adventure and wonder as they explore music and participate in piano playing for the first time. Students examine musical elements up close, gather evidence, ask questions, and organize information to unlock the mystery of music. Piano Detectives Club gives students opportunities to connect with every concept in a hands-on way, and varied repetition solidifies student mastery while maintaining interest and engagement. Vibrant classroom and take-home materials turn musical concepts into memorable, tactile experiences. Instructors guide the students through both cooperative and independent activities, and a minimum 3:1 student-to-teacher ratio ensures that all students receive generous attention. Students also have one-on-one mini private lessons during each class session, receiving individualized instruction tailored to each child’s needs.


What a joy it is to be a Piano Detectives Club instructor and to have students bursting with exclamations of, “Let me try that!” and “Look what I can do!” How exciting to have students losing track of time because they are so involved in their activities that they are surprised when it’s already time to go home! In Piano Detectives Club, teachers and students delight together in the learning process, and students learn at a young age that they are capable and musical. Piano Detectives Club provides a positive, joyful, and empowering first experience at the piano, and it gives beginning piano students the strong foundation they need for a lifetime of music making.


Piano Detectives Club will meet on Thursdays from 4:30-5:30, beginning September 9th. Contact admissions@nsmspiano.org to register.


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