Private Music Instruction


Private instruction with the Thurnauer School of Music is designed to meet the needs of each individual student. All private lesson programs include student performance opportunities for soloists and ensembles, accompanist, and student admission to all concerts and master classes held at Thurnauer.

Teacher giving a horn lesson to a young boy.

We believe that music instruction is about the excitement and opportunity to experience and understand the range of responses one feels when listening to music and making music. To accomplish this, we recommend building on the learning that takes place in the private lesson with participation in instrumental group classes, ensembles, and theory and ear training classes.

Boy playing the piano on stage.
Teacher playing a brass instrument along side young boy.
Teacher showing young girl how to hold a violin.
Teacher giving flute lesson to a young girl.
Teacher giving cello lesson to a young girl.

Schedule a Free Consultation with Thurnauer’s Founding Director 
Prospective students begin by meeting with Thurnauer’s founding director, Dorothy Kaplan Roffman, for guidance in shaping their musical journey. Returning students who would like to make changes to their program, start a secondary instrument, or need general guidance are always welcome to schedule a meeting. 

Ways to explore your options at Thurnauer: In addition to speaking with Mrs. Roffman, we invite families to visit the school (we will arrange to a personalized tour, based on your interests) or attend a student recital (a chance to hear our students and meet current Thurnauer  parents).  

Instruments offered at Thurnauer: Private lessons are available for piano, strings, winds, brass, percussion, and voice. Private lessons are also offered in theory, composition, and sight reading. View full list of instruments offered. 

Lesson lengths offered include 30, 45, 60 minutes and longer, and students may take either one or two lessons per week. Students may also take lessons on a second instrument.  

Lesson lengths for beginning students: Beginning violin, cello and piano students are required to take two 30-minute lessons a week. For all other instruments at the beginning level, students are encouraged to take two 30-minute lessons a week.  

Supplemental classes and ensembles. At Thurnauer, we believe that it is important to learn about and enjoy music in its many aspects in order to be a well-informed, complete musician.  This includes understanding the language of music (note-reading, theory, ear-training, composition) and ensemble skills (how to make music with others).  All students taking private-lessons are therefore required to add one or more classes or ensembles to their program, for a discounted tuition, with the exception of first-time private lessons students, who may, for their first year of study, take a lessons-only program. However, we strongly encourage first-year students to add at least one class or ensemble.   

Summer lessons: Learning an instrument is best done with year-round study and practice and we offer private lessons throughout the summer.  

Student Performances: At Thurnauer, we believe that performing is a very important and fun part of one’s musical education and experience. All private-lesson programs include frequent student performance opportunities, including monthly student recitals with a piano accompanist. Students enrolled in group classes or ensembles also perform with their groups.   

Attending performances and master classes: Attending concerts and hearing professional musicians perform and teach master classes is another great (and fun) opportunity at Thurnauer.  Our students are invited admission free to all Thurnauer performances, other than the annual Gift of Music Gala Benefit Concert. These concerts include faculty and guest artist recitals, performances by the Thurnauer Chamber Music Series, and master classes with renowned guest artists. For details, visit our Concerts and Events page.  

Resources for Parents: Thurnauer staff and faculty members are happy to advise families regarding renting and purchasing instruments and provide this content-rich Thurnauer Music Education Resources.

Preparation for auditions: For intermediate and advanced students, expert support and preparation are available for band and orchestral instruments, county and regional/all-state competitions, and college applications.  

Tuition is for 30 weeks. For details, see the Guide to Programs and Registration.

Instruments Offered (full list): piano, voice, strings (violin, viola, cello, double bass, guitar, harp, ukulele), winds (oboe, clarinet, flute, saxophone, bassoon, recorder), brass (trumpet, horn, trombone, tuba), percussion (timpani, drum set, marimba and more) 

Semi-Private Lessons for Woodwinds & Brass

Open to students at all levels, semi-private lessons offer a flexible alternative to private lessons. The curriculum is tailored to the students’ learning pace and needs, and focuses on basic technique, tone production and music-reading skills. Many opportunities are provided for students to perform in solo recitals and concert events. Class size is limited to 2 for all instruments except flute, which is limited to 4.

Beginning students take one 45-minute semi-private lesson/week. Intermediate students take one 60-minute semi-private lesson/week. At the advanced level, students enroll for private lessons through the Young Artists Programs.

Please contact the music school office for more information.

Schedule a Consultation

Prospective students begin by meeting with Thurnauer’s founding director, Dorothy Kaplan Roffman, for guidance in shaping their musical journey.  Returning students who would like to make changes to their program, start a secondary instrument, or need general guidance are always welcome to schedule a meeting.


Why should my child study music?

  • In addition to the enormous personal enjoyment music brings, music study helps children learn how to learn.
  • Attending lessons and practicing an instrument each day teaches focus, concentration, patience, critical thinking and reflection – skills we use throughout our lives.
  • Studies have shown that “students engaged in music programs outperformed their peers on every indicator: grade-point average, graduation rate, Act scores, attendance and discipline referrals.”
  • KU research establishes link between music education and academic achievement

Why should my child study at the JCC Thurnauer School of Music?

  • A school environment creates a community of musicians who inspire, motivate and befriend each other.
  • Students benefit musically and psychologically from the expertise of our excellent faculty, the School’s warm, nurturing atmosphere and the experience of hearing other students make music at different levels of musical development.
  • The Thurnauer School offers a stimulating variety of classes, performances, workshops, and recital opportunities.

Can my child just take private lessons at the Thurnauer School?

  • As an introduction to learning an instrument, students can take just a private lesson, but only during their first year at the school. Thereafter, all students must take one or more components as part of their music program.
  • Making music with others quickens the pace of learning and accomplishment. We also find that students have fun in these classes and that this is not only enriching but also highly motivational to them.
  • Children in a full program of music study are “stretched”, musically and intellectually, as they learn new things and exchange musical and verbal ideas with their peers.
  • A program that is limited to private lessons lacks the richness of learning about music. The more we understand, the more joy there is in playing and listening.

When should my child begin the study of music?

  • Learning about music can begin at birth. However, the best age to start an instrument varies with the instrument and the child’s physical development. For example, violinists and flutists can begin as young as 3, whereas trumpet players should be at least 8.
  • Our classes for young children stand on their own, but they are also developmental, and will introduce skills to help your child with further musical study if it’s desired. “Developmental” also means dynamic; each week builds on the previous lesson.

How should we help our child select an instrument?

  • The choice of instrument depends on the child’s interests, temperament and size. Most children have a natural affinity for a particular instrument or sound and, if given the chance to choose, will know what they like.
  • We encourage sitting in on lessons and classes at our School. Please contact our scheduling director to arrange for a visit or a trial lesson: 201-567-7900 Ext. 375 or
  • Attending professional concerts and student recitals with your child can also spark interest in a particular instrument. Children are welcome to attend any of our student recitals.

How do we select an instrumental teacher for your child?

At the Thurnauer School, a great deal of care is given to finding the best “match” from among our fine faculty. Music School Director Dorothy Roffman meets individually with each new student and parent(s) prior to enrollment, observing the child and learning about the family before assigning a teacher.

What is the registration process for new students?

The process is all handled online. It includes completing the registration form, enrolling in your choice of lessons and class, completing the scheduling forms, submitting a tuition deposit and, if you are enrolling ina private lesson program, scheduling a meeting with the Music School Director.

Do I need to register for the entire year?

With the exception of some early childhood classes, our curriculum is designed as a full, 30 week program. That said, you can withdraw within the first five weeks of classes for a prorated tuition and a $75 processing charge. Thereafter, partial refunds are available as stipulated in our Terms and Conditions.

Does the Music School offer a payment plan?

Yes. You can set up an eight month payment plan that withdraws funds from your bank account or charges your credit card automatically each month.

Does the Music School offer Financial Aid?

Yes. The Music School has a number of endowed funds earmarked for this purpose, and over 15%of our students receive some form of tuition scholarship. Scholarship forms are available online, or you may request one from the Financial Manager, Dan Jatovsky at

Are discounts available?

Yes. The following discounts are available for you and your family to enjoy the gift of music.

Sibling Discount
SAVE $25 off total tuition for a class or performance ensemble (if not part of a Private Lesson Program) SAVE $90 off total tuition for a Private Lesson Program

Refer a Friend Discount
Refer a new family who registers for private music lessons and you both get $100 OFF TUITION

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