Dear Parents and Students, welcome to our studio! Please read through our studio policy and write to us at: firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions. Please note that we do review our policies periodically and may revise them if needed. You can find the latest version on our studio website.
We teach lessons in our home studio, located in 7317 Parkwood Cir, Apt B, in Dublin. If you are coming from Dougherty, take the entrance at the Wildwood Rd, and take the second entrance at the Parkwood Cir. Turn right when you reach the fork and park at an open space (No under-roof parking, please). Take the third entrance at the Wildwood Rd if you are coming from Amador Valley Blvd.
Please provide an acoustic piano for your child. It should be tuned at least twice a year and is in a good mechanical condition. The instrument should be located in a quiet place without being next to TV or surrounded by excessive family noises. A digital keyboard is not appropriate for serious study. If you have a digital keyboard, it must come with 88 weighted keys and is touch sensitive. The keyboard should be replaced with an acoustic piano after 6 months of study.
Make sure your child practices at least 6 days a week. The most important time to practice is immediately after the lessons when the memory is still fresh. Please provide encouragement, patience, but not criticisms. Avoid over-scheduling your child. If they are fully loaded, music will become nothing more than another chore to them and they will have no time or energy to practice or enjoy their music.
Please play classical music in your home daily as we cannot educate style and beautiful tone in only 30-minute lessons. Your child needs to have the sound in their ears every-day. You can play classical music from I-tunes, Spotify, Pandora, YouTube, or KDFC on radio (FM 90.3).
Students- Plan your practice every day. Practice daily and make sure to follow the instructions given in your lessons and notes on your assignment. Listen carefully while you practice. Keep a good attitude. You won’t like every piece in the assignments, but you should see what you can learn from it. Practice everything on your assignments.
ARRIVING ON TIME
Please plan to arrive on time and avoid being late (or early) for your lesson. If you arrive early, please wait till your time is up to enter the studio. Please also avoid being late, as late comers will not have their lessons extended beyond their scheduled ending time.
We give lessons based on a recurring schedule, which allows our students to have lessons every week on a set day and time. Having a consistent schedule creates stability and incentives for students to progress. Please stick to your agreed schedule and minimize any schedule changes.
Each student is allowed two make-up per semester. We will do make-up only on the following days in December: 12/16 (Monday), 12/18 (Wednesday), and 12/22 (Sunday). You will need to reschedule a specific time with your teacher. This covers advance cancellations given 48 hours before the lesson time, absences due to sickness, or other absences due to extenuating circumstances. No shows are not eligible for make-up. Same day cancellations are not eligible for make-up. For cancellations to be eligible for make-up, they should be made at least two days in advance (i.e. 48 hours before the lesson time). Make-up times are final once they are set, as there won’t be “doing make-up for a make-up.”
If another student cancelled the lessons and opens a time slot, teachers may ask the students to do make-up that would otherwise be put at the end of the semester.
Our teachers reserve the right to dismiss a student early if they are grossly unprepared for the lesson or their behavior is disrespectful to our teachers.
Students who frequently misses classes (i.e. more than 5 times/ semester) will be dropped from the studio. Missed lessons will be refunded.
Lessons should be paid by semester. There will be 15 weeks in the fall. Beginning on 8/1/2019, our rate will $40 per half hour, $60 per 45 minutes, and $80 per hour. Please use your rate to calculate your semester tuitions. Tuitions will not be refunded once it is paid.
Full semester Tuitions
Fall Semester (15 weeks, September 1 to December 23. 2019)
30 min. lessons: $40/lesson, $600/semester
30 min. lessons for little pianist, age below 6: $43/lesson, $645/semester
45 min. lessons: $60/lesson, $900/semester
60 min. lessons: $80/lesson, $1200/semester
Fall 2019-Schedule/ Holiday
Monday students- classes go from Sep 2 to Dec 9
Wednesday students- classes go from Sep 4 to Dec 11
Thursday students- classes go from Sep 5 to Dec 19 (No class on 11/28-Thanksgiving Break)
Friday students- classes go from Sep 6 to Dec 20 (No class on 11/29-Thanksgiving Break)
Saturday students-from Sep 7 to Dec 21 (No class on 11/30-Thanksgiving Break)
Sunday students-from Sep 1 to Dec 15 (No class on 12/1-Thanksgiving Break)
While our teachers love to help students succeed in doing music exams, we will not prepare students for exams if they are significantly under-level for the level that they want to be tested at. We will advise the student to seek lessons elsewhere if parents insist on pushing the student to take exam or go for a particular level that does not match with the student’s current level. We won’t be able to take the student if the student cannot follow the time set.
LESSON TIME SET
For students who will be taking Preparatory and level 1 exam: 30 mins
For students who will be taking level 2 and 3: 45 mins
For students who will be taking level 4 and up: 60 mins or more
We encourage and welcome parents to sit-in during their child’s lessons. However, if you are taking another child with you, please keep the child’s behavior in check and keep any talking at a minimum. We will stop the lesson to address the distractions if needed.
CHILD IN STUDIO
Please make sure your child does not engage in unsafe, risky behaviors that may harm themselves. This includes standing, running, or climbing on the sofa, chair, table, the kitchen counter, the toilet, etc. Please ask your child not to run in the studio, as the studio’s wooden floor may be slippery. We are not liable to any harm that happened due to your child’s unsafe behavior. Please asked your child not to touch our teacher’s personal items.
While our teachers are happy to answer your questions, please be respectful of their time. Please use the beginning class time to ask your questions and not ask them at the end of the class, as this will always take up next student’s lesson time. If you have non-urgent questions about the last lesson, please email us or bring your questions to the next lesson. Please do not text your teacher’s phone for random questions as our teachers won’t be looking at our phones during teaching hours and will not text after finishing teaching in the evening.
HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST PIANO TEACHER FOR YOUR CHILD
HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST PIANO TEACHER FOR YOUR CHILD
Before I go any further, here's the bottom line:
GO WITH YOUR GUT.
By the time you’re looking for a piano teacher, you’ve seen your child blossom around some adults and wilt around others. You’re looking for the best teacher for your child, not someone else’s. Your intuition will give you more information than any bio, resume or referral.
With that in mind, here are some guidelines to help you find that teacher.
Most parents begin their search with someone in mind who might look like this:
A teacher who’s patient, skilled, not-too-old but not-too-young, and adores teaching the classics, jazz and pop. She seamlessly incorporates new technology and cutting-edge teaching trends. She’s an expert in multiple intelligences and specializes in children with learning differences. She is a brilliant concert pianist. She is a published composer and teaches composition flawlessly. Though her studio is full and has a waiting list, she has Tuesday at 4 pm ready and waiting for your child.
Let’s be clear: this teacher doesn’t exist. You will have to make choices.
Please note: I chose to use "she" throughout this article. There are many fine male piano teachers, and I am not trying to dissuade you from including them in your search.
The most essential thing is a natural fit between your child and the teacher. Set up a meeting between your child and a prospective teacher. Don't do all the talking. Let your child speak for herself.
Look for simple things. Does this teacher
Make eye contact with your child?
Seem genuinely interested in what your child says?
Draw your child out?
Have a sense of humor?
Humor is invaluable in dealing with children. It's better for your child to have a lesson that includes laughter. After all, your child is a child.
Ask your child these questions:
How did you feel when you were working with her?
Was there anything she did that made you uncomfortable or confused?
Would you like to see her again?
Some teachers, especially the younger ones, may not have much experience. Ironically, it’s the teachers just getting started who often have the least experience teaching beginners. Keep an open mind about them, though. A young, enthusiastic teacher who’s willing to invest wholeheartedly in your child may be your best choice. Nothing is better than an experienced teacher, but nothing is worse than a teacher who is also rigid, exhausted, bored, or burned out.
If a teacher has a website, take the time to look at it and find out as much as possible about the teacher. I always appreciate prospective students who have spent time reading what I've written and listened to my recordings.
One effective way to find out about a teacher is to attend a recital by her students. Whenever possible, I invite prospective parents and students to come and hear my students play. It's a simple way for them to experience the style of my studio and see how I relate to my students and their families.
If you’re just not sure, ask if you can take a trial lesson or two to see if it’s a good fit for your child. This is usually easiest to do in the summer when schedules are at their most flexible.
What are you hoping to accomplish with piano lessons? I find it difficult to respond when a parent calls me and says, “I don’t want my child to be a concert pianist. I just want them to have fun.” Obviously, I want my students to enjoy learning, but if they only want to have fun they might do better with a trip to the playground.
HERE ARE A FEW EXAMPLES OF MORE SPECIFIC GOALS AND CHOICES:
I want my child in an elite, competitive, high-energy musical environment.
Choose a highly skilled teacher with a track record of competition winners who puts energy into finding those opportunities for your child. Consider auditioning at a conservatory if your town has one. The kinds of teachers you are looking for will most likely be teaching there. Examples of these schools are the San Francisco Conservatory, the Cleveland Institute, the Colburn School in Los Angeles, and the Juilliard School's Pre-College Division.
I want my child in a warm, healthy environment that fosters individuality, creativity and a love of music.
Look for a teacher with a collaborative studio where students play duets and performance opportunities are not competitive. (This describes my particular studio much better than the first one.)
I have a child with a learning difference and I want a teacher who can understand and embrace my child.
Screening for skills like teaching children with special needs means looking for someone who loves the challenge of unlocking an unusual mind or body. This teacher can’t wait to try to figure out what will work. Look for a teacher who is creative and willing to try new techniques, materials and ideas.
Is location important to you? How far are you willing to drive for the most appropriate teacher? I have some students who drive two hours one-way to me, but I believe the closest appropriate teacher is always a better choice. You'll spend time driving to-and-from this studio, so make it as convenient as possible. Factor in the afternoon and rush hour traffic unless you have a home-schooled child or can schedule lessons on weekends. The best teachers will always try to refer you to someone closer to you if there is another good choice.
Do you want a teacher who comes to your house? The benefit to this is convenience. You don't have to leave your home or arrange transportation for your child. Unfortunately, traveling teachers can be hard to find. Sometimes you can find a young, enthusiastic teacher who will come to you. Sometimes an experienced teacher prefers teaching in student's homes. If there is a good one in your area, they commonly have a waiting list. Be prepared for a specific and tricky schedule, as traveling teachers factor in driving time, traffic and parking. Expect to pay a premium for this service.
Ask up front about a teacher's work schedule. Does she teach after school? Saturdays or Sundays? Evenings? Find out if she even teaches on a day when you could get your child there. For example, if your child could only attend a Saturday lesson and she doesn't even teach weekends, it's better to end the conversation right there.
That said, don’t be too picky at the beginning. The best lesson times fill up first, so you may have to start with a less than ideal time and move into a better slot as the teacher's schedule changes and your child has been there longer.
Most piano teachers didn’t choose the profession because they wanted to be business owners but trust me, you want one that runs a tight ship. If a teacher has a clear studio policy it means they’ve thought through the issues that are important to them and clearly delineated them. This doesn’t mean they won’t be flexible or reasonable, it means they are support themselves by running a professional business. This is a good thing for you as a consumer as well as for them as a business owner.
A good studio policy will include information about how much and when you’ll pay, how to obtain supplies and pay for them, and a cancellation policy.
Look for a teacher who varies their routine. Many teachers use the same books and music year after year which can be beneficial; they’re good at teaching from them. But as their students develop and change, do you notice a tailored a curriculum for each individual student? Does it feel more like a factory where a child gets on the conveyor belt and hopes she doesn’t fall off?
If your child sticks with lessons into middle school and beyond, their piano teacher may become an important transitional adult - someone who is there during their teenage years as a confidant. Is she someone who you would want your child to confide in? It takes a village to raise a child, and a piano teacher can be an important ally in your parenting journey.
How to find that teacher
Start by asking your circle of friends and acquaintances if any of them is particularly happy with their child's teacher. Most of my students come through personal referrals. This is my favorite way to get new students. People who already like me and the way I teach are likely to refer others like themselves.
Most communities in the United States have branches of the Music Teachers National Organization (MTNA) or a state music teachers organization. The MTNA has a webpage called Choosing a Teacher. You may find it helpful, though I imagine I’d find it intimidating as a prospective parent.
Canada has a similar organization called the Canadian Federation of Music Teachers' Association. They also have a Find a Teacher page. In California we have the Music Teachers Association of California (MTAC). I list these acronyms because the teachers tend to throw them around and you may have no idea what they're talking about. MTAC has a great web resource called Find a Teacher that lists the teachers by area. This will at least give you an idea of the teachers in your area who belong to this particular organization. (I'm a member of both these organizations, but many teachers choose to be a member of one or the other or none at all.)
New Zealand has the fabulous Institute of Registered Music Teachers with a website with a teacher search.
The Suzuki method is based on learning entirely by ear at first. Their website offers information about the method and a search feature for teachers around the world.
Pay close attention to your child. If your child seems to genuinely like the teacher, that's important. Maybe even more important, does this teacher genuinely like your child? Your child will spend one-on-one time with this person for weeks, months and possibly years. Is this person going to validate them? Encourage them? Understand them? Like them?
Here are some additional questions you might consider asking:
How many recitals do you have a year? Could you describe them?
Do you do any exam or evaluation programs? If so, which ones?
Do you teach music theory?
Do you have any group lessons or opportunities for students to get together and play for each other?
Take your time. Be patient and willing to wait until you find the right person. While you're waiting, I suggest you check out this brilliant article, 10 Things You Should Do Before Your Child Starts Piano Lessons.
The book Mindset by Carol Dweck can help you set your expectations and approach lessons in a healthy way. This book explains how an open mindset can make learning more successful. I highly recommend reading it during the process of choosing a teacher.
I wish you luck in your search for the best piano teacher for your child.