The A-B-Cs of Studying at Our Music Academy

A.  Learn to play satisfying, "real" music within the first month of lessons, as we specialize in rapid, quality progress in our approach to music teaching.

B.   Learn piano and guitar in comfortable studios equipped with a wide range of traditional and high-tech educational tools and materials, high-quality pianos that bring out the best in each student, from teachers with a tremendous commitment to each student's enjoyment and success.

C.  Learn the principles of professional technique and artistry beginning with the very first lesson.  (We don't delay these critical elements for the sake of getting through the method book as quickly as possible.) 


Important Notice


Thank you for your interest in Apple Valley Guitar and Piano Academy.


Please note that we offer music lessons only.  We do not sell any musical products, equipment or replacement parts, and do not repair musical instruments


Studio Hours:


8:30 AM to 8 PM Monday-Thursday, 3:00 PM-7:00 PM Friday, 10 AM to 5:30 PM Sunday. Closed Saturday. 

Our Newest Feature

Hidden Treasures of Piano and Guitar Music.

Most of our students prefer to learn popular music, the repertoire of which is widely known.  For those that love classical piano and guitar music, our head teacher has compiled a catalog of hundreds of "hidden musical treasures".

These pieces of music are extraordinarily beautiful―especially in terms of the melody―yet unknown to the vast majority of students, and even many professionals and experts.  Most of this music is not available in stores, and is very difficult to find―even on the Internet.  In one case, for example, it took our head teacher four hours to find just one of these rare sheet music scores.

This is a tremendous resource available exclusively to students of Apple Valley Guitar and Piano Academy.  In particular, the music we have cataloged ranges in difficulty from the mid-beginner to the concert level.  Therefore, every student of ours who enjoys classical music has access to these hidden treasures.

Reasons For Taking Piano and Guitar Lessons at Our Music Academy

For every hour in the studio, our head teacher spends approximately 30 minutes on lesson preparation. (See point 3 below for details.) 

In short, his students pay for a 30-minute lesson, but receive 45 minutes of his time as teachers.  The overall result is a highly effective, detailed, content-rich lesson experience that helps you master your instrument more quickly and thoroughly.

Important notes: The head teacher routinely shares the content of his lesson prep to our associate teacher, to an extent that's relevant to her students.  Also, most students who stay with us for 2-3 years or more eventually move to the head teacher. 

Our studio has produced virtuoso performers and college scholarship winners. 

With us, the journey to phenomenal musical success begins with the very first lesson.

Free prizes and incentives to motivate younger students to practice. 

Exclusive Accelerando Training Method for Piano and Guitar. 

This method is designed to produce the fastest possible progress in learning piano and guitar, and serves as a pathway to the highest levels of instrumental mastery.  See the topic Piano and Guitar Learning Curriculums below for details.

Click here for important Accelerando Method disclaimer.

Piano students learn on a high-end digital grand piano or a European-style acoustic grand piano. 

Our Roland digital grand has a slanted lid and the harp shape of an acoustic grand, allowing for additional speakers and much better sound quality than a console (rectangular) digital.  The digital grand is used to teach young children due to its light, "easy" key action.

Our acoustic grand has an "old world" European scale design, providing a warmer, rounder, sweeter tone than the typical modern piano.  It is also regularly tuned, voiced and adjusted by a nationally-recognized expert technician.

1000s of custom learning materials for piano and guitar created by our head teacher, that you can't find in stores or on the Internet. 

These include:

        detailed study notes for piano or guitar pieces the student is working on (see the topic "Custom Piano Editions with Study Notes" below)

        free sheet music

        free simplified arrangements of virtuoso music for advanced beginners and intermediates (makes children and teens sound like "junior concert performers")

        free studies and exercises for developing technical virtuosity

        free music theory  handouts

        skill and knowledge-enhancing activities in his Accelerando Method lesson plan

        essays on technique, musicianship and such as melodic "ornaments", etc.

These innovative materials provide highly effective instruction for students at all levels―from beginner to professional.  They also offer an intellectually stimulating, activity-based enhancement to the traditional manner of teaching from store-bought sheet music.

In many cases, students can instantly print copies of these free materials on our studio printer.

Or―if the student downloads the free Finale Notepad 2012 software―they can play back the head teacher's Finale music files on their computer at any speed they want.  As an added bonus, we wrote a manual on this software tailored  to our students usage, which is free of charge.

Digital music teaching workstations with large, 21-inch HD monitors.

These workstations provide students with access to fun, interactive software and games for music theory and note reading.  They also serve to showcase our head teacher's custom music learning materials, videos and music scores. specifically, he has compiled videos of hundreds of classical repertoire pieces as recorded by the world's greatest pianists and guitarists.  As a result, the student can see and hear these unparalleled masters play the music they are studying, thereby greatly enriching their learning experience.

Finale music writing software on the the digital music teaching workstations.

This allows our teachers to create music exercises and theory examples tailored to each student right in the lesson, as well as illustrate various musical concepts in a crystal-clear visual format. 

In addition, our head teacher has written a free Finale instruction manual, so students can learn to use the program at home.  As a result, they can prepare their written music homework assignments with software rather instead of using the slow and irregular method of writing music by hand.

For advanced students, digital metronome and highly sophisticated chord and note-recognition "flashcard" software, written by our head teacher.

Student piano recitals performed on a 9-foot Steinway grand piano, the same instrument used by the world's greatest virtuosos for concerts and recordings.

  Our teachers have a minimum of 12 years of music teaching experience.

Our head teacher has 50 years of music experience, college and university training in music theory and performance, and has published music teaching books that were sold on major retail websites.

  We are full-time, professional teachers.

As a result of this exclusive focus, we are expert musical educators capable of delivering rapid, quality progress and satisfaction to our students.  This assumes that students practice for an adequate amount of time each week and and follow our lesson instructions while doing so.

Free cold beverages for all, and free hot beverages―including Starbucks-quality espresso, cappuccinos and lattes―for adults.

Free Wi-Fi access for adult smart phones and student siblings tablet computers.

Lesson Sign-up/Free Introductory Lesson

Prospective students (and parents of students who are minor children) are invited to attend a free introductory lesson.  During that time, both will have a chance to interact with the teachers and evaluate the studio environment.  Since we frequently receive referrals from current, happy lesson customers, we are confident that all involved will be pleased with their experience.


To schedule your free introductory lesson, call us at the number above.


Custom Piano Editions with Study Notes

In prior years, our head teacher produced dozens of professionally-typeset guitar music editions designed for our students.  Now, he is introducing the same type of editions for piano.  Each of these meticulously crafted publications involves up to 40 hours of effort in the following areas:

Creation of detailed study notes that explain every major aspect of learning the music, which are used to guide the student in their lessons.  Particularly important are solutions to technical and rhythmic problems that allow students to overcome difficulties quickly.

Adding numerous fingering indications (numbers 1-5) that make the music easier to play. This is especially important in passages that must be played fast.  Furthermore, doing this work up front means that valuable lesson time is not wasted while the teacher adds or corrects fingerings in commercial editions.

  Melodic ornaments (trills, mordents, etc.), which are usually abbreviated symbols such as "tr", are "realized" or written out in full.  All these realizations are confirmed by listening to recordings of the world's greatest concert piano interpreters, who are the true experts as far as ornament performance is concerned.  In contrast, relying on the ornament interpretations in commercial editions often leads to musically unsatisfying results. 

Below is an example of a trill realization:


These custom editions are just one of many examples of Apple Valley Piano Academy's commitment to the highest levels of excellence in piano teaching, and above all, to the piano playing success of our students.


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Answers to Piano Questions


Click Here for Piano Answers


We Train Teachers/

Guitar and Piano Teachers Wanted


If you are a relatively new teacher having difficulty with the business or solving your students learning problems, we can help.  Call or e-mail us for more information.


We are also looking for independent piano and guitar teachers to work with us.


Main Menu


General Lesson Information

What Do Lessons Cost?

AVGPA Students Offered Scholarships

New Feature of Our Piano Program

Testimonial of an Amazing Transformation

Recorded Proof that Our Teaching Methods Produce Extraordinary Results

Studying Fine-Art Music Improves Intelligence

Piano and Guitar Learning Curriculums

Features Common to Our Piano and Guitar Programs

Buying a Student Guitar

Customer Service Contact information

Letters from Students and Parents


New to Our Site


The Inside Story of the Piano

Piano Tone Production Theory

(These articles explain many technical terms in the ones below)

Buying a Piano

How to Use the Piano Pedals

How to Improve the Sound of Your Piano


General Lesson Information


Apple Valley Guitar & Piano Academy of Apple Valley, MN offers private and semi-private lessons for Adults, Teens, and Children ages 4-12 in:



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This training focuses on three key areas:


Technique (efficient, accurate finger movements),

Musicianship (quality of sound), and

Interpretation (varying the sound and time of notes according to personal taste).


Our approach is particularly effective because we teach professional-level principles and skills in these areas, starting with the very first lesson. This includes young children as well.  By strongly encouraging high achievement in the context of music appropriate to the student's current technical ability, they achieve their full potential as musicians at every step of their training.




Rather than teach students to copy the teacher's playing style, we have specialized techniques that allow them to develop their own musical personality.  This self-discovery process takes mental effort and experimentation with sound variations, guided by an expert teacher.  Eventually, however, the student is rewarded with a strong sense of confidence as a musician, and the ability to be creative without the teacher's assistance.  Thus, even our younger students become true musical artists.


What Do Lessons Cost?


The word "cost" is only meaningful when you know exactly what you will receive for your money, and the hidden fees or expenses involved. 


In the case of music teaching, the long-term cost of learning to play an instrument properly is what really matters, not the price per lesson.  This cost includes:


1. Printed learning materials. We offer our own professionally typeset, self-published music, chord charts, and theory printouts free of charge.  This can reduce the cost of music study by as much as $10 per month. Read more about this money-saving feature.


Note: Students must pay for any sheet music and method books we have purchased for their convenience from music stores, or ordered from publishers. As is the case with any music teaching studio affiliated with the Apple Valley Music Teachers Association, these commercial materials are required.


Sample of Our Free Guitar Sheet Music:

Lagrima, by Tarrega.


Notice the detailed information about fingerings and string numbers, standard

notation and tab, just as you would see in a top-quality commercial edition.



Sample of Our Free Piano Sheet Music:

Minuet in G, BWV 114 from the Anna Magdelana Bach Book


Notice the inclusion and written explanation of the mordent and appoggiatura ornaments.  One or both are often missing from commercial editions.



Click here for an example of a piano technique article our students receive for free.


2. The amount of time to reach a level where the student can play real, enjoyable solo music, not 20-second riffs and chord strumming Since our innovative teaching systems produce results about 2-3 times faster than traditional methods, over time, 100s or even 1000s of dollars can be saved by learning guitar or piano with us.  Less effective teaching methods produce slower progress.


Therefore, the lessons in a slower program actually cost more than our Accelerando (tm) Piano and Guitar methods to reach the same goal, even though the cost per lesson is less with the slower program.


To confirm point 2 above, here's a parent's testimonial regarding the successful debut performance of their 12-year-old after 1 year of lessons:


"We wanted to let you know that our son played in church today. More people than we could count complimented him after the performance. The pastor said it brought tears to his eyes. We heard so many people say they never thought a guitar could sound so full and beautiful."


More Letters from Students and Parents

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AVGPA Students Offered Scholarships  


An AVGPA student recently received a $12,000 scholarship to study guitar at the University of Minnesota, AFTER JUST 8 MONTHS OF CLASSICAL LESSONS with us.  This student was taught with our exclusive Accelerando Guitar Method (discussed below) which is available to students of any age or ability level.  We also have an Accelerando Method for piano.


A St. Thomas University professor gave another guitar student assurances he would receive a scholarship if he applied to the music school.  This student also received a grade of "A" after an evaluation by a member of the Minnesota Orchestra.


These independent assessments by top music experts confirm our claims of educational quality and results throughout the remainder of this site.


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Recorded Proof that Our Teaching Methods Produce Extraordinary Results


Below are recordings of children and teens playing adult-level guitar solos. 


"When I first visited this site and heard these beautiful recordings, I never dreamed that my son would be playing one of these pieces so soon!"

Parent of a 12-year-old guitar student


Click this link to view Apple Valley Guitar Academy YouTube Videos



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Testimonial of an Amazing Transformation


The following testimonial is regarding a student who quit lessons with a recording artist to study at Apple Valley Guitar Academy.  At age 12, he is now a musical performer in his community.


"We really wanted our child to learn from someone who genuinely cared about the technique and precision needed to master classical guitar.  We are so happy with the progress he has made and we graciously thank you.  It has been an amazing transformation and we appreciate all you have done for him."


More Letters from Students and Parents

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Studying Fine-Art Music Improves Intelligence


Science has shown that playing fine-art/classical music improves overall intelligence, stimulates artistic creativity, and boosts learning ability.  This is because the music has highly elaborate rhythms, a wide range of harmonic (chord) colors, and a complex overall structure in terms of how the notes interact.


You or your child can enjoy these benefits with the guidance of our fine-art music experts.  In particular, we are one of the few studios in the area that specializes in teaching classical music on the guitar.


Note that we also teach quality popular music.


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Piano and Guitar Learning Curriculums






available exclusively at Apple Valley Guitar and Piano Academy, allows students to maximize musical enjoyment, reach their full potential as pianists, and do both as quickly as possible.


Details of this Revolutionary Piano Lesson System

Important Accelerando Method disclaimer.


Let us Help You with Your Piano Purchase


See "Features Common to Our Piano and Guitar Programs" below for more information on our piano teaching methods.



We also use the "Accelerando" approach to teach guitar.

Click here to learn more




Our head has written a book of acoustic guitar studies, exercises, and recital pieces, organized into five student levels, plus concert/virtuoso level.  It was created because commercial learning materials for beginners and intermediates don't appeal to many of our students. 




Our guitar students can participate in ensembles, such as duet playing.  This is important training since most professional musicians must be able to play accurately along with others.




We teach playing the guitar with a pick, which is most effective for strumming and melody (lead) playing.  We also offer lessons in the beautiful, versatile technique known as fingerstyle, where four fingers of the right hand pluck the strings This allows a guitarist to play music with independent layers or "lines", including pieces written for piano or even an orchestra. 


For example, in a typical music group, different guitarists play melody (lead), chords (rhythm), and bass (low notes).  With fingerstyle training, our students can play all three together―melody/chords/bass!


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Features Common to Our Piano and Guitar Programs


Digital Flashcard Software for Rapid Mastery of Music Reading


This software was developed by our head teacher

to work with the Accelerando Piano and Guitar Methods




For students/parents who request it, we offer testing in ear training, "technical" exercises (such as scales) and music performance, which provides provides a clear measurement of student progress.  With the successful test, the selected student rises one grade out of 10, giving them  a sense of accomplishment and confidence.  Best of all, the skills acquired improve one's playing and ability to learn new music quickly.


The testing curriculum is based on the internationally recognized standards set by the renowned Royal Conservatory of Music and the Associated Board of Royal Music Schools.




On a regular basis, our head teacher researches and creates new teaching methods, technique studies, and music for students to play.  This translates into faster and higher-quality musical progress as each year of study passes, and the excitement of new and challenging modes of learning.




This training focuses on three key areas:


Technique (efficient, accurate finger movements),

Musicianship (quality of sound), and

Interpretation (varying the sound and time of notes according to personal taste).


Our approach is particularly effective because we teach professional-level principles and skills in these areas, starting with the very first lesson. This includes young children as well.  By our refusing to settle for anything less than a professional sound in the context of music matching the student's finger ability, they achieve their full potential as musicians at every step of their training.




Rather than teach students to copy the teacher's playing style, we have specialized techniques that allow them to develop their own musical personality.  This self-discovery process takes mental effort and experimentation with sound variations, guided by an expert teacher.  Eventually, however, the student is rewarded with a strong sense of confidence as a musician, and the ability to be creative without the teacher's assistance.  Thus, even our younger students become true musical artists.


Development of creativity is further enhanced by teaching students the music theory behind each piece they study.  As a result, they can enhance their weekly lesson music.  This involve rewriting a part of a melody line, adding "ornaments" and other special effects, expanding the accompaniment to the melody, or composing an intro or ending. 




After the early beginner phase, our students are taught how to improvise by adding to or changing the music they are working on.


Chord-melody arranging allows students to experience the joy of musical creativity without the difficult work of composing melodies.  Specifically, they learn how to combine chords with their favorite melodies to create beautiful arrangements that are uniquely their own.  As a result, they can develop a large repertoire of songs in any style.  Arranging also represents highly effective training in the memorization of chords, and the art of organizing chord notes for the most attractive and effective sound (chord voicing).


As students reach a high level of technical skill and musical understanding, they are also taught the art of composing original pieces.  Those interested in classical music learn the art of translating works of the great master composers for performance on the guitar, which is called transcribing.




Theory explains the building blocks of music and how they are used to create musical compositions.  Theory knowledge allows students to write their own music, improvise, and create accompaniments to singing.  In addition, they will play written music much better than those who are unaware of musical structure. 




Ear training involves recognizing musical sounds by name, notating them on staff paper, and playing them accurately through hearing alone.  It also sharpens musical perception and makes the student more sensitive to pitch and duration patterns in music.  As a result, their playing improves significantly.  Ear training is also excellent preparation for arranging, composing, and improvising, which is discussed below.




In line with the expectations of most piano students and their parents, the main focus of the piano program is on classical music.  For piano, the popular music category mentioned earlier includes mainstream "pop", jazz, movie themes, Christian, etc.


In the guitar program, students choose to specialize in classical or pop music, but are introduced to both during their training with us.



Apple Valley Guitar & Piano Academy Recital Students, June 2009


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Buying a Student Guitar


Retail stores today offer a wide variety of guitars with significant differences in beauty of tone, structural quality, longevity, warranties, and suitability for beginners/children.  Our master teacher, who has 40 years of experience with the major acoustic guitar makes/models, has written a Guitar Buying Guide to help you in your purchase.


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Buying a Piano


The issues above regarding a guitar purchase are compounded by the much higher cost of the piano. Therefore, the professional assistance we offer in buying a piano is a must.   To learn more, click here: Let Us Help You with Your Piano Purchase.


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The Inside Story of the Piano


A thorough understanding of how a piano works contributes to better playing, and proper maintenance that keeps it sounding it's best year-round.  To this end, our head teacher has written an article on this topic. Click here to read the article.


How to Use the Piano Pedals


This is another article by our head teacher, which offers into the three piano pedals: damper, una corda, and sostenuto.  Click here to read the article.


Customer Service Contact information


Call: 952-322-4329 or 612-710-0800

E-mail: info @ AVGuitarAcademy . com

Mail: Apple Valley Guitar Academy

PO Box 241204

Apple Valley, Minnesota, 55124, USA


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Privacy Statement


All information we obtain from customers in order to conduct our music lesson business and process payments is kept confidential.  We do not sell e-mail or postal addresses of our customers to any other party.


Payment, Cancellation, Return and Refund Policies


Official PayPal Seal


More Information on

Apple Valley Guitar & Piano Academy




We offer lessons on acoustic (steel string) and classical (nylon string) guitars. 

Steel-string training includes playing with a pick or fingerstyle (with the right-hand fingers). 

Classical guitar, often called "Spanish guitar", is taught fingerstyle. 



We are located in Apple Valley, MN,

and serve the following South of the River communities:

Apple Valley, Burnsville, Cannon Falls, Coates, Eagan, Eden Prairie, Farmington, Hastings, Inver Grove Heights, Lakeville, New Market, Northfield, Owatonna, Prior Lake, Rosemount, and Webster




AVGA Teachers


Piano Student Registration Form

Guitar Student Registration Form





Private Guitar Lessons: 30/45/60 minutes

Private Piano Lessons: 30/45/60 minutes

On-demand Workshops for Intermediate and Advanced guitarists and pianists


Closed Dates/Holidays

*updated 10/2010








Toll Free: 1-866-994-Bach (1-866-994-2224)

Copyright 2004-2011 The Markert Group, Inc.  P.O. Box 241204 Apple Valley, MN 55124

This site was last updated 03/04/15

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Piano lessons Apple Valley, Piano lessons Burnsville, Piano lessons Cannon Falls, Piano lessons Coates, Piano lessons Eagan, Piano lessons Farmington, Piano lessons Hastings, Piano lessons Inver Grove Heights, Piano lessons Lakeville, Piano lessons New Market, Piano lessons Northfield, Piano lessons Owatonna, Piano lessons Prior Lake, Piano lessons Rosemount, and Piano lessons Webster

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