Private Lesson Policies

 

I am very excited to have the opportunity to teach you (or your child) private music lessons.  I believe that music is an important part of life and my goal is to teach you (or your child) in a way that allows you (him/her) to enjoy yourself during the learning experience.  I will always strive to create an enjoyable learning environment with you or your child.

Music education is an investment in a lifetime of enjoying music.  An appreciation for and an understanding of music cultivates both creative and intellectual growth.  The student will study music from the classical repertoire, from Baroque through Romantic and Contemporary, including popular music.  During the study of this repertoire, we will also focus on the areas of technique, theory, sight reading and ear training.  I believe that music education is very important and I have established the following policies for my studio.

 

Lessons:  Private lessons are taught in 30, 45, or 60 minute increments.  It is your decision as to the length of your (your child’s) weekly lesson.  Lessons will be billed and paid a month in advance.    Payment is due in full at the first lesson of the month.  Materials are not included in the lesson fee.  When a student receives books and/or materials, these charges will be added to the following month’s tuition.  Payment will be the price of the literature, plus sales tax and/or shipping and handling fee. Payments may be made by cash, check, or PayPal.  A $10.00 per month late fee will be charged on overdue accounts.  A $35.00 fee will be charged for a non-sufficient check.  After the second non-sufficient check, only cash payments will be accepted.  There are no refunds (except in unavoidable cases).  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 additional information under Missed/Cancelled Lessons). 

EXCEPTION:  If you (your child ) become ill overnight or comes home sick please call me right away and we will schedule a make-up.  If I should have to miss a lesson, I will call and reschedule.

 

SUMMER LESSONS:  Lessons are available year round.  Each lesson will be paid at normal rates.  A minimum of 5 summer lessons is strongly recommended for all returning students; however more lessons are available and encouraged.  Please note—unless unavoidable—extended summer absences are generally discouraged for students at all levels.  Many students will excel during the summer months when academic pressures have eased; students who are away for a month or more are often frustrated by loss of technical facility, discipline, and theory skill. 

Current Tuition Rates:  My current tuition rates are available under the "Contact Info and Fees" tab.  Rates are valid through May 31, 2013.  I reserve the right to change tuition after that point.  The student will be notified in writing if there is a raise in tuition.

 

Pets:  Although my pets will be not be allowed to interfere with lessons, they are allowed to roam the house at other times.  If you or your child has an allergy to cats or dogs, you may want to take an antihistamine before coming to the lesson.

Lesson Times:  Lesson times are scheduled at the mutual agreement of teacher and client, subject to the availability of open lesson times.  Scheduled lesson times will be re-evaluated at the conclusion of each semester (around May 31, and August 25).  Students who would like to keep their scheduled times will be allowed to do so unless the instructor is no longer available at that time.  Re-scheduling of lessons will take place at least 2 weeks before the next semester begins.

Music Purchase:  To make things easier for busy parents, I prefer to purchase all music (unless the students are choosing personal pieces to learn).  Your next monthly invoice will include any music that you or your child receives.  Included will be the tax or shipping/handling charge.  I will always try to choose music that is of reasonable cost and will best suit you (or your child).  I am happy to lend copies of music for a short time; however, if it is a piece that you or the child should have, it should be purchased by the student.  If loaned music is returned damaged, the student is responsible for buying it.  NOTE:  I will use as many of a transfer student’s old books as I deem beneficial for the student.  It is suggested that you have a tote/carrier for your music and be sure to pack up ALL music and workbooks.

Lesson Preparation/Practice:  Sufficient scheduled practice time on a daily basis is the surest guarantee that you, or your child, will experience consistent progress.  Learning the necessary skills to become proficient will not occur by simply going to lessons.  It takes committed practice on a daily basis during the week to put skills covered at the lesson into motion.  Some of the best practicing time is usually right after a lesson because the material is fresh in your mind.  Parental support is an extremely important factor in musical training.  Children whose parents take an active and honest interest in their child’s progress tend to be more enthusiastic and productive. 

Music is not easy and can, at times, become frustrating.  Adults often take for granted that children are rarely self-motivated and lack the maturity (and self-discipline) to put in that all-important practice session.  With commitment to learning the art of music comes the decision to practice on a regular basis.  Consistent progress results in pride, satisfaction and a sense of accomplishment!

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 every attempt will be made to schedule a make-up.  Lessons missed without prior notification cannot be made up, nor will the bill be adjusted. Exceptions are serious illness or a death in the family.  Lessons missed by the teacher will be made up or refunded. 

Termination/Dismissals:  In the event that you or your child decide 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.  Lessons may be terminated by the instructor in the event of ongoing irregular attendance, repeated failure to prepare assigned material, disruptive behavior, equipment damage, theft, after three late tuition payments or breech of these policies and/or ethics.

Piano Hygiene:  To prevent excessive collecting of dirt and spreading of germs, it is recommended that students wash their hands before playing any piano.  Fingernails which are too long prevent development of proper piano technique.  Please be certain they are trimmed very short.  They should not extend beyond the tip of the finger.  If your nails “tap” the keys as they are being played, they are too long; or, if you are constrained by the length of your nails to play with the pads of the fingers as opposed to the tips, your nails are probably too long.

Piano Maintenance and Equipment:  It is assumed that your child has ready access to a full (88 key) acoustic piano in good repair/condition (all keys and pedals working) etc.  Pianos should also be tuned at least once a year (I recommend Matt Blaisse Piano Service: www.mbpianoservice.com)

It’s very difficult to develop strong listening skills or pedaling skills on a poor instrument.  If a beginning student does not have access to an acoustic piano, a four octave keyboard with full-size keys will be acceptable for the first semester.  The classified section of the newspaper and craigslist.com will often have offers for free or cheap pianos that you may take advantage of.

Students are required to purchase a metronome (or a metronome app) by the end of the first semester.  This is an important practice tool and is an investment the student will use forever.  

Holidays and Vacations:  Lessons are provided year-round, with a Christmas break from Christmas Eve through New Year’s Day.  No lessons will be given on Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day and the day after Thanksgiving, Memorial Day, and the Fourth of July.  If scheduling permits, make-up lessons are offered but are not guaranteed for these one day holidays.  Other dates/vacations will be planned with at least a two week notice. 

Inclement Weather:  If school (Susquehanna Township) is canceled due to inclement weather and you feel that you should stay off the roads; every attempt will be made to reschedule your lesson.  Since lessons are held at my home, I will be able to hold the lesson, but I understand if you would prefer to reschedule.  Although I can’t guarantee 100% that a suitable time can be arranged for a make-up, I will certainly do my best to accommodate your needs.

Logistics:  The front door will be unlocked.  Please come right in and have a seat in the studio until your lesson time arrives.  I welcome parental attendance at lessons if the student does not object, but students do tend to participate more freely when parents are not in the studio at lesson times.

Parking:  Please park along the street in front of the studio/house.  Be sure not to block any neighbors’ driveways.

Drop Offs and Pick-ups:  Please drop off and pick-up on time.  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 advise in advance.  I want to ensure the safety of your child at all times.

Communication:  Please feel free to contact me at any time about your 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 s/he does, s/he is more willing to accept 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.  I do not take calls during lessons, but I will try to listen to messages between lessons if possible.  My cell/text number is 717-602-1450 and my email is gayle.dynamicsounds@gmail.com.

**I don’t participate in student fundraisers as it uses precious lesson time and would be too expensive for me if I were fair and responded to all requests.