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Studio Policies

                     Studio Policies, Guidelines and Procedures
  1. Location--- All lessons are weekly and held at the France Avenue studio.    
  2. Group Classes---please refer to the 2016-17 calendar to determine dates and times.
  3. Tuition---Tuition is based on quarters.  The expectation is that you are enrolling for the year. 
  4. There is a minimum enrollment of two quarters.   Piano lessons can be difficult at times. The lessons learned from sticking with something that is challenging are incalculable.  But sometimes, problems do arise. Hopefully, you will talk to me.  Lots of times, small changes can make a big difference for both you and your child. If after trying to resolve whatever issues are causing difficulties, you decide to terminate your lessons, you must inform me via email, phone, or in person, at least one month before the new quarter begins. Failure to do so will result in being billed for the next quarter. Tuition dates are listed on the calendar.  I will send an email reminder two weeks before tuition is due. You are welcome to mail your payment, bring it to the lesson on or prior to the due date,  or drop it in my mailbox by the due date.  
  5. Quarterly Tuition Rates  
  6. 30 minute lessons  1st child $345; 2nd child $335 
  7. 45 minute lesson 1st child  $425  second child $415
  8. Late fee  A $30 late fee will be added to payments made after the due date listed on the calendar.
  
                           Future Registration procedures for students currently enrolled in the studio. 

  1.  Registration form and deposit for the 2017-18 year will be due by July 10, 2017. A $30 late fee will be added for registrations sent in after this date. This does not apply to new students who start summer lessons after the registration date has past.  At this time, you send in your deposit and form, which enrolls you for the following year.   The deposit is $200 per child and the total amount of this deposit is subtracted from your last quarter of tuition the following spring.   You can request a new time slot or day if you know it is going to be needed, or choose to keep your current day and time. There are usually  new people who want to hop in the studio.  Current students have scheduling priority for the following year, however, after July 21, 2017, those who are not registered run the risk of losing their slot to new people waiting to join the studio.  In the unfortunate event that we cannot find a time that works for you, your full deposit will be returned.   Deposit refunds are not given for any other reason.
 
    4. Make up Policy  Each student is allowed one make up per school year provided that you contact me before your lesson.  Missed lessons due to major unplanned events like, funerals, serious injuries,  hospitalization or prolonged illness are made up as best I can. New this year are added dates on the schedule that are designated "make up" days.  These days are used to make up lessons that have been missed because of:  MEA;  me being out of town or sick; as well as regular make up lessons that have been missed for whatever reason.  There are other options available to avoid forfeiting a lesson due to conflicts. But they do require planning ahead.

The Swap List  No one is required to participate but if you want the flexibility of trying to change lesson times with another student when a scheduling conflict arises, then your name has to be on the list.  When you see a conflict coming up, it is up to you to find someone who can switch lesson times.  Those who want to be included will have their name listed, the time and day of their child's/children's lesson, and your preferred method of communication via email, or phone. The person who initiated the change is responsible for letting me know ahead of time that this is happening.

For those who have a difficult time fitting summer lessons in-- You have the option of doing up to a maximum of 3 30 minute or 2 45 minute "Do ahead" lessons during the regular year.  These can be scheduled on any of the dates listed on the calendar as designated make up days.  Talk to me at the lesson if you want to know additional information.

    5.  Changing lesson time or day for Long term conflicts.   I am very aware that sometimes during the year, long term conflicts can arise. If you see a long term conflict coming, you can let me know and I will send out an "all student" email asking if anyone else might need to change or be willing to change.   If you choose to sign up for a sport or anything else that is at the same time as your scheduled lesson time and you can't find someone to swap lesson times,  you are responsible for the quarterly payment.  Please do not assume that I will be able to accommodate a lesson change in the middle of the year.

Parent / Student / Teacher role in lessons

    Parent's role in lessons   You play a large role in your child's musical journey. Without a strong commitment to careful regular  practice, progress is very slow and children often end up getting discouraged.  I loved piano growing up and my mom STILL had to tell me to practice. You do not have to be a concert pianist to help your child. They need your guidance to help them set up a practice schedule that works and this needs to be at a time when they are not exhausted.  Pianists are coordinating:  two hands; ten fingers; eyes; ears; usually a foot; and processing a complex notational system IN TIME!!!! And these are just the basics. To that, we hope to add some drama, emotion, energy, and beauty. You simply cannot do this if you are very tired. We will be discussing what careful efficient practice looks like when you come to your first lesson. 

This is one of my main goals this year;  to help everyone become a more efficient practicer. In order to do this, parents and students need to understand the pitfalls and the tools needed for good progress. Your child will not learn to play well practicing a couple of times a week.  - Playing through your pieces a couple of times is NOT practicing. Please make every effort to come to your child's lessons if you are not sure how to help. 

Student's role in lessons   You have one job and one job only---come to your lessons prepared and be ready to work.  This means that you bring your music and notebook to your lesson;  have done regular careful practice throughout the week (unless you have been out of town or sick),  and are ready to show me what you got done.  This means that you have looked at your music carefully and tried to figure things out and noted places that are still confusing to you AFTER YOU HAVE TRIED SEVERAL TIMES.  Be prepared to tell me what you tried to do to figure things out.  For every piece that you work on, you should be asking yourself these questions: What's this piece about or what is the character of this piece? Have I looked at the overall layout in order to find patterns and repeated sections? Have I broken the piece down in order to develop accuracy in notes, rhythm, fingering, dynamics, and articulation?  Am I trying to play too fast too soon? Do I really like the sound that I'm making? Truthfully, there are even more questions to ask, but this is a good start.  It's a long list, I know.  That's why you have to practice regularly.  Believe me, after 50 years of trying, I haven't found too many short cuts. 

    Teacher's role in lessons
I wear many hats but the main one is that of a trouble shooter.  In 30 or 45 minutes,  I try to asses where progress has been made and determine possible ways to help the student move forward. Or better yet, have the student try to come up with ideas. What is he/she doing well? What are the remaining difficulties? What might be causing the difficulties? What tools or techniques might work to help and I usually demonstrate how to use them at home.  In addition to studying pieces, I also try to cover music theory, ear training, and technique development that might help with a particular piece of music. Some of these important components of musical study are best covered more fully in a group setting.  It saves everyone time and money and allows for more time to spend with repertoire at the private lessons.  It is my belief that these components, along with repertoire, help children develop into well rounded musicians and that is my ultimate goal.  I try to be positive and encouraging but at the same time, I also try to help students develop the ability to honestly assess their own playing. This is essential to good progress.  Developing as a musician requires us to NOT be satisfied too soon; We have to continue to ask ourselves--"Can I make this better" At the same time, we can't beat ourselves up for small mistakes and being human. It is a challenging but exciting dance! Welcome aboard.