Enrollment is on a two-semester calendar: September through January, and February through June. After the first lesson of a semester with a new teacher, student has the option of withdrawing from the program with a full refund, minus the cost of the one lesson. Family must notify director if the student will not continue beyond the first lesson; after the first lesson, family is responsible for the entire semester of tuition. If a student plans to withdraw for the second semester, the director should be notified at least two weeks in advance. There is a registration/ activity fee for each student, which helps cover the cost of piano tunings and performance events for the students.
Private lessons generally occur once a week. The student is responsible for being present at his/her lesson with music and/or instrument. Each student is entitled to ONE make-up or credit per semester, provided 24-hour notice has been given to the director and/or teacher. No other make-ups or credits will be offered. The only exception is, if a teacher is absent for any reason, s/he will contact students regarding a mutually convenient make-up time. If no make-up time can be found, then the lesson(s) will be credited towards the next semester or refunded. Make-ups for group classes will be offered only if the class is canceled by the teacher.
Lessons that occur in the after school program will follow that school's calendar. Lessons that occur outside of school will only observe national holidays, and will not be tied to any specific school vacation schedule. Since every school has a different holiday schedule, it is important to check the calendar that is distributed at the beginning of each semester.
Music lessons are expected to be an enjoyable and constructive learning experience. To realize that pleasure and to make progress, regular practice is essential. Most students need some parental help in planning and scheduling a defined daily practice regime. It should be at a regular time each day when the student is not too tired and can work undisturbed without feeling that s/he is forfeiting some other cherished activity. With younger children, practice sessions can be as short as 10 minutes daily, with 1 planned day off. Parents may need to be physically present and engaged during the practice session. Each student's weekly assignment will be clearly indicated by the teacher in an assignment book, which the student should consult daily and bring to the lesson each week. While being supportive and creating a sympathetic environment, it is important that parents and teachers encourage the students to develop their own sense of responsibility about their practicing as they get older. The study of music is beneficial to developing self‑esteem, confidence, physical‑mental coordination and self-discipline. It can be a valuable cultural addition to a student's outlook on life only if it is approached conscientiously.
Access to a proper instrument is essential for practice. There are many choices and decisions to be made regarding an instrument. For example, rent or buy? grand or upright piano? new or used? half-size or full-size violin? The directors have much experience in this area and are available for consultation.
Performance opportunities are planned and structured as an important integral part of each student's instrumental study. My Music Garden hosts at least 2 performance events per year: an informal holiday musicale and party in December and a more formal recital in June. These events build poise, confidence, and camaraderie with fellow music students. Everyone is expected to be prepared to perform, and to bring his/her music to the performance. Playing works from memory is highly encouraged.
Parents are welcome to confer with the teachers and directors about their child's progress and to visit their lessons during the year. Children are able to incorporate the value of musical discipline only over an extended period of time with continuity in teaching style and practice habits. It is therefore beneficial to make this commitment for the entire year.
Each student will be provided with books at an additional cost. More books will be provided as the student progresses, and as a result, you may occasionally receive additional bills for book order reimbursements. Please feel free to consult the directors or the website for lists of books, music, CD's, and other learning materials that would benefit your children's musical enrichment.
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