The academic year includes two semesters, September 14, 2015 to January 29, 2016 and February 1, 2016 to June 20, 2016. I offer the option to take biweekly lessons (9/semester) or scheduling lessons individually. A semester calendar will include all lesson dates. Please enter all relevant dates on your family calendar at the start of the semester.
Evening students: my New Haven Symphony and freelance performance work will require some rescheduling of evening lessons. That information will also be on the semester calendar, and I will contact you a week in advance of each date to be rescheduled. Make-ups are guaranteed for any lessons I need to miss.
Schedule Conflicts and Missed Lessons
- Your lesson time is yours for the duration of the semester.
- The semester break is a good time to adjust your schedule to accommodate new spring sports/activities.
- I will guarantee one make-up per academic year for unavoidable student absence. These make-ups can be done as my schedule allows during the semester, and in two make-up periods – February 17-19 and June 21-22.
- To resolve any other conflicts without forfeiting a lesson, do a lesson exchange with another student. A calendar with phone/email info will be provided. Have a group email ready to make this easy, and allow enough time for people to respond. Make sure to inform me of the exchange as well. Exchange lessons with someone who has the same length lesson as you.
- Make-up dates for my performance work are listed on the semester calendar. All teacher absences are guaranteed to be made up.
- If the semester cannot be completed for any reason, final payment for lessons completed will be based on the individual lesson rate for that entire semester ($40, $50, $65 and $75 for 25/40/55/70 minutes).
- For students scheduling individual lessons, 24 hours notice is required to cancel/reschedule any lesson. If this notice is not given, payment for the missed lesson is required.
If road conditions are not safe in the early afternoon, I will email and call you to cancel and reschedule lessons that day. Lessons are not automatically cancelled if school is cancelled; the roads are often cleared by afternoon.
Arrival to Lessons
Plan to arrive 5-10 minutes early to tune and open books prior to your lesson. This is also a good time to check out the bulletin board, the library, or do some Special Listening.
The purpose of these activities is to reinforce skills, supplement material learned in lessons, have some fun with ensemble music, create community, serve our larger community, prepare for auditions, and provide inspiration and motivation. Although they are highly recommended, in deference to busy schedules, they are not required. The format is very relaxed, and will be both fun and helpful. The list of classes is included in the semester calendar, and dates/sign-up sheets will be posted and emailed. All special events will be at the studio.
In January and June, there will be recitals for all studio students. The January recital will be an informal gathering at the studio, where students and parents will get a chance to hear each other play in a master class setting. The more formal June recital is a wonderful way to celebrate the culmination of all our efforts over the year, and create memorable CD’s/videos for family and relatives. Parents will be asked to share the cost of the accompanist and hall rental, which runs approximately $75, payable in June.
Parent Participation in Lessons
For younger Suzuki method students, parent participation is required. The parent is part of a triangle, which also includes the teacher and student, each of whom have indispensable roles. The parent learns the materials along with the student, takes notes at the lesson, and serves as both support system and home teacher. For beginners of any variety, parent participation is especially helpful. For all students, parents’ help is best in the form of interest, encouragement and support for their home practice, creating an enthusiastic and effective learning environment, as well as accountability for practicing, and taking students to concerts. Initially, we will discuss whether or not a parent will attend lessons, which depends on the needs and goals of each student. In any case, parents are always welcome visitors in the studio.
Practicing is a mysterious and often thorny subject. Creating mutually agreed upon and appropriate goals, accountability, a planned practice schedule and comfortable practice area, inspiration, and motivation is a job we all undertake together. Read and use my practice chapter frequently; many Suzuki journal articles and books have been written on the subject, including Helping Parents Practice by Edmund Sprunger and How To Get Your Child To Practice…Without Resorting To Violence!! by Cynthia Richards. I am glad to share my ideas and many resources on the subject!
- Your homeowner’s policy is an inexpensive way to insure your instrument against accidental damage.
- Never leave a string instrument in a very cold or very hot place, such as a car for any length of time. Use dampits, humidifiers, and dehumidifiers seasonally.
- Keep the instrument in good working condition by changing strings and rehairing the bow twice a year, and having a periodic check for bridge and soundpost adjustments, seam openings, and checking that pegs and tuners are working smoothly. This can be done by your local luthier.
- I have written helpful information about instrument care in String Doctor Rx. In Equipment Needs and Resources, you will find an extended list of luthiers and sources for purchasing music and equipment
The summer session runs from mid June to early September, Tuesday through Thursday, morning, afternoon and evening. There is no set schedule, so you can choose both lesson weeks and lesson times. Summer lesson fees will be the same as full-time semester rates, with similar reductions possible. 24 hours notice is required to cancel and reschedule lessons.
Thank you for helping make things run smoothly, and welcome to the studio!