The Basics

$450 for up to 9 lessons during the 22-week timeframe of the semester.

Fall 2021 Semester Dates

The semester runs August 1, 2021 – December 31, 2021 with lessons scheduled on the following days:

  • August 8
  • August 22
  • September 5
  • September 19
  • October 3
  • (Fall break: October 10)
  • October 24
  • November 7
  • November 21
  • December 5
  • Make-up day in case of a missed lesson: December 12

Cancellations and Reschedules

Regular lesson times should be kept as much as possible. Reschedules may be possible but are not guaranteed.

Cancellations and reschedule requests must be made online via the My Music Staff portal. Families are requested to update their schedules as far in advance as possible, as this increases the chance other families in need of a rescheduled time will be able to make use of the calendar slot.

When rescheduling, please make sure at least 72 hours passes between lessons, as students need time to practice and make progress between sessions. Students may not sign up for more that one lesson on a given day or weekend. Reschedule requests that do not follow these guidelines may not be approved.

No-call/no-show lessons, as well as late cancellations (those less than 24 hours in advance, except in cases of illness or injury), cannot be rescheduled and will count toward the semester total. To help reduce these instances, the My Music Staff site will send lesson reminders via email or text 48 hours in advance. You can adjust these settings via the parent portal.

Please remember that cancelling or otherwise not attending lessons may result in the semester’s total number of lessons being less than the possible maximum. “Unused” lessons are not eligible for refunds. All lessons must be done within the stated time frame of the semester and will not be credited forward to future semesters.

Payment

Tuition for the Fall 2021 semester is $450 per student. This payment reserves the student’s lesson time on the weekly schedule. I do not charge a materials fee or a registration fee.

Payment is accepted by check (made payable to “Lisa Gilbert” only), cash, or online (via the link on the invoice only). 50% is due on August 7, 2021 and the remaining 50% is due on October 1, 2021. A monthly late charge of $5 will be added to unpaid balances following these dates.

Once paid, lessons are nonrefundable. The only exception to this policy is for cases of serious illness, defined as the inability to attend lessons for 3 or more consecutive weeks due to a medical issue. If this occurs, parents should offer written notification accompanied by a doctor’s note for consideration of a partial refund.

Location

The default location for Fall 2021 lessons will be online, via FaceTime or Skype. Learn more about online lessons here.

Depending on local pandemic conditions, as well as the vaccination status of students, it may be possible to hold certain lessons in-person. This determination ultimately rests with the studio but will be made in concert with families. Our #1 goal is to keep everyone safe.

Length

All Fall 2021 lessons are scheduled for 45 minutes.

Please note this time may vary slightly (2-3 minutes more or less) depending on the time it takes to connect virtually – think of this as similar to the time we normally took in person with one student arriving, another leaving, and conversations happening in the living room. I do my best to make sure everyone gets their full lesson time!

In instances where a student is unreachable, I will continue trying to connect for the first 10 minutes of the scheduled lesson time. If the student is then able to be reached, the lesson will proceed as regularly scheduled (i.e. the lesson will still end on time). If the student is unable to be reached, the lesson will be noted as “no-call/no-show” and will count toward the semester total (see above, re: “Cancellations and Reschedules”).

Practicing

Students are expected to practice regularly every day. The amount of time depends on the age and level of the student, but should be sufficient to make progress. Only attending lessons and being part of band class is not enough to learn an instrument. In fact, one might argue that the majority of learning happens during practice, with lessons being there to help set a fruitful path for the week’s individual work. (After all, ultimately what we are training is muscle memory. Imagine a basketball player who met with a coach once a week to get pointers on free-throw technique, but didn’t shoot any hoops between sessions. Despite the personalized coaching, this player would be unlikely to make it on the select team.)

Especially in our hyper-scheduled culture, it’s important to understand that lessons are different from other activities in that the time commitment involved includes both the lesson itself and individual practice on a daily basis. One estimate for minimum practice times might be 15 minutes daily for elementary students, 30 minutes daily for middle school students, and 45 minutes daily for high school students. (I provide regular guidance on how to practice, and of course what happens during those practice times is more important than the number on a clock. Still, if students cannot block off these minimum times in their daily schedules, the truth is that they are too busy to benefit from lessons.)

Students who consistently do not practice or are otherwise regularly unprepared for lessons may not be offered a place in the studio in future semesters.

Materials

At each lesson, students need to have their sheet music, instrument, metronome, and pencil. Regarding sheet music, I do my best to keep costs down (including writing, transcribing, and arranging a great deal of music, along with choosing public-domain titles). However, students should also budget for method books and solo repertoire as part of taking lessons. Flute students in particular should know that, while we may devote some time to school repertoire as needed, lessons are not tutoring for band class but rather represent a larger project of advancing technique and musicality toward a greater goal of lifelong music-making. In cases where I send PDFs of sheet music, students should print the file (instead of reading it from a screen) so they can use a pencil to annotate as needed.

Miscellaneous

To have the best outcome with performances and auditions, students should consult with me well in advance before signing up for these opportunities. Keep in mind that proper preparation is a project that takes several weeks of consistent work! My goal is to help you create the highest likelihood of a positive experience.

When buying a new instrument, be sure to consult with me first! Every teacher has had students get what seemed like a great deal on what turned out to be a frustrating and flawed instrument. Providing guidance – and helping you navigate advertising claims vs. true signs of quality (to say nothing of the counterfeit market) – is part of my job.

Students should not simultaneously enroll for individual lessons with another teacher on the same instrument. (This is a standard policy in music studios across the area.)

Participation in virtual recitals is voluntary. Student recordings and statements published in “virtual recitals” are the property of the studio. On request, I will be happy to substitute a pseudonym for the child’s identity. (Please note: virtual recitals are currently on hiatus due to COVID-19.)

Instrument Care Guidelines

It is far easier, and more enjoyable, to play on an instrument that has been kept in good shape! Flute students should plan on taking their instrument to the shop for a “clean, oil, adjust” repair at least once each year (even if nothing seems wrong – you’d be surprised what problems can creep in without our noticing!). Piano students should get their piano tuned at least once a year (ideally twice, generally following the temperature shifts in spring and fall) and should run a humidifier in the room during the winter months. This type of routine maintenance can save you money over the long run by catching problems before they turn into costly repairs.