Studio Policy

Studio Policies for 2016-2017

MISSION STATEMENT:

Coaching and encouraging children and teens to enjoy making music for a lifetime.

REGISTRATION FEE:

A $40 Registration/Reservation Fee will reserve a lesson space in my studio schedule for the school year (August/September-May). The registration fee is non-refundable except when no suitable class or private lesson time is available. The fee is then used to help defray the cost of theory games and teaching aids, ensemble books, music library materials, incentives and awards, and the annual spring recital.

MUSIC & MATERIALS:

Music and materials needed usually cost about $60 per year per student. Re-registered, continuing students will pay this at the beginning of summer session and new students will pay this fee at the beginning of the school year with the Registration/Reservation Fee. New students will receive a three-ring binder for weekly practice plans and handouts when they begin lessons.

PIANO TUITION:

Preschool/Kindergarten Classes (Ages 4-6): $80 per month for 40-minutes weekly

Older Student Classes (1st grade+): $85 per month for 50-minutes weekly and $95 for 60-minutes weekly.

Partner Lessons (all ages): $100 per month for 40-minute lessons.

Private Lessons (all ages-limited availability): $128 per month for 45-minute lessons plus a 15-minute computer lab session.

Six 1-hour Group Musicianship Classes, three each semester, are scheduled throughout the year for all students (except for new beginners), based upon the students’ ages and skill level. 

Lesson tuition includes 30 lessons for the school year (August/September to mid-May), 1 Piano Party, 2 extra help days, Spring Piano Rehearsals & Celebration (recital) and 1 bonus lesson. School year tuition fees are divided into three (3) equal quarterly payments and due the first day of each month from September through May. Families are welcome to pay three (3) months tuition in full or pay monthly by the tenth of the month.  A late fee of $20 is charged for any tuition payments received after the tenth of the month. A $35 service charge will be charged for checks returned for insufficient funds.  Checks should be made payable to Marci Pittman.

Homeschooled Students who take lessons during the public school day receive a tuition reduction. 

CLASS LESSONS:

Piano classes are small (no more than five students) and each student has the use of a digital piano or keyboard. The goal of each class is to create a positive, fun, relaxed learning atmosphere. Friendships develop and the joy of sharing music is experienced. Students may progress more rapidly in a stress-free piano class environment and are grouped according to age and ability. Students are responsible for bringing ALL of their materials with them to each class session. Piano classes generally follow the local traditional school calendar, beginning in late August or early September and ending in May. In September, each student will receive a Studio Calendar and copy of the Studio Policies, a copy of which will be put in the back section of the student music binder. 

In my experience, motivation for consistent progress and excellence is the greatest challenge for students today. Working in small groups, students learn not only from the teacher but also from each other. I have observed that student enjoyment and enthusiasm is enhanced, interaction and positive peer pressure provide positive motivation for accurate playing, playing in groups significantly improves rhythmic ability, and students see others working at learning the same skills and feel less isolated as they practice at home.

PRIVATE LESSONS:

If I am unable to place a student into a class appropriate for his or her age and ability, I will teach a private lesson if my studio schedule permits. If, at a later date, I have a weekly group that would be appropriate for a private student, I will request that the student join the group.

The Private Lesson Program includes a combination of weekly private lesson instruction of 45-minutes and Group Musicianship Classes. The weekly private lessons are preceded or followed by an individual 15-minute computer lab session. Six times during the school year, I will schedule a 1-hour Group Musicianship Class for my students for listening exercises, theory review games, ear training, music history and playing in ensemble. Students are grouped roughly by age and skill level. These classes will replace the private lesson for that week and no new materials are assigned. Group Musicianship Classes will be clearly indicated on the studio calendar so that you may plan your schedules accordingly.

SUMMER SESSION:

Summer Session will be the months of June & July. Re-registered, continuing students are requested to schedule four lessons during those months, private or group, and will be billed for one month’s tuition along with the registration/reservation fee and materials’ fee.  Summer scheduling is more flexible for lesson time and length. Students who DO NOT sign-up to take lessons during summer session are still required to pay the tuition and fees to hold a spot in the studio for the new school year. 

ATTENDANCE:

A lesson time is reserved for students each week and month of the school year whether or not the student attends each lesson. A student who does not attend a lesson will simply miss the benefit of that lesson. Unlike a doctor or a hairdresser, I cannot re-sell that time nor can I create extra hours in the day in which to give make-up lessons. Students who miss lessons due to busy schedules, lack of preparation, or vacation times are not eligible for a rate adjustment. Rescheduled lessons are at the teacher’s discretion. 

Illness: For the health of all, do not bring a sick student to their lesson. Students who are too ill to attend school are also too ill to attend their lesson. In the event of teacher illness or emergency, your teacher is entitled to cancel one lesson a year, for which there will be no reduction in tuition. It is very rare for me to cancel due to illness, and whenever possible, I will attempt to offer a rescheduled lesson as the calendar permits.

Piano Lesson Exchange List: Families of students who wish to exchange their lessons due to the occasional schedule conflict may do so, provided another student family is willing to make the lesson exchange. Each student's family may have their name, phone number, e-mail address and lesson time published on the Piano Lesson Exchange List. Families of students who exchange their lessons MUST notify the instructor within 48 hours of the lesson. No rescheduled lessons will be given if any confusion from this arises. If two students arrive at the same time, the student who is normally scheduled for that time will be given a lesson. If a student cannot attend the lesson and cannot arrange a lesson exchange, the lesson is forfeited. 

DISCONTINUING LESSONS: 

Every student stops taking lessons at some point. Please make this decision thoughtfully with plenty of discussion between the teacher, parent, and student so that lessons can cease with a positive sense of closure. For this reason, the teacher requires ONE MONTH’S advance notice prior to discontinuing lessons.


 DAILY PIANO PLAYING:

Daily playing time is essential for students to experience success in learning their materials. Families and students should have a plan for when this playing time will take place each day. The student must fill in a weekly playing chart (on the assignment sheet) and be responsible for completing the materials on the assignment sheet. Each first year student must commit to playing the piano and the materials assigned daily for 15 to 20 minutes, five days a week (5 to 15 minutes daily for 4 to 6-year-old students). Students beyond their first year of lessons must commit to playing their materials assigned daily for a minimum of 20-30 minutes, five days a week.  Unprepared lessons cost the same as prepared ones but their value is substantially compromised. It is consistent, efficient, daily practice that leads to the satisfaction and joy of steady progress towards solid musicianship that may be enjoyed for a lifetime.  

Please note that these policies are in accord with recommended professional policies of the Music Teachers’ National Association and the Music Teachers’ Association of California. Tuition fees take into consideration that I must provide all of my insurance, retirement, social security, and continuing education costs, as well as bear the expense of equipping and maintaining my studio, instruments, libraries and other equipment and supplies. They also take into consideration that I spend even more hours in planning, study, scheduling, phone calls, e-mails, bookkeeping, and organizing other studio related responsibilities, than I do in actual lesson time. Teaching is my profession, my business, and my art; I wish to present and live up to policies that give me the time and financial security to devote most of my energy to the creative act of sharing music with people. I acknowledge my students' and their parents' place in a three-way relationship, and pledge to do my best to make music study a rich, growing experience for my students.