THE PIANO STUDIO

 

The reasons people choose to learn to play the piano are as varied as the personalities involved.  The rewards are often greater then were anticipated as are the challenges.  The discipline of piano playing spills over into so many other areas of life and education.  The benefits are truly extensive.

     Because piano playing is as much athletic as it is intellectual, the physical training part can be demanding and requires daily practice.  So before starting lessons, plan on setting aside a daily practice time.  On average, plan on six to eight hours a week for every hour in class. 

    Also, you will need daily access to a well-maintained (in-tune & properly regulated) piano.  Electronic keyboards are not acceptable substitutes for pianos because of the lack of touch-sensitivity and key-weight. This makes it difficult for you to develop the strength, articulation and control of the keyboard that you will need to be able to play a piano.  Digital pianos, to some extent, mimic a piano and as much as they do are useful for beginners.  To get the best out of your lessons and your effort, you will need an acoustic or hybrid piano after two to three years of piano lessons. You will also find your playing more rewarding.




STUDIO POLICY


The Curriculum:  We utilize the Faber & Faber Piano Adventures method for Elementary (Pre-reading through Level 3A) through Intermediate (Level 3B through Level 5) or Dr. Helen Marlais’ Succeeding at the Piano method.  Once a student completes Level 5, we continue to work on advanced repertoire and technique building exercises.  We follow the National Piano Guild manual to prepare our students to achieve competency in the standard piano repertoire up to the college level.  Students are prepared each year to participate in the annual Piano Guild Auditions.  The goal is that by the time they reach high school graduation, they may fulfill the requirements from the Piano Guild to be candidates to obtain the Highschool Diploma in Piano Performance.  At this point they are prepared to audition with and apply to any college or university and pursue a degree in music.


Monthly Tuition: We charge monthly tuition for access to our teaching calendar prepaid at the beginning of each month. The tuition recurs at the beginning of each month.  We require timely payment.  A $10.00 late fee will be assessed on all tuition not  paid by the 10th of the month.  We do not charge per lesson taught, nor do we credit for lesson(s) missed.  Your tuition payment reserves a recurrent time in our weekly schedule for lessons.  It is your responsibility to take advantage of that schedule and attend your lessons. The tuition has already been prorated for annual holidays.

For children under eight years of age we offer half-hour weekly lessons at $90 per month.  Older students will prefer at least a 3/4-hour weekly lesson at $135 per month.  A one-hour weekly lesson is $180 per month.  Some students will prefer more than one weekly lesson.  The tuition corresponds accordingly. 

Additionally there is a $30 recital fee due November and April for the Winter and Spring Recitals.  This per-family fee is due regardless of participation plans.


Book Costs: Method books cost approximately $35.00 per level.  The average student completes a level in one school year.  Accompaniment CDs are additional and recommended.  Additional repertoire books may be separately charged.


Instrument Requirement:  In order to enroll in this studio, the student must have daily access to at least a “digital piano” for the first two years and by the fourth year an acoustic piano kept in-tune and in good working order.  Synthesizer keyboards will not be considered adequate alternatives.  Additionally a metronome is required.  We carry Wittner Metronomes starting at about $70.  Affordable electronic metronomes are available at local music stores.


Scheduling & Sick DaysWe will work with you to find the best available weekly or biweekly time-slot.  If you need to make seasonal changes, we will accommodate you as best we can.  If you are sick, please do not come to class.  Email or call to cancel.  The last Sunday of each month (except December) is available for makeup lessons where the available makeup times during the week are not workable.  The following holidays have been prorated out of the schedule:

        Christmas & New Years (2 weeks off)

        Spring Break (to coincide with the school district, 2015)

        Easter Break (Friday, Monday)

        Memorial Day Weekend (May 22nd, 2015)


Assignment Booklet: Please check the assignment page each week.  It contains notice of upcoming events (concert, recital & audition scheduling etc.) and communications to parents as well as the weekly practice assignments.  This is our chosen method of communicating with the parents for major upcoming events.  Parents may also follow the studio on Facebook for event information.  If a student remains in the same assignment for over two weeks, he/she is not completing the assignment in a timely manner and may be lacking practice time or concentration during the practice period.


Practice Requirements: For every hour in class calculate 6 to 8 hours weekly minimum practice time.  Parents will need to create a daily schedule for their children that will accommodate a daily practice regimen.  An easy way to figure this is that your practice time should at minimum match the length of your lesson time.  Younger students that have difficulty focusing for long periods of time may benefit from splitting their practice time into two or even three intervals per day.  The most successful practice session is one that has been scheduled as part of the student’s daily routine on a regular basis.  Consistency is the key to success.  Students wishing to achieve above average progress will invest more then the minimum time.  Advanced students routinely practice several hours per day.


Attendance: Please be on-time for your lesson.  Because we have students scheduled back-to-back, we cannot go over your allotted schedule as it will interfere with someone else’s lesson.  We do our best to keep the schedule running with an occasional few minutes off, so please help us by being on-time.  Parents are welcome to sit in on classes.


Scheduling a Makeup Class: Although we do our best to re-schedule your lesson when notified in advance, re-scheduling is based on schedule availability by month.  Make-up lessons are available only when the lesson has been cancelled by phone-message or via email.   If you have a schedule conflict, please let us know in advance when you plan to miss, and arrange for a make-up class. 


Competitions, Guild Auditions, UIL and Summer Camps: We are happy to prepare our students for  various competitions (we run the Laredo International Piano Competition), Annual Piano Guild Auditions, UIL, and summer music camps.  If you are interested in having your child pursue any of these, please contact us and we will be able to provide you with an updated list of options currently available.  Each of these involve separate costs.


Communication: For schedule and general questions, E-mail ( anrebe at gmail dot com) is the best way to reach us.  You can also leave a detailed voice message at the studio phone number, (956)220-3630 or 220-5130  Because of our teaching schedule, we work on responding to emails between lessons and phone calls at the end of the day.