Founded in 2013, the Music con Brio piano program offers students a solid musical foundation and the rare opportunity to perform as part of large group performances playing a keyboard instrument. All students attend the program twice per week: once for a 45-minute group class and once for a 30-minute partner lesson. The program runs for 15 weeks each in the fall and in the spring, and we also offer an optional 4-week summer session.


Music con Brio students studying piano work with both electric and acoustic instruments. From the beginning, they work on establishing the fundamentals of excellent piano playing: posture, finger and hand positions, reading music, clapping rhythms, and singing.  They also play lots of musical games and perform solos for each other every week to help them prepare for recitals and concerts.

Music con Brio piano students utilize the popular Faber Piano Adventures lesson and theory books. Students learn piano technique, rhythm, and ear training hands-on from Day One. Whether they are stomping out rhythms, singing intervals, or practicing their curvy piano fingers, our violin teachers make sure a strong foundation is set for all our students to ensure future success on their musical journey.

We ask all our students to earn taking home their keyboards. This means two things: that students must master a set of foundational skills to ensure correct (and injury-free!) practicing, and that students learn how to properly take care of their instruments. It also enables students to build up their own investment in their skills, and helps them take ownership of their learning.


We begin by teaching a few “black key songs” by ear to familiarize students with the instrument, and to work on solid piano playing posture and proper hand position. These skills take a great deal of hand-eye coordination, and need time to develop. In order to facilitate the proper development of all these skills, we work with the students on them in every lesson and group class until they have been properly learned. We do not ask the students to practice these skills at home until they have already mastered them in lessons, thereby ensuring correct at-home practice when the students are ready to work without direct supervision.


Once the correct posture and hand position have been learned, our next goal is basic note reading. Again, this is a process and takes time to develop, but we find it is well worth the time and effort to enable students to work out of their books independently in their at-home practice!


While working on these skills, students are also learning how to play music together in a group by watching and listening to their teachers, how to behave in class and on stage, and how to take care of their instruments. Finally, we introduce some foundational rhythm and ear training concepts using clapping, singing, and listening to the teachers play different notes on the piano.


By the time students earn taking home their keyboards, they have already learned several simple songs. They are now ready to perform on the First Year Student Showcase, held within the annual Emerson Variety Show each December. At their debut performance, students will play a few songs in a group with a teacher-leader. This performance is designed to be fun and low-stress. 

In the spring of their first year, students are invited to participate in their first Community Concert. (Go to Gallery to see all Community Concert photos.) They will also perform their first solo in the annual Spring Solo Recitals, usually held in May. For the rest of their time in Music con Brio, students will perform in one Community Concert each semester, and one solo recital each year. Additional performance opportunities may also be offered. 

As students advance, group classes will be divided into three sections: Group playing time (playing common repertoire, known as “review pieces”,) solo time, and theory/ear training. Once students are in sufficiently advanced, additional repertoire will be assigned for group classes and performances. As students develop their own outside musical interests, they may also choose to work on repertoire for Solo and Ensemble competitions, outside ensembles, or other projects during lessons with their Music con Brio teacher.