Studio Policies and General Information
Private lessons differ significantly from group lessons since a private piano lesson constitutes a one-on-one relationship between student and teacher. That relationship is also realized when lessons are given online on Skype. The teaching environment is different in that for the time the lesson is scheduled, the teacher gives their full, undivided attention totally to that student. By the same token, the student offers their focus for that time to the teacher. Lessons follow the speed of the student’s abilities, not a designated program schedule.
Parents are encouraged to sit in on a lesson when the student is online. As a teacher I wish to provide a quiet, relaxed and comfortable atmosphere for a student where they feel unencumbered and can just give in to the music, whether the lesson is provided online or in-home. Parents are requested to make this possible in either circumstance.
ONLINE LESSONS REQUIREMENTS
Hardware requirements include a Mac or PC computer with high quality external speakers and a webcam. A laptop comes with a webcam and speakers. For software, we will use Skype video. Everything in this lesson policy applies to online lessons.
Since a student contracts the instructor’s time when they enroll, they are expected to be present for their lesson. The lesson period assigned pupils become their personal and financial responsibility based on the assumption it is for the entire year. That is time reserved for them and is of no value to anyone else. Lesson times are scheduled at the mutual agreement of teacher and client, subject to the availability of open lesson times.
Vacation breaks during the lesson year will coincide with school breaks, i.e., Christmas, Spring Break, Easter, summer holidays. Should a lesson fall on a statutory holiday it will still be scheduled, however, the lesson time may be changed to accommodate earlier times. If there are plans to be away for the long weekend, please provide sufficient notice. I will do the same.
In the event that any statutory holiday is lengthened by a municipality i.e. Spring Break, Easter, Remembrance Day, etc., please note that I will follow the original Studio Policies that are in place at this time. Again, should plans be made to leave town alternate arrangements can be discussed with sufficient notice.
Please allow time to set up for your online lesson; make sure you have the books you need; any theory homework and make sure the equipment is ready to go.
Unfortunately, I cannot make up lessons missed by students for any other reason than extreme illness or extreme emergency. If I cancel lessons, I will surely re-schedule them. I realize that other extra-curricular activities such as school activities or social conflicts, sports events, birthday parties, holidays outside of Christmas or Spring Break (unless prior arrangements have been made), school field trips, are an important part of most students’ lives, but I cannot make adjustments for these activities. There are no 'bad weather' days because the lesson can be done via Skype.
Also not considered a valid excuse is forgetfulness or lack of preparation. Lack of preparation can sometimes happen with busy schedules, but much can be accomplished at the lesson in the way of ear training, sight-reading, technique and repertoire. Injuries do also not preclude not being able to participate in lessons, unless the student is immobile.
A lesson change for good reason can sometimes be accommodated if the student gives at least 72 hours advance notice, and the re-scheduled lesson takes place the same week so that missed lessons do not accrue. If a lesson is missed because you must attend another function, please understand that it will not be re-scheduled and the lesson will be considered paid. No more than one student cancellation per semester will be accepted. Additional cancellations will not be made up or refunded. Make-up lessons are wholly at the teacher’s discretion.
I would appreciate at least 24 hours’ notice if you cannot attend a lesson, so that I may adjust my schedule accordingly. If this is not possible, a minimum of 4 hours’ notice is required for cancellation of a lesson (unless an emergency arises). Please note that the lesson fee will be charged if sufficient notice is not provided. If I am unavailable, please leave a message stating the time of your call, on my answering machine. I do make it a practice not to answer my phone during lesson times. If there is an emergency, please keep phoning my number. That way I know that someone is seriously trying to get to me and I will then answer the phone.
A student has time reserved in my schedule. I will honour this appointment conscientiously in order that other students are given the same consideration. I try not to allow a lesson to extend into another time period. Therefore if a student signs on late, the lesson will end at the usual time without an adjustment in fee. Please note that for students currently taking a 30-minute lesson if they sign on more than 10 minutes late for a lesson, it shall be considered cancelled and the lesson fee charged. For students taking a 45-minute lesson, should they sign on at such a time that a 30-minute lesson cannot even be provided, the lesson shall be deemed cancelled and paid.
I try to operate on a time schedule however; there will be times when your private lesson does not begin right on the scheduled time. Please do not schedule subsequent events so close that you must leave early. Allow enough time to complete your lesson. When students are in a rush to make a deadline elsewhere following the lesson they are distracted and unable to focus.
WITHDRAWAL OF STUDENTS FROM LESSONS
One month’s written notice is required for withdrawal of students from lessons. Payment is due during this thirty-day period whether or not lessons are taken. I have found from experience that it is better not to make hasty decisions at the first sign of your child possibly losing interest or not practicing for the recommended times. If you have having any problems, please call me. Your child’s progress and love of music are very important to me. However, if a final decision is made to discontinue lessons, the notice will be required.
Though my students are very important to me I will not hesitate to terminate a student for constant disruptive behavior, continued lack of preparation, or often missed lessons. I will make every attempt to rectify these situations with parents before asking the student to leave.
BOOKS AND SUPPLIES
The family shall be responsible for purchasing any books and supplies that the teacher feels the student needs in order to develop properly. These may include an assignment notebook, one or more songbooks, a theory book, an exercise book, a metronome, and a footstool (for young children). The teacher shall not be expected to make the purchases for the student, though this is sometimes possible.