I would like to express how excited I am to have the opportunity to teach your child piano. I believe music is such an important part of life. As a piano teacher, my goal is to teach my students in a way that they are enjoying themselves while they are learning. Having taught over 20 years of piano, I have found that when students are enjoying the learning process they are most likely to stick with it. I hope I can succeed in this goal with your child.
Musical education is an investment in a lifetime of enjoying music. An appreciation for and understanding of music cultivates both creative and intellectual growth. We will be concentrating on the areas of technique, theory, sight reading and ear training. Because I believe that music education is very important, I have established the following policies for my studio.
1) LESSONS: Private lessons are 30 minutes long, once per week. The tuition is $75 per month per student. Materials are not included in the lesson fee. Payment is due in full, at the FIRST lesson of the month. Payments may be made by cash or check. Receipts will be provided for your records. A $10.00 per month late fee will be charged on overdue accounts. There are no refunds. A student who does not attend a lesson will simply miss the benefit of that lesson. Your monthly fee reserves you a weekly time slot within the studio (See Missed/Cancelled lessons) Exception: If you/your child become ill overnight or comes home sick, call right away, we will schedule a make-up.** If I should have to miss a lesson, I will call and reschedule.
SUMMER LESSONS: I offer 4 – 6 weeks of lessons each summer. Tuition is $20 per lesson. FYI--... Many students experience startling musical growth during the summer when academic pressures have eased... I have found that a very good time for a beginner to start lessons is during the summer.
2) MUSIC PURCHASE: To make things easier for busy parents, I prefer to purchase all music (except some popular music of the students own choosing). You will be billed in the next month’s billing for any music that your child receives. While I never skimp on quality music, I try to choose music that is of reasonable cost and will best suit your child. A student may borrow one of my “library copies”. I am happy to lend music out for a short time, however, if it is a piece that the child should have, it should be purchased for the student. Please bring a large spiral bound, school-size notebook for lesson assignments. This book will also be used as a written communication ‘tool’ between you and me. Students should have a carrier for their music and be SURE to pack up ALL music, workbooks and assignment notebook.
3) LESSON PREPARATION: Students are required to complete their assignments each week. Daily practice is vital to musical progress. I typically do not suggest a certain amount of time to practice. I instruct each student on how to practice each piece and leave it up to them as to how long it takes to get through it each day. ** Please arrive on time with clean hands, no gum, short nails, and all materials including the assignment. Students arriving late for their lessons will NOT be given extra lesson time to make up for this. Students who arrive on time, but don’t start the lesson on time WILL be given the extra time to make up for it. I try to stay on schedule but when a student needs extra help I will give it. Regular attendance is expected. If you are sick, please stay home! However, an injured arm/hand is no reason to miss – there are many other things we can do. There is an entire repertoire for one hand alone.
4) PRACTICE: Practicing is the student’s “homework” and should be done every day (or at least five (5) days per week). Many students, especially beginners, need help in setting up consistent practice times. It may seem hard at first to find a time every day in which to practice. I recommend that the parent and child sit down and write out a schedule of times that work the best for you. While this time could change daily, it is better to use the same time each day so it becomes a habit. Young children (up to age 8 or so) may wish to divide their practice time into two equal blocks of about 10 – 15 minutes each, or however many times it takes – divided in half. Older beginners should try to practice for the full time in one session. Practicing time includes sight-reading, technical warm-ups, written theory, creative work, and review of old pieces. I have found that it is more productive to explain to the student how to practice - ie. play, count, sing along so many times a session, rather than a certain amount of minutes. After a schedule is set up, try to let the child take complete responsibility for practicing. If needed, a weekly practice chart may be kept and reviewed at lessons. Practicing should be fun and we spend a lot of time at lessons talking about how to practice as well as what, Some of the best practicing time is usually right after a lesson because the material is fresh in their mind. Also be aware of written assignments—please check the notebook each week to assist your child with specific things to do and remember.
5) MISSED/CANCELLED LESSONS/ABSENCES: Please notify me of a lesson cancellation a minimum of 24 hours prior to lesson time. If at least 24 hours notice is given, then a make-up lesson will be scheduled at the earliest possible date. With 24 hours notice or more a refund will be given, only if a make up time cannot be agreed upon. Exceptions are serious illness or a death in the family. Absences due to illness ONLY are considered excused and will be made up at my discretion. ** Lessons missed by the teacher will definitely be made up. ** Lessons missed without prior notification cannot be made up, nor will a refund be given. Please call by noon if you must cancel due to illness, and I will attempt to re-schedule the lesson later in the week.
6) TERMINATION/DISMISSALS: In the event your child decides to discontinue lessons, a one month advance written notice and payment in full of all funds owed is required. This written notice shall include tuition payment for this additional one month of lessons, whether the student attends the lessons or not. The purpose is to give the student or me the opportunity to change one’s mind about a major decision that could affect the student for life. ** If lessons are terminated in the middle of a month, the remainder of that month’s tuition will not be refunded. ** Lessons may be terminated by me in the event of on-going irregular attendance, repeated failure to prepare assigned material, disruptive behavior, equipment damage, theft, and breach of these policies and/or ethics or after three late tuition payments.
7) RECITALS: I hold an annual recital in the spring-- late April to early May. Grandparents are especially invited. All students will be encouraged to perform.
8) Your child should have ready access to a full (88 key) Acoustic or Digital Piano in good repair/condition (all keys and pedals working). Your acoustic piano should be tuned at least once a year. The results, increased student interest and motivation to play, are well worth the expense. it is very difficult to enjoy playing on an out-of-tune instrument. It is also difficult to develop strong listening skills or pedaling skills on a poor instrument. Putting off tuning is not cost effective. A piano which is very out of tune will most likely require several tunings over a period of weeks or months to bring back to pitch.
*** Electric Keyboards -- Please make sure you purchase one that has a full 88 key keyboard (preferable weighted keys) and a pedal.
Each student also needs to have a working metronome or metronome app. I recommend Pro Metronome for iPod or iPad. This is an important practice tool and is an investment the student will use forever. A mechanical metronome ticks more loudly than electric or electronic metronomes, and therefore I recommend this type.
9) LOGISTICS: The front door will be unlocked, it will not be necessary to ring the bell or knock. Please come right in and go quietly to the family room until your lesson time arrives. ** I welcome parental attendance at lessons if the student does not object. Siblings, however, are a distraction. Please make arrangements for them to be elsewhere.
10) DROP OFFS & PICKUPS: Please drop off and pick up on time please. When you are early or late, it causes others to be unable to meet their own commitments. ** Please Note: If someone other than the parent will be picking up the student, please advize in advance. For their safety, students are not allowed to leave the studio with a stranger.
12) COMMUNICATION: I do the majority of contacting using Email. Please feel free to contact me at any time about you or your child’s progress or about difficulties. With children, parental involvement is the best insurance of success. If a child knows the parent is interested in what he does, he is more willing to shoulder daily responsibilities. I will be happy to pass on to you tricks other parents have used to encourage practice on a daily basis or to spark input from other family members. The combined efforts of student/parent/teacher always produce a superior result. (Roger’s mother used to set a plate of cookies on the piano for him to eat after he practiced.) Leave a message and know that I will get it. ** I don’t participate in student fund-raisers, as it uses precious lesson time and would be too expensive for me if I were fair and responded to all requests. ** I can be reached by phone: H: 320-983-3120 C: 507-398-2093 and by Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
13) STUDIO RULES: the following Studio Rules are understood: Decorum, respect and consideration of all studio equipment is expected… Any damage or theft becomes your responsibility… Be on time for your lessons and bring all your books… Fully prepare each lesson… Do not interrupt someone else’s lesson… Do not bring food, drink or gum into the studio anywhere near the piano… Hands and nails should be clean… Nails should be clipped...No Cell phones.. I sincerely hope that the combination of my teaching and your encouragement and discipline at home will make studying music a wonderful and happy experience for your child. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to let me know, as I will be glad to discuss them with you.