Piano Lessons

Sarah Gorham

Offering Piano Lessons for ages 7 to Adult in my Brainerd Studio

Experienced, Professional Teacher (patient and kind)

Frequently Asked Questions about Piano Lessons:

At what age should I start my child in lessons?

As a general rule, I recommend ages 7 or 8. Many families wish to start their young ones in lessons earlier than 7 or 8, but I stick to my recommendation of 7 or 8.  You may be able to find a different teacher who specializes in younger (ages 4, 5, 6) ages. I have found that students who start lessons before 7 or 8 will be frustrated with lessons and want to quit.

Students should be able to read simple books independently and have some basic math skills when they study with me.  Math skills: counting to four, or six, is enough to start.

Do you have openings for new students now?

Please contact me for current schedule information and I’ll be happy to let you know what I have available: voice or text: 218 839 5195

How much do you charge for lessons?

I have three different options:

30-minute lessons: $95/month

45-minute lessons: $125/month

60-minute lessons (often shared by siblings): $180/month

We will usually have four lessons a month (weekly), but some months we may have three lessons and others may have five: the tuition is the same.  As a general rule, I do not pro-rate months with three or fewer lessons. I have a full roster of students, but I try to work with busy parents and tightly-scheduled students to find time for music lessons.

All lessons missed due to travel are forfeit and will not be made-up.

I appreciate payment on the first lesson of the month: cash, check, Zelle or PayPal. Let me know if you would prefer to receive quarterly invoices.

What about online lessons?

I can offer online lessons on weeks when getting to my house is difficult due to weather, illness or stress. In-person lessons are always better, of course, but having the online option can be a wonderful thing some weeks.  The best platform is FaceTime, from your iPhone or iPad to my iPhone or iPad.  If Apple devices are not available at your house, we can use Zoom or Skype.  Sometimes those alternatives are okay and sometimes not.  I want the best SOUND I can get, and the visuals are not terribly important.

As a general rule, the longer a student has been in lessons, the more successful the online lessons are.

Do you teach adults?

Yes. Any level or absolute beginners. Adults can be wonderful piano students!

Do you take transfer students?


Do you use one method, or several methods?

For beginners, I am partial to the Faber and Alfred method and repertoire books.  For intermediate-level classical literature, I can be a bit picky about which editors and publishers we use. If you have old books in your piano bench, or perhaps a relative passed-down some books, let’s take a look at them. They may be just fine, they may be out-of-date, or they may be a mess!

I have a lending-library with hundreds of books that I often loan-out so that families need not buy every book in a series.

Do you take students to “piano contests”?

No, the contests have not been something I’ve pursued for students over the years.  If you feel strongly about getting your player into these contests, please let me know.

Do you have a recital?

Yes, usually in late May or early June.  We may or may not have a Christmas recital/party.

Do you have any advice for helping students thrive?

Yes, follow this link for my tip sheet.

I have a pile of old piano books sitting around- would you like to have them?

Yes, probably.  What I can’t use, I will pass on or recycle as appropriate.  Please contact me if you would like to jettison a bunch of old piano books.  Please note that a stack of books that has been unused for a while can be full of mold/mildew.

Will you play at my cousin’s wedding/company Christmas party/ Aunt’s funeral, etc?

Possibly. I usually play a few gigs a year at various events. Please contact me and I’d be happy to discuss it: 218 839 5195.

What sort of progress can I expect from my young musician?

The easy answer: every student is different. Please be patient as your child learns to navigate the treble clef, the bass clef, and right hand, the left hand, and even the right foot (sustain pedal).  Kids will need to practice, practice and then practice some more to integrate the ideas we introduce at lessons.  Piano lessons can be thought of as “how to practice” lessons: I will do my best to explain to students how to practice at home.

I am not the one who is responsible for getting a student to practice at home.  Every student/family needs to decide how much time they want to devote to this activity.  My responsibility is to show them how to work on music at home; this process is greatly helped by choosing music they will enjoy working at.

Some students never practice.  They enjoy a weekly session of music and songs, but simply do not work at it at home.  If their parents approve, I can work with this, but please let me know that this is the case.


I have been playing the piano since 1966. I love to play the piano, and to work with others in their pursuit of competency at the piano.

My life-long love of piano led me to begin teaching lessons in 1997. I have the good fortune to be “classically trained” and  am happy to lead students through the works of my favorite composers: Mozart, JS Bach, Beethoven, Chopin and many others.

I also love show-tunes, as well as jazz standards, folk, blues and rock, etc.  From  Vivaldi to Duke Ellington to The Beatles: I love it all! If I can motivate a student with Taylor Swift, rather than Josef Haydn, I accept that enthusiastically.

I have worked as a professional accompanist at Central Lakes College since 2000. Working as accompanist to the college’s choirs keeps me versatile, flexible and familiar with current trends in academics.