Sophia Music School Studio Policy
Lessons are scheduled at an initial appointment. This initial appointment—which is free of charge—is usually between 30-40 minutes long and provides a good opportunity for the parent/student to meet the instructor and to discuss the terms and conditions of the lessons in detail.
If the instructor is contacted via the website contact form, she first e-mails the basic information. If there is no response, the instructor will make a follow-up call within the next two days in order to ensure that the information is received by the contact.
Tuition is charged on a monthly basis; each payment covers four or five weekly lessons charged at the current hourly rates shown below.
- $27 per once a week 30-minute lesson, $50 for two 30-minute lessons per week
- $40 per 45-minute lesson
- $50 per 1-hour lesson
Monthly tuition is due at the first lesson of the month. If you cannot attend the first lesson of the month for any reason, you must mail in the tuition by the end of the first week of the month.
Special discounts may be offered in certain situations, such as piano lessons being taken by two or more children in the same family, lessons being taken twice a week, or a family’s financial difficulties due to the sudden unemployment of one or both parents.
It is highly recommended that students have a well-tuned acoustic piano at home. Electronic keyboards are not recommended, especially for young beginners. The instructor holds that electronic keyboards and acoustic pianos serve different purposes and are different instruments in terms of technique. The instructor believes that playing an electronic instrument at the outset will hinder the student’s development of proper piano technique. Further, if one switches to playing an acoustic piano after playing an electronic keyboard for a long time, one will have to start almost from scratch in order to develop proper piano technique, as one’s fingers will need to assume completely different functions. In addition, most of the classic piano repertoire that the student is encouraged to play early in his/her study is incompatible technically with electronic instruments.
At the initial appointment, the parent/student is advised as to which instrument to purchase. If an electronic keyboard has already been purchased and the parent/student is not ready to invest in an acoustic piano, the instructor will still teach the student but will assume no responsibility for delays in the development of the student’s technique.
Suggested Lesson Times
At the initial appointment, the instructor will plan with the parent/student the length and frequency of the student’s lessons.
The instructor usually suggests that young beginners (ages 5–7) take two 30-minute lessons each week for the first two or three months of lessons. Once the student seems to have adjusted to the lesson activities and requirements and is able to stay focused longer, he may be switched to one 45-minute lesson each week. From the instructor’s teaching experience, young beginners need more than one 30-minute lesson each week, particularly if the parent lacks musical background sufficient to help the young beginner with his assignments between lessons. A young student simply cannot handle assignments on his own for an entire week without instruction.
For older beginners or transferred students (ages 8–10) one 45-minute lesson is usually recommended to begin with. After about a year of lessons, if the student has adjusted well and shows progress, the instructor may recommend extending the lesson time to 1 hour.
The shortest lesson time recommended for an intermediate student is 45 minutes weekly, but 1 hour lessons work better because they allow for many activities: working on the repertoire, theory lessons, warm up exercises, etc. All activities aid the student in better understanding the music that he performs.
The shortest lesson time recommended for an advanced student is 1 hour weekly. For high school students, the instructor will normally recommend 1.5 hours weekly in order to better accommodate both piano and theory parts of the lesson.
For adult students, 1 hour weekly is usually recommended, but weekly 45-minute lessons are also acceptable.
Summer Piano and Theory/Ear Training Lessons
It is important that students maintain the momentum of their musical progress throughout the year. However, the summer schedule can be more flexible in order to accommodate family vacations and other special activities. Breaks longer than 2 – 3 weeks are not recommended, as students should not be left without practice for a long time. Parents must tell the instructor in advance about their summer plans so that the schedule can be adjusted accordingly.
If there are enough students scheduled to participate during the summer (June through mid-August), the music theory/ear training 1-hour group sessions will be offered for all levels. Each session includes both theory work and ear training exercises.
Recitals and Competitions
During the year, several performing opportunities are made available to qualified students. These events provide students with further incentive to practice and excel and can have a positive effect on a student's sense of accomplishment. Through recitals and competitions, students gain invaluable stage experience—important not only in piano performance but in many other aspects of a student’s school and life activities.
Each year, the various organizations of which the instructor is a member provide educational and competitive opportunities for qualified students. Such events may be offered by the instructor to those students who possess the necessary maturity, discipline, and preparation to participate. The recital and competition entry fees are usually paid by the instructor to the appropriate organization and are to be reimbursed by the student to the instructor.
Students are required to bring all necessary piano books and theory materials to the lesson. The materials developed by the instructor are regularly sent via e-mail as attachments. The parent/student is to print and bring the necessary materials to the lesson.
The parents of students of any age—and especially those of young students—are welcome to be present and participate in the educational process. The instructor will provide a chair so that the parent can sit next to the piano and watch the student’s hands, posture etc. The instructor appreciates a parent’s effort to take notes during the lesson—which will save the instructor the time needed to write notes in the student’s notebook or to transfer them via e-mail.
Lesson time must remain as focused as possible; siblings or visitors are welcome to attend provided they remain quiet. Students are to come to the lessons ready to learn. Shortly trimmed nails are a must. It is recommended that girls have their hair pulled up and away from their face, as that may be a distraction.
Regular attendance of lessons is an issue of responsibility and choice on the part of parents and students. The instructor makes every effort to accommodate every student’s scheduling preferences. In the case of illness or other emergency situations, a make-up lesson will be offered. Please provide 24 hours courtesy notice (via e-mail or phone call) when your child is ill or cannot attend the lesson for any other reason. If the make-up time is not used for any reason during the current month, that lesson time is forfeited. The instructor will, however, assume financial responsibility should she become ill, be out of town, or cancel for any reason. In such cases, credit will be given towards the following month’s tuition.
Please arrive on time! If a student arrives late, the time lost will not be subtracted from the following student’s lesson or the instructor’s personal time. The student/parent is asked to give a courtesy call via cell phone in instances where he/she is more than 5 minutes late so that the instructor knows when to expect the student to arrive.« back to top