Piano Lab School

The Piano Laboratory School of the Music Department at Gustavus Adolphus College is a training program in which Gustavus students offer piano instruction to children of the community. Through this program Gustavus students develop piano teaching skills through practical experience under the supervision of the Director of the Piano Lab.

Student Teachers

The Gustavus students who teach in the Lab School have completed a piano pedagogy course at the college, have studied music theory, are currently studying piano with Gustavus faculty and are members of the Minnesota Music Teachers Association. They meet regularly with the Piano Lab Director to review teaching goals, materials, and methods. Occasionally they videotape lessons in order to receive feedback on their teaching techniques.

During spring semester, students from the current Piano Pedagogy Class practice teach in the Lab School. Pedagogy students observe a week of lessons and then teach two weeks of lessons under the supervision of the regular student teacher. Every effort is made to ensure the lessons are well planned and the children have a feeling of consistency in their lessons.

If a student teacher leaves the program due to graduation, student teaching in the public school, a study-abroad semester, or for any other reason, their students will be reassigned to another GAC student teacher.


The Piano Lab School offers beginning and intermediate level lessons to children and teenagers from 1st to 12th grades. Students will receive a 40-minute private lesson once a week and a group studio class during fall semester. Recitals are held at the end of each semester.

When students progress to the late intermediate and early advanced levels, they will be referred to teachers in the community. The program cannot accommodate adult beginners.

Students with special needs should have a conversation with the director before registering. It is important for the teacher and director to know what learning challenges students have so lesson plans and materials can be adapted to each student’s needs. Sometimes established, experienced teachers in the community can provide a better teaching environment for students with learning challenges than the Lab School teachers can.