STUDIO POLICIES

2017

Bella Voce Studio strives to provide quality music instruction, primarily in voice and piano, using both group lessons, classes, private lessons and performance opportunities to equip students to become

 independent music learners

 proficient music readers

confident and expressive performers

 

To that end, students are encouraged to remember that “the quest for excellence is a lifelong process” and that learning to master an instrument is not a quick, nor easy endeavor.  Dedicated practice and commitment are essential for progress and mastery.

The studio policies reflect these goals.

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Tuition Payments and Registration Fee

Bella Voce Studio (BV) accepts checks (made payable to Julie Stone) or cash.

Invoices are sent via email one week prior to payment dates. Online payments are available upon request. 

Monthly tuition payments are due on or before the first lesson of the month. (Please contact Julie Stone for current tuition rates.)

In order keep monthly tuition lower, students are charged a registration fee upon acceptance into the studio and annually in the Spring to reserve the student’s lesson spot for the Fall semester.   (see Registration Fee Chart below)

 

What does tuition and registration cover?

Tuition reserves your weekly time slot and studio membership. It also covers the cost of:

  • Teacher expertise and experience and a sunny disposition (just kidding! That’s free! J)
  • Lesson planning and repertoire selection and additional administrative duties required of the teacher
  • Piano tuning and maintenance
  • Accompanist and Juror gifts
  • Recital venues and programs
  • Professional studio memberships and professional development
  • Incentive programs and game materials
  • Studio rent, taxes, and studio insurance.

Tuition does not include the cost of music. Students should expect to spend approximately $50 per year on repertoire.   Sometimes the studio loans supplemental music to the students at no charge. (A replacement fee may be charged at the teacher’s discretion, if the music is destroyed or damaged,

Tuition Payments:

 Should something come up where you cannot financially fulfill your commitment to your lessons, advanced notice and open, ongoing communication is appreciated and encouraged!

Due on or before the first lesson of the month

New this year: Pay on or before the first lesson of the month and receive a 10% early pay on time discount!  (see studio calendar for specific due dates)

Forgot your payment? Miss the first lesson? Pay online or drop-off/mail payment to avoid the late fee.

There will be a $30.00 fee for any returned checks due to insufficient funds.

 
Registration Fees:

Registration fees are paid in May annually and reserve the student’s lesson spot for the Fall semester.  Fee will be reduced per quarter if student begins lessons at another time of the year.

Registration fees per quarter: (Please contact Julie Stone for current registration rates.)

 

 Schedule

Missed lessons

Lesson times are standing appointments; a student’s lesson time is reserved for only them each week, and it is their responsibility to attend. Dance classes and sports teams do not offer reimbursements if you cannot attend a rehearsal or game – music lessons are no different.  (Dayspring students click here) 

*DCA students:  For convenience, DCA allows BV to give lessons during the school day.  Please respect this as an appointment time that is not part of your schooling.  If a conflict arises, students/parents need to be sure that the lesson time is rescheduled with another student, in advance, or the lesson time will be forfeited that week.

If there is a field study, assembly, extra responsibility, or class event which conflicts with your lesson, it is YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to reschedule it IN ADVANCE (the day prior to the conflict at the latest).  Bella Voce is separate from DCA and is not responsible to keep track of all school related activities.

BV will consult with parents and teachers alike to find the best times available for lessons for each student.  If academics begin to suffer, a new time will be worked out.

Because specific times are set aside for specific students, a student who does not attend a lesson will simply miss the benefit of that lesson.  The teacher will then use that time or other time for administrative tasks or planning and studio needs.  Please be assured that tuition pays for far more than the time spent during lessons (see “What Does My Tuition Cover?” Above) 

Students that habitually (2 consecutive weeks) forget their lesson materials will not have their lesson and parents will be contacted.

There are no make-up lessons for missed lessons, classes, partner/group lessons or Crescendo Classes.  However, please communicate with the teacher to receive the class assignments missed!  Missing class is not a good excuse not to practice that week!

 

What if my child is sick?

Students who are ill SHOULD NOT attend lessons. If you are too sick to attend school, you are too sick to attend your lesson. Please notify the teacher as early in the morning as possible, via text or phone call, so that another student might be able to be rescheduled, opening another day for the sick student.  

Students who are mildly ill can schedule a FaceTime, Skype, or Google Hangout lesson during their regular time or forfeit their lesson appointment for that week.

Students are allowed to reschedule ONE lesson per semester in the event of illness, family emergency or school events, provided the teacher is notified in advance.  Please provide as much notice as possible. Reschedules are not for students who miss lessons due to play dates, school activities, games, or non-emergency appointments.

  • Reschedules may occur in the form of group lessons if individual times are not available or may be a shortened lesson time due to what is available.
  • “No-Show” Lessons are Forfeit: Repeat “no shows” may result in removal from the schedule without tuition reimbursement.
  • Exceptions to the Rules:The more notice given, the more flexibility YOU have to reschedule. Look at your schedule in advance!  Life can be crazy sometimes – talk to me – open communication is key!

 

Other Lesson Options for Students:

We live in an amazing time!  Let’s use technology to our advantage!

FaceTime/Skype/Google Hangouts/Phone Lessons: Mildly sick? No way to get to lessons because of snowy or inclement weather? This is a valuable way to keep your individual lesson time and avoid rescheduling.  (DCA students click here.)

*When DCA has off school for inclement weather, the teacher may opt to hold lessons via FaceTime/Skype/Google Hangouts/Phone lessons.   If this is not possible, a group lesson or individual reschedule (if it falls into the one per semester category) may be added to the schedule to make up the time missed.

 

Lesson Procedures

(Students, please familiarize yourself with this section)

 

Please arrive a few minutes before your start time and wait until the teacher is finished with the previous student.

DCA students click here

Wilderness Road lessons/Summer lessons:

In order to help with the flow of lessons: please enter through the back door if you see a sign on the front door and wait in the family room or on the screen porch while the teacher finishes with the previous student. Students may work on an off-bench activity if it is available or review their theory assignments until the teacher is ready for them.

You may leave through the front door, if you’d like.

Parents are welcome to stay at the lesson or leave and come back at the end of the appointment.  Siblings that do not take lessons must accompany the parent if they leave during the lesson.

The lesson is the place for teaching of the music.  Home is where the student is to learn their songs.  The lesson is not intended to be a practice time.

Voice students may need to arrange for recorded melodies and/or accompaniment for practice.

Please let the teacher know what you/your child needs to practice successfully!  Communicate throughout the week as needed!

 

Germs!

Students should wash their hands or use hand sanitizer (provided in the studio) prior to their lessons so we don’t spread our germs!

 

Be Prepared!

What you need at your lesson:

assignment book

music books/binder

a pencil

For Singers: personal electronic devices are STRONGLY encouraged! Recording your lesson will provide valuable information for your at home practice!

Older students are expected to take notes in their music during the lesson and during their practice times each week, as needed.

Voice students are responsible to give copies of their music to their accompanist prior to the lesson, when applicable.

Students are also responsible for setting up meeting times with their accompanist as needed.

 

What You Need at Home for Lessons:

A scheduled practice time (make it work for you!)

A good work ethic and motivation

A space where you feel comfortable to practice freely

Your assignments and music books

A suitable keyboard or piano

*Please contact your teacher in between lessons if you are missing something you need or are unsure of an assignment.

 

 Instrument Needs for Lessons:

All students (voice included) should have regular access to an acoustic piano or an 88-key modern digital piano with a weighted hammer action.

The 61-key keyboards sold at most large retail stores are not satisfactory for the continued study of piano, though they will suffice for voice lessons, if necessary. Acoustic pianos should be kept in good working order and should be tuned at least once a year. 

 

 

Practice Expectations

Practice as long as it takes to learn the song

Start out right: Always begin with a warm-up and technique exercises!

If there is a lack of progress, there is probably a lack of practice! A student’s progress is determined by dedicated practice, not by simply attending lessons.

Ideally, students should practice at least 4-6 days a week. Repetitions or time suggestions in the assignment notebook are intended to be a guideline, not a hard and fast rule.  Students should practice long enough to complete their weekly assignments.

Here is a general guideline that will provide good momentum and progress to keep your child interested.  Remember, specific times are not the goal, learning the songs are the goal, so practice times will vary per child!

Practice suggestions

Parental Support

Don’t just write the check!  Check-in with your child frequently!

Parental Support is an extremely important factor in musical training.  Parental involvement and/or oversight in practice time is often directly correlated to the success of the child on his/her instrument.

Children must feel a sense of accountability for their practicing and parents are the primary motivators! PLEASE BE INVOLVED!

Students whose parents take an active role in their progress tend to be more enthusiastic and productive. Please schedule a time for practice each day and hold your child accountable!

 

Assignment Notebooks and Goal Setting:

We all achieve more when we are working toward a goal.  Students will be given various goals to attain to help motivate them toward progress.  Performances and recitals are a large part of goal achievement.

Students are expected to utilize their assignment notebooks while practicing at home.  The teacher records practicing suggestions, areas for improvement, technique and theory exercises in addition to song selections.

The assignment book is the hub for following through on the whole assignment.

Students should record their practice times or repetitions (as established by the teacher) online or in their assignment books for the benefit of the teacher.

Students should practice a minimum of 4 times per week in order to see good progress. Practice until the music is learned, not until a time allottment has been fulfilled!

Students who do not meet practice requirements on a regular basis, may be encouraged to discontinue lessons.

Incentives

For Elementary age students, BV uses a star earning system called “5 Star Review”.

Students may earn stars each week for at home practice, achievement, a productive lesson, etc.  At the end of each month stars may be redeemed for a prize.

As parents, you may want to consider some sort of incentive program at home! Even a chart with stickers for each time practiced can go a long way with some students!

Middle/High School and adult students are encouraged to be intrinsically motivated for the love of their instrument and music.  Periodically, there may be certain competitions or prizes for fun and extra motivation!

 

Recitals, Crescendo Classes, and Group Lessons, and Juries

Performances offer students a great sense of accomplishment and pride for their hard work. They also help students learn the importance of setting and achieving goals.

Performances are not intended to promote perfectionism or competition but are an opportunity to achieve a goal, in many cases, face fear or nervousness, and learn through the experience!

 

Recitals

Students will have opportunity to perform in 1 or 2 formal recitals per year. (See the studio calendar.)

 

Crescendo Class

Crescendo Class is designed to enhance the learning experience by providing peer support and interaction, practicing for performance in a low stress situation, and reinforcement/review of musical concepts through fun and games!

This class is requirement of all students who take lessons and will be scheduled by the teacher according to age, instrument and ability level.  See studio calendar

 

Monthly Group Lesson (new in 2017)

Beginning in October, one week per month, students will participate in a group lesson with other students of similar ability level (not necessarily grade or age level).  Group Lesson will enable the teacher to teach music theory concepts collectively, allowing more time in the lesson for teaching of repertoire, etc.  There will be repertoire and theory assignments that must be completed prior to Group Lesson.

Crescendo Classes will periodically take the place of Group Lesson and may alter the schedule.  Refer to the studio calendar.

Group lessons and Crescendo Classes are different in that Group is devoted to teaching and learning of a concept, whereas Crescendo Class is focused on providing performance practice and reinforcement through games. 

The regular tuition includes these group classes.

Juries

Juries for voice students and intermediate to advanced piano students will be held in the Spring.  Juries provides evaluation and insights from professionals outside the studio.

Students must meet certain requirements for Juries and repertoire for recital will usually be chosen from Jury repertoire.

Students will be given repertoire requirements for Juries at the beginning of the academic year.

Performances scheduled outside of the studio are encouraged!

Voice students:

      Accompanists

Intermediate and Advanced students will, at times, need to have an accompanist for performances.       The accompanist should attend the lesson when possible.

Accompanists’ rates may vary, are not included in regular tuition and should be worked out with the      accompanist.

 

Holidays/Studio Breaks/Teacher Cancellation

Please Note that the studio is NOT closed on every national holiday. Sometimes students WILL have lessons on a day when there is no school, including DCA students (DCA students click here). The studio is ALWAYS closed on:

  • New Year’s Day
  • Memorial Day
  • 4thof July
  • Labor Day
  • Thanksgiving/Black Friday
  • 23rd– Jan 1st

Additional Studio Breaks or days off may occur during holiday breaks or between semesters, and are always announced well in advance. The calendar is subject to change.

DCA students: (new for 2017, please read carefully) Lessons may still be scheduled on the following days even though there is no school scheduled.

Please plan to keep your regular lesson time unless rearranged in advance.

See studio calendar

If you cannot make your lesson appointment that day, you may opt for an online lesson or the above attendance policies will apply.  (If a conflict arises, you are strongly encouraged to switch times with another student if possible!)

If the teacher cancels a lesson, every effort will be made to reschedule.In the event that a lesson is not rescheduled, a credit ($20/$30 depending upon lesson length) will be given for the following month.

 

Discontinuation of Lessons

A suggestion:

Since music lessons are also lessons in character building, I strongly encourage parents and students to set forth an established timeframe for continuing lessons (perhaps yearly).  At the end of the time frame, if a student decides not to continue, that is a valid choice.  “Quitting” when lessons get hard or the student becomes uninterested, can reinforce a pattern that is harmful to character.

One month’s notice and/or the regular lesson fee is required for a student who wishes to discontinue lessons.

If a student wishes to discontinue lessons, refunds will not be given if a student does not continue lessons to the end of the month.

Registration fees are non-refundable in the event of a discontinuation of lessons.

Mutual respect is a key goal in our studio.

As studio owner, I reserve the right to remove students from the schedule if they have poor attendance, poor practice habits, or if they repeatedly break any studio policies.

I look forward to an ongoing relationship with you!

 

Interested in Music Lessons?

Click here to contact Bella Voce studio!

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