Policies

Heather Thompson Smits sitting at a Piano with her Mother

Lesson Schedule:

I offer weekly, 60-minute lessons in a private or group setting (2-3 students in a group). There will be no regularly scheduled lessons on the 5th week of the month (I use the 5th week for make-up lessons).  I will send reminder emails about the schedule.

Tuition:

Tuition is $400 per month.  Payments are due on the 1st of each month. Please set up automatic payments via Zelle, Venmo or Paypal.  Monthly tuition is ALWAYS the same regardless of cancellations.  If I need to cancel a lesson, I will refund you if a make-up lesson isn't possible.

Holidays:

I will send reminder emails about studio closures on holidays. You can also check my website calendar for updates on the schedule. There will be no lessons on the following holidays:

  • Labor Day
  • Halloween
  • Thanksgiving
  • Winter Break (the last week of December)
  • Easter
  • Memorial Day
  • Independence Day
Heather Thompson Smits sitting at a Piano with her Mother
Performing Carnegie
Performing Carnegie

Cancellations Due To Sickness / Emergency:

I prioritize make-up lessons for these type of cancellations.  You can schedule a make-up lesson with me when I send out group texts and emails about make-up availability.  I schedule make-up lessons during cancellation spots and on the 5th week of the month.  You can also try to swap lessons with another family (see lesson swapping below).

Cancellations Due To Scheduling Conflicts / Vacations: 

I don't offer make-up lessons for these type of cancellations during the school year, but you can try to coordinate a lesson swap with a family in my studio (see lesson swapping below).

Lesson Swapping:

I understand that life happens and it's not easy to make it to your lesson time EVERY week.  You can try to coordinate an occasional swap with another family.  Please send me an email or send a text in the group chat with the following details: 1) The lesson date & time you will miss 2) The days and time frames that will work for you.  Please use this swapping option sparingly.  

Guaranteed Make-Up Lessons 

Please remember that if your kids miss some lessons, they CAN participate in 4 free events that I host every year: 2 practice recitals and 2 formal recitals.  These recitals are very valuable and the preparation requires a lot of extra time for me outside of private lessons.  Students learn a lot of important life skills from preparing for and performing in these recitals.  They also receive feedback from me.

Summer Lessons:

Music study is an ongoing activity.  You can choose to take time off in the summer, but I may need to fill your slot.  I DO offer make-up lessons for ANY reason during the summer and I post available make-up slots on my website calendar in June, July & August. You can sign up for summer make-up slots on my website calendar or by contacting me.  You can also try to coordinate a lesson swap with another family (see lesson swapping).

Online Lessons:

I offer online lessons in addition to in-person lessons.  Virtual lessons are a great option for long distance learning and sickness!   I currently use Skype for virtual lessons, so please make sure to set up a free Skype account in advance.  I need an overhead view of all of the keys and the pedals in order to be effective.  An external mic is also very helpful.

Practice Requirements:

A minimum of 4 days per week is required but 5-6 days per week is recommended.   I stay in touch with parents with weekly progress reports, but students who are consistently unprepared may be dropped from the study.  Beginning & Elementary Level: 30-45 minute daily recommendation. Intermediate & Advanced Level: 45-90 minute daily recommendation.

Parent Involvement:

Parents are welcome to attend the lessons but questions and discussions should be reserved for the first 5 minutes.  I’m always available for calls and emails.  Parents can drop off and pick up students or wait in my living room during the lesson.  Students under the age of 7 will need a parent present at the lessons and help with practice at home.