Answers to most frequently asked questions.

Hi, My name is Tristan Lauber, pianist and the founder of the Lauber music academy.

My goal is to answer the most frequently asked questions (FAQ) regarding our piano teaching techniques, methodology, piano lesson rates, where to buy a piano or a  keyboard, and more.
If you still have questions, please feel free to contact me via phone,  email or, filling the contact form, and I will get back to you personally as soon as possible.

To join the Lauber Music Academy,

simply call, email, or fill in the contact form.

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Process, Policy and Rates

What is the process to become a student at Lauber’s academy?

Contact me directly via the contact form or even better by phone. Everything is so much easier to explain over the phone but in writing is fine as well. If I can take you on as a student myself, I will be happy to. If not, have no worries, I have a team of 12 or 14 (it can vary) piano teachers who are all exceptional. They all have a master’s or a doctorate degree in performance and a minimum of 10 to 20 years of piano teaching experience.

Each teacher teaches from their apartment or piano studio and we have as many locations as we have teachers. We cover the  Outremont, Mile End, Plateau Mont-Royal, Cote des Neiges, and downtown neighborhoods and I match you to a piano teacher as close to you as I can and whose schedule is compatible with yours.

I then send you the profile and contact info of the piano teacher and connect the two of you. Afterward, you arrange the schedule and you pay the teacher directly, one lesson at a time. We do not ask to be paid for an entire session, the one lesson at a time model works for everyone.

Do you have a cancellation policy?

Yes. You must give the teacher a minimum of 24 hours notice in case of cancellation unless it is an emergency or illness. Of course, the teacher also will give you the same 24 hours notice in case they have to cancel or reschedule.  In case of bad weather, we encourage you to do the piano lesson online. Online piano lessons work very well for beginners and intermediate-level students. You can also reschedule.  We have a written cancellation policy that explains all of this which will be given to you and which both you and your teacher will sign.

How much do piano lessons cost in Montreal?

The cost of lessons varies from one school to another, ranging anywhere from 40 to 55$ and even higher at some particular places. As for our rate, please contact us and we will gladly answer your question.

Minimum age, piano and keyboard

If I am a beginner do I need a piano or a keyboard and do I need to bring it with me to the piano lesson?

Yes, you absolutely need at the very least a small 61 key keyboard ( the full size has 88) at home. You do NOT have to bring this to your piano lesson since the teacher has their own keyboard or acoustic piano. You keep your keyboard at home and it is there for you to practice on. If you do not have a keyboard and don’t know which one to get, do not worry.  We have a great deal of experience and so many students, some of whom sell their keyboard to upgrade to a better one. So we will guide you with suggestions that will fit your budget.

How much does a basic piano keyboard cost and can you recommend where to buy one?

A basic piano keyboard would cost you between 120 to 170$ dollars will get you a 61 key keyboard. You purchase one at Best Buy or Amazon  Casio 61-Key Electric Keyboard (CT-S100) – Black – Only at Best Buy | Best Buy Canada

This will be good for a year. After that, if you want to continue you will need to upgrade to a full size 88 key instrument. The minimum cost for those is between 200 to 300$ on amazon: Vangoa VGD881 Piano Keyboard 88 Key, Portable Touch Sensitive Electronic Keyboard with Wireless Connection, Power Supply, Sustain Pedal and Padded Bag for Kids Adults Beginners, White: Amazon.ca: Musical Instruments, Stage & Studio

That is a very basic piano keyboard model that you will find far less enjoyable than your teacher’s instrument. But for 800$ you can get a much better quality instrument, so it’s worth considering.

How old do children have to be to start taking piano lessons?

You can start taking piano lessons as young as 5 years old. However, I myself and most of the piano teachers on staff only take them from 7 and up. I have two teachers who are experts with younger children ( it requires a completely different approach) and if they have spaces available I will direct you to them.

Piano Technique, Methodology

What is unique about your adult beginner piano methodology?

My piano methodology ensures that you learn how to read notes right from your first lesson, and that you can play piano with both hands within two lessons. Though some people like to learn by imitation, or by ear as we call it, and though it can allow you to play fairly nice sounding pieces quickly. The big disadvantage of spending too much time using this approach is that you will not learn how to read notes, and within a year you will reach a plateau and lose motivation. My approach will be a combination of playing from a book and possibly learning a piece by ear from time to time to maintain motivation. You will also learn music theory ( the equivalent of learning grammar ) as you learn your pieces and apply this theory to your playing.

In other words, you won’t be spending time writing boring homework assignments. Everything is done at the piano keyboard using an approach that is carefully balanced between teaching you the fundamentals but still keeping it light and enjoyable.

 Learn more about adult-beginner lessons here

I am a complete beginner. How long will it take for me to play something at the piano that sounds nice?

It will take you approximately 3 months to start playing something at the piano that sounds nice.

The book we use is in three volumes. An adult who practices 20 to 30 minutes a day will finish the first book in three months approximately on average, at that point you are playing something that sounds like this beautiful piece called ‘Gnossienne no. 3’ by Eric Satie and played by my student Yoline:

This same adult will have finished all three volumes within about 18 months, and this is the equivalent of  3 or 4 years of playing (adults learn faster than kids). So for  those of you dreaming of playing Beethoven’s  ‘Moonlight’ sonata ( the  first movement), here is a video of Oliviana, who started as a total beginner and after 18 months played it beautifully in front of 150 people on a gorgeous 9 foot Hamburg Steinway:

Oliviana started on a cheap 140 $ piano Keyboard and after 18 months bought herself a beautiful Yamaha upright piano that she still plays to this day.

How do I improve my piano technique?

Piano technique needs to be taught well right from the beginning not only to achieve your goal of playing your favorite pieces but also to avoid injuries such as tendonitis, carpal tunnel syndrome and other terrible things you don’t want to deal with.

There are two components to piano technique:


  1. Arm technique:

Anything such as leaps, playing staccato, or very fast octaves such as these: the infamous octaves in the last movement of the Tchaikowsky concerto played by one of my students when he was only 11:

2: Finger technique

 For finger technique, I use a variety of exercises, but the basic ones are from Hanon. Yes, the famous Hanon exercises that kids throughout the world generally hate. But they can be very fun and extremely useful to develop a solid finger technique. Here is the same student at the age of 12 playing 2 of them with the metronome at one quarter note =200. This is close to the fastest that fingers can play sixteenth notes and he accomplished this by working his way up from 120 beats per minute to 200 and even 216 on his best day.

Do you have a piano case study that shows the piano student’s progress?

Yes, here is a great piano case study of my student, Moxi,  featured in the video below filmed when he was twelve.

He started with me when he was 11. He had been playing piano for 6 years and was at a good intermediate level. Since then, in the space of 3 years, he has already learned the complete Tchaikowsky concerto, the first movement of the Rachmaninov 3rd and half of the opus 10 Chopin etudes. He is only 14.  He is currently preparing to do a video of the complete opus 10 etudes by the fall of 2020 and a year later will have a video of the complete opus 25. By the age of 16, he will be able to play all 24 Chopin etudes. A feat that is considered one of the most difficult things to do at the piano ( it takes a full hour to play all 24 in a row without interruption). At which point he will be ready to do international competitions.

Here is a video of him playing the first two  Chopin etudes opus 10, after only two months; these pieces  are considered to be among the most difficult of all the etudes:

General Questions

Do you provide online piano lessons and what equipment do I need?

Yes, we provide online piano lessons. One benefit of the pandemic (as they say: ‘every cloud has a silver lining!’ ) is that we were all quickly forced to teach online which is something none of us had ever done. But we all discovered that not only is it far easier than we thought, but we and our students enjoy the advantages of it. No more cancellations because of snowstorms or other weather issues. You just turn on your phone or computer and away we go!

For an online piano lesson, You will only need a webcam hooked up to a desktop,  a laptop, tablet or even just your phone. You position it so that the teacher sees you from the side and the teacher does the same. So it’s like you have your two pianos lined up next to each other. One important thing to note:  online piano lessons only work for beginner and intermediate level piano students. Advanced level students can also benefit but usually, an upgrade in equipment is necessary.

Do you provide piano lessons for adult beginners?

Yes, we provide piano lessons for adult beginners. The advantage with the piano is that it is much easier to learn as an adult than the violin or cello. Even if you start later in life you will be surprised at how well you will be able to play piano within a few years.

Can you prepare me for piano exams, auditions and competitions?

Yes, we can prepare you for piano exams and auditions such as RCM, Vincent d’Indy, McGill conservatory,  CEGEP auditions (I  have 5 students who were accepted to CEGEP music programs after studying with me for years), ABRSM and University entrance auditions as well.

Yes,we can also prepare you for piano competitions. Many of my students have won multiple 1st, 2nd, and 3rd prizes from local and national piano competitions over the last 20 years.

Do you have piano concerts I can perform in?

Of course. Piano concerts are the highlight of our year. My own piano students perform once a year every May. My teachers also organize concerts for their students. We have a concert for the kids and a separate one for the adults, which is always followed by a great evening at a bar close to the concert hall on St Laurent street. You can see a video with a montage of one of our recitals on the adult section of our website.  We have had 5 piano concerts so far and will resume most likely in May 2022, if the pandemic is over of course.  For the kids’concert after- party we have apple juice and cookies since serving them alcohol would probably not be a very good idea 😉

What is the difference between a beginner and an intermediate-level piano student?

There are different systems by which to establish your level of piano playing. Here in Canada, we have the Royal Conservatory of Music ( RCM) which is graded from Preparatory to grade 10. If you are level 5 to 7 you are considered intermediate. In Montreal, the École de Musique Vincent d’Indy has an excellent program graded from Preparatory to grade 9. If you are level 3 to 6 you are intermediate. Another way to determine your level is this: If you can play a  Bach two part invention or an one of the Clememti sonatinas, or in the popular repertoire, the various pieces from Yann Tiersen’s ‘Amélie’ soundtrack, you are intermediate.

What do you consider an advanced level pianist?

An advanced level pianist would be  RCM level 7 and above or Vincent d’Indy level 8 and above. If you can play Debussy’s ‘Clair de Lune, Beethoven’s ‘Pathetique’ sonata or Mozart ‘Rondo alla Turca’  or the Rachmaninov C sharp minor prelude fluidly, you are an advanced level pianist.

What are the benefits of learning a musical instrument?

Here are the top ten reasons you should learn a musical instrument:

  1. It sharpens your memory
  2. Refines organizational skills.
  3. Teaches discipline
  4. Promotes social skills (you play for your friends, you make new ones at the student recital etc,..)
  5. Enhances coordination
  6. Advances mathematical ability
  7. Improves reading and comprehension skills.
  8. Exposes you to cultural history
  9. Fosters self-expression and
  10. Increases self-confidence.

What else do you teach?

Just about everything related to piano or voice ( for all information regarding voice lessons click here: Singing Lessons Montreal | Express Voice Studio

You can learn how to sing and accompany yourself on piano, create your own arrangements, learn jazz, blues, salsa piano, harmony, composition, orchestration and, how to create your own recording studio. Our staff has specialists for any of the above skills.

Join the Lamber music academy today!

  • Find a piano teacher in Montreal

    Contact us and we will match you with the best piano teacher, one that fits your requirements and whose schedule is compatible with yours.

  • Arrange and schedule your first lesson

    You will receive the teacher's profile that matches your requirements so that you can arrange your schedule.

  • Start learning

    Attend your lesson and then decide if you want to continue. There is no pressure, it’s all up to you!