By Molly Snyder Senior Writer Published May 06, 2009 at 8:32 AM

For generations, piano lessons have served as an integral part of kids’ developmental process. Exposure to musical instruments at a young age teaches self discipline, encourages creativity and self-expression, builds self-esteem and, nowadays, reminds young people that there’s more to recreation than video or computer games.

"The process of  playing an instrument builds neuron connections in the brain that have been linked to higher academic achievement," says Jennette Cable, the owner of J.S. Cable Music Studio, 634 E. Burleigh St.

Cable started teaching piano from her Riverwest home in 1996. Later, along with her husband, she purchased the building that currently houses her studio, and coincidentally, the space is rumored by neighbors to have once housed Liberace’s back-up piano player.

"I wanted to provide a place in the community where I and other musicians could teach alongside one another and build relationships in the community through music," says Cable, who is a member of Milwaukee Area Piano Teachers (MAPTA) and Milwaukee Music Teachers Associaton (MMTA).

J.S. Cable Music Studio offers private piano lessons, as well as instruction in guitar, drums, bass, violin, cello, viola, voice, saxophone, clarinet, banjo, flute, mandolin, theory, recorder, harmonica, ear training, composition and improvisation. Kindermusik classes -- group music programs offered to children ages newborn to 7 -- are also available.

Christina Fordham is the piano lesson coordinator at the White House of Music, 2102 N. Springdale Rd. Fordham has played piano for 18 years, and says she usually starts teaching piano to kids around age 7.

"I will teach piano to kids as young a 4, it just depends on the kid," says Fordham. 

According to Cable, knowing when to start piano lessons depends on the child, but most children experience greater degrees of success if they can count, write their numbers from one to 10 and engage in a focused activity for at least 20 minutes. 

"The key to the age appropriateness lies in whether or not the child expresses interest without any parental prompting," says Cable.

Piano lessons range in price, but $20-25 for a private, half-hour lesson is average.

J.S. Cable Music Studio enrolls about 50 piano students every year. Classes run during the school year, from September until June, and the tuition is $750 for a weekly, half-hour lesson. Payment plans are available. There are two summer piano programs that run for one month each and cost $100 for four private, half-hour lessons.

White House of Music’s piano lessons cost $75 per month for a weekly half-hour piano lesson. There is a one-time $20 registration fee. Also, Fordham offers a class for younger kids called "Come And Play" (CAP) that introduces young children to the piano.

All of the J.S. Cable instructors and White House instructors are professional musicians.

"The teachers affiliated with J.S. Cable Music Studio take music education seriously. We believe in 'building relationships one lesson at a time' and put all our focus on the unique needs of our students," says Cable.

To start lessons, families do not have to own a piano -- an electric keyboard will suffice -- but eventually  an acoustic piano is a required investment for serious students.

"We make learning to play the piano really fun," says Fordham.

Here are a list of music studios that offer kids' piano lessons. Add other suggestions via the Talkback feature.

A Joyful Noise
12440 Wilbur Dr., New Berlin, (262) 784-3018

Abbey Music Lessons
2213 S. 98th St., (414) 541-8401

Expressions Piano Studio
13930 W. Grange Ave., New Berlin, (262) 427-9980

J.S. Cable Music Studio
634 E. Burleigh St., (414) 374-0657

Kames Music Service
7363 Brunn Dr., Franklin, (414) 321-8633

Netzow’s Piano Music Plus
8837 W. North Ave., Wauwatosa, (414) 454-0470‎

White House of Music
2101 N. Springdale Rd., Waukesha, (262) 798-9700
(check Web site for locations in Germantown, Oconomowoc, Watertown, Wauwatosa and West Bend)

Wisconsin Conservatory of Music
1584 N. Prospect Ave., (414) 276-5760

Molly Snyder started writing and publishing her work at the age 10, when her community newspaper printed her poem, "The Unicorn.” Since then, she's expanded beyond the subject of mythical creatures and written in many different mediums but, nearest and dearest to her heart, thousands of articles for OnMilwaukee.

Molly is a regular contributor to FOX6 News and numerous radio stations as well as the co-host of "Dandelions: A Podcast For Women.” She's received five Milwaukee Press Club Awards, served as the Pfister Narrator and is the Wisconsin State Fair’s Celebrity Cream Puff Eating Champion of 2019.