Policies

Welcome to piano lessons! I am so looking forward to the opportunity to teach your child this year and to help them begin their life long musical journey!  To ensure the musical progress of your child, please take a little time to read over the studio policies with care. When our studio is running smoothly  my time, energy and attention can be focused on teaching your children.

Tuition for MYC Sunshine, Sunbeams and Moonbeams/MyChoice classes is $880 per year and includes 34 lessons per year plus 2 recitals,
Tuition for Sunrise preschool classes is $195 per 10 week block and includes a $50 non-refundable deposit (no refunds after first Sunrise class).
Tuition for private piano lessons varies depending on time booked (starting at $1000 per year for a weekly 30 minute lesson) and includes approx 34 lessons plus 2 recitals per year. REGISTRATION–a completed form and $120 non-refundable registration and books fee–is required to reserve your lesson space and should be made payable to Michelle Miller. Tuition for MYC and Private Piano is due no later than September 1st and is payable in 1, 2, 5 or 10 equal installments by either cheque or email money transfer.  Cheques are preferred as they provide a paper trail for both of us. Post-dated cheques should be dated for the 1st of the month and made payable to Michelle Miller.

Tuition rates are subject to a small raise each September.  Rates for September will be updated in April/May.

Parent participation: is required for all level 1 and 2 MYC classes (with the exception of children aged 10 and up in My Choice classes). This is a special time for you and your child to make music together. Siblings are not permitted to attend classes unless also registered for that class OR are able to sit in waiting area without disturbing the class. Private lessons are un-parented.  I recommend parents generally drop off students for private lessons but I have an “open door” policy if you would like to occasionally quietly observe.  I would however request that if you do decide to sit in on the private lesson to observe, that it be done without the attendance of younger siblings.  A 30 minute lesson goes by very quickly and the addition of extra people in the room is a substantial distraction for both the student AND the teacher and many students prefer a lesson without the pressure of “performing” for family members.  There are plenty of walking trails close by for good weather as well as a grocery store and coffee shop for any quick errands you might need to do.

For MYC classes: Please come to class a few minutes early to copy homework quietly before class begins, but please be considerate of any on going class or private lessons and do not disturb. If you cannot get to class early, you may copy the homework after class or take a picture and copy at home.  Parents are a valuable asset in our piano classes and are a joy to have there, but there is much to accomplish in class so please let the teacher do the teaching.  As parents we are natural teachers and may be tempted to repeat everything the teachers says or even elaborate on the instruction but this will prevent children from hearing the teacher and slow down the class preventing us from getting to all of our fun activities.  Please soak in the class and then repeat and reinforce that instruction while practicing at home so our class can move quickly and efficiently.

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Your Piano and Practice: An acoustic piano that is tuned once a year or, at the very least, a good quality, full-size (88 keys), touch-responsive digital piano with pedal is required for students to practice on in their own home. The Casio PX-160CSSPCB at Costco for $699 is an excellent option, the Casio CDP230 for $509 could be adequate but has a less than ideal bench and pedal. Please be certain that your piano is tuned and in good condition. It is very discouraging and un-motivating to play on an out-of-tune instrument. I am happy to recommend an excellent piano technician whose rates are very reasonable. A metronome or iPod with metronome app is also encouraged.

5 days of practice a week is strongly recommended for success and fun incentive activities are often offered throughout the year to encourage this, but parents are truly the key! Parents you can help by doing the following:

  • regular time should be set aside each day for practice in order to establish a routine that will become a daily habit. Daily practice is important for reinforcement of concepts and to avoid cramming just before the lesson, which is never successful.
  • Parents, please treat practicing like other homework and expect it to be done each day. Unprepared lessons cost the same as prepared ones, but their value is substantially compromised. 
  • If your child practices just a few minutes the day of the lesson (immediately after the lesson) and the day following the lesson, s/he will retain the most information from the lesson.
  • Sometime during the course of taking piano lessons, your child may say something like, “I don’t want to practice” or “I’m too tired to go to piano lessons” or “I don’t want to go” or “I want to quit”, etc. Please be aware that your child’s interest in piano lessons will probably not be 100% consistent; but to be successful, you will need to be consistent in your encouragement and commitment to music instruction. In  most cases, simply acknowledge your child’s comments, but then go on with your normal routine just as you would if you heard the comment “I don’t want to brush my teeth” or “I don’t want to go to bed”.

Most children can achieve positive results as follows:

  • (Age 5-6, year 1 and 2) 10-20 minutes daily
  • (Age 7-8, year 3 and 4) 20-30 minutes daily
  • (Age 9-11, level 1 and 2 RCM) 30 minutes daily
  • (Age 13+) 45 minutes or more daily

Books and materials: fees are due upon registration. $100 of that fee is non-refundable in case of withdrawal prior to the first day of class. This is to cover shipping costs of returning books and materials.

Missed Lessons: As my studio schedule is extremely full, and because each child has a reserved weekly lesson or class time, there is simply not enough time in my teaching week to provide make-ups for missed lessons/classes. If you happen to miss a private lesson I will be using that time to assess your child’s progress and to plan activities for your child’s future lessons.  Homework from a missed MYC class will be emailed to allow you to catch up what was missed.

I may have to cancel from time to time due to illness, meetings, music festival, exams but I will ensure I still offer you 34 lessons in the year. Please do not ask me to rearrange my schedule for your extra-curricular activities or vacation or out of town plans. Please do not send your children to piano lessons or classes if they are contagious with a flu virus, talk to me instead about the possibility of a Facetime or Facebook Messenger Video lesson from home during their regular lesson time (available for private lessons only right now, for MYC classes homework will be emailed). I very rarely take a sick day so I appreciate your consideration in helping me run a healthy studio. If school or busing is cancelled due to a snow day, you can assume that lessons will still take place as usual as the roads are generally cleared by noon, but please use your own judgment.

Commitment: Families are expected to commit to the full year to receive the most benefit, but withdrawals, due to extenuating circumstances (ie. moving), are possible with 2 full months paid notice. No refunds for Sunrise classes after the first class.  Withdrawals before the start of lessons in September will incur a $50 cancellation fee to cover accounting and processing fees.

Multi-media: I do regularly try to take photographs or video of students during lessons and performances for use in my studio portfolio, advertising materials, lesson demonstrations and studio blog/website/facebook page. It is my goal to try and embrace all that technology and multi-media have to offer, keeping piano lessons relevant and engaging to today’s children. Any material that I post publicly is to highlight and celebrate your child’s accomplishments, but if ever there is an image or video that you wish to have removed I will respectfully do so. It is truly enjoyable to be able to look back at these files with your children from time to time. It helps them see how they progress and celebrates their growth over the years.

Staying in Touch: Please keep in mind that running a home-based business comes with necessary boundaries. You can help by following these simple requests:
Email: This is the BEST way to contact me. I will respond as quickly as possible but keep in mind if I receive work-related email on Saturday or Sunday, I may not get back to you until Monday morning.
Keeping in touch: I use email to send out information and newsletters that you will need from time to time, please make sure that I have a current email address. You can stay in touch with studio activities and events by bookmarking my website/blog: mmmusicstudio.com or joining my Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/mmmusicstudio.

Reminder: Tuition is not merely an hourly fee for services rendered. Each student is paying not only for music instruction, but also for a guaranteed place in my studio and preparatory planning for each lesson. This includes researching and finding engaging and level-appropriate repertoire and supplementary materials, creating visual aids and handouts or games, organizing recitals, attending regular professional development sessions, researching and staying current with the latest technology and pedagogical developments, writing newsletters, references and assessments, attending conferences, planning summer camps masterclasses and practicing. This is just a small sample–the commitment I have to your child’s musical advancement is a full-time effort and goes well beyond an hourly fee. For more on where your tuition goes, a great blog post to check out would be: http://www.composecreate.com/students/wendys-piano-studio/studio-info/where-does-my-tuition-go/

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