2016 Studio Policies and Fee Schedules
(Revised Summer 2016)
Inner Maestro Studio
Laura A. Wright, Owner and Piano Instructor
WHAT THIS STUDIO OFFERS
Lessons are offered by Inner Maestro Studio for students age three and older. All lessons are customized to fit each student’s needs and interests. The WunderKeys curriculum, recommended for children under the age of five, provides a fun way for preschoolers to develop their readiness for kindergarten as they acquire math skills, fine motor control and a love for music!
Inner Maestro Studio strives to inspire students to enjoy music of all genres and appreciate its role in communicating emotion. Music is a universal language; listening is as important as playing, for it activates all areas of the brain. Students should listen to as much music as possible, in the local community, on TV, radio, CDs, etc.
THE TEACHING YEAR AND CANCELLATION POLICY
This is a private teaching studio, and does not strictly follow an academic school year. Piano lessons continue as usual during the summer months. Tuition, discussed below, is based on a 12-month period, during which at least 40 lessons will be taught. This number allows for cancelations due to illness, holidays and vacations.
Tuition and materials fees are generally non-refundable. If lessons are canceled by the instructor for any reason, the student is guaranteed a make-up lesson or a credit if a make-up is not possible. If a student/responsible party provides at least 24 hours notice of a cancelation, the student will be offered a make-up time or the lesson may be made up by extending the length of the next lesson(s). There will be no refunds or make-ups for missed make-up lessons or lessons canceled without proper notice.
If lesson(s) are canceled due to inclement weather, the instructor has a period of two (2) months to give a make-up lesson(s). If a make-up lesson is not possible within this time frame, the missed lesson(s) will be credited to the student’s account.
I do understand that emergencies occur and I will work with you as much as possible to not penalize a student or family – just please be respectful, as I am traveling to you. I expect lessons to be canceled if a student or instructor is ill, especially with a fever – we all want to stay well!
LESSONS AND TUITION
Prior to accepting a student for lessons, an initial interview with the student or responsible party will be held by telephone, in a public place or your home. The student/responsible party may be asked to provide a photo ID, which may be photographed during an in person interview. I will provide you with my ID and background information and go over these policies. After all questions are fully addressed and both parties are in agreement, the student/responsible party will sign this document and will receive a copy of same. As the policies are updated, you will receive a copy of the most current revision.
Lessons are held in your home or other setting (such as a church or preschool, with the organization’s permission). Lessons with children ages three through seventeen will be held with a responsible adult present in the setting, or lessons will be canceled. Please allow 15 minutes before or after the scheduled time for the instructor to arrive, due to sometimes unavoidable factors such as traffic, weather, and/or previous lessons going over their time for special circumstances.
Once a student is accepted for lessons, the first month’s tuition shall be paid by check, cash or money order. Once that payment clears, lessons can begin. Inner Maestro Studio charges a flat tuition rate, as opposed to a charge per lesson; this flat tuition monthly rate is paid in 12 monthly installments. Tuition is due on or before the first lesson of each month. A late fee of $10 will be assessed if payment is not received by the second lesson, and an additional $10 per week that payment is delayed. Lessons will be suspended until full payment is received. If a check is returned for insufficient funds, the student/responsible party shall reimburse Inner Maestro Studio for any bank charges incurred in addition to the lesson fees, and lessons will be suspended until these fees are paid. Under no circumstances will payment be accepted in amounts other than the actual amount charged, nor shall any cash be wired to third parties. If preferred, automatic payments can be made using a credit card at the beginning of each month, through the Music Teachers Helper website. I will assist you in setting this up.
Current fee schedules are available upon request and include travel to your home, up to 20 miles one-way. An additional fee will be charged for travel in excess of this, based upon the current tax rate. Students/responsible parties may expect an increase in tuition appropriate to cost of living increases yearly or less often. Advance notice of increases will be provided at least 30 days in advance. Monthly tuition for families with more than one student will be adjusted individually.
Included in the monthly tuition is an annual materials fee, as follows: $40 for individual child students, $60 for families with multiple students enrolled, and $25 for adults. This includes a $6 annual subscription to The Piano Explorer magazine (10 issues per year), a binder (approximately $5-9) to organize lesson assignments, worksheets and music supplemental to lesson books. The fee also includes the cost of printing and laminating worksheets and games, recital programs and other instruction-related expenses. Parents/students are responsible for purchasing piano teaching books which I will recommend (approximately $10-$30 per year), supplemental music, metronomes, etc. I will do my best to keep your costs as low as possible; I can purchase piano lesson books and other music for you, but I only charge the purchase price and sales tax. I make no profits from these purchases.
INSTRUMENT AND PRACTICE POLICIES
Electronic keyboards are not acceptable for beginning students, except in extreme circumstances. This is because they don’t develop finger dexterity and strength required for effective playing, as acoustic pianos do. It does not matter whether your piano is a spinet, console/studio or grand, but it must be in good working condition. All keys and pedals must work. Ideally, a piano should be serviced (tuned) at least once a year. Some piano tuners will recommend tuning every six months or more frequently, depending on the instrument’s condition. Please maintain your piano! It makes a big difference in how much the student enjoys playing and learning.
- The student must be able to practice in a place that is comfortable (clean and warm) and without distractions. If your piano is in the major "traffic" area of your home, then either move it or encourage family members (including yourself!) to stay clear during scheduled practice times. Acoustic pianos should not be placed against outside walls due to the effect on them of the weather.
- Students are expected to practice 5-6 days each week. A regular schedule (time slot) is recommended. Beginning students should practice 20 minutes each practice day. Intermediate and advanced students should practice 30-60 minutes each day. This can be done at one sitting or in two shorter sessions each day.
- Most students will also do theory (written) work. Music is a language and requires practice to progress. Students are expected to work on their lessons and assignments during scheduled practice times. After lesson work is done students may improvise, "play around," or sight read new music on the piano. I encourage this type of creative exploration but it should be done within the discipline of learning lesson material.
TERMINATION OF LESSONS
Although our “contract” is month to month, I suggest beginning students allow at least 6 months to a year of taking lessons before determining if he/she will continue long term. This is also a learning experience for children to learn how to stay with something and not quit when it seems difficult at first. Once past the beginning stage, the student has enough knowledge and ability to decide if he or she wants to continue learning music. Inner Maestro Studio requires 30 days’ notice verbally or in writing for termination of lessons, whether initiated by the student/responsible party or the instructor. The student/responsible party shall be responsible for the tuition for the remainder of the thirty days, whether lessons are attended or not.