Effective 8/30/2021 thru 8/28/2022
Thank you choosing me as your piano teacher! In order to make my studio run smoothly and ensure that students get the most from their studies with me, I have established the following policies. Please read carefully. Although it has never happened, if there is a legal dispute between you and me these policies will support my legal position.
When you have read and understood them, complete the Preferences & Consent form at the bottom of this page. Thank you for your cooperation!
For each student, I will aim to do the following to the best of my abilities:
- Teach to understand music, to play the piano, and to develop general musical skills.
- Strive in lessons to develop a good working relationship with each student, to facilitate both attentiveness & striving to do well, and, generally, to have a good time in the process.
- And most of all, to aid in the discovery of the joy of music that I have discovered, the means to attain and expand that joy, and the opportunities that are important to success.
Student & Family Responsibilities
Students should aim to arrive at each lesson
- On time.
- Well-prepared (see below).
- With all books or other materials they will need. (It is helpful if they get a bag to put their piano books in. For some suggestions for piano bags, click here).
Being “well-prepared” means having engaged in daily quality practice and having completed all assignments. Understanding assignments is essential to this, so please ask questions. If there is confusion between lessons, you may contact me by text, email or phone.
Additionally, if your child has just experienced some emotional disruption that might impair his attitude or focus in the lesson, if possible let me know before arriving to the lesson, or if not upon arriving. A text or email letting me know will be of great help to me—even if I receive it just minutes before their lesson—because it can help me to avoid misinterpreting behavior or give me an opportunity to just be a caring human being for them regarding what’s troubling them.
Performances and Other Activities
Normally I hold two recitals each year, a Fall Recital in November or December and a Spring Recital in April or May. Normally, I will also have group classes at various times during the year. Due to the pandemic, I am not sure if these will be able to take place in the typical way or at all. I also belong to Cypress Creek Music Teachers Association, which sponsors various events. These are in question, as well, although the Music Theory Test will take place in a modified form. Due to the uncertain situation for these events, students are not required to participate in any this year.
It is strongly encouraged that students have an acoustic piano at home. Quality keyboards can work okay, but students get the most out of studying piano by practicing on an acoustic piano. If a keyboard is chosen instead, the keyboard must be full size and have weighted keys. Very early, students will need the full range of a piano keyboard. Additionally, learning piano requires considerable strength & agility in the muscles that operate the fingers and move the hand around; the resistance of the keys due to their weight and the weight of the piano action is the primary means by which students develop that strength & agility.
For the pros & cons of pianos & keyboards, please go to the Pianos & Keyboards page.
For more details about payment of tuition and fees and what they cover, go to Tuition & Fees.
Payments may be made monthly, or by semester. Monthly payments are due on the 1st of each month, while semester payments are due on the 1st of the first month of the semester (that is, September, January & June). In either case, payments made after the 10th of the month are considered late and will incur a $25 late fee. If paying by check or money order, please make payable to Kevin Guess.
Lessons are given in durations of 30, 45 or 60 min. The amount of tuition is a pro-rated amount based on a full year of lessons according to a set hourly rate. This is divided into 3 semesters: Fall, Spring & Summer. Tuition ensures that I will be present to teach at least 42 weeks during the course of the full year, with 33 spread over the Fall & Spring semesters and 9 in the Summer. The monthly payment is 1/12 the total cost of the full year’s lessons. This being the case, if a student’s Summer lessons are scheduled all in June & July, she will have completed her 42 lessons in July, but they will not be completely paid for until the 12th payment is made in August.
During the Fall & Spring semesters, lessons are scheduled Monday through Friday of each week except for scheduled holidays and breaks (see the Calendar page) . Each student will be given a specific time on one of those days. It may be possible to change the time during the school year, but if so, I will make a determination on a case by case basis. Summer lesson times are more flexible and students will be given a chance to choose Summer lesson times in May.
Regarding cancellations, lessons are subject to the following conditions:
- Any lesson that I cancel will be made up or a credit will be given.
- No payment credit will be given for any reason for lessons missed by students.
- Lessons missed by students are not guaranteed a make-up, but may be made up at my discretion at a time of my choosing.
- Lessons cancelled less than 24 hours in advance will not be considered for a make-up except for true unforeseen, unavoidable circumstances (such as the student became sick that day, death in the family, and so on).
The tuition paid for each student reserves an exclusive weekly time in my schedule for that student. Unlike a doctor or a hairdresser, I cannot resell that time nor can I create extra teaching time in which to give lessons.
Making Up Lessons
To simplify make-up lessons, the last week of each of the Fall & Spring semesters are pre-scheduled Make-Up Days. The Fall Make-up Days are scheduled for Dec. 13-17 while the Spring Make-Up Days are scheduled for May 23-28. Make-Up Days work as follows:
- If I cancel a student’s lesson in the Fall, that lesson will be automatically rescheduled to the date & time of the Make-up Day, unless I choose to offer another time and the student accepts.
- If I cancel more than two lessons in the Fall and Spring combined, then the additional lesson(s) will be made-up at a time agreeable to both the student and myself, or will be refunded.
- If the student cancels a lesson on a scheduled Make-Up Day, the student will not be entitled to a further make up and the lesson will not be refunded.
- If a student does not have a lesson to make up during the week of Make-Up Days, the student will not have a lesson that week.
To help accommodate an occasional unavoidable change in student’s schedules, the following options are available:
- Make-up – It may be possible to arrange one make-up lesson per student per semester when the lesson was canceled for a legitimate reason (including being ill, having an accident, and so on, but not including forgetting about a lesson, not accounting for traffic, going on vacation, and so on). I will make a lesson up if, at my discretion, a time suitable to me is available within the current semester. Lessons a student cancels in one semester, however, cannot be made up in the next semester.
- Alternatives – If a student must miss a lesson, and is not able to swap lessons or make up the lesson, a few options remain. During the scheduled time of the lesson, a lesson may be given using Zoom or Facetime, or students and/or their parents may simply contact me and discuss student progress or any issues that come up. I may be contacted by phone, Zoom/Facetime or text.
Book & Events Fee
Rather than bill you as books are obtained or events entered, I established a Books & Event Fees Account for each student. When first beginning lessons with me, each student will deposit $50. I will maintain a ledger in a spread sheet for each student in which I will show deposits made into the student’s account, deductions for items I purchase or fees I pay for the student and the current balance. Twice a year, at the beginning of the Fall & Spring semesters, I will email each student or students’ parents a report showing deposits, expenditures and the current balance (such a report may be requested at any time). If the balance is less than $50, then I will ask you to make a deposit to bring it up to $50. Any unused amount in a given student’s account will be returned should the student discontinue lessons.
Annual Operations Fee
The Annual Operations Fee of $70 covers studio maintenance, recital rental fees, office supplies, and so on. This fee is due in September of each year and is non-refundable. Students beginning lessons with me in the Spring need only pay half of the full amount, while students beginning in the Summer will pay nothing until the beginning of the Fall semester.
If for any reason you must stop lessons, one month’s notice is requested. At that time, I will pro- rate the tuition for your final month to reflect the number of lessons that you have received based on the last lesson date. I will provide you with a spreadsheet showing how I arrived at this amount.
Regrettably, I sometimes have to dismiss a student. The following are conditions that can lead to dismissal of a student:
- Repeated failure to pay tuition on time
- Excessive absences
- Repeated failure to practice or complete assignments
The first condition I believe is self-explanatory. The other two relate to both the student’s progress and welfare. As explained under Student & Family Responsibilities above, success is both very important to progress & enjoyment, and dependent on daily quality practice and completion of all assignments. Both of those are undermined, however, by excessive missing of lessons. This can lead to lack of confidence and dislike of playing the piano.
I am reluctant to dismiss a student. Before resorting to dismissal, I will make every attempt to address any of the above issues satisfactorily .
Preferences & Consent Form
If you or your child are having lessons this Fall, please complete and submit the Preferences & Consent Form below.