Lesson Fees and Policy
How much do lessons cost?
The first meeting/lesson is FREE! It helps to decide if I am the right teacher for you.
Annual tuition, which covers a total of 47 learning experiences, is divided into 12 equal installments. The amount depends on the length of the lesson you choose - 30 mins, 40 mins, or 1 hour.
This amount remains the same regardless of the number of lessons taught in the month, but each day of the week totals up to the same number of lessons over the course of the entire year. You DON'T have to commit to the entire semester or year (only to a month), there is no contract, you are free to withdraw any time if you need. However, I expect that your initial intentions would be for a more long term commitment (a year and more).
I prorate the first month if you start in the middle of the month and there are 3 or less lessons remaining.
I don't issue any refund for "unused" time of the month due to withdrawals -- sorry! It takes time to find another student for your spot...
Plans (rates for lessons in my studio)
1 one-on-one 30 min lesson per week - $120/month
2 one-on-one 30 min lessons per week - $230/month
1 one-on-one 40 min lesson lesson per week - $150/month
2 one-on-one 40 min lessons per week - $290/month
1 one-on-one 60 min lesson per week - $210/month - this is also a discounted rate for 2 kids in the family who take two consecutive 30 min lessons ($30 savings! - great value)
I don't accept payments "per lesson" (only per month) -- I am trying to minimize administrative work to keep my rates low and focus more on teaching.
The rates are very low considering that I pay high self-employment taxes (30-37%). I also spend extra time searching arrangements of pieces/songs of your choice and doing other preps. I am really trying to make it as budget friendly as possible for our community.
I don't teach bi-weekly lessons -- it is not effective.
I am always trying to make lessons as fun as possible, using play along tracks, magnetic board with characters, stories, drawings, youtube videos, the best books and methods. But music is not only fun, it is also consistent work. It teaches you to focus, pay attention to details, multitasking, and the most importantly to have patience to complete a long-term project that you've started.
I am not a concert pianist so my goal is not to make my students concert pianists. My goal is to teach them to play their favorite songs, to play for their friends and family, to learn new repertoire on their own, to improvise, introduce them to classical music so they could become music connoisseurs/enthusiasts and potentially play in our local student recitals (I am not doing competitions at this time -- only recitals). These are not just "music appreciation" lessons. You have to actively play, which involves at-home practice and homeworks. I always try to be efficient and minimize homeworks, you are already busy at school. But I have to give you some, otherwise your progress will be too slow and you will lose interest. You have to be patient and work on every measure of music multiple times to master it.
How much do I need to practice?
It is funny that total time per week does not matter as much as consistency. It is way better to practice 5-10 minutes every day, rather than 2 hours once a week. Or you can do 10-20 minutes every other day (this also includes various assignments like note spelling; for kids under 7 this time will be shorter of course and they will need some help from their parents).
Payment methods, Fons:
Starting from December 2023 I am switching the studio to online payments and scheduling using Fons software (you can use credit or debit cards, or bank account). This will help us all to keep records (it generates invoices), send reminders, reschedule lessons, etc... Fons software is a modern platform designed specifically for music teachers and music schools. It is legit, secure, and very convenient - you can learn more about it on https://fons.com/
* You are NOT paying any extra fees for using Fons -- I cover those myself. You just pay your exact fee as it is -- nothing extra.
You can also integrate Fons calendar into your other calendar, e.g. Google.
How to get access to Fons?
After our first free meeting I will create an account for you and you will get an e-mail with invitation. You will need to click the link, create your password, and you are ready to go! It is one of the most user-friendly platforms of this kind.
Studio works Monday through Friday, 9.30 a.m.-6 p.m.
6 p.m. slot is reserved for occasional rescheduled lessons.
No lessons on weekends.
Studio break times (no classes):
2 weeks on Christmas (last week of December and first week of January) - * in December 2023 and January 2024 I am teaching during holiday season as well for those who are in town!
2 weeks in Summer (to be determined)
Thanksgiving Thursday and Friday
If you are taking vacations any other times, please reschedule your lessons in advance in order not to lose them.
Studio works during school breaks, and if you are expected to be out of town please reschedule in advance.
The teacher is allowed to have ONE sick day per year. All other cancellations that happen due to the teacher will be either rescheduled or refunded.
I usually do two recitals per year with voluntarily participation. There are NO extra charges for those recitals -- it is all included in your monthly fees. I moved to Lenoir City TN in October 2023 and currently working on finding free venues with piano for us to use. This involves some networking and I will try my best to organize the first recital in May or August 2024. If you know any local contacts who could be helpful with this - please let me know :)
Do you do make-up lessons?
Your lesson time is reserved just for you! However, life happens and some cancellations are expected. In fact, several cancellations per year are already counted in your monthly fees, so if you attend ALL lessons then you are getting a few of them for free! That’s why I am not offering make-up lessons at this time.
If you need to miss for any reason, I kindly ask that you cancel your lesson on your Fons Account at least 3 days prior to the lesson and reschedule it for any available slot (can be another week or even another month, a lot of morning time is available during school holidays as well). You can also just text me and I will reschedule it for you in Fons calendar.
If canceling without a 3-day notice or no available slots work for you, then cancellation is non-refundable and no make-up lessons will be offered.
I normally expect not more than 7-8 reschedules per year - if you do more, it means we probably need to change your slot to something more suitable.
If you have emergencies or some anticipated changes in schedule, just let me know ASAP and I will try my best to accommodate you with more flexible schedule when possible.
If the lesson is cancelled due to the teacher, then you are getting a refund or we'll try to reschedule.
Withdrawing from lessons
It is understandable that sometimes students need to withdraw by various reasons. I don't ask for any contracts or long term commitments. However, keep in mind that your fees are charged monthly and I don't issue any refund for "unused" time of the month due to withdrawals, since your time slot if reserved only for you and it will take me time to schedule someone else for that slot.
What is Wilbeck Easy Notes?
Almost all beginners struggle with one thing the most: it is sight reading (notation, note recognition). This is the top reason why music lessons become tedious, students lose motivation, and even quit. What if there was a method that would help your kids to remember music notation through consistent stories and fun characters? If you find your kids in this situation of music struggles, do not be discouraged and try a new method: Wilbeck Easy Notes.
Imagine you are playing a computer game and you struggle in your mission. If you just continue as it is, you will lose your battles and will not get to the end in one piece. What is a good strategy? Probably to pump some of your skills, get rid of weaknesses, level up your character. In music the skill that you need to pump up at the very beginning is sight reading. If you become a Level 80 sight reader, you can study with any piano method much easier and you will actually start to enjoy making music.
I have been using this Wilbeck Easy Notes course (magnetic board + 2 workbooks) in my one-on-one piano classes, and it goes well in parallel with any other piano method books. And now I have an idea to make it a separate class in a small group setting for 2-3 students in a group. For groups of 2 students the lesson length is 40 minutes, for groups of 3 students - 55 minutes.