Lessons cost $15 per half hour. Adults or older teens may schedule one hour lessons for $30 if they wish.
Lessons last for 25-30 minutes and are scheduled every 30 minutes. The length of the lesson depends on the student's preparation for that lesson.
Lessons are scheduled to be given once a week during the school year. One hour lessons for adults or older teens can be scheduled every other week.
Most young students benefit from a break from lessons over the summer. Older students, however, are welcome to schedule lessons through the summer, either every week, every other week, or for a block of four or five consecutive weeks in the middle of the summer.
A student can learn to play piano without having a piano or keyboard in their home, but it is much more difficult. If the student has a relative close by with a piano, this will work. If a student has the ability to practice after school on the piano at school, this can work. If the student can come to the music studio and practice regularly at a time when I am not teaching lessons, this could work.
The student does not need to provide anything for the first several years. I loan the students the required lesson books and practice record books. Later on, when the student goes to music contest, they may need to provide a judge's copy of the music they are performing. If there is ever any music they want for their own enjoyment, they will need to purchase that.
If your student becomes ill on a lesson day, please, let me know as soon as possible and we will try to schedule a different time for that week. The best method is to text me at (715) 415-5327.
I make every effort to reschedule lessons. I keep a couple of times open for that purpose and, if those times are already taken, try to fit the student in somewhere that works for all of us. Sometimes, however, that is not possible.
Lessons missed because of a serious weather event, or because I cancel, are always excused. Lessons missed for other reasons are not excused, but may be made up at another time.
Yes, a student may switch times with another student. I'd prefer if I was informed of the switch, but if this is not possible, it is still okay to come at another student's time, as long as the both students have agreed to the switch.
I make every effort to accommodate schedule changes throughout the year, but the times available might not be as desirable as the original time, because the best times will have already been taken. If the switch is for a month or less, I will keep the original time for that student, but if it is longer than a month, I may have to give away that time to another student who wishes to switch times. It gets very complicated as the year goes on!
Lessons are still held unless I have informed students otherwise. I can't keep up with days off on all the various area schools, so lessons are held except when school is off for an actual holiday.
I imagine snow days are less common here in Tennessee than they were is Wisconsin! I still plan on students coming to lessons on a snow day, because the roads are often fine by the time the lessons are scheduled. So, if a student is not able to make it - maybe that area has not been plowed yet - please call and inform me that you cannot make it because of the weather, and we will try to reschedule it for later in the week.
Lessons missed because of a family vacation will be excused, but will be treated as a day excused for illness. I only allow two excused absences per semester. Remember that you can schedule the lesson on a different day when a miss is necessary for illness or a vacation.
I prefer to be paid in advance of lessons given. The main reason for this is that it prevents the bill from getting higher than the parent is expecting. If I am paid on a monthly basis, the cost will remain fairly stable throughout the school year. Each month I send home an invoice for the coming month, taking into account any excused lessons paid for the previous month.
If you prefer, you may pay in advance for the entire semester. Ask how much that would be, and I will make you an alternative invoice, showing the entire semester's charges.
If there are enough students, the academy will hold a recital around Christmas and another in the spring. No student is required to play, but everyone is strongly encouraged to play. The reason for this is that playing piano is often something that is done in front of others, so the earlier a student gets comfortable with this, the better. We will always be nervous for a recital, but it does get easier over time. And parents and grandparents love to hear what students have accomplished in their lessons.
I ask that all students try to practice 5 or 6 days each week. Beginners will only need about 10-15 minutes to practice all that I have assigned. As students advance, this time will increase. An intermediate student will need to practice at least a half hour each time to get through everything assigned and an advanced student will need up to an hour. This practice time is what determines whether a student will succeed, so it should become a habit that is not up for discussion, but is simply done.
When a parent starts a student earlier than second grade, the parent needs to accept the responsibility for seeing that practicing happens. But from second grade on, students are responsible for their own practice. Parents are, of course, welcome to help develop this good habit, but I don't accept from the student the excuse that Mom or Dad did or didn't do something. I try to encourage them to take the responsibility themselves.
Each piece in their practice record is assigned to be done a certain number of times each practice session. Once the pieces are all done the required number of times, the practice time is over and the student may stop or may move on to other piano playing that they enjoy as well. Parents can help by listening to whether it sounds like the student is practicing to improve or simply practicing to put in the required number of repetitions. I will pick this up at lessons, as well, but it is helpful if parents can back me up on this. I encourage students to practice with their brains engaged, so they actually improve over the course of the week!
The main thing is to show regular interest in how the student is doing. Listen often to their practicing, even if it is just to say, "Sounds great to me!" Remind them to practice, but in a positive way, as though it is a privilege and not a chore. Encourage them to persevere when it is difficult and remind them of how far they have already come. Refer to them as a musician or piano player, so they begin to see themselves that way. Communicate with me any concerns you have about their attitude toward practicing or their emotional state before or after lessons.
The first thing I always suggest to a student is to slow the piece down a lot. I always tell them that we can play anything if we do it slow enough. If this doesn't help, let that particular piece go for the day, and encourage them to move on to other material, but not to give up entirely. They are also welcome to call me. I can often give suggestions over the phone, particularly if they are confused, rather than simply frustrated.