Piano Studio Policy

Students should have an acoustic piano that is well-maintained and tuned at least once a year.

Benefits of Study with Barbara

  • Consistent & committed teacher
  • Organized and planned year
  • Variety of performing experiences (recitals, festivals, assessments, honors recitals, monster concerts)
  • Variety of approaches used for teaching repertoire and theory skills (manipulative, pictorial, symbolic, kinesthetic)
  • Incentives and practice help
  • Fun and professional atmosphere
  • Continuing education through professional teaching associations to stay current in the music field

Media Release

By taking lessons with me, permission to post photos of students participating in piano activities (festivals and other events) is granted to media forms including, but not limited to, my website, Facebook, and Instagram pages, and my YouTube channel. Only first names of students will be posted.

Tuition

  • Payment is due no later than the 5th of the month.
  • If payment is made after the 5th, a $15 late fee will apply.
  • Acceptable forms of payment include payment through the invoice and auto-withdrawl generated by My Music Staff, payments through Paypal, and Venmo.

Enrollment is for the entire year September to August. *Seniors graduating from high school may finish piano study in May instead of August.

Tuition is divided into 12 equal monthly payments ($140 per month). Some months may only have two lessons, but the tuition is still the same amount. 

  • The piano events are divided in this way: 32 lessons during the school year, 8 during the summer months, and 3 group performance classes and 3 events (recitals). You only pay for 40 lessons, but you get much more. 
  • Group classes are important for performance skills, theory, and social interaction. They are included in the teaching year and may be counted as one of the 32 lessons at the end of the school year.
  • Fees for festivals (National Federation of Music Clubs, Monster Concert, Silent Film, etc.) and materials purchased for the student’s use (Federation pieces) will be added to tuition or invoiced through Venmo.

Registration Fee  

  • A $30 registration fee is due in September. 
  • This fee is applied to studio supplies given to students for home use (staff/wipe off board, etc.), and use of music lending library (not core curriculum or technique books). Keyboard Gymnastics (see section titled, “Studio Programs” for an explanation of Keyboard Gymnastics) may also be covered with this fee if it is administered during the year.

Parents are responsible for purchasing materials, apps, and books for lessons.

  • New beginning students pay a $30 materials fee to ensure that books are ready for the first lesson (Piano Safari Repertoire Level 1 and N. Jane Tan Fingers, Pitch & Pulse).
  • The core books are the Royal Conservatory of Music books (Repertoire, Four Star, Etudes, and Theory). These books can be purchased locally at Daynes Music.
  • Technique books including Schmitt Op.16, Accelerando technique series (1-7), Finger Power (primer – level 6), and other repertoire books.
  • Please make every effort to purchase locally at places such as Bountiful Music so that local businesses have our support. We rely on local venues for recital space and other conveniences.

Cancelation

Tuition reserves the lesson day and time for your son/daughter. Think of piano tuition the same way you think of other classes and activities such as soccer or dance. Tuition is due whether your child is able to attend or not.

Facetime, Zoom, or Skype lessons may take place instead of a face-to-face lesson. Please do not come if you are sick and contagious! A parent will need to be present during these online lessons for students who have taken lessons from me less than three years.

Lessons missed by the student will not be credited, however please give 24-hours’ notice of the missed lesson so I don’t worry about your family. Students may swap lesson times with other students in the studio, but please make me aware of the change. I may also contact you when gaps in my schedule for the day are known a few days in advance.

Lessons cancelled by the teacher will always be credited. Being unprepared is not a reason to cancel. It’s harder to remember what and how to practice during the following week. Come anyway. We’ll practice together and get the student back on track.

Lessons

Students receive a combination of private lessons and group performance classes during the traditional school year.  During the summer quarter (June, July, and August), students will receive 8 lessons. Students and families schedule their own lessons for summer on a Google Doc/Google Sheets and this information is transferred weekly to My Music Staff.

*Holidays and breaks are figured into the piano year.

Performance Classes/Group Lessons will be held throughout the year in order to prepare students for performances, theory and ear-training tests, and help the studio feel more connected with social interaction throughout the year. Students should attend the private lesson and group lesson during that week.

Practice

Getting Instrument Time (Getting IT) is the most important factor in taking lessons. Motor skills need time and repetition with sleep in between sessions. Charts or apps need to be marked and 5 Days of IT (Instrument Time) is the standard for participating in my studio.

Instrument Time (IT) should be scheduled into daily activities.  At the beginning of the semester, students and parents fill out a schedule detailing the student’s weekly activities and times when the student will get IT

A practice coach is important until the student is able to work independently. Whether with a parent or a well-seasoned older student, IT is more efficient when supervised.

  • Consistent IT is necessary. The mind and hands need daily repetition just as the body needs food regularly, teeth need to be brushed, and dishes need to be done. IT involves problem solving (thinking and evaluating).
  • Repetition is crucial, but it needs to be accurate (correct rhythm, no pauses, and correct notes) so that correct neural pathways are being formed and not mistakes.
  • Students don’t have to like IT or everything they are asked to do (and probably won’t), but every effort will be made to help students enjoy the music they perform.
  • Sometimes students are not practicing, but actually performing for themselves in their practice sessions. Beware of “Shiny Object Polishers.” They work on their favorite spot and only that spot. This habit leaves the other parts of the piece ignored and usually many changes of tempo throughout the piece (fast = favorite, slow = “I didn’t work on this section”).
  • IT at the beginning of the week won’t sound as good as the end of the week. That’s okay! Instrument Time takes many forms:  1) learning new skills or musical sections; 2) maintaining what was learned; 3) memorizing; 4) drilling spots that need help; and 5) putting sections together.
  • Goal-oriented IT is more important than how many minutes a student practices. Setting the timer or watching the clock is not the focus, but it does take time to work on the material or music for preparation.
  • As the student’s repertoire and skills grow the length of getting IT grows, too.
  • The balance between doing the assignment and how long it takes cannot always be defined. I like students to get Instrument Time in 20-minute segments and then take a brain break.

Studio Considerations

  • Wash hands or use hand sanitizer when entering the studio.
  • Have clean hands and trimmed fingernails. Keep fingernail clippers in the pencil pouch within the student binder.
  • Take off rings and watches.
  • Save gum, candy, and electronic devices for after the lesson.
  • Bring all lesson materials needed for the lesson.

Initial supplies needed

Students are required to purchase their own books, however, for sight-reading purposes music from my library will be lent to students. If lost, the book will be billed on the next month’s tuition.

Student Responsibilities

  • Be prepared
  • Mark charts and theory assignments daily
  • Leave “bad attitudes” at the door
  • Be open and communicate with the teacher
  • Perform regularly. It is an important part of piano study. It is communicating and sharing with the listener or audience
  • Listen regularly to RCM repertoire mp3s, Classical 89.1 or other Classical musi.
  • Attend concerts regularly (twice a year)

Parent Responsibilities

  • Praise, encourage, praise. Never use practicing as a punishment!
  • Review your son/daughter’s piano assignment each week and sign the practice record at the top of the weekly assignment page.
  • Take part in working out a daily/weekly practice schedule, which blends with the routine at home.
  • Create a quiet atmosphere conducive to practicing (no TV or other distractions in the same room where the piano is located).
  • Cheer the effort and not only achievement.
  • Attend performances.
  • Encourage performing in front of others when the student feels ready (not forced) to perform.

Teacher Responsibilities

I do not have enough space to list everything, but here are a few things that I feel are important as the teacher of your son or daughter:

  • Provide a positive atmosphere for learning
  • Show respect for each student’s feelings and concerns
  • Allow students to select music for performances (within parameters)
  • Teach students the discipline of practicing and different practice techniques
  • Demonstrate and expect correct playing technique
  • Select appropriate repertoire and sequence skills
  • Provide performance opportunities
  • Be an active part of the “piano community”
  • Maintain skills and keep current on the latest pedagogy by attending workshops and conferences
  • Maintain professional associations.

Performances/Recitals

  • Families should plan to stay for the entire recital.
  • Help “little ones” be attentive and quiet instead of distracting to the performers and audience members.
  • Except for recording or photography, keep the recital a “No Electronics” Zone. Playing games on a tablet or iPhone is distracting to audience members and performers during the recital.
  • Students may want to practice performing in the outfit and shoes they plan to wear.

“Best dress” is always the appropriate attire.

Girls and Young Women

  • Shoes: Avoid flip flops or platforms that would make pedaling difficult
  • Skirts: At least knee length. (Remember, you sit at the piano with knees apart)
  • Levis are inappropriate for YM so YW should observe the same guidelines
  • Shirts: Should cover your entire torso (no skin, please)

Boys and Young Men

  • Shoes: Avoid flip flops and tennis shoes
  • Shirts: A collared shirt and tie are preferred
  • Pants: Nice slacks. (Levis are inappropriate for a performance)

Student Development Programs

Royal Conservatory of Music Assessments

  • I prepare students to be evaluated by a senior examiner from the RCM (www.rcmusic.com). This program has been in existence for over 130 years and keeps up-to-date with technology, ear-training, and repertoire in many instruments. 
  • The RCM provides a national standard with 12 levels (Prep A, B, Levels 1-10). 
  • Assessments are taken during May/June and November.
  • Practical assessments (performance, ear training, technique) do not include theory. Students scoring 90 or higher will be invited to perform in a Celebration of Excellence for the region. This celebration takes place at the University of Utah (Dumke Recital Hall, or Libby Gardner Concert Hall). Carnegie Hall is the venue for other regions. The highest scores in the country for each level will also be invited to perform there!
  • Assessment fees range from $60-$240.  Prep A & B = $59; Level 1 = $99; Level 2 = $109; Level 3 = $139; Level 4 = $145; Level 5 = $155; Level 6 = $165; Level 7 = $179; Level 8 = $215; Level 9 = $240; Level 10 has three divisions.

National Federation of Music Clubs (NFMC or Federation)

  • Since 1898, this organization promotes American composers and music.
  • Music is divided into classes for each festival (Solo: Primary 1-4, Elementary 1-4, Moderately Difficult, etc.). Concerto festival (held in the fall) is also an option for students to gain ensemble experience and play longer pieces. Points can be combined in 9th grade for the larger gold cups (75 pt and 90 pt)
  • Solo Festival:  Two pieces are performed by memory in front of 2-3 judges local. The required piece is selected from the NFMC Bulletin (Primary, Elementary, Medium, Moderately Difficult, etc.). The choice piece is selected by teacher/student of comparable level and which meets composer and pedagogical requirements.
  • Students have the option to participate in solo festival (or concerto festival).
  • Ratings are given (Superior = 5, Excellent = 4, etc.) and points are earned during each festival event.
  • For every 15 points, students earn a trophy (gold cup). Trophies increase in height with every 15 points earned (1st gold cup = 6 inches, 2nd gold cup = 8 inches, etc.).
  • Although points and ratings are awarded, judging is subjective. Participation is intended as a learning experience so that students have a variety of performing experiences, a chance to hear students from other studios and of similar level perform, and written feedback on their playing.
  • Festivals are not competitions, however, a chapter honors recital showcases two students from each studio for a bonus performance.
  • Registration fees are approximately $15 (due in August for concerto festival and November for solo festival). The solo festival usually takes place in the spring (March/April).
  • The teacher reserves the right to allow students to perform or not perform in this festival if the performance is not ready.

Keyboard Gymnastics

  • This in-house program includes “events” (theory, technic, performance, sight-reading, creative project, ear-training) in which students strive to get a 10.0 (similar to the Olympics).
  • The incentive is for the awards. Students receive different colored ribbons for their achievements in each event:
    • Blue ribbon for scores 9.0-10.0
    • Red ribbon for 8.0-8.9
    • White ribbon for 7.0-7.9
  • All-around medals (gold, silver, and bronze) are given to the top three combined scores. If there is a small number of students participating, only a gold medal will be given.
  • Registration for Keyboard Gymnastics is included in the fall registration fee and covers the cost of awards and supplies.
  • An awards ceremony/recital concludes Keyboard Gymnastics for that year and celebrates the accomplishments of the students. Students submit a short bio for the printed program.

Performance Evaluations

  • Students have the opportunity to be evaluated by judges at the annual Fall Performance Evaluations for Utah Music Teachers Association (UMTA).
  • The Davis Chapter of UMTA usually holds this event during September/October.
  • Students who perform well are selected to perform at the Honors Recitals during UMTA’s State Conference (October/November).
  • A registration fee is involved (approx. $15) (September due date).

Salt Lake Piano Competition

  • During this annual May/June event, performers participate in competition recitals where judges select winners at the end of each recital.
  • Judges give scores and written feedback.
  • This experience adds another level to performing compared to an evaluation or festival.
  • A registration fee is involved (approx. $20) and is due in April/May.

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