Following is an overview of my studio policies, designed for prospective students who are considering studying with me. Current students will want to familiarize themselves with the more detailed Scheduling and Billing policy pages. Scheduling with me indicates your acceptance of all current policies.
For most students, I recommend weekly half-hour sessions. Students who demonstrate consistent work habits and proficiency may benefit from weekly full-hour sessions; I am happy to discuss this possibility if it appeals to the student. Current tuition rates appear near the top of my main Teaching page.
If you are unable to commit to a weekly appointment time or prefer to pay for lessons individually rather than by the month, you may schedule individual “ad hoc” sessions in vacancies left between regular students. (Ad-hoc sessions are not eligible for the discounted rate at which I offer regular weekly lessons. See below for more about ad-hoc sessions.)
Out of respect for the artists who create music (and the copyright laws that protect them), I use only legitimately purchased copies of music in teaching. Students generally find it most convenient and cost-efficient to allow me to purchase downloadable music during their lessons; the price for new music (which usually reflects a “teacher’s discount”) is then added to the next month’s invoice. (Students taking ad-hoc and gift sessions will be billed separately for purchased music.)
If you prefer, you may provide music that you already own to work on during sessions. Our time can be most productive if I also have a (legally purchased) copy of your music—ideally in the correct key, with clear piano accompaniment and chords. If you’re uncertain of which version of a piece of music to purchase for my use, it’s best to contact me before your session.
Before purchasing copies of music for a show, district choral event, etc., please check with me—you’ll receive copies from the director, and there’s a good chance I’ll already have copies for myself.
Billing & Payment
Regular students are billed monthly, with fees for each month’s lessons due on the first day of that month. An Unpaid Lesson Fee will be added to a student’s account if they have not paid for a lesson before the scheduled lesson date.
I strongly recommend that students take advantage of “Auto Pay,” which automatically pays your invoice with a connected credit card or bank account each month, but many other payment methods are available.
Holidays & instructor cancellations
If a student’s regular lesson falls on a national holiday, or if I need to cancel a lesson for any reason, I will notify the student during the month prior to the lesson (or as soon as possible) and will add to the student’s account a credit that can be used to schedule a make-up session during any open lesson time up to 30 days following the date of the cancelled session. Fuller details on holidays and make-up lessons are available on my scheduling page.
Student & household illness
Because my work involves close contact with living, breathing beings, I ask that students who are experiencing symptoms of respiratory infection or other illnesses (or who share a household with others who are ill) not attend in-person lessons with me. I don’t want to get sick myself, of course; but also and more importantly, I have a responsibility not to become a vector of transmission for the dozens of other students and musicians I work with every week. Students facing household illness may opt to reschedule their lesson (with more than 24 hours’ notice) or switch to an online lesson.
If a student cancels a lesson more than 24 hours in advance, the student’s account will automatically receive a Make Up Credit that can be used to schedule an extra lesson during any available lesson time in the next 30 days.
Regardless of the reason for the cancellation, I do not offer discounts, refunds, or other credit for lessons cancelled by students with less than 24 hours’ notice. This policy helps avoid inconsistencies in the monthly income on which my family and I depend.
When the time comes for you to discontinue studies with me, just let me know—preferably at least a month prior to the date of your last lesson, so that I can begin to make your lesson time available to other students. Discontinuing lessons will take effect at the end of the calendar month—i.e., I won’t schedule additional lessons with you, but you’ll be able to take advantage of the lessons you’ve already been billed for according to the policies above.
Note that you may receive one final invoice after your last session, reflecting any outstanding music purchases, credits, etc. that were not included on your final regular invoice.
Ad-hoc & extra lessons
Ad-hoc coaching sessions are usually available, based upon cancellations and gaps in my regular schedule. You can view open time slots for ad-hoc sessions in your Student Portal calendar; click any open lesson slot to register for it.
Ad-hoc sessions do not receive the discount I extend to regular weekly sessions, and are billed at my regular hourly rate. (Current lesson rates are listed on my main Teaching page.)
Within a day or so after scheduling an ad-hoc session, you can expect to receive an invoice for the session fee. (Most account-related emails will come from firstname.lastname@example.org, so please add this address to your spam filter’s passlist.) Payment must be received in advance of ad-hoc sessions, or an Unpaid Lesson fee will be added to the price of the lesson.
Ad-hoc sessions are governed by the same student cancellation policy as regular lessons.
In past years, I required my students to maintain multiple logins for accounting, scheduling, and resource management. Those who endured that period of my professional history will be thrilled to learn that as of October, 2020, all lesson scheduling, accounting, and resource sharing will be managed with a single login—namely, their Student Portal (hosted by mymusicstaff.com).
Students taking online lessons will also need to have an account at either voicelessons.com or Zoom, which will allow us to hold our lessons remotely. (You should not experience any additional fees for your use of either platform. See this page for more details regarding online lessons.)
You and I both have lives outside of our music studies, and I do (most of the time) try to be a decent human being. If you find you’re having trouble with any aspect of this document, please ask for a few moments to talk about your concerns. I want to do all I can to help you make music you love to make!
Thanks for taking the time to slog through all of these details. Of course, don’t hesitate to let me know if I can clarify anything for you, now or in the future. I appreciate the opportunity to work with you!