Piano Lessons Warner Robins GA | Frequently Asked Questions

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Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ

Below covers the most common questions that I get from parents and students. It answers typical questions such as payment, location, expectations, cancellations in addition to other topics that will help you gain more insight. This page will constantly be evolving. Thank you!

If there is a question that is not covered in this section, please call me at 478-390-8955. You can also email me at hugh@hhughession.com.

GENERAL QUESTIONS

I charge $75 up front which covers four (4), half-hour lessons (roughly, $75 a month). Note that some months will have 5 lesson dates (For example, say your lesson day is on Monday. There are some months with 5 Mondays, rather than 4). Payment is still due directly after the 4th lesson, or before the beginning of a new lesson block. For more clarification, please feel free to contact me.

Glad you asked! Actually, my rates are highly competitive. Normally, you'll pay $10 to $30 more for a teacher of my experience.

Of course, I know the next question! If that's so, why do you charge a lower price? Because I feel that $75 is a very reasonable and affordable fee. It covers my costs and I make money. As a parent of 4 kids, I know first hand how expensive it can be for activities such as cheerleading, soccer, gymnastics and of course, music lessons. I look at it as a win-win.

Please contact me ASAP if you have to cancel a lesson. Music is my passion, but it's also a significant income stream for me. That being said, my time is money. I will do my very best to accommodate you by scheduling a make-up lesson, however lessons that can not be made-up will not be eligible for a refund. Your payment secures your lesson date/time. I do understand that unforeseen things come up at the last minute, and I do make exceptions depending on the situation. Please note that "no-shows" are not eligible for make-up lessons.

The primary reason behind my cancellation/make-up policy is this: when a cancellation occurs, lessons get pushed back and delay in payment results. In this situation (and depending on how many cancellations occur), payments can often get pushed to the next month. This results in a loss of revenue for me. Again, I am always open to scheduling a make-up lesson if my schedule allows. However, I cannot make any guarantees.

Please note that If I cannot be at a lesson, I will typically give you plenty of notice, unless it is an emergency. The missed lesson will either be a make-up, or I will credit you one lesson at the time of your payment (be assured, I would never charge you for my absence). Thank you. I really do appreciate your understanding!

I do not teach on Independence Day, Labor Day, Memorial Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Years Eve and New Years Day. Those days are "freebies" and will be credited to you. Please note that all school "breaks" (with the exception of the listed days above), are not credited. Examples of this are spring and fall break, or any other extended holiday break. For cancellation and make-up policies, please see above.

I often have a handful of students that choose to take the summer off. Please understand that I cannot hold your time and day if it is not secured with payment. If no payment is made to secure your slot, I will do my best to schedule a day and time that is convenient for you, upon your return. Unfortunately, I can't make any guarantees.

Thank you for your understanding. Please see "payment policies" below for information on how I handle holiday credits.

No-shows are automatically charged $18.75. That amount is the "per-lesson" rate and will be deducted as a paid lesson from your $75 payment. If a student does not attend their lesson for 2 consecutive weeks they will be taken off the schedule.

For piano, the books I use really depends on the student. For instance, I often use Alfred's Basic Adult All-In-One Course for my older students. Although it starts as Book 1, by the time you get to the end, it's really the equivalent of being in say, level 2 or even 3 of a typical series book for children. It's just a more accelerated program.

For most of my students I teach out of either Faber and Faber's Piano Adventures or Alfred's Basic Piano Course. For student's who are advancing faster, I sometimes use John Schaum's Letter Books (For instance, Book 1 is the "red book" Level A, etc.). I also supplement lesson books with Notespeller, theory books and flash cards.

Additionally, depending on the student's interest, I will provide other sheet music/books in various genres including classical, R&B, pop and blues.

Again, it all depends on the student. I never use a "one-size-fits-all" approach.

For vocal students, I choose not to teach out of any particular book. I do provide instruction notes and print-outs, particularly with vocal exercises and music that we will work on.

To have fun! That's my first expectation :)

Obviously, in anything one does, the more you put into it, the more you are going to get out of it. Inputs = outputs! You cannot expect to advance in piano with little to no practice. And although some students are just naturally good at playing from the get go, I often find it's those students who feel they don't have to put much time into it. This is often frustrating, because it's these students who have the potential to be incredibly good!

Lessons should not be construed as practice sessions. Practice is for home. The student should be implementing what they learn in lessons while practicing at home.

Lastly, students should be respectful in their lessons and be attentive to learning.

PIANO

I don't normally take a child under 5 years old. They just don't have the attention span and the cognitive ability. Plus, their little fingers have trouble pressing down the keys! Yes, there are exceptions! I have actually taught a 4 year old student who was amazingly good for her age!

In regard to my adult students...there are no limits. I've taught adults from 20 up to 90!

VOICE

I typically don't teach voice for anyone under the age of 6.

I teach at Music Masters. 1806 Russell Parkway, Suite 900. Warner Robins, GA 31088.

I do have a select few students that I teach at their residence. This is usually reserved for Sunday, but is at my discretion. My prerequisite is that there must be 2 or more taking lessons in the same household.

Payments are due after the 4th lesson (or before the 1st of the next block), unless you decide not to continue. As noted previously, there will be some months with 5 lessons dates. To keep it simple, some of my students/parents choose to pay for the additional week to stay on a more convenient payment schedule.

A weekly late fee of $10 is assessed for overdue payments. If there is no payment after the second week of a new lesson block, the student will be taken off the schedule until payment is current.

Starting October 1st, 2015 - holiday credit lessons (such as Thanksgiving, Christmas etc), will be credited to you on the next payment. For example, if your lesson fell on Christmas, you would be credited $18.75 at your next payment cycle which would come up to $56.25 instead of the normal $75.

We accept all major credit cards, checks and of course, cash. Please make all checks out to "Music Masters" (unless I teach at your residence). For your convenience, you have the option of calling the store and paying with your credit card over the phone at no extra charge. The phone number is 478-225-9494. Note that I do not issue refunds!

Yes! I have two recitals a year. I am big on having my students play in front of others. It builds confidence. If you want to know more details, feel free to ask me!

MAKING PROGRESS

This is a common fallacy that comes up quite often. The answer is NO!

What it really comes down to is one thing. And that is TIME!

It can be difficult for adults (particularly those who have busy careers and are raising a family), to find the time to practice. It's understandable! Please do not mistaken this for discouragement. Not at all. I'm a realist but I'm also a believer that anyone can accomplish anything if they set their mind to it. It really simply comes down to priority. Learning something new (no matter what it is) takes a commitment.

That being said, I teach a few adult students who love to play. It's not about becoming the next Mozart! However, many of them are experiencing ongoing progress and enjoy taking lessons.

Children, on the other hand, are often not as "busy," (even though many are involved in a variety of activities) and can often find more time to practice.

This is going to vary based upon the current level of piano study and individual goals, however I dedicated an entire blog post to this very topic! Please CLICK HERE to go to the article.

Build Practice into Schedule

To be effective, practice time needs to be built into the student's schedule! What I often find, is that practice time is treated more as "when I have time to fit it in." Let's face it. There will never be anytime to fit it in, if it isn't "fit in!" Lol :) There will always be something that takes precedence! If you're a parent and your child is taking music lessons, I highly recommend setting up a schedule for them and treat practice time, just as you would their homework. If you don't, practice just won't happen. Again, just being real! Children thrive on structure.

In short? No! I don't recommend it, and here's why.

It's typical for a few students to drop off in the summer months. This is understandable, as some go on long-term vacations, visit significant others, etc. However, if it's possible, I always recommend to keep taking lessons in the summer because kids have much more time on their hands to practice! I've had many students through the years who have made huge strides in their playing ability by continuing to take during the summer months.

This is a GREAT question. Before I go further, there is one very important aspect I need to clarify - and that is the way "practice" is defined.

Practice Does Not Always = Results

You see, a student can merely sit down at the piano and put in their "time." They play through the songs with no regard to what is right or wrong, and then they are done. This obviously isn't effective practice and is often the reason why student's don't progress as they should. So to reiterate, even though a student may be actually putting in the time, they may not be yielding the best results.

Think of it this way. A baseball player can attend batting practice, but this doesn't mean their swing improves. Issues like weight shift (for torque), load (for momentum) rhythm and stance are all important for an effective swing. Piano is no different. Rhythm, fingering, technique, dynamics...there are many variables that need to be learned and implemented!

Practice Issues and How to Fix Them

Normally, there are sections of a piece (in music, they are referred to as "measures" or "bars"), where a student is having difficulty. No worries. This is common, because the student is learning! That's what practice is for. However, if they aren't placing "focus" on those sections and just start playing from the beginning to the end, the student doesn't get any better.

In any project, the most effective way to stay focused is to do what is called "chunking." Within the context of project management, chunking is the process of breaking the whole into manageable pieces!

So, instead of just playing a song from beginning to end, the student should be focusing on the parts of a song that are giving them the most trouble, even if it's just a musical phrase. By playing this over and over again, the student gets to the point where they don't think about it. This process is nothing new, but it WORKS! It's no different than a tennis player working on their backhand, or a basketball player practicing their layup.

Practicing the Wrong Stuff Will Result in Having to Unlearn!

On a side note, the student just needs to make sure what they are practicing, is correct! If their fingering is off, or they aren't playing a certain sharp or flat, they will then find themselves having to "unlearn" which is not easy, particularly when muscle memory takes over.

Sometimes, a good 20 minutes might be spent on getting one part of a song right. There is nothing wrong with this! Students love to go to the parts of songs that they play well. It's a natural tendency to avoid going to problem areas! However, once the student works through the parts of a song that is giving them difficulty, they can then start from the beginning and play all the way through, piecing together that problematic areas with the entire song.

Unfortunately, no. It's not a level playing field. This is more geared towards the individual. For example, some students seem to have better dexterity. while others grasp the concept of notes and rhythm more rapidly. Every student is different. At age 3, Tiger Woods shot a 48 over 9 holes. At age 3, I wasn't even talking yet! In fact, my parents thought I had developmental delays (What it really came down to, is my older sister always talked for me!). How's that for differences!

This NEVER dictates the level of success of an individual. I am very adamant about making this clear. Every student is different in how they progress. When I started out playing piano, it was not easy. In fact, piano NEVER came easy to me! Growing up, I had a friend who was much better than I was and took lessons for less time! It really discouraged me. I often questioned my abilities and hated to play in the same room as he. But...I kept at it, because I LOVED music and the piano. Through the years, I learned various genres, learned how to read notes, developed my ear by learning songs off my favorite records (yes, it was records in the time I was growing up!) and even learned advanced music theory. Through time, I even developed my own style and toured in many rock and pop bands. I'm definitely not the greatest piano player that ever lived, but one thing I do know, is that I can hold my own!

Don't give up and don't get discouraged. I've found that sometimes more talented players tend to "rest on their laurels" and become content with their abilities and as a result, never work at it. It's actually a shame to see that.

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