"Piano Lessons Can Be Murder" is the eighth episode of season one of the Goosebumps TV series. It premiered on December 8, 1995 on Fox Kids Network.


  • Ben Cook as Jerry Hawkins
  • Barclay Hope as Mr. Hawkins
  • Carolyn Scott as Mrs. Hawkins
  • Aron Tager as Dr. Shreek
  • Géza Kovács (a.k.a. Geza Kovacs) as Mr. Toggle
  • Brenda Devine as The Ghost
  • Erica Luttrell as Kim


When Jerry finds a dusty old piano in the basement of his new house, his parents offer to pay for lessons. Taking piano seems like a cool idea if it means he'll be able to jam with his cute next door neighbor, Kim. But there's something strange about Jerry's piano teacher, Dr. Shreek. Something Jerry can't quite put his finger on. What's more, Jerry begins receiving nightly visits from a terrifying ghost who warns him about the music school. When Jerry stumbles upon a secret room at Dr. Shreek's school, it is time for him to face the music.

Differences from the book

  • In the book, the ghost in Jerry's house is a described as being pretty. In the episode, the ghost is quite ugly.
  • In the episode, Dr. Shreek never comes to Jerry's home for lessons, instead Jerry goes straight to the Shreek school.
  • Jerry's neighbor Kim is implied to be Asian in the book, but in the episode, she is depicted as African American.
  • Jerry never visits the psychiatrist Dr. Frye in the episode.
  • In the episode, the ghost in Jerry's house used to be Mr. Toggle's strict piano teacher. In the book, the ghost wasn't given a backstory. In the Goosebumps Official Collector's Caps Book, the ghost is said to be a girl named Mara Klane, a student of Dr. Shreek. Because of this change, the ghost in the episode still has hands.
  • In the book, Jerry's parents never see the ghost haunting the piano.
  • Jerry is never shown Mr. Toggle's workshop in the episode.
  • In the book, Dr. Shreek flips out because Jerry is quitting, in the episode he becomes enraged because Jerry is not taking his lessons seriously.
  • At the end, it is just the ghost of Mr. Andrew Toggle's piano teacher instead of several ghosts. But instead of taking him away to the forest behind the school, she makes him play the piano forever as punishment for torturing Jerry. In the final scene, the piano teacher ghost says, "This is your punishment for terrorizing the boy! You will practice and practice!" Mr. Toggle asks in a sobbed voice "How much longer?!" The piano teacher ghost replies, "Till....eternity, you laaazy boy!"
  • Bonkers only makes a brief appearance at the start of the episode.
  • Jerry's personality is different. In the book, Jerry is a prankster. In the episode, he has an overactive personality and pretends he is an explorer.

Home Media

Title Release date Media type

The Blob That Ate Everyone

September 7, 2010 DVD

3-Pack Thriller

August 26, 2014 DVD


  • Aron Tager, who played the hand-obsessed Dr. Shreek, was noted for his recurring role as the mad scientist, Dr. Vink, in Are You Afraid of the Dark? On the first occasion in "The Tale of the Phantom Cab," he had a severed, jarred hand on display as the first glimpse of his character's nature.
  • The background music and the music that the ghostly woman, Jerry and the disembodied hands play throughout the episode is none other than Ludwig Van Beethoven's classic, Moonlight Sonata.
  • Ben Cook (Jerry Hawkins) would go on to play Josh Benson in "Welcome to Dead House", and Marty in "A Shocker on Shock Street".
  • This was the first episode directed by William Fruet, who would direct many episodes throughout all four seasons of the series.
  • Kim's actress Erica Luttrell would return to play Drew in season two's "Attack of the Jack-O'-Lanterns". She is also known for voicing Keesha Franklin in The Magic School Bus animated series from 1994-1997.


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