All students under the age of 18 must have approval from a parent or legal guardian before commencing lessons. The parent/guardian must assume responsibility for lesson fees and other expenses involved in music lessons and be responsible for making sure the student arrives and departs on time and maintains regular practice habits at home.
A lesson time is assigned at the student’s enrollment and at the beginning of each school term. Except in extraordinary circumstances, I ask that this time remain unchanged during the course of a semester unless unexpected conflicts arise.
Arriving for the Lesson
In order to make the most use of the time allotted for instruction, I urge all students to arrive promptly, but no earlier than five minutes before your scheduled time. If you arrive before the preceeding student has finished his or her lesson, please enter the studio quietly. It is not necessary to wait outside, especially if the weather is bad, but do respect the earlier student’s time and try not to arrive too early. Some students feel very uncomfortable when someone else is present during a lesson. I typically schedule five minutes between lessons, so endeavor not to arrive earlier than five minutes before your scheduled time.
For the last few years I have been setting an electronic timer at the beginning of each lesson. At the end of the alotted time, an annoying beeper will sound. Although the noise it makes sounds rather rude, I began using this timer as much for students’ benefit as for my own. Prior to “the beeper,” it was not unusual for me to keep students 5-15 minutes overtime because we would get involved in the lesson and forget to look at the clock; this was especially common if there was no student following the lesson. When the beeper sounds, it does not mean our session it automatically over, but it is a reminder to me to wrap things up so that you are not kept long past when your parents expected you to be done.
Parents are always welcome to sit in on their child’s lesson. In fact, I encourage this whenever possible, especially with young students. Having an extra set of ears increases the likelihood that the things discussed during a lesson will be remembered in the coming week. Sometimes students may wish to bring siblings or friends along. As long as they are well behaved, this actually is a good thing as it gives the student an opportunity to play in front of an audience, however small. Do note, however, that I have limited seating space available, so it is best not to bring more than two other people to lessons.
Missed Lessons & Late Arrivals
If you must miss a lesson due to illness or to a scheduling conflict, please let me know as early as possible that you will not be able to be present. This may be done by telephone (812-675-1553) or by e-mail. Missed lessons will be made up at my discretion, or the fees for the missed lessons will be carried over to the following month. In the event that a lesson is missed without advance notice, the lesson time will be billed. Late arrivals will not be made up, nor can the lesson time be extended as that would conflict with students’ lessons following your own. Students who arrive more than ten minutes late for a half-hour lesson, or more twenty minutes late for a one-hour lesson, may be required to forfeit their lesson time. If an emergency makes it necessary for me to cancel a lesson, the lesson time will not be billed.
Very Important: Bad-weather policy
The studio’s policy regarding bad weather is designed to be in the best interest of student safety. The studio follows the decisions of the North-Lawrence Community Schools in deciding when road conditions are unsuitable for travel to and from lessons. The basic guide to follow is simple: If the North-Lawrence Community Schools are cancelled, lessons at my studio also are automatically cancelled that day. (I also try to post an announcement of the studio’s closing at the WBIW Weather Watchers website.) This means that on days when schools and the studio are closed it is not necessary for you to call ahead to tell me you are not coming; it will be understood that you should stay home. If, however, the schools announce only a two-hour delay, then it is assumed road conditions will be improving throughout the day and that it will be safe for you to make your afternoon or evening lesson. That means lessons will be held on days with an announced two-hour delay. But, whether schools are open or delayed, anytime that you feel it is unsafe for you to travel to and from a lesson at my studio, please err on the side of caution and stay home! All you need do is telephone me ahead of time to let me know that you won’t be coming because of bad weather.
Parents: If you drop your child off for a lesson, please remember to collect your child promptly at the appropriate time. For young children I prefer that you come to the door to collect them personally rather than asking them to wait on the sidewalk. Bedford is a relatively safe community, but I am not comfortable having a young child stand alone on the sidewalk next to a busy street. I do not intend ever to leave a small child unattended, but also please remember that I am not a baby-sitter and cannot wait with your child indefinitely. If you are persistently late picking up your child, I may have to ask that you consider an alternate time or suspend lessons in the interest of the child’s safety. Also please bear in mind that my time too is valuable, and waiting with your child an extra ten or fifteen minutes encroaches on my schedule and is unfair to other students.
Tuition is payable monthly and is due on the first lesson of each month. My current fees are $15 for a half-hour lesson and $30 for a one-hour lesson. If you need to make other payment arrangements, please speak with me about this in advance. These fees are for instruction only and do not include the cost of music books or other materials.
Books, Materials, and Instrument Repair
Your music books and other materials will be assigned prior to your first lesson and at other times when additional material may be required. In most cases you will be able to obtain these materials through a local music store (I recommend Ars Nova in Bloomington as the best source for most material). For students who are unable to travel to Bloomington, or for instances in which a local store cannot obtain necessary materials, I will be happy to order them for you at cost. For those who prefer to purchase materials themselves online, most supplies that we will be using can be obtained from one or more of the following sources:
Amazon.comFor string-instrument repairs, I recommend Stephen M. Schock Violins (202 East Third Street, Bloomington).
Theodore Front Musical Literature
The only way to learn to play an instrument is through consistent practice. I insist that students develop regular practice habits and work at their instrument on a regular basis. (See Tips on Becoming a Good Musician for more information about practice habits.) Students who show evidence of a persistent lack of practice may have their lessons terminated. Missing a day or two of practice sometimes happens, but failure to practice regularly over a long period of time indicates a lack of interest in learning the material. In such cases it is not feasible for parents to continue spending the amount of money that lessons cost.
Contacting Your Teacher
I encourage parents and students to get in touch with me whenever questions or concerns arise. Although I do not generally answer the telephone during a lesson, you may feel free to leave a message on my voice-mail and I will return your call at my earliest opportunity. If possible, it is best to contact me by e-mail. I check my e-mail several times daily and likely will be able to get back with you the same day.
As I engage in private instruction, which often necessitates adapting teaching techniques that vary somewhat for each student, I do not normally give grades. I do, however, welcome appointments with parents from time to time to review a student’s progress. I would like to arrange at least one such appointment annually with each parent, but I also am open to discussions in person or by phone whenever a parent may have concerns.
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