Just as different teachers have their own teaching styles, they also have their own methods of organization and management.
Below, you'll find information the DMS Studio Policies, which has all the information you need to know before starting lessons, including:
- Expectations (Student / Parent / Teacher)
- Teaching Locations and Calendar
- Staying Organized with "My Music Staff"
- Cancellation / Make-up Policy
- Tuition / Books / Recitals
- Ending Lessons
Changes due to Covid will be noted in Red.
For the time being, lessons will only be offered via Zoom.
The intensity of lessons very much depends on the goals of the individual student, but it's important for teacher, student (and parent) to be on the same page regarding basic expectations of all students:
Expectation of Students:
- Practicing every day with only incidental exception. A recommended minimum amount of daily practice should be the same amount of time as your weekly lesson.
- Practice time at home should include Theory, Technique, and Repertoire. The teacher’s lesson notes should be referenced every day for this info.
- Practice should take place on an acoustic piano (not a keyboard/electric piano), or you should be in the active process of trying to find one.
- All pianists must maintain short nails and clean hands, especially when coming to lesson. Please wash your hands in the bathroom when arriving at a lesson.
- Students are expected to participate in all the primary studio events each year: the 2 recitals in your location, and the Summer Recording Session (does not apply to adult students).
Expectation of Parents:
- Parents are expected to be a present support system for every student's development. For young beginners, this may include being present with them at every practice session to reinforce the lessons, or for older students, may include more general encouragement about consistency, problem-solving, discipline, and responsibility.
- For any student who is under 18 years of age, it is the responsibility of the parent to ensure timely transportation, that tuition is paid, and that they are the primary communicator regarding logistics and attendance.
- For any student under age 10, it is highly recommended that you be in attendance with the student at each lesson, to help keep them focused, and so that you can assist throughout the week with reinforcing the lessons.
Expectations of Teacher:
- You can expect a patient and consistent effort to give you the tools you need to become your own teacher, including the knowledge to understand various pieces and styles, the exercises to physically train your skills in a way that is physiologically healthy, and the methods with which to problem-solve and develop good efficiency in your own practice.
- You can expect a clear communicator and organized planner, who will provide resources and opportunities that will help you meet your goals.
- You can expect a kind demeanor, but one that is straight-forward and always focused on long term growth and development.
Staying at home has affected students and families in a variety of ways, so lessons have become more adaptive. For some, practice has been a welcome point of focus, while others have needed to engage with music in different ways. It's my intention to have perspective in my expectations of practice, to be helpful to families during this strange time and not an added stress, and to find whatever way is useful for music to be a continued and positive force in a student's life.
LOCATIONS AND LOGISTICS
Lessons are presently offered at two locations:
Cockeysville Music Education Center (Baltimore, MD) - LINK
123 Church Lane
Cockeysville, MD 21030
Westmoreland Congregational UCC (Bethesda, MD) - LINK
1 Westmoreland Circle
Bethesda, MD 10816
Every student receives an assignment book, which contains a hard copy of notes from lessons, the current schedule, and policies, which are kept up to date as much as possible. Depending on the current teaching schedule, the calendar looks something like this demo (left), and shows regular lesson days, days when there are no lessons, designated make-up lessons, and recital information.
In addition there will be a hard copy of the schedule of everyone's regular lesson time, and a roster with basic contact information for everyone, so that schedule swaps can be organized, if you prefer not to do so through My Music Staff (see below).
Recitals, Recordings, and Competitions are held at various venues throughout Maryland.
For the time being, all lessons will take place via zoom until such a time as it is abundantly safe and effective to have in-person lessons again. In the meantime, distance learning has allowed for greater flexibility and a variety of extra events. Please see the My Music Staff calendar or ask Alec for details.
The browser-based program called My Music Staff helps everyone stay organized, and provides tools tailored to you to make the experience of taking lessons more effective. Parents can have access to lots of information to stay on top of things, and students who are old enough can have their own log in. You will be provided login information when you begin lessons.
The student portal allows you to:
- View a calendar of upcoming events, lessons, recitals, etc.
- Register for and cancel lessons / makeup lessons
- View your attendance and lesson assignments
- View downloadable resources, such as study scores, exercises, articles, and overview calendars
- Track your practice time and leave notes or questions that you have from their practice session
- Add and track your repertoire
- View your email history
- View your number of make-up credits
- View contact information for me and other student families
- Keep up-to-date with studio news
- View your family’s account and invoice information (only visible to parents/adult students)
CHANGES AND CANCELLATIONS
By taking lessons, you are reserving a weekly time slot. If you have a schedule conflict, please follow these guidelines:
- Check on My Music Staff to see if there are any open lesson times available that you can register for. If not, cancel your lesson, and/or use the weekly schedule/roster to try and swap with another student for a particular week or long term.
- If an adjustment cannot be made, please send a notification at least 24 hours in advance (preferably via MY MUSIC STAFF, but email or text is fine in a pinch!). This will be considered an excused absence and will be made up on one of the 4 makeup days on the schedule. No more than 4 lessons will be made up throughout the year. There will be no refund or credit for missed lessons outside or beyond these makeup days
NOTES: You cannot makeup a makeup lesson, so if you cannot attend one of the makeup weeks, the lesson you were making up will be considered missed. Notifying me of an absence the day of a lesson, or failing to notify me at all will be an unexcused absence, and will not be made up.
- Extended vacations can be considered excused absences (if notified), but you must continue to pay tuition to hold your spot. If you plan to miss an entire month of lessons, please mail tuition or pay online.
- All weather-related cancellations will be confirmed with an email, and these are considered excused absences. The same if there is a teacher cancellation due to sickness or emergency.