Calendar and Make Up Policy:
Private lessons are once a week. The student is responsible for being present at his/her lesson with music and/or instrument. Enrollment is on a two-semester calendar: September through January, and February through June. Families receive an invoice at the beginning of each semester, and payment can be made by check (extra fees may apply for online payments, such as PayPal.) 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. We are not obliged to make-up or credit more than the one lesson per semester. Teacher absences are either made-up at a mutually convenient time, credited toward the following semester, or refunded.
Free consultations and trial lessons are available for new students. For current students switching to a new teacher, trial lessons are offered at the regular lesson rate. Families must notify the director in advance (minimum one week) if the student will be discontinuing lessons after the semester is over. Once the semester has begun, 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 of $40 for each student, which helps cover the cost of piano tunings and performance events for the students.
The calendar is distributed at the beginning of the year and also posted online. My Music Garden observes national holidays but is not connected to any specific school vacation schedule. You may request exemption from a lesson in advance for a major religious holiday that falls outside of the national holiday schedule (such as, Rosh Hashana or Orthodox Good Friday.)
In order to make progress, regular practice is essential. We recommend 10 to 30 minutes daily, 5 to 6 days a week (depending upon the age of the child.) Students should consult their weekly assignment book for practice details. Most students need parental help in planning and scheduling their practice routines. Designating a regular time is helpful (for example, after dinner, before homework.) Parents may also need to be physically present and engaged during their child’s practice session, especially with younger students.
As students get older, they should be encouraged to develop their own sense of responsibility about their practicing. Having said that, lapses in the practice routine are normal as students learn to juggle their various responsibilities. These lapses can be addressed in a variety of ways collaboratively with the teacher.
Access to a proper instrument for daily practice is essential. 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 director has much experience in this area and is available for consultation. More information is on our Instrument page.
Regular performances build the student’s skills, musicianship, poise, and confidence. (An analogy can be made with soccer: no matter how good the coach and the practices, a team benefits greatly from the actual games themselves.) Recitals also promote camaraderie with fellow music students.
My Music Garden hosts at least 2 performance events each year for families to attend: an informal musicale in January and a more formal recital in June. All students are expected to attend, to bring their music, and to be prepared to perform. Playing works from memory is encouraged.
Books are an additional cost, and are selected by the teacher. Parents may be asked to purchase selected books directly, or will be asked to reimburse the teacher or director. We recommend purchasing from Sam Ash (locations in midtown Manhattan and NJ Route 22) or Prima Music: www.primamusic.com
Feel free to consult the teacher or director for other resources that might benefit your child’s musical enrichment, such as music, CD’s, and performance recommendations.
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.