During my 29 years of teaching piano, I've developed this set of studio policies that greatly enhances the student experience and helps parent, child (in the case of young pianists), and teacher to all work together for the best outcomes and greatest success.
It is important that you read this policy statement thoroughly. This is not full of legalese, but practical and clear statements that help ensure student success.
Studio procedure -- In-person
Please arrive promptly at your agreed upon lesson time (no more than 5 minutes early) with all music, materials, and completed assignments.
Your time is reserved specifically for you. Late arrivals will only get their remaining scheduled lesson time.
Students should come with an expectant willing attitude, ready to make music!
Parents are welcome to attend their child’s piano lesson, provided it doesn’t distract the child from learning. If you attend, please sit quietly in the designated waiting area and step outside to take phone calls. Siblings who accompany the parent should also sit quietly.
You may also wait in your car in the driveway or on the street, walk/jog the neighborhood, or run an errand during lessons.
Please respect my home and belongings. Students are not to wander about the house.
When you arrive, students should wash hands with soap and dry them thoroughly. This is part of caring for the baby grand piano... a highly treasured instrument.
Parents should pick up children promptly at the end of their scheduled lesson time.
Please communicate questions and concerns via phone, text, and email, not between lessons. Questions may not receive an answer until the end of my teaching day or the next business day.
Lesson procedure -- online private students
I will send you a Zoom link invite for your lesson. If you do not receive it, check your spam and promotions folders first. If you're still missing it, please text me so I can resend it.
Your laptop or tablet camera should be set to the right of your piano or keyboard, and higher than your face and keyboard level, such that the camera (and I) can see both your hands and your face. Setting it to the right allows for a better balance between the treble and bass sounds as heard over the internet.
Please try to set up and make sure everything is working five minutes or so before your lesson is due to start, so we can get started promptly at the beginning of your lesson time.
About your instrument...
Students should have one of the following at home so they can play often and make sufficient progress:
(1) A well-tuned acoustic piano (piano should be tuned twice per year).
(2) An 88-key keyboard withweighted keys, a stand to keep the keyboard at standard piano height, a bench, and a damper pedal.
Acoustic pianos are ideal if living space and budget allow for it. Despite technical advances, even the best keyboard cannot replicate an acoustic piano in terms of developing finger strength, musicality, use of the pedals, and the feel and sound of a piano.
We regret that we are unable to accept students who do not have an instrument in their home. It’s like trying to learn how to drive without getting behind the wheel. All head knowledge, no real skill. We aim to make you successful!
Your tuition reserves a time that is exclusively yours. Please honor it as such.
Virtual / online lessons are available for the student’s normal in-person lesson time when illness or inclement weather or possibly even travel prevents an in-person lesson.
If you're driving a long ways for in-person lessons (45 to 60 minutes) we can do a hybrid of in-person and online private lessons to save you the long drive every other week.
Access to a piano or keyboard, a stable internet connection, and computer or tablet are needed for virtual lessons.
I understand that family emergencies, accidents, and planned travel arise from time to time.
That’s why included in your tuition is the generous option to make up two lessons during the winter-spring session lasting January through June 30th. This assumes we can find a mutually agreeable time for the makeup. I do try to work with my students, and also periodically offer make-up days/hours.
Other than this there are no refunds or credits for missed lessons. All lessons missed by the teacher will be rescheduled.
No-shows and missed lessons with less than 24 hours’ notice cannot be made up.
Tuition, fees, and schedule
Monthly tuition is due on the first of every month. It is important to make attendance at every lesson a priority for ongoing learning and progress.
We break from July 1st till August 15th, as well as during Thanksgiving week and for 2 weeks over the Christmas and New Years’ break.
I strongly recommend continuing lessons through the month of June to ensure better progress... especially for students with less than 2 years of instruction. This is based on nearly 30 years of professional piano teaching. Accommodations can be made for students who want to continue during July and August.
Tuition is $45 per30-minute lesson. Longer lessons or more frequent lessons (twice per week) can be scheduled for an additional fee.
In addition, a $50 non-refundable registration fee holds your spot and covers your music and materials.
Payment is due on the first of every month. As a courtesy I'll invoice you on the 25th or 26th of the previous month. A $10 late fee (first time) or $25 late fee (subsequent times) will be assessed if payment is not received by the 5th of the month. Note that if your lesson day falls five times during the subsequent month, that will be reflected in your reminder invoice.
Prefer to pay in a lump sum and forget about it? I can calculate your total cost through June 30th and you can pay in advance.
Preferred methods of payment include Zelle, cash, and check.
Payments can also be made via credit card through Paypal, but will incur a 3% surcharge.
Recital requirements and fees
All school-aged students should expect to play in the annual spring recital. Performing builds self-confidence, gives students the opportunity to share their music with others, and helps them to overcome any fears of doing so. A $20 recital fee will be collected 30 days prior to the recital date.
Adult participation in the recital is optional but highly encouraged. It inspires young children and teaches them that piano can be enjoyed at all ages!
Students will get information about practice expectations at their first lesson. In a nutshell, the amount of practice should be set judiciously short (10-15 minutes) for beginning students, especially young children. More advanced students with longer music and longer attention spans should adjust their time accordingly.
Parents, please help your young children find and maintain a DAILY time to practice. Children aren't mature enough to do this on their own (till maybe age 14). Kids are happier about playing piano when they make good progress. And you get a much better return on your lesson investment.
Feel free to consult with me about practice expectations any time.
It is assumed that when you register, you are doing so for an entire 44-week year (Aug. 15-June 30), unless other arrangements have been made at the beginning.
Parents and adult students should realize that playing piano involves a learning curve and long-term progressive skill development.
Students benefit from ongoing piano instruction that extends for four to six years or more (finishing piano methods books levels 4-5 or beyond). This lets the student gain a deep enough competency to enjoy piano on their own and/or be able to return to it at a later date without losing everything gained.
This is also congruent with studies that show improved academic achievement. The time period showing those benefits is four or more years. Just like students don't learn calculus without a lot of elementary math and algebra... or speak French fluently enough to thrive on your own in rural France... piano is also a long game.
With this in mind, if a student decides to terminate before the end of the school year, one month’s written notice must be given.
Ideally this decision is made only after a thoughtful discussion between the parents, student, and myself, so that lessons can end on a positive note.
At my discretion, a student may be asked to discontinue lessons (usually at the end of an academic year) following repeated absences, unprepared lessons, or unpaid tuition.
Internet and media release
Students may be photographed or recorded during lessons, rehearsals, and performances by this music school or its designee.
These images and recordings become the property of Allegro Piano School and may be used for instructional or promotional purposes. This may include broadcast, print, and electronic media whether it exists now or is created in the future.
Agreement to this policy is assumed unless explicitly denied in writing.
Physical touch policy
Touch is sometimes needed to help a student develop awareness of tension or correct hand position. This is especially crucial for beginners, or where transfer students or others have neglected healthy technique or developed poor habits.
Touch is limited to hands, wrists, arms, and occasionally the shoulders and back.
The purpose of the touch is explained when it is used, so that the student can engage positively and effectively in learning.
Physical contact is never used unnecessarily or inappropriately.
Parents are welcome to sit in on lessons in the waiting area as described above.
General permission is granted by acceptance of studio policies.
"I often think in music. I live my daydreams in music. I see my life in terms of music."
~ Albert Einstein
Are you ready to enjoy the joy and beauty of playing piano?