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"test drive" period

Since my stroke, I have become more selective about what students I take into my studio.  Students who are 7th grade or above, I will give a trial perod of a few lessons(three or four) at a reduced rate($15 per half hour). This period will allow both the student and myself time to see if we click and can work together.  It gives me time to see where the student is at, developmentally, on the instrument and see what needs to be worked on and determine a lesson plan.  It will also allow me to see if the student is going to be willing to do the work I ask of them.  At the end of the introductory period,  if the student decides they would rather try to find a different teacher, We will terminate lessons with no hard feelings.  If I decide that they just aren't putting forth the effort, I may decide that they need to find a different teacher. 

Students who are outright beginners, I will  accept unconditionally, from the start, with the understanding that repeated showing of  lack of effort may result in termination of the lessons.

Payment

During the test drive period, I will accept payment at each lesson, since there is no certainty that lessons will continue for any definite length of time.

After the trial period,  a commitment of the full school year is understood.  Lessons become $20 per half hour, with longer lessons being equally deleniated.  (45 minutes =$30, Hour= $40, etc)

Payment is due at the first lesson of the month, for the entire month.  If after two lessons have passed without payment, lessons will be put on hiatus until payment is received. This is due to unfortunate situations in the past where I was kind enough to continue giving students lessons, racking up a number of unpaid lessons for which i was never able to recover payment.  By putting lessons on hold, there is no increasing debt to be paid.


Absences & Rescheduling

 

If You know you need to miss a lesson, The most advanced notice possible is appreciated.  At least 24 hours notice is required for the lesson to be excused,  That will allow me time to move students around to fill that time slot.  As long as an absence is excused, I will work out a makeup lesson, if possible.  If insufficient(or no) notice is given,  The absence will be unexcused and treated as a lesson taken. Of course, if a student is sick, that is an excused absence.  I don't want to be trapped in a confined space wihth a contagious student and risk catching illness myself.  :-) Often times with sickness, the 24-hour advance notice is not possible. I understand that, but please let me know earlier in the day, if possible, so I'm at least aware of the pending absence and can try to jugle my schedule if I can.

 

Lateness

If a student is late for a lesson, the way I typically handle it is thus:  If they are just a few minutes late, we'll get right down to it and they will have the remainder of their lesson time.  If they are over 15 minutes late, the lesson will be treated as an unexcused absence.  Treat lateness as absences.  If You know there is a reason you will not be able to make a lesson on time, let me know, with as much warning as possible. If I am running  late for some reason, I will be certain to give each student their full lesson time, provided there is not some later function limiting them from being able to go longer than their regularly scheduled lesson time.  In such cases, I will make up the time deficit the following week  or at a later lesson. Sometimes,  a lesson will run into a "breakthrough" moment that I get carried away with and I lose track of time.  Sometimes, it's a "brick wall" moment to which attention  needs be paid.   

 

Makeup lessons

If I have more than one day of teaching at the school, I will try to makeup lessons on one of those days so that it is more convenient having the lesson at school.  Often, however, Makeup lessons need to be done at my house which is just off Kuykendahl, about five minutes south of Woodlands Parkway.  Just a bit north of Klein Oak High school.

 

Other equipment

 

I expect students to have a metronome and practice with it always. Practicing without a metronome ensures that a student will not develop even technique or a clear sense of time; the exact opposite of what we hope to accomplish in practicing.

 

I strongly encourage, but do not require students to have a tuner. Tuners provide a reference point while practicing to be able to see when notes are sharp or flat and will help with intonation when playing in band, or other ensembles.

 

While I do not require a tuner, Korg makes the TM-50 which is a very affordable and perfectly adequate combination tuner AND metronome for about $30. It is available from WW/BW along with other on-line sources, and I believe both H&H and Music & Arts sell it in store. Considering some metronomes and tuners cost that much (or quite a bit more) on their own, I recommend this combo device as a great purchase until further down the line (high school or college), When more specialized and dedicated devices would be beneficial.