Merrell Piano Studio Policy
- Lessons are 45 minutes weekly (30 minutes individual, 15 lab time).
- Students are expected to treat studio equipment respectfully. If items are damaged intentionally, full replacement costs will be charged. Normal wear and tear is expected.
- Group lessons are given approximately every 6 weeks in place of private lessons. Group lessons are 60 minutes in length. Check the calendar for group lesson dates.
- Since other lessons scheduled after yours, individual lessons will not be extended due to late arrival. (If you lesson is from 4:00pm-4:45pm and you come at 4:15, the lesson will still end at 4:45pm.) This ensures that none of my lessons will run behind. Please be prompt in arriving to lessons and in picking up your child at the scheduled time.
- Students are expected to take summer lessons. Students who do not take lessons over the summer usually require a significant amount of review when fall starts. The focus of summer lessons is varied from that of the school year to help hold students’ interest. Normal monthly tuition is paid for June and July, and students will have 8 lessons during that time. You will receive an emailed link with our summer teaching slots on it (there will be multiple day and time options). You can schedule the 8 lessons any way you wish - one per week as usual, or multiple per week sometimes so that you have free weeks for family trips or other events.
- Students who choose not to take advantage of summer lessons lose their status as continuing students and will be charged the registration fee of $30 in addition to the materials fee of $30 (due from all students at the beginning of each Fall semester).
- Tuition is based on a semester schedule and divided into equal monthly payments. The studio runs much like a private school; tuition remains the same each month and is based on enrollment, not attendance. Tuition reserves your child’s exclusive lesson time throughout the piano year, whether he/she attends lessons or not. (I can’t teach another student when a student misses a lesson without replacing the student altogether)
- Tuition is due at the first lesson of each month, payable by cash, check, auto draft from your bank, or post-dated checks supplied to the teacher at the beginning of the semester. Checks are payable to “Valerie Merrell” and must cover the entire monthly tuition. There is a 3-day grace period to turn in tuition without penalty. If you are more than 3 days late, a $15.00 per student late penalty will be added to your account. There is a $35.00 fee for bounced checks.
- A non-refundable $30.00 registration fee per student is required when you begin piano lessons. The studio fee enables the studio to provide students with lending books, group materials, incentives and rewards, defray some of the cost for the recital location, theory games, student assignment binders, lab materials and upkeep, music library materials, miscellaneous handouts, and use of accompaniment CDs or tracks during lesson time.
- Additional event fees may be required for optional festivals, competitions and other performance events.
- Students will need music books on occasion throughout the year. The teacher will purchase it as needed and invoice you or will provide you with a link for the specific book needed.
- Your tuition reserves you a weekly time slot and benefits within the studio. We are unable to guarantee a make-up lesson when cancelled by the student; HOWEVER, you may take advantage of the Practice Video or Skype lesson options (see below). Please also keep in mind that there are 2 bonus lessons scheduled throughout the year.
- Video lesson: If the student is unable to attend a lesson, they may request a video lesson. During their normal piano lesson time, I will record a video giving practice tips on the student's current pieces and some additional learning activities. This video would then be uploaded to Youtube and would be available via private link for your student to view according to your availability.
- If you cannot attend your lesson, please call or text, or I will worry. If I must miss a lesson, I will call and reschedule with you.
- Every student stops taking lessons at some point. Please make this decision thoughtfully with plenty of discussion between the teacher, parent, and student so that lessons can conclude with a positive sense of closure. Accordingly, the studio requests a one-month notice before discontinuing lessons. The student must finish the remainder of the month paid in full or forego any unused lessons, as there is no refund given.
- Tuition refunds are not given for withdrawal mid-month.
- Students are required to complete their assignments each week. Daily practice is vital to musical progress. If you treat piano lessons like an academic subject, students will progress and grow and enjoy it more in the long run. Students are encouraged to keep a practice record, and to work toward musical goals rather than simply counting minutes. The study of music is rewarding and enjoyable, but it is also work! To help with practicing, I also give some fun ideas that help with quality practicing through “practice games.” Encourage your child to use the practice games. Your child will receive a practice record, which is to be maintained by the student. Remember “You get out of it what you put into it.” Unprepared lessons cost the same as prepared ones but their value is substantially compromised.
- Students retain instructions given at the lesson MUCH BETTER if they practice that same evening after returning home from the lesson, or the next day, at the latest. Please make this a priority!
- For at least the first year of piano study, parents are requested to sit with their children during at least three of their weekly practice sessions. This will help ensure your student is practicing WHAT the teacher has asked and HOW the teacher has asked it to be practiced (Hint: it’s rarely straight through!).
- Important note: Sometime during the course of taking piano lessons, your child may say something like, “I don’t want to practice,” or “I’m too tired to go to piano lessons,” or “I don’t want to go- I want to play with my friends,” “I want to quit,” etc… Be aware that your child’s interest will probably not be consistent; but to be successful, you will need to be consistent in your encouragement and commitment to music instruction. In most cases, simply acknowledge your child’s comments, and then go on with your normal routine just as you would if you heard the comment, “I don’t want to brush my teeth” or “I don’t want to go to bed.”
- Email or text is the best and preferred way to reach me. If you need to cancel a lesson at the last minute, please text. I check my email several times a day. I let the voicemail take calls during lessons.
- Any borrowed music from the music library that is not returned or is returned damaged will be charged to the student at its replacement cost.
- Be certain your piano is tuned and in good condition. It is very discouraging to play on an out-of-tune instrument. Putting off tuning is not cost effective; a piano which is very out of tune will most likely require several tunings over a period of weeks or months to bring it back to pitch. I can recommend tuners/technicians. If your child is starting on a keyboard it must be touch sensitive, have a pedal, and have at least 61 keys or more. Please be aware that this will only get them through the first six months, maybe one year. An electronic keyboard severely limits the technical and musical skills a student can practice on at home. After that you will want/need to invest in either a full size- 88 key acoustic piano or a good digital piano with weighted keys to get the full benefit of piano lessons.
- I expect students to have washed their hands thoroughly at home or when they get here. Long fingernails preclude the development of good piano technique, so please be sure they are trimmed short.--no longer than the end of the finger! This is necessary preparation for every lesson. If they are too long, we may use the lesson time to study theory. (A basketball player wouldn’t play in high heels!)
- Merrell Piano Studio and Valerie Merrell are released from any liabilities, accidents or injuries that may incur from the enrolled student with the participation of piano lessons, group classes, or piano events.
- During student and group gatherings and performances, the teacher reserves the right to use video recording or to take photographs of students for use in the studio scrapbook, advertising materials, lesson demonstration and studio owned websites. No personal identifying information will be used.
- Studio newsletter: upon signing up for lessons, your email will be added to the email list to receive e-newsletters (approximately 3 per semester).
- Studio website: visit merrellpiano.com to find the studio calendar and more.
- Facebook Page: “Liking” the studio’s facebook page (link) will allow you to see occasional announcements, photos, videos, quotes, and more.
- YouTube Channel: Visit (link) to view demonstration videos for pieces your children are studying.
My responsibility to the student is to provide an atmosphere for learning and a well-balanced musical education. Professional standards will be maintained and definite goals will be established for each student. It is my goal to give your child the best possible music education. I belong to professional organizations, attend workshops and educational programs, subscribe to professional publications, and engage in other activities on a continuing basis in order to provide opportunities for professional growth and enhance my own teaching skills.
Cell: 205-718-1350 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Valerie is a member of MTNA.
Cell: 205-718-1350 Email: email@example.com
Valerie is a member of MTNA.