Piano Laboratory Program

PLP offers quality private piano instruction to the University of Illinois and Champaign-Urbana community at affordable rates.  

Fall 2022

  • Registration now open
  • Instruction begins August 29 and ends December 9.


Please submit registration as early as possible to avoid a delay in scheduling lessons.

Once your registration is complete, you will be contacted by a PLP instructor to determine a lesson schedule.

For questions, please contact: music-pe@illinois.edu

General Information

School of Music | University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign
Office of Public Engagement
1114 West Nevada | Urbana, Illinois | 61801-3883

About the Program

Since 1980, the University of Illinois Piano Laboratory Program has provided quality non-credit piano instruction for students of all ages in the Champaign-Urbana area. It also provides a forum in which piano majors (graduate and upper-class undergraduate students) may obtain teaching training experience under the supervision of master teachers. The Piano Laboratory Program is administered jointly by two Divisions within the School of Music: (1) Office of Admissions and Public Engagement in Music, Stephen Burian, Asst. Director, and (2) Piano Pedagogy, Dr. Christos Tsitsaros, Chair.

Faculty and Instructional Staff

Faculty members, experienced graduate students, and adjunct staff teach pupils enrolled in the Piano Laboratory Program. University of Illinois faculty members are Professors Christos Tsitsaros, and Joan Hickey (jazz piano only).

PLP faculty for 2021-2022 include:

Zixuan Deng, Jesus Fuentes, Matthew Miller, and Tatiana Shustova.


The curriculum of the Piano Laboratory Program includes traditional performance repertoire and technical development combined with musicianship study (e. g., sight-reading, aural skills, and music theory). Two recital programs are held each year. All pupils participate in weekly private lessons. Advanced jazz piano instruction is available with Joan Hickey for students who qualify by audition. For Fall 2021, students have the option of choosing in-person or virtual lessons. The course of instruction coincides with the University calendar and consists of two 15-week semesters. Summer instruction is also available.

Pre-college pupils participate in one recital program each semester; participation by adult students is optional.

Semester Fee Schedule

  • 30 minute lessons – $23.00 per lesson ($345).
  • 45 minute lessons – $33.00 per lesson ($495).
  • 60 minute lessons – $44.00 per lesson ($660).

Each semester consists of 15 lessons. Summer registration is for a minimum of 4 lessons.

A $10 registration charge will be billed once per academic semester at the time of registration. The purchase of music and other instructional materials is not included in the tuition fee. 

Scheduling of Lesson Times and Missed Lesson Policy

Once the teacher assignment is made, lesson times are arranged at a mutually convenient time between the student/parent and instructor. Generally, lesson times occur Monday through Friday but not on weekends. Lessons will not be scheduled until a registration form, release form, and payment have been submitted. Once lesson times have been arranged between the instructor and student, parents or students who do not give advance notice will be charged for missed lessons. Advance notice is defined as 24-hour notice.

Occasionally, instructors must be away from campus. In such instances, lessons will be rearranged or taught by a substitute teacher. A student with chronic absences will be dropped from the program, and attendance at a minimum of 12 lessons per semester is required to maintain enrollment. Unexcused absences from lessons will not be made up and there will be no refunds for these lessons.

If it is necessary to cancel a lesson due to a family emergency or other extenuating circumstance, the instructor will offer a limited number of make-up lesson no later than two weeks after the last day of UI classes: up to 2 lessons per fall and spring semester/ 1 lesson per summer. Lessons not made up are not carried forward to future terms.


The piano laboratory program does not utilize a credit system. Any lessons paid for and not received, with the exception of unexcused absences, during the semester will be refunded within 4 – 6 weeks from the date of the refund approval.


Piano Laboratory Program
1114 West Nevada St
Urbana, Illinois 61801