Stacy Whalen

Piano Instruction in Fredericksburg, VA

Helping students become
life-long music learners

Ages five and up, beginners to advanced.


In-studio games to help reinforce learning goals in different ways.


Recitals, Piano Parties, and End-of-Year assessment options such as National Guild available for those interested.

Lending Library

Access to a lending library of music to borrow.


Private Facebook page for students and their families, with upcoming events, a studio calendar, and practice tips.

About Me

I’ve been studying music at the piano since I was six or seven years old. Since then, I have had the opportunity to study with many different teachers, since my dad’s Air Force career took my family around the country. I participated in local, state, and national competitions, such as National Guild, Rappahannock Music Society’s scholarship competitions, National Federation of Music Clubs Festival, and several other venues. I also taught neighborhood children as a high school student.

After high school, I pursued a bachelor’s degree in music education at Carson-Newman University (TN), with the intent of teaching music in a K-12 setting. However, I found my talents shone in private studio lessons, and therefore started my business at the Academy of Music and Art/Gainesville Guitar Academy while my husband pursued his Masters and Doctoral degrees at the University of Florida. I enjoyed a studio of up to 50 students by the time we left Florida for Virginia and Zach’s current position at the University of Mary Washington.

I kept a few students as we started our family here in Virginia, but I quickly discovered that I needed to focus my attention on raising our children. We now have four children, ages 8-14, and while I still enjoy the privilege of teaching them both school and piano, I am happy and ready to start teaching others piano as well!

Policies and Questions Answered

How I run my piano studio

I want to make your piano learning experience as rewarding and beneficial as possible. Music learning is a process, and it is something that will take time and effort. Trust that I am doing my best to guide you through this worthwhile endeavor.

What makes piano lessons different from other activities, such as sports or dance?

Piano is different because of where and when the major work takes place. With other activities, you have guided practice several times a week. The parent drops off the child and the magic happens! With piano, the student comes once a week for a short period of time, but the practicing is at home, and is typically self-guided, or parent-guided in the beginning. I do give guidelines for practice, but it is up to the student and parent to follow through. That looks different for each student, but the key is to make it as enjoyable as possible, and one way to do that is to be involved with practice. Sit with your child. Ask him or her to play something for you. Ask to be taught something learned in the lesson or something discovered. There is an element of creativity and exploration during practice which helps plant intrinsic motivation in the student. Once the student discovers what he or she can do on the piano and makes it a part of daily life, you may not be able to get your child off the piano!

What am I “getting” for tuiton and weekly lessons?

Just as your piano learning is much more than your weekly lesson, so is my planning and expertise more than your weekly lesson. I look forward to our weekly time together so I can share my own years of training, work, and experience in both playing and teaching. In addition to weekly lesson time, an optional group class is offered once a month. This class gives students a chance to play for each other, focus on a particular music subject, and get to know their piano peers. Currently, I do not charge for this class. I spend hours each week doing things that enrich our lesson time, including, but not limited to researching books, articles, attending workshops, webinars, cooperating and collaborating with other teachers to share ideas, as well as doing all the things to make the studio a great learning atmosphere. In addition, I am “on-call” most of the time for your questions and concerns.

What about keyboards versus acoustic pianos?

If you don’t already have one, you will need to have a piano if you want to continue much past 6 months of lessons. It is hard to get an accurate sense of what piano playing is on a keyboard with less than 88 keys and without weighted keys. Please ask me if you aren’t sure. I can give advice on what to purchase if you are unsure. A used, well maintained instrument or a digital piano (like Yamaha Clavinovas) are the way to go for the budget.

What about make-up lessons?

While I do understand that life happens (I have a family myself!), make-up lessons are not guaranteed, and I don’t discount for lessons not attended. I do this to protect my time and income, and to convey the sense of commitment that is needed to my piano families. If you know you won't be at lessons for 2 weeks out of the month, I will do my best to find extra time so you don't lose ground. If you need a different lesson time, I will try to accommodate your family's needs if I can. The optional group class mentioned above is a good way to get piano time with me if they are unable to come to a lesson during the month.

Should I stay with my child for her piano lesson?

Parents are welcome to stay during lessons in the studio, especially for the youngest beginners, so that they have a better idea of how to facilitate practice at home. Older children and teens benefit from a parent in the lesson on occasion, but as we are trying to foster independence and self-direction, know that your child will be given instructions for the week’s practice if you do not attend. You are welcome to wait on the porch, in the waiting area, or go run an errand.

Contact Me

To inquire about lessons or anything else, please send me an email at stacywhalen at gmail dot com.