My Studio Policy
LESSON OUTLINE AND OBJECTIVE
My Practice: I want to provide students with the opportunity to do and achieve anything they desire with music and become well-rounded musicians. My goal is to enable students to make music independently and become self-sufficient learners. As a result, students can enjoy music for their own playing and/or choose to become professional musicians.
My Dream: Assist students to develop a life-long love and appreciation for music, music making and learning.
Thank you for choosing me as your teacher! It is an honor and privilege to share what I love with you, your child and your family. In order to ensure that you get the most effective and creative teaching possible, I have established following policies:
ELIGIBILITY FOR LESSONS: I use the following criteria to determine student eligibility for lessons during the interview session:
- Age, maturity, and interest of the student
- Parental support
- I use the following criteria to determine student eligibility for continuing with lessons throughout each semester:
- Motivation, interest, and progress of student
- Paid tuition
- Preparation of assigned homework and practice
I reserve the right to end a lesson early if the student is unprepared or more than 10 minutes late. In addition, I reserve the right to terminate lessons with the student, if I feel that the student would learn better in another situation.
Discontinuing Lessons: In the event that you must stop the lessons, please give me at least one month’s notice prior to your withdrawal from lessons. This will give me a chance to finish the lessons on a positive note and the opportunity to fill the available time slot.
SCHEDULE: Lessons will always start and end on time. Every attempt will be made to schedule lessons at a convenient time for all. A detailed calendar is posted on my website. Reminders about upcoming events will be emailed/texted. All events may be subject to change and it is the students/parents responsibility to check the calendar.
Lesson Swapping: Students may swap lessons with other students at any time. A phone list and lesson schedule will be handed out at the beginning of each semester.
Absences and Make-up Lessons: Attendance at every lesson is vital to the success of the student. Canceling a lesson must be done at the earliest possible moment. Lessons not canceled at least 6 hours in advance, canceled make-up or missed rescheduled lesson, group lessons or late arrivals are not subject for make-up.
I have come to realize that the number of makeup lesson I have been giving has added such a huge stress to my life that I have not been able to give students the energy that they deserve in their lesson time. Here are some great alternatives if you cannot make your lesson:
- swap the lesson with another student (a phone list/lesson schedule will be emailed)
- have a Zoom lesson
- record your assignments, email it to me and I will provide written feedback
- attend one of the two make up days (generally on Saturdays) It is the student's/parent’s responsibility to sign up for a make-up lesson time.
Other make-up opportunities will not be available. This will allow me to give every child the energy and instruction they deserve since I will be now able to spend appropriate time planning lessons instead of making up lessons. Please be assured that your tuition is always working for your child as I spend a great deal of time outside of lessons choosing repertoire, planning, strategizing, attending competitions, etc. So, even if you have to miss a lesson and cannot use the alternatives offered, you do not have to worry about receiving less for your tuition. You will be receiving more energy, enthusiasm and a more successful lesson each week since I will have the appropriate time to give.
To be fair and treat all students equally, no preferences in schedule changes/out of town days can be given! Please swap lessons, before cancelling a lesson!
Due to professional engagements, I may need to reschedule a lesson. Students will be notified well in advance and make-up opportunities will be given. Generally, these make-up lessons will be held on Saturdays or Sundays.
Inclement Weather - School Closings: When Montgomery County Schools close due to inclement weather, the Sparkling Keys and Strings Studio will be closed as well. Online Skype lessons or email feedback on videos will be provided during the time of the regular lesson. There will not be any other makeup lessons or refunds issued for missed lessons due to inclement weather.
Lessons by appointment only: Students receiving lessons on an appointment only basis must realize the scheduled appointment. Payment is due at the time of the lesson. Cancelling a scheduled appointment must be done at least 48 hours before a lesson. Continuous rescheduling or missed appointments are not subject for make-up and lesson fees will still apply.
OTHER ACTIVITIES: I always look for different ways/programs to enhance student motivation and performance opportunities. Depending on availability the following programs may change.
- Group Lessons: Music Parties and Performance Classes enhance musical learning in ways that are not possible through individual lessons alone. Students have the opportunity to attend a monthly music party to practice performing for each other and play music related games. Overall, students can interact with each other in a safe environment. In addition, various Nursing Home performances are scheduled throughout the year.
- Partner Lessons: I will partner students that are about the same level, could work well together and learn from each other. Partner lessons will generally take place on Saturdays, but we will work on a schedule that works for all participants. During these lessons we focus on duet repertoire, fun/pop music, I may sneak in a little bit of technical drill (hopefully nobody will notice😊) and of course any ideas that students bring. Why should students sign up for this:
- Students will experience a sense of community.
- Students will practice communicating (verbally and non-verbally) to peers during the partner lesson and hopefully reach out to each other outside of the lesson time.
- My biggest hope: MOTIVATION. With partner lessons, I believe, students will develop a sense of responsibility for the progress of the group.
- Students will get exposed to different kind of repertoire and we can decide the music based on the interests of each group. Pop/movie/Disney music are NOT off limits.
- For the reason’s listed above, I would discourage siblings to play together.
- Lastly, students will have more contact time with me… the more time together, the more I can manipulate students’ brains and the less time students spend on screens…
- Piano Magazine and Composer of the Month: Since the piano explorer magazine has gone out of print, we will be writing our own! Middle/High School students will attend regular zoom meetings to select composers, write articles, create fun pages and listening assignments. Elementary School students will come in person to create visual displays for our magazine. Researching composers and listening to classical music provides the context and motivation to practice.
- Theory Exams and Scale Clubs: Leveled theory review tests are taken with the completion of each theory book. Students will work on scales and technical drills depending on their level and have to complete all requirements before joining a scale/technique club. This ensures progress in “not so favorite” topics and motivates students to move on to the next level.
- Motivational Challenges/Adjudication Events: MTNA Music Achievement Award Program and NFMC Music Festival are two programs to foster student motivation and encouragement in a non-competitive environment. The Music Achievement Award Program will take place during the Fall semester and the Music Festival is held in March. Other motivational challenges may be offered as needed. In Spring, students will additionally have the opportunity to participate in the TMTA auditions/competitions.
- 100 Days of Practicing: All students will receive a chart to track their 100 days of at home practicing. Students must return their completed charts.
- Wall of Fame – I caught you practicing without being asked: If you catch your child practicing their instrument without you having to ask them, please take a picture and email it to me. I would like to honor students who practice/play outside of their assigned practice time. Every month, I will print the picture and hang it up on my ‘Wall of Fame’.
- Student Recitals: Each Fall and Spring semester will conclude with a student recital. The Fall recital will be held at the SPKS studio on multiple days. Each student will have the opportunity to perform in front of others. This is a great way to see for yourself how much you have learned throughout the semester and also to hear other students play. Parents and other immediate family members are invited to participate, collaborate, and perform with their child. The Spring semester will conclude with two big recitals, one for string and one for piano students. Only well prepared students will be allowed to perform. Grandparents and other family members are welcome to attend and listen to the performances. Throughout the semester, we will discuss how to play at a recital and students will be well prepared. Attendance is required for all students - for adult students the performance is optional.
- Lesson Observations and Student Collaboration: All students are encouraged to observe each other’s lessons. A lot can be learned to see someone else learn. In addition, collaborating (chamber music or accompanying) with another student can be a lot of fun. This is also a good way to get to know other musicians and for parents to network. A phone list and lesson schedule will be handed out at the beginning of each semester. An Afternoon of Chamber Music, held at APSU, is an event where students can perform chamber music (duets, trios) for parents and family members.
Lessons are learning experiences that requires the cooperation of the teacher, parent, and student. Please do not
hesitate to contact me with questions, problems or concerns.