Studio Handbook and Policies – “Learning for a Lifetime for Every Student!”
Expectations and Responsibilities of Parents
- You and your child are undertaking an awesome journey, so you and your child’s commitment to the process is vital. Commitment and consistency are key to learning a musical instrument! This means being prepared and showing up to lessons, consistent practice, and performances.
- Parents should encourage progress. Many small steps throughout the year yield big results!
- Help your child remember to practice daily. Schedule time in their day to make this easier. Login to our site to log your or your child’s practice time. We have practice contests, and children will be excited to participate.
- Do your best to provide an interruption-free practice environment. Turn off the TV, cell phone, video games, and ask family members to refrain from interrupting practice time.
- Be financially responsible and pay tuition on time. For questions regarding tuition and your account, log in to your account here. Family accounts that are not current may be subject to suspension of lessons. Invoices are sent on the first of the month and due 5 days later.
- Communicate with the teacher often. Feel free to ask about music, practice habits, recitals, and contests, or anything else you need to discuss relating to your or your child’s lessons.
Student Expectations and Responsibilities
- In general, schedule the student’s age * 3 as practice time. So, if the student is 6 yrs old, schedule 18 minutes per day, a 12-year old, 36 minutes. Schedule this time at least five days a week. We STRONGLY recommend that the student practice immediately after their lesson, and again the next day. Studies have shown that immediate implementation of what they have learned that day results in stronger learning. And remember, this is practice, not playing.
- Complete all assignments the teacher has given. If you are unsure as to your assignments, check your email or log in to your studio account. Your assignments are tracked there.
- Carefully review the comments from your previous lesson and the main goals of the assignments.
- Arrive promptly at your lesson time. You reserve the time slot, not the number of minutes.
Teacher Expectations and Responsibilities
- Provide each student with the personal attention and respect necessary to develop his/her individual talents.
- Guide each student to a greater understanding and enjoyment of music.
- Guide each student towards an awareness of her/his capabilities – clearly communicating short-term and long-term goals. This may be verbal or written communication.
- Encourage a feeling of success at each student’s individual rate of learning.
- Guide each student towards Musical Independence and Initiative through a balanced program of theory, technique, and repertoire.
- Theory – studying the “grammar” of the language of music.
- Technique – the physical mechanics of the instrument
- Repertoire – a list of pieces to be learned based on standard classical, jazz, and popular music essential to gaining an understanding and appreciation for music of many different kinds
- Report the progress of the student to the parent, listen to any concerns and answer any questions that the parent and student may have.
Students are expected to attend all scheduled lessons per each spring and fall semester. All parents receive an attendance contract to sign upon enrollment.
Our tuition and enrollment fees are non-refundable and makeup lessons are not scheduled. Please plan lesson times and other extracurricular or social engagements accordingly. Lessons are billed in advance, and the rate is the same every month. In months where you or your child receive 5 lessons, the rate is still the same, effectively giving the student several free lessons per year.
Participation in summer lessons is strongly encouraged similarly to Fall and Spring lessons. Our students are learning a new language, and leaving that language for 3 months means a loss of the very skills they have worked so hard to develop during the other 9 months of the year. Summer lessons provide reinforcement, continuing new ideas, and a brief change of pace.
Preferably, practice every single day. We know that this is a tall order, and most likely a student will find 5 days of practice. If the target is all days, then students feel an inner drive to keep progressing. Set practice expectations at five days, and you’ll get three. So, aim high!
The absolute best time for the student to practice is immediately after their lesson, definitely on the same day. Remember, lessons are not practice in and of themselves. Students need to implement their learning immediately, on their own and in their own way.
Playing the piano or any other musical instrument is a physical skill and you get out of it what you put into it. If practice is done inconsistently, you’ll get inconsistent results.
Makeup lessons are not scheduled or guaranteed. With 24-hour notice, we will make a reasonable effort to accommodate the student, but this is not a guarantee that another time is available.
Please note that makeup classes are not for students who miss lessons due to play dates, games, non-emergency doctor appointments, or family vacations. Tuition is based on a specific time slot being made available for our students and when a lesson is missed, that time slot is forever lost.
Prompt drop off and pick up are expected. Parents are welcome to wait in the waiting area.
Private Lesson Tuition
See Tuition Contract here.
Recitals and Public Performances
Each student is expected to participate in at least two performances per year. This can be accomplished through participation in shared recitals, ADMTA events, Guild auditions, ABRSM exams, or other opportunities that may occur throughout the year. Please see the calendar or ask us for more specific dates! While lessons and events remain virtual, participation in online or pre-recorded events is encouraged.
Festivals, Certificates, and Theory Exams
The Austin Center for Musical Excellence is a member of MTNA, TMTA, and ADMTA, so our students are eligible to participate in local and statewide competitions and festivals. We also work with our students in participation in UIL solo and ensemble work.
Austin District Music Teachers Association (ADMTA) has a variety of opportunities throughout the year, including both festivals and competitions. Students are encouraged to participate in two of these per year, but it is not required. Adult students also have opportunities to participate in adults-only events sponsored by ADMTA.
Students are encouraged to prepare for Guild Auditions which are held in the Spring of every year. This is not a competition, but an opportunity to present a substantial amount of repertoire for an independent judge to review with the student. The student receives a pin, a rating, and a comment sheet.
Our students also have the option of participating in ABRSM exams. This international program has a rigorous curriculum, including well-defined theory and performance standards.
It’s Texas. Weird stuff happens. Should lessons need to be canceled due to bad weather, the lessons will be made up at no additional cost to the parent or student. The lesson may be made up as a master/group class or regular private lesson.
In order to maintain their teacher’s availability for fall, all students are required to register for our summer program. Should you choose not to participate in the summer session, you will risk losing your slot with the studio. If you know you will be traveling most of the summer, we do have a pay-ahead option that we would be happy to discuss with you.
In order to maintain consistency in what a student learns, we do not accept students who are continuing study with other teachers without specific permission from the both teachers. Students and parents who decide to have two teachers will be released from the studio.