Private Lessons - Studio Policies
- Welcome to the flute studio. I look forward to working with you and learning about music and the flute together. Through private lessons, here is a partial list of goals for us to work towards:
- You will develop technical skills as a musician which will allow you to express yourself creatively and musically.
- You will develop skills in listening, critiquing, and evaluating musical performances.
- You will acquire skills in performance, practice techniques, setting and realizing goals, and assessment of weekly/quarterly accomplishments.
- A flute in good working condition
- A sturdy 3-ring binder with 5+ divider tabs
- A music stand for practicing at home
- A cleaning cloth and rod (preferably wood)
- An inexpensive metronome (or smartphone app)
- A tuner or smartphone app (for all students with more than two years of experience)
- Sheet music and other texts, etc., as deemed necessary by the instructor in order to accomplish the goals set for the term. (I am aware that music is expensive and will always try to help you find economical prices whenever possible.)
2. Notebook: Students are expected to keep a lesson notebook. The notebook should contain:
- Lesson assignment sheets
- A copy of this Studio Policy
- All handouts you receive
- Listening list
- Repertoire list
- Please create the following divider tabs: Assignment sheets, practice, fingering charts, listening/repertoire, miscellaneous
3. Tuition: Tuition is due at the first lesson of each month. (Please calculate how many weeks of your lesson day are in each month.) Your tuition includes
- your lesson (a time is reserved for you, even if you're absent!)
- a variety of handouts for your notebook
- exercises written by the instructor
- studio recitals (which replace one lesson)
- assistance in purchasing new instruments
4. Attendance: If you need to miss a lesson, please give me advance notice (48 hours minimum) so that we can reschedule.
If you know you will be out of town or will have a concert or other school activity during your lesson time: Regular flute lessons are important in encouraging regular practice routines and musical development, so it is better to reschedule lessons rather than canceling them. Please avoid scheduling medical or orthodontic appointments during lesson times.
Please understand that because I reserve a time for you each week, and the price of tuition includes more than just your weekly lesson, I must charge for cancellations. Accepted cancellations include:
- illness (I won't teach you if you're sick, but I will try to make up lessons if I have some notice)
- family emergency
- severe weather conditions
5. Lesson Swap: If you need to reschedule your lesson, please try to swap lessons with another student first, and notify me of the change.
6. Lesson Content:
- In each lesson, we will work on tone production, technical studies, and flute repertoire (a solo and/or duet). We may also work on school band music as needed, and any solos you wish to play for contests or asked to perform for school, church, etc., but lesson content comes first. If you are prepared for your lesson, we can then work on band music.
- Students are responsible for providing their own music. Photocopied materials are not permitted in lessons as a permanent substitute for purchasing printed works.
7. Recitals: Students (college age and younger) are expected to play in our studio recitals and at any music festivals/competitions/honor bands offered through the local school systems. As both a courtesy and a learning experience, students are expected to attend the instructor's recitals.
8. Practice: Lessons are an exercise in "teamwork." The "team" includes the student, the teacher, and the parent(s). Parents are expected to encourage students, to remind (or nag!) them to practice, and to help them obtain needed materials in a timely manner. I have found that when parents take an active role in encouraging students to practice, students experience more success.
- As a general rule of thumb, students should practice 5 minutes daily per grade in school, with a minimum of 20 minutes daily for the very young. (For example, a 5th grader would practice 25 minutes daily.)
- After 6th grade, students are expected to practice between 1/2 to one hour daily for their lessons. Junior high and high school students who want to major in music in college are expected to increase these times significantly.
- Practice happens at home, not in lessons. I'll teach you techniques to make your practice more fun.
9. Open Studio Policy:
- Parents are welcome to observe lessons at any time and should feel free to come and go, without knocking.
- The term "private lessons" is a bit of a misnomer. In my studio, students are welcome and encouraged to come early to observe other students' lessons, or to linger a few minutes to listen to other students play. This gives students a feeling of camaraderie and helps them to become more comfortable playing for others. Additionally, college students will occasionally sit in on pre-college students' lessons to observe my teaching.
- When should parents be present at lessons? Generally, parents and students make this decision together. It’s very important that students feel comfortable in their lessons; some students want a parent in the room, while others prefer more privacy. I do ask parents to be present for a part of students’ lessons up through grade 6 so that they can be aware of practice requirements, behavior, and progress. After students begin middle school, I find that some become more comfortable without the added stress of “performing” for their parents, and they see “private” lessons as a step towards maturity. (However, this timing is up to the individual student/parents to decide so that children always feel comfortable in their lessons.)
- It is very important that students do not feel that the parents and teacher are “ganging up” on them when they make mistakes during their lessons, as mistakes are a normal part of learning. Therefore, I ask parents to keep comments to a minimum.
10. Accompanists: You are responsible for paying your own accompanist for recitals and competitions and working out a schedule for rehearsal, lessons, and performance. I will provide you with a list of approved pianists and will assist you in coordinating with other students to share accompanist fees. Working with a pianist is an important part of learning to be a musician. To ensure that you will have a positive experience in performance, please ASK ME FIRST before contacting an accompanist who is not on my list.
11. Listening: You are required to listen to at least one new recording every two weeks. This is a wonderful way to learn about music and the flute! Please keep a list in your notebook with any observations you may have. You may substitute live flute performances or professional YouTube recordings. Recordings may be checked out from the instructor. You are also strongly encouraged to begin to collect your own library of recordings.
12. Resources for sheet music and supplies: When ordering music, make sure it is in stock. Music stores will offer to back-order music for you, but it may take a long time to arrive.
- Flute World (248) 855-0410 (Discount for National Flute Association members)
- Carol Nussbaum Music Company (877) FLUTE4U
13. Buying new instruments: Please get my approval before purchasing or renting new instruments. I may be able to help you find a better price or a higher quality instrument. (I do not charge extra for being your "personal shopper" -- this is a service included in the price of tuition.)
14. Ensembles: Private lessons are in no way intended to be a replacement for a school musical ensemble. Because I feel strongly that school bands, orchestras, and choirs play an invaluable role in developing musicianship, I am reluctant to teach students (high school and younger) who are not involved in ensembles at school, if such ensembles are available.
14. And finally...
I hope that flute lessons will be a very positive experience for you. If you ever have any questions, don't hesitate to call me (after 7:30 am and before 9:30 pm).
© Shelley Collins