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What you can expect: Our teachers are fully trained professional musicians with extensive teaching experience. All students are taught music literacy, including theory and creative expression, specific to their instrument. Private lessons are prepared in advance and tailored to the individual learning needs of the student. Performance opportunities are available and students are encouraged to participate whenever they like. Music teachers want their students to love and succeed in making music. Please let your teacher know if there are special circumstances they should be aware of in order to better the experience.

What teachers expect: Students are expected to be punctual, well-prepared, and with their books, music and instrument. To make good progress, quality practice at home on most days of the week is necessary. Parent involvement makes a difference, especially with young students.

Cancellations: All scheduling must be done through the Studio Office, and not your teacher. Please keep in mind, our teachers are often fully booked and cannot accommodate rescheduling. Please select a lesson time in which you feel confident. Because lessons are set up in advance, we cannot resell time when an appointment is cancelled with less than 24 hours advance notice. In such cases, the lesson cannot be made-up, and the full fee is due. This includes cancellations due to sudden illness. There are no refunds. Frequent absences may result in the student being asked to book single lessons, instead of holding a weekly lesson slot.

  • Single Lessons (or Trial Packages): Must be cancelled with 24 hours advance notice. Lesson will be rescheduled subject to teacher’s availability. Lessons cancelled with less than 24 hour notice cannot be made up and the full lesson fee is due.
  • School Year Lessons: A weekly recurring lesson appointment is reserved in the teacher’s schedule for the student, and regular attendance is expected. Teachers offer makeup sessions at the end of each semester for any lessons cancelled with a minimum of 24 hours advance notice. Each student is permitted 2 makeup lessons per semester, and must be taken during the designated makeup period. Lessons cancelled with less than 24 hour notice cannot be made up and the full lesson fee is due.

Teacher Absences: Should a teacher need to cancel a lesson, the student will be given advanced notice and either scheduled for a makeup or credited on the student's account. Makeups and credits will be assessed at the end of the semester, and are subject to teacher makeup availability.

Holidays: The Studios will be closed for Labor Day Weekend, Halloween, Thanksgiving Break, Christmas Break, Spring Break, and Memorial Day Weekend. These holidays have been excluded from the 36-Week School Lesson Program, and no makeup or price adjustment is needed. Please see our current Studio Calendar (link above). Note, that not all School Holidays mean the Studios are closed for the day.

Inclement Weather: Many times, a morning snow storm can be cleaned up in time for afternoon lessons. Therefore, school closings do not necessarily mean we are closed for the entire day. Announcements are made by email, text, on our website, and by calling (845) 225-32324. In the event of snow closings, either a makeup will be scheduled, or your account will be credited. Makeups and credits will be assessed at the end of the semester, and are subject to teacher makeup availability.

Books and Supplies: Instruction material is not included in tuition prices. Students receive 10% off all books and accessory purchases.

Student Drop-off + Waiting Area: A parent or guardian is expected to be present in the waiting area for the duration of the lesson for all children under the age of 12. Teachers and staff are not responsible for children left unattended, and students must be picked up within 15 minutes after the end of the lesson. Please be courteous of others, as well as ongoing lessons, by keeping conversations low and young children quietly entertained. Coffee, tea, and water are available at no charge in our waiting area. Please help us maintain a clean setting and make our waiting area comfortable for all.

Guests in Lessons: Parents and other guests are welcome to sit in on lessons, as long as there are no distractions.

Parent Interest = Student Success! Perhaps the single most important factor in student achievement is parent interest. When parents are genuinely excited about their child's progress, it shows in home-practice sessions and their weekly lessons. Instead of reminding your child that it's time to practice, try asking them what they're working on and tell them you'd love to hear them play something for you! Learning to play an instrument isn't easy. Positive feedback and encouragement can make all the difference in helping kids get over challenging hurtles.

Make-up Lessons From An Economist’s Point of View

Article Copyright © 2001 Vicky Barham
I’m a parent of children enrolled in Suzuki music lessons. I’d like to explain to other parents why I feel – quite strongly, actually – that it is unreasonable of we parents to expect our teachers to make up lessons we miss, even if I know as well as they do just how expensive lessons are, and, equally importantly, how important that weekly contact is with the teacher to keeping practicing ticking along smoothly. I think that it is natural for we parents to share the point of view that students should have their missed lessons rescheduled, but if we were to ‘walk a mile’ in our teachers’ shoes, we might change our minds about what it is reasonable for us to expect of our teachers.

Like many parents, I pay in advance for lessons each term. In my mind, what this means is that I have reserved a regular spot in the busy schedules of my sons’ teachers. I understand – fully – that if I can’t make it to the lesson one week (perhaps my son is sick, or we are away on holiday, or there is some other major event at school) then we will pay for the lesson, but that my teacher is under no obligation to find another spot for me that week, or to refund me for the untaught lesson. And this is the way it should be.

In my ‘other life’ I am an economist and teach at our local university. Students pay good money to attend classes at the university; but if they don’t come to my lecture on a Monday morning, then I am not going to turn around and deliver them a private tutorial on Tuesday afternoon. When I go to the store and buy groceries, I may purchase something that doesn’t get used. Days or months later, I end up throwing it out. I don’t get a refund from the grocery store for the unused merchandise. If I sign my child up for swimming lessons at the local pool, and s/he refuses to return after the first lesson, I can’t get my money back. So there are lots of situations in our everyday lives where we regularly pay in advance for goods or some service, and if we end up not using what we have purchased, we have to just ‘swallow our losses’. On the other hand, if I purchase an item of clothing, and get home and change my mind, I can take it back and expect either a refund or a store credit.

So why do I believe that music lessons fall into the first category of ‘non-returnable merchandise’, rather than into the second case of ‘exchange privileges unlimited’ (which I think is one of the advertising slogans of an established women’s clothing store!)? Speaking now as an economist, I would claim that the reason is that items like clothing are “durable goods’ – meaning, they can be returned and then resold at the original price – whereas music lessons are non-durable goods – meaning, once my Monday slot at 3:30 is gone, my son’s teacher can’t turn around and sell it again. The only way she would be able to give him a lesson later in the week would be if she were to give up time that she had scheduled for her own private life; and that seems pretty unreasonable – I can’t think of many employees who would be thrilled if their bosses were to announce that they couldn’t work from 3:30 to 4:30 this afternoon, but would they please stay until 6:30 on Thursday, because there will be work for them then!

Many teachers hesitate to refuse our request to shift lesson times (because our busy schedules do change), because unless they keep us parents happy, we will decide to take our child somewhere else for lessons (or to drop musical study), and they will lose part of their income. This is particularly true in areas with lower average income, where it can be particularly difficult to find students. So rather than telling us that ‘well, actually, the only time when I’m not teaching and that you can bring your son for lesson is during the time I set aside each week to go for a long soul-cleansing walk, and I can’t do that on Monday at 3:30 when you should have turned up’, they agree to teach us at a time that really doesn’t suit their schedule. Teachers who are ‘nice’ in this way often, in the long run, end up exhausted, and feeling exploited; they try to draw a line in the sand. However, too few parents ask to switch only when absolutely necessary, and too many parents want lesson times when it suits them this week, which is not the same time that suited last week. If the conflict arises because my child is in the School play, and they have their dress-rehearsal during his lesson time, then I feel that I must choose between the two activities, and if he attends the dress rehearsal my private lesson teacher doesn’t owe me anything.

During May, my eldest son will be missing three lessons because he is going to accompany me on a trip to New Zealand to visit his great-grandparents. I do not expect my son’s teacher to refund me for those missed lessons, or to reschedule them by ‘doubling up’ lessons in the weeks before or after our departure. Since there will be lots of advanced notice, I might ask her to consider preparing a special ‘practice tape’ for that period, or to answer my questions via e-mail, but if she doesn’t have the time (the second half of April is going to be really busy for her, and she wouldn’t be able to do the tape until more or less the week we left) and so has to refuse, then that’s fine. I certainly don’t expect her to credit me with three make-up lessons; there is no way for her to find a student to fill a three-week hole in her schedule during our absence. Instead, I hope that she will enjoy the extra hour of rest during those three weeks, and that we will all feel renewed enthusiasm when we return to lessons at the end of the trip.

Article Copyright © 2001 Vicky Barham
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