Policy for 2019-2020 (as of 5.19.2019/updated 1.28.2020)

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


Payment is due at the first lesson of each month and 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 generated by My Music Staff, auto payment through Paypal, and Venmo.

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.

Parents are responsible for purchasing 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 are the responsibility of the parent.  Please make every effort to purchase locally at places such as Bountiful Music so that local businesses have our support.  We rely on them for recital space and other conveniences.

Enrollment is for the entire year (September to August*).  Tuition is based on 40 piano events during the year, divided into 12 equal monthly payments.  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 three 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.

*Seniors graduating from high school may finish the piano studio in May instead of August.

Registration Fee  A $30 registration fee will be due in September.  This fee is applied to Keyboard Gymnastics (see section titled, “Studio Programs” for an explanation of Keyboard Gymnastics), studio supplies given to students for home use (staff/wipe off board, etc.), and use of music lending library (not core curriculum books).

Cancellation/Missed Lessons  Tuition is due whether your child attends his/her lesson or not. It 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.

Facetime or Skype lessons may take place instead of a face-to-face lesson.   Please do not come if you are sick and contagious!

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 will receive a combination of private lessons and group performance classes during the traditional school year.  You pay for 40 lessons, but you receive 46 experiences: 32 private lessons, 3 group lessons, and 3 recitals/events.  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.

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.

*Holidays—no lessons will be taught and alternate times may be scheduled.

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.

Students and parents will be asked to re-evaluate their commitment to piano lessons and will be referred to another teacher if the instrument time is not consistently met.

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 Instrument Time (IT).

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

Consistent Instrument Time 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.

Instrument Time 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 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”).

Instrument Time 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 Instrument Time 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 time should be adjusted in order for students to reach their goals.

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

Barbara provides the following: Three-ring binder (1″ View Binder used as student’s notebook), Index Tabs (8), Canvas bag to keep music books and lesson materials ready for the  lesson, Pencil pouch (for 3-ring binder)

Parents provide the following:

  • Tuned acoustic piano (at least once per year)
  • Metronome or metronome app
  • Fingernail clippers
  • Music Dictionary (pocket size)
  • Great Music and Musicians Book 2, published by Alfred (includes digital download)
  • Pencil and colored pencils/crayons (to mark practice charts and complete theory assignments)
  • Timer (stop watch, or clock)
  • Digital Recorder, optional (iPod, iPhone)
  • Positive support and Getting Instrument Time help

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 Classical 89.1 or other Classical music.
  • Attend concerts regularly (twice a year).
  • Use practice sessions for drilling and working on small chunks at a time.

Parent Responsibilities

  • Praise, praise, praise and 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.
  • Remind students of practice sessions and sign the practice schedule. Take part in working out a daily/weekly practice schedule, which blends with the routine at home.
  • Refrain from criticizing students for lack of practice or sloppy practice sessions.
  • 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.

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.

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.

I have always enjoyed making music.  I am committed to helping your son or daughter enjoy exploring music and sound at the piano.  We will have at least three recitals per year providing goal setting, performing, and family support opportunities.  Please feel free to contact me at any time with any concerns you may have for your son or daughter.


  • 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 “Non 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)

Studio Programs for Student Development

Royal Conservatory of Music Assessments

Students will be prepared 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 and 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.

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:

o Blue ribbon for scores 9.0-10.0

o Red ribbon for 8.0-8.9

o 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.

National Federation of Music Clubs (NFMC or Federation)

This organization promotes American composers and music.

Students are divided into classes for solo festival (Primary 1-4, Elementary 1-4, Moderately Difficult, etc.). Concerto festival (held in the fall) is also an option for students to gain experience and add points to their gold cups.

Solo Festival:  Two pieces are performed by memory in front of 2-3 judges local.  The required piece is selected from the NFMC Bulletin listing pieces appropriate for each class (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.

The teacher reserves the right to allow students to perform or not perform in this festival if the performance is not ready.

Although solo festival is not a competition, judges select performances and invite those to perform in an honors recital.

A registration fee is involved (approx. $15 due in November). The solo festival usually takes place in March.

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 hold this event during September/October.

Students who perform well are selected to perform at the Honors Recitals during UMTA’s State Conference (usually October/November).

A registration fee is involved (approx. $10) and usually due in September.

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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