Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

We recommend that parents attend lessons for beginning students and for students 9 years old or younger. Most students will need some guidance, encouragement, and support at home to complete their daily practice assignment. When a parent attends the lesson this prepares the parent to be able to support the child at home. In the lesson you will learn what your teacher wants the student to focus on during the week and what the student is already doing well. We have found that children progress much more quickly and get more out of lessons when they have effective, well-informed help and support at home. It doesn’t matter whether or not you have training in music. The most important way to help is by providing structure and encouragement to establish good daily practice habits.

The specific amount of time students spend practicing is not nearly as important as having consistent, daily practice. Here at the Academy we expect students to practice six out of seven days a week, if not every day, and that during this time they complete their daily practice assignments from their teacher. For beginners, 15-20 minutes a day is usually sufficient. As students progress, daily practice time should increase.

We have a reputation for providing music lessons that most kids find engaging and fun. Many of our parents report that their children love lessons, and will go willingly to practice without being asked. However, our students also experience times where they may feel discouraged and even resistant to practicing. Developing musical skills takes years and years of dedicated practice, and sometimes a student might hit a “hump”. Best solution: supportive parent-teacher team. Developing musical skills is not easy, but it is worth it. Kids need love, encouragement, and consistent support.

Students at Hoffman Academy have multiple performing opportunities available to them throughout the year, so don’t worry, you’ll get to see your child perform! Each year we have our fun annual movie recital where students play songs seen in films. Everyone gets to eat popcorn, watch short movie scenes, and enjoy the music! We also have composition nights where students get the chance to showcase their own compositions, which is always fun for everyone. Outside of that, we have other various events, such a Baroque night, where Baroque music is highlighted.

Basically, students should receive two opportunities to perform each year (either at recitals or through other opportunities). Family and friends are all invited and admission is free! Please note that students should dress nicely for recitals.

Two times per semester, a special group class will be held in place of the regular weekly lesson.

Learn More about Come Together Week

We offer a Musical Beginnings class for toddlers aged 4 and under. In this class, children are introduced to music through singing activities, movement to music, drumming, listening to music of many styles, and exploring different instruments.

We are focused on having a balance between both quality and fun. Our young students actually enjoy learning music, because we engage their natural curiosity and creativity using an innovative multi-sensory approach, while still providing them with the expert training to reach a high level of musical proficiency. Our teachers don’t just teach—they are all practicing, expert musicians as well! The learning environment here is fun and nurturing, and our innovative, research-based curriculum has proven itself to quickly enable students to play music they love.

Guitar

Tab is not a part of our curriculum. Although tab is an excellent shorthand for writing music, it also leaves a lot of important things out. Our program challenges students to learn standard music notation, so that they can be fluent in the system used by performers of all instruments, not just guitar.

Yes! Hoffman Academy is different than most guitar programs in that 100% of our students learn to read music. Reading music can be difficult on guitar, but by breaking it into small, manageable steps, almost any student can be a successful reader. Our curriculum supports students as they learn to read, and helps them develop a set of skills that most other young guitarists miss out on.

Our minimum age is 8 years old, with occasional exceptions. If your child is under the age of 8 and is interested in guitar, please contact our office to discuss enrollment options.

30 minute lessons are only available to first-time students, age 10 or under. New students sometimes have physical difficulties when learning guitar, such as sore fingers and hands. We offer a 30 minute lesson to first-time students so they can have an easy introduction to the guitar as they build up strength and calluses. For all other students, we require a minimum commitment of 45 minutes per week.

All students need to purchase a guitar tuner and music stand. If your guitar is an electric guitar, you also need to purchase an amplifier and instrument cable. More information about equipment can be found in our Equipment Guide.

Hoffman Academy of Music endorses Portland Music Company as the best choice for purchasing student guitars in the Beaverton area.

For more detailed information about where to purchase a guitar, please ask your Hoffman Academy guitar instructor for a personal recommendation.

At Hoffman Academy, our students are welcome to use any type of guitar they like. However, for young students (10 or under) and beginners, we typically recommend a nylon string guitar. Please refer to our Guide to Purchasing a Guitar for more information on how to select an instrument. If you have any additional questions, or would like one of our teachers to make a personal recommendation for you, please send us an email.

Piano

Here are 2 names of tuners that we have used in the past, and we have been pleased with their work.

Eric Leatha: 503-997-1725

Denice Wilkinson: 503-246-3337

For purchasing or renting a piano, our Academy families have had the best experiences with Classic Pianos. We have found their selection of both new and used pianos to be the best in Portland, and their customer service has been excellent. Their phone number is 503-239-9969 and their address is 3003 SE Milwaukie Ave. Portland, OR 97202. Please also mention that you have a student at Hoffman Academy so you can receive preferred pricing as a part of belonging to the Hoffman Academy Community.

Ideally, you would want to have a real acoustic piano to practice on, since a quality acoustic piano will provide a beautiful tone that can’t be matched by a keyboard. Perhaps even more importantly, practicing on an acoustic piano will prevent bad playing habits from being formed since the touch of an acoustic piano is nothing like most keyboards. However, if you can find an 88-key digital piano with “weighted keys”, that would be fine to practice on, too, for the first year or two of lessons.

For more information, read our Guide to Choosing a Piano or Keyboard for the Beginning Student

Policies

When driving conditions around the Academy appear dangerous due to the weather, our policy is to cancel lessons at the Academy for that particular day. When this happens, a make-up opportunity will be provided.

We do not provide make up lessons for lessons missed or canceled by the student. However, if you know in advance that you will need to miss a group lesson, at your request, your teacher can make an audio recording of the lesson for you.

This article helps explain why we can’t do make-up lessons:

Make-up Lessons From An Economist’s Point of View

No lessons will be held during the extended Thanksgiving weekend, the 2 weeks over the Winter Break, the week of Spring Break, and the extended Memorial Day weekend. For exact dates, please look over our calendar.

Private Lessons

We believe that great teaching and learning takes time, and it is simply not possible to offer a quality learning experience in such a small period of time. We want to inspire our students with a love of music, connect with our students, and truly understand them. This takes more time.

If price is an issue, please consider our group lessons, as opposed to the private ones. They have proven very popular and effective.

Yes! We offer packages of 7 private lessons that are scheduled around each student’s summer availability. We also offer week long, half day piano, guitar, or voice summer camps! Summer schedules are typically posted in January.

Learn more about our summer programs

Parents who are unable to attend piano lessons for whatever reason should work with their child’s teacher to ensure good communication about practicing and getting the most out of the lessons. One possibility is to join the lesson for just the last 5 minutes to be present when the teacher reviews the practice assignment.

The age at which your child is ready to begin piano lessons really depends on the child and your own judgement. However, we find that using the Hoffman Academy Methods, children can begin piano lessons successfully at age 5-6, and we offer lessons to children ages 5 and up.

Registration

For most classes and private lessons, the answer is no. The only exception is that we offer a discount of $15/mo. for siblings enrolled in our Musical Beginnings class.

Tuition payments are due on the 1st of every month. On the 11th a $15 late fee is assessed to overdue accounts.

If enrollment is canceled on or before September 1st (for Fall Semester enrollment) or February 1st (for Spring Semester enrollment) tuition payment will be refunded in full. After September 1st/February 1st tuition payments are non-refundable. Registration fees are non-refundable except in the unusual circumstance where a lesson time acceptable to both parties cannot be found during the scheduling process, in which case registration fees will be fully refunded.

Absolutely! The option to pay through our online registration system is for your convenience. Checks are always a welcome form of payment. Checks can be mailed to :

Hoffman Academy

12660 NW Cornell Rd.

Portland, OR 97229.

Required Equipment

Here are 2 names of tuners that we have used in the past, and we have been pleased with their work.

Eric Leatha: 503-997-1725

Denice Wilkinson: 503-246-3337

For purchasing or renting a piano, our Academy families have had the best experiences with Classic Pianos. We have found their selection of both new and used pianos to be the best in Portland, and their customer service has been excellent. Their phone number is 503-239-9969 and their address is 3003 SE Milwaukie Ave. Portland, OR 97202. Please also mention that you have a student at Hoffman Academy so you can receive preferred pricing as a part of belonging to the Hoffman Academy Community.

At Hoffman Academy, our students are welcome to use any type of guitar they like. However, for young students (10 or under) and beginners, we typically recommend a nylon string guitar. Please refer to our Guide to Purchasing a Guitar for more information on how to select an instrument. If you have any additional questions, or would like one of our teachers to make a personal recommendation for you, please send us an email.

Ideally, you would want to have a real acoustic piano to practice on, since a quality acoustic piano will provide a beautiful tone that can’t be matched by a keyboard. Perhaps even more importantly, practicing on an acoustic piano will prevent bad playing habits from being formed since the touch of an acoustic piano is nothing like most keyboards. However, if you can find an 88-key digital piano with “weighted keys”, that would be fine to practice on, too, for the first year or two of lessons.

For more information, read our Guide to Choosing a Piano or Keyboard for the Beginning Student

Teaching Method

The Hoffman Method is based on Kodaly Philosophy and is an approach that is a balance between ear based and sight based learning. We strive to provide a fun and nurturing learning environment that includes group learning, in addition to individualized instruction, during our come together week lessons.

Learn more about the Hoffman Method