Studio Policy - Jacqueline Courson
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Studio Policy

Teacher’s Responsibility

My mission is to serve the community by encouraging self-expression through the study and creation of music. I believe that self-expression is a fundamental part of the human experience and that music is a safe, constructive and beautiful way we can share our thoughts and feelings to connect with other people. My intent is for you or your child to learn how to communicate using the language of music, whether through reading and playing the music of others or someday creating your own songs.

Each student is interested in music for different reasons, so my approach is very student-focused rather than method-focused. I strive to understand what interests each student in music so I can enrich that sense of wonder. Students learn best when they are motivated by their own curiosity. Along the way, I offer warmth and encouragement so my students continue to unlock their own potential.

“You can teach a student a lesson for a day; but if you can teach him to learn by creating curiosity, he will continue the learning process as long as he lives.”

- Clay P. Bedford

Students also vary in terms of learning styles. I teach from a variety of method books and supplemental materials, tailoring the curriculum to the student’s specific learning needs and goals. Materials and assignments are custom-fit to the student’s calendar age, developmental age and interests. This results in a program pace which is both challenging and rewarding, to grow and maintain student motivation.


Student & Family Responsibility

Students agree to:

  • Arrive at each lesson on time, well-prepared and with their assignment books and music. If you are having difficulty keeping track of your assignments, please let me know and I can make recommendations for organization.
  • Practice daily to ensure progress. Beginning students should practice 10-15 minutes each day, whether in one sitting or throughout the day. More advanced students may be practicing 30-60 minutes a day. The key to success is frequent and consistent practice.
  • Ask questions. I love to answer questions! If you do not understand something about your assignment, please let me know so I can provide additional instruction.

Families agree to support the student by the following:

  • Encourage participation in recitals. There are two recitals each year, one in November/December and one in April/May. Recitals are optional. However, participation is important for developing the student’s confidence and performance skills.
  • Encourage participation in group lessons. Group lessons are held once each quarter (once every three months) on Saturdays. These lessons are optional but participation is encouraged because they offer the student an opportunity to socialize within piano lessons. Group lessons are in addition to the student’s weekly lesson. Group lessons are open to students who have been studying for at least six months to a year.
  • Allow for daily, consistent practice. Please give your student freedom to practice at a time they enjoy and that works for the family. Encourage your student to play for the family and guests from time to time so they can share the talent they are working so hard to develop!

Please note: if something is happening at home or school that is affecting your child student, please let me know so I can be sensitive to his or her needs. Whether there is a recent illness in the family, the child did not get a part in the school play, or there was a disagreement with a best friend, an upset to the “norm” can affect the student’s focus or motivation. However, a word with me before the lesson or quick text while you’re on the way can help significantly! I can use the information to determine whether or not to make adjustments in teaching and the assignment.


Enrollment and Commitment

Students may enroll in piano lessons at any time of the year.

During the summer, some students continue lessons on their regular schedule. Others enter a reduced summer schedule or cancel some lessons due to family vacations. Some students may also choose to increase lessons to a workshop-style format to further develop specific interests.

As we approach summer, please let me know your intentions so we can plan ahead. Depending on expressed student interest, I will release a schedule of possible summer multi-week workshops in the spring. If you are interested in a particular workshop topic, please let me know so I can work it into development!

While students may enroll at any time, students may also leave lessons any time of the year. However, please note that any pre-paid lessons cannot be refunded if a student chooses to discontinue lessons.


Method Books and Student Evaluation

Method books are an important part of a student’s beginning music training and education. I regularly use method books to structure lessons and development, selecting an appropriate series based on a number of factors (e.g. calendar age, developmental age, physical ability, prior experience, interests). There are a number of method books available, each with their own strengths. Any weaknesses in the series are addressed by supplementing with additional activities, music theory materials, and repertoire.
Due to this evaluation process, I do charge my pay-by-the-week tuition rate for “trial” lessons. However, should you decide to enroll, this can be applied toward your first pay-by-the-month tuition if you choose to use that plan.
Students are reviewed informally throughout the year, as I gage their success as we go. I also provide a written review at least annually, to communicate the student’s progress to the student and/or family. As part of this evaluation process, I will continue to evaluate whether or not the student’s progress is helped or hindered by the current method series. As part of both the informal and formal review process, I will provide comments to the student and family on how to improve performance.



Tuition covers both the actual lesson time spent with the student, as well as time for preparing for each student.

This includes:

  • Individualized plan for each student’s education
  • Written progress reports for each student at least once a year
  • Development of teaching materials and supplemental assignments
  • Training and experience
  • Recital preparation
  • Group lesson preparation
  • Continuing education
  • Music lending library


Materials Fees

Materials fees are charged as needed. The fee is as needed due to the fact that each student will progress at different rates throughout his or her method books. Each student will also have a variety of supplemental materials.

Materials Fees may include:

  • Method Books
  • Sheet Music
  • Theory Materials
  • Printing Costs

You will be billed for the list price of the book and/or custom materials, plus tax – essentially reimbursing me for my costs to obtain the books on your behalf. I am at the music store frequently as I like to peruse for new and exciting materials, brainstorming for the development of my students. This saves you a trip and hassle of finding books, ensures you get your books on time, and is no extra trouble for me. However, if you wish, you may purchase materials on your own per my instruction.


Group Lesson Fees

Optional group lessons are held on Saturdays, on approximately a quarterly basis. As they are scheduled, dates will be announced. These group lessons are in addition to the regular weekly lessons and, as such, have their own fee to attend.

Group lesson activities include:

  • Performance in front of peers in a relaxed setting
  • Theory games
  • Ear Training and Theory Instruction

The group lessons offer an opportunity for students to see what other students are learning, share their own development and progress, and reinforce current concepts that might be challenging – or refresh old skills that may need touch-ups. I cater each program to the needs and strengths of the students who are registered to attend.

Sign-up and payment will be required prior to the group lesson so that I can prepare appropriately.


Recital Fees

Recitals are held twice a year in the timeframes of November/December and April/May. A fee for related costs such as booking the recital hall, providing refreshments, printing costs of programs, etc. will be invoiced for students who are scheduled to participate in the recital. The booking fee will not exceed $30 per student.

The recitals are optional but strongly encouraged. Preparing for a recital helps the student build discipline beyond what is required for weekly lessons. Recitals also provide an opportunity for the student to perform in front of an audience, developing poise and self-confidence.

Family members and friends are invited to attend the recital at no additional cost beyond the student’s recital fee. Please support your student!


Scheduling, Payment and Cancellation Policy

Lessons are scheduled for the same day and time each week (or every other week for students on a biweekly curriculum). If a change is necessary, please let me know in advance and I will do my best to accommodate.

Depending on your payment plan, the Scheduling, Payment and Cancellation Policy is as follows:

  • Pay-by-the-Week
    • Scheduling: Lessons are scheduled automatically for the same day and time on a recurring basis.
    • Payment: Payment is due by the end of each lesson.
    • Cancellations:
      • By the Student: This is a flexible plan, so cancellations are permitted. However, cancellations are not encouraged as they will slow your progress as a student.
      • By the Teacher: Any lessons cancelled by me, the teacher, will not be billed to the student.
    • Make-up Lessons: If a lesson is cancelled, make-up lessons are permitted. However, they are subject to availability. Make-up lessons are also generally discouraged, as they impact the practice time the student has between lessons. It is best to keep scheduled lessons for the benefit of the student. PLEASE NOTE: Make-up lessons cannot be rescheduled; any cancellations of a make-up lesson will be billed at the next lesson.
  • Monthly packages
    • Scheduling: Lessons are scheduled automatically for the same day and time on a recurring basis.
    • Payment: Payment is due by the end of the first lesson of the month, for the number of lessons that are scheduled to occur during that month. i.e. If there are four weeks in the month with your scheduled day, four lessons will be billed. If there are five weeks in the month with your scheduled day, five lessons will be billed.
    • Cancellations:
      • By the Student: No payment credit or refunds are available for students who miss lessons on this discounted payment plan. Make-up lessons may be available upon request, however they cannot be guaranteed and are subject to availability. Make-up lessons must be scheduled within two weeks of the missed lesson.
      • By the Teacher: Any lessons cancelled by me will be rescheduled as a make-up class or a payment credit will be noted on your account, whichever is preferred by the student or student’s parent.
    • Make-up Lessons: Make-up lessons are subject to availability, in accordance with the cancellation policy for this plan.
      • NOTICE - Partial Months (including if you miss your first lesson of the month): to get the pay-by-the-month package rate, the month must be paid in full. If you miss your first lesson of the month, you must reschedule your missed lesson by the end of the month or it will be forfeited. This is the ONLY type of make-up lesson that is guaranteed. In order to provide this guarantee, due to the difficulty of finding mutual appropriate times, if we cannot find a reschedule time through the week then your reschedule will be on a Saturday. If we cannot find a mutually appropriate reschedule time AND you cannot reschedule to a Saturday then you will forfeit the missed lesson for the month. This policy is also in your best interest, as in life there is no such thing as “making up for lost time” – and since consistency and commitment are key to your success this is also true for trying to cram in extra lessons at the end of the month! Please help me help you succeed!

No-shows to a scheduled lesson are considered a cancellation and will be handled in accordance with the policies listed above.

Acceptable forms of payment are cash, check or card (Visa or Mastercard). I also accept payment via PayPal.


Federally-Recognized Holidays

Federally-recognized holidays present the only exception to the Scheduling, Payment and Cancellation policy for all payment plans. Policies in this section override the Scheduling, Payment and Cancellation policies.

If your scheduled lesson falls on a federally-recognized holiday, you have the option to 1) keep the lesson (this is the default), 2) schedule a make-up lesson, or 3) cancel the lesson:

  • If you wish to keep the lesson scheduled,  please let me know in advance. My default is usually to keep all lessons on, but please keep the lines of communication open. I will let you know if we need to cancel on my end.
  • Make-up lessons are permitted on all payment plans for federally-recognized holidays. However, make-up lessons are subject to availability and must be arranged at least two weeks in advance.
  • Cancellations by the student require two weeks of notification prior to the lesson scheduled on a federally-recognized holiday. Cancellations that occur within two weeks of the scheduled lesson on a federally-recognized holiday will be handled according to the applicable plan.

I reserve the right to cancel lessons on federally-recognized holidays. Lessons cancelled by me, the teacher, will not be billed to the student. Typically, I only cancel lessons on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. Otherwise, I keep lessons on all other holidays.


Photo and Video Release Form

From time to time, I post teaching tips with photos and videos on my website and social media (Facebook, YouTube). These photos and videos are helpful to other students and teachers. If you do not want your image(s) or your child’s image(s) to be used, please let me know. Otherwise, I will provide a photo and video release form for you to provide permission, separate from the Student Registration Form and this Studio Policy. Please note that students are identified only by first name on any public-facing media.

NEW FOR 2017-2018: I am piloting use of a new educational social media app – SeeSaw. This is a closed group and app where only students and families of students will be able to access assignments, videos and posts by students of my studio! They will also be able to like and comment on anything that is shared by other students. Participation is voluntary and will require sign-up and a release. Please note that any content posted will be reviewed and approved by me.


Changes to the Studio Policy and Rates

Rates and policies are subject to change as my calendar of students changes over time. However, I will communicate any changes to you and I will not implement them until 30 days after the marked “effective” date. I will also always do my best to take into account your time with me as a student or family.


Last Updated: September 1, 2017

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