Music Studio Policies
My rates for private lessons (online, in my home, or at SIUE) are as follows:
I charge a flat-rate monthly tuition during the school year beginning in August and ending in May. I add up the number of lessons per term and divide by the number of months, so there will be no adjustments for months with five lessons OR for months with only three lessons. This fee schedule has two "free" lessons built-in per semester. In other words, twenty-two lessons are scheduled each term but I am only charging for twenty lessons. Ideally, this will give both the instructor and the student one week off per semester for calendar conflict, illness, or emergency. This simplifies scheduling and makes bookkeeping easier for everyone!
60-65 min lesson: $240/month -most common
40-45 min lesson: $190/month
30-35 min lesson: $140/month
Sibling discounts are available. I charge my standard hourly rate per family, rather than per student. My standard fee becomes incrementally less per hour as the lesson time increases.
90-100 min lesson: $330/month
120-130 min lesson: $400/month
My rates for coaching chamber groups are as follows:
$20/person (i.e. $40 for a duet, $60 for a trio, $80 for a quartet, etc., for up to one hour)
You are welcome to order your own materials, or alternatively, I can order any books, sheet music, or supplies that students will require and bill the student’s account on the next monthly billing cycle. I do keep a supply of method books, solos, and collections in stock, so it might help you to check with me before buying anything. I only charge the cover price as well as whatever I paid for shipping, rounded up to the nearest dollar.
A travel surcharge will be added to your monthly invoice for lessons in a student's home at a rate of $32/hour, rounded up to the nearest 15-minute increment, covering both travel time to and from the location. This option is only available as my schedule allows.
Payment for the entire month is due ON THE FIRST LESSON of the month. A $15 late fee will apply if tuition is not received by the 10th of the month. A $20 fee will apply for all NSF checks. Students starting mid-month will have their tuition prorated. Credit card payments (via my website), as well as cash, checks, Paypal, and Venmo are accepted. I have the ability to enable autopay if you desire, where charges for the month are automatically deducted with no thought or effort required on your part.
Additional fees will be invoiced to families to cover the costs of recitals. The costs associated with recitals include fees for collaborative musicians, rehearsal or performance space, equipment rental, and refreshments. Unless families let me know of a scheduling conflict within the first month of the term (January or August) this fee is non-refundable. I absorb these costs far in advance of the recital, and in most cases, it's impossible to negotiate refunds from collaborative partners or vendors for families who have sudden changes in plan. The amount invoiced to families is usually around
*I will enthusiastically attend any student rehearsals or performances for events sponsored by my studio (e.g. recital tech rehearsals) or my students’ schools (Solo and Ensemble Festival, Band Concerts, etc) at no charge.
Regular lesson attendance is required. We have two free lessons built into the schedule for excused absences on the part of the student or instructor. I designate two-three weekends per term as "make-up" weekends, where lessons missed during the course of a term can made up. I do have a very full teaching schedule, but I will do my best to accommodate the rare rescheduling requests as my calendar permits.
Please notify me a week or more in advance for a single planned absence with a valid excuse (such as family trips or school events), or by 10:00 in the morning in case of illness for lessons to be rescheduled. If your child throws up in the car on the way to lessons, I totally get it (I’m a parent, too), but last-minute changes can be very challenging to manage from an administrative standpoint. For longer periods of absence, milder illnesses, or inclement weather, a Zoom or Facetime lesson can be utilized during his/her regular time.
For more complex absences (i.e., long illnesses), I do offer extra lessons during recital weeks and I schedule additional lessons slots over the summer term to provide makeup lessons for students with excused absences. See the summer policies below.
There will be no reimbursements for missed lessons, and tuition is never adjusted unless the instructor cannot provide the promised number of lessons.
Lesson Terms and Holidays
The regular lesson term begins the first week of August and ends the last week of May. Typically, Thanksgiving Day, Black Friday, and a week for Christmas (not necessarily Sunday to Saturday, but possibly Wednesday to Tuesday or other combination of 7 days) will be blocked off of the teaching calendar and your monthly invoice will reflect this. For other special holidays or events that might conflict with lessons (Halloween, school programs, sporting events, birthdays, band concerts, etc.), we can shift things around that week to try to accommodate your schedule. If you're ever unsure of the lesson/holiday schedule, you can log into your account on My Music Staff to view the calendar.
Makeup Lessons and Summer Session
The summer session begins the first week of June and ends the last week of July. Sometimes the summer term will include a few days at the end of May or a few days at the beginning of August, but this time period includes nine (9) weeks total. During the summer, students can schedule up to two (2) additional lessons per month at no extra charge to make up missed lessons or "bank" lessons for the upcoming year. I highly recommend that all students take advantage of this opportunity!
While short breaks from routine can be rejuvenating, long periods away from the instrument lead to stalled progress and lapses in skills. In the spirit of these sentiments, lessons will be scheduled for six (6) weeks over the summer, and summer tuition will be charged at a flat rate to reflect this schedule. Summer tuition is payable the first week of June or can be split into two monthly payments for June and July. It will be entirely up to you whether you will attend one (1) lesson, ten (10) lessons (6 weeks of lessons + 2 makeup lessons each month), or something in between. During the six (6) weeks of scheduled lessons, I will open additional weekend, daytime, and evening slots so you can choose your makeup lessons from those available times.
Summer tuition doesn’t just cover lessons, but also monthly, weekly, and daily summer enrichment activities that I provide to help your child grow in skills over the summer (and we do a lot of summer activities!- including daily scales workouts, masterclasses, and workshops)
I will assume your child will continue at his/her same lesson day and time throughout the summer unless I hear otherwise from you. I’m happy to shift things around a little for students due to the busy nature of summer activities. I don’t even mind changing the day and time of lessons every single week. That said, please consider I attend numerous continuing education conferences throughout the summer and I teach camps, clinics, and workshops through my own studio, the public schools, and elsewhere. My family also has an incredibly full schedule that I must organize. I spend much of May planning lessons for June and July, then much of July planning for the fall, so it is very helpful to me to let me know as much in advance as possible what your anticipated summer schedule will be.
If a scheduling conflict suddenly arises on my end (e.g. illness or an out-of-town conference), lessons already on the calendar can be rescheduled at any time in June, July, or August.
I give scheduling preferences in the fall to students who enroll in summer lessons. I do have several students on my waiting list, so I cannot guarantee a spot in the fall for families who feel they must take the entire summer off unless they pay summer tuition to hold their spot. Also, I raise my tuition rates every year to cover the rising costs of continuing education, sheet music, and other supplies. Currently enrolled students are “grandfathered” in at the rate they were charged when they first enrolled. Students who drop out and re-enroll will be charged the newer rate.
Graduating high school seniors/rising college freshmen and adult students can pay per lesson through the summer if they desire.
I am thrilled to announce that I offer scholarships to deserving students through MusicLink Foundation. Please inquire for more details.
I offer both virtual and in-person lessons for families. Musically and pedagogically, the use of masks prohibits musical performance and communication in one-on-one settings. And while one can certainly (albeit awkwardly) mask while playing the flute, so many aerosols escape from the keys and tone holes that its use is completely futile. For piano students, I will leave the choice of masks (for both the student and instructor) in the lesson up to each family’s level of comfort.
If there are any signs (even small signs) of illness on my part, the part of any student, or family members, then lessons can proceed online until evidence of illness has passed. I pledge to take the health of your family seriously, as I know you will mine.
Water bottles are permitted inside, but please, no other food, drink, or gum. It’s helpful for parents to observe lessons for younger children (under age 8 or 9) in order to help facilitate good technique and practice habits at home, though this rule can be adjusted circumstantially. Students and families are welcome to use the downstairs bathroom as needed.
Students are expected to bring the following materials to lessons:
- An instrument in working order (flutists only)
-All books currently in use (even if no piece is assigned in a book that particular week)
I maintain a large library of flute and piano sheet music, books on the flute or piano, and general musicianship. Students are welcome to check out materials that may interest them. Items that aren’t returned within 2 months will be charged to the student’s account (exceptions are always allowed for extenuating circumstances).
I will often make copies of a particular piece or exercise for a student, since 1) photocopying is legally permitted for educational purposes; 2) a copy of an item serves the same purpose as a loan of that item, and; 3) making a copy is a “safer” option than loaning an expensive book, HOWEVER, I do believe that composers and publishers (artists in general) should be compensated for their intellectual property, and I ask that families purchase music that a student spends significant time studying seriously or performs publicly.
Recitals are a wonderful opportunity to help students develop a stage presence, self-confidence, and discipline as they demonstrate their meticulously prepared masterpieces. Participation is highly encouraged in studio recitals and other workshops, competitions, or masterclass opportunities as they arise.
Students are also encouraged to schedule one performance away from the studio each semester. Some ideas include houses of worship, hospitals or nursing homes, community events, or school talent shows.
Music is a lifelong pursuit, and it takes years of committed daily practice to become proficient. Sufficient progress will not occur by simply attending lessons. Children often lack the discipline and motivation to maintain a regular practice schedule, which is why parental support is the most important factor in developing musical skills. Parents need to schedule and encourage a regular, daily practice regiment. They may also need to sit with younger children to assist.
I recommend practicing 6 out of 7 days a week, with one rest day. For younger children (age 4-5), I recommend at least 15 minutes of practice a day. For children ages 6-10, I recommend 30-45 minutes of practice every day. Ages 12+ should practice an hour daily (or more). Please note, this doesn’t have to occur all in one sitting. It is often more effective to break up longer practice sessions into smaller sessions throughout the day. Children who are struggling learners, as well as children who are musically advanced should consider spending more time practicing than average. Of course, these recommendations are just a guideline and more specific directions will be offered during the course of lessons.
Practice does not mean simply playing through a piece from beginning to end. It means isolating difficult measures, phrases, and lines of music again and again and again until relaxed fluency and beauty are achieved. Counting aloud or experimenting with different rhythms can aid a student in mastering challenging material.
All serious musicians regularly practice with a pencil and a metronome/tuner. A pencil is useful for marking problem areas in the sheet music. A metronome helps students internalize proper tempos and rhythms. There is an inexpensive iPhone app called “Tonal Energy Tuner” that works beautifully.
Flutists: If your family doesn’t already own a music stand, it’s absolutely necessary to purchase one to ensure proper practice habits. I’ve had great luck with Peak brand foldable stands (and believe me, we’ve tried many different brands!). They are lightweight, yet very sturdy and easy to transport.
Parents, I am the mother of 8 children who all take music lessons and I am a terrific practice-troubleshooter. If you're not sure your child is practicing well or if you're getting a lot of pushback, I can help you work through this! Please don't be afraid to reach out during lessons or text/call/email as needed.
Parents will be required to help younger students practice, but their main role is to be their children’s cheerleader. Listen to your kiddos practice with encouragement and enthusiasm. Ask questions about their lessons and pieces. Go over their lesson notes with them a few times per week to make sure they are working on all assignments properly.
Parents also need to provide an instrument that is in fine working order and well-maintained. An instrument that has been in storage for some years probably needs a complete overhaul, and it would often be more cost-effective to buy a newer one. Flutes and pianos require an adjustment once or twice a year to stay in playable condition. I would be happy to advise you on purchasing or maintaining an instrument. In fact, PLEASE DO NOT BUY ANY INSTRUMENT WITHOUT PROFESSIONAL ADVICE. This is part of the service I provide to students in my studio. There is no charge to pick my brain about this, for me to travel locally with students to trial instruments, OR for me to host an instrument trial session in my studio. I have relationships with several flute retailers and can easily acquire several instruments for your child to trial.
Termination of Lessons
It’s possible that a budding violinist resides in the soul of a student and not a flutist. Maybe my teaching style clashes with a student’s learning style. Please rest assured that I will never take discontinuation of lessons personally, and you can feel free to speak to me about any of your concerns.
One month’s notice is required by the parents to discontinue lessons. Parents are still financially liable for the final month’s tuition, whether their student chooses to attend lessons or not.
I reserve the right to remove students from the schedule due to consistent weak practice habits, multiple unexcused absences, late payments, or poor behavior.
If students (or parents) have questions about lesson material during the week, I maintain an open-communication policy. Texts, phone calls, and emails are more than welcome at any time, though I usually return calls and emails the following morning. Really, I would rather you email me a question than struggle along in confusion or discouragement all week, so please don’t hesitate to reach out.
All studio communication (announcements, newsletters, scheduling, etc) is sent directly to parents, but I will also communicate directly to older students if that is their parent’s preference.
I maintain an online “Suggestion Box” located here: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1R5JLjZ73Pd8fcFfy79DelBP8v7jdAX-OKyQCl1ZPO24
You are welcome to leave your name or comment anonymously if you have an issue that you feel needs to be addressed. I will receive a notification when the form is submitted and I will do my best to respond to the matter as the situation warrants.
I look forward to an exciting, musical year with you!
Most sincerely yours,