Studio Policies

2017 – 2018 Northwest School of Music Studio Policies


General Information | Weekly private lessons are offered in 30, 45, or 60-minute sessions, depending on the student’s age/level. Most private lesson students participate in at least one group session each month. Private lessons are available for students ages 3-adult. We also offer weekly group classes, most of which are 45 minutes long. Eligibility for lesson groups is left to the teacher’s discretion, and is based on the student’s maturity and playing level. Group classes are offered for ages newborn – adult.


At The Lesson | Students are expected to arrive for lessons in a timely manner, with all required materials and music. If the lesson is at the studio, parents may remain in the waiting room, quietly watch, wait in their vehicle in the parking lot, or run errands so long as they return to pick up their student in a timely fashion.  To discuss student progress, parents are welcome to talk with the teacher during the first few minutes of the student’s lesson — but not afterwards, in order to respect the next student’s time slot. Any siblings or other people in the vicinity of a lesson being taught must be quiet enough as to not create a distraction.


Practice and Instrument | Private students are expected to practice daily on a well-maintained instrument.  The practice area should be located in a quiet area away from distractions.  The most important time for the student to practice is immediately following the lesson – or at least on the same day as the lesson, after the student has received instruction.  Students should practice at least 5-6 days per week, for 15-60 minutes, depending on age and skill level. Your teacher will let you know how long would be best for each student to practice. You get out of it what you put into it – what we require is consistency. The results speak for themselves.  Please refer to the separate “Practice Policies” for more information on this topic.

Acoustic pianos should be tuned annually. Band and orchestra instruments should be cleaned daily and otherwise maintained as needed.


Materials | Students are given an assignment binder at their first lesson, which is used to keep track of assigned pieces and practice suggestions/goals for each week. All second year and higher students are required to have (and regularly use) a metronome.  The teacher will obtain all needed books and materials for the student.  The annual, (first year:$65, subsequent years:$50) registration fee covers the cost of all needed books and materials for the whole year; however, if it is insufficient (due to unusual student demands) the student/parent is expected to cover the additional costs. The annual registration fee also entitles each student to use of materials from NWSM’s music lending library. New materials for the library may be purchased at students’ request. Please treat library materials with care. Damaged materials must be replaced at parents’ expense.


Calendar and Schedule | The annual amount covers at least 44 lessons each calendar year, as well as additional, optional events and activities, including monthly Studio Sessions, 2 bi-annual recitals, and more.  NWSM does not provide lessons during the two weeks surrounding Christmas (12/20/15 – 1/2/16), spring break week, and the two weeks preceding the start of the school year (in 2015, this is August 30th – September 12th ).  The other unpaid 3 weeks of the year are reserved for the teacher to take off from lessons as needed for illness, teacher conference attendance, or teacher vacations (with advanced notice).  If the teacher chooses not to use all 3 of these weeks, the student benefits by receiving those lessons free. Please see the calendar on our website for the planned schedule for weekly private and group lessons, monthly Studio Sessions, and bi-annual recitals.

Tuition and Payment | Students have the option of paying tuition in one of the two following methods.

1.            In equal monthly installments.  Payments are due by the 10th of each month.  No invoice will be provided. Please see our rate schedule for the amount due each month.

2.            In two equal installments.  Payments are due August 10th and February 10th. Students receive a 5% discount. These totals can be requested.

Payments may be mailed (postmarked by the 10th) or given to the teacher at a lesson.  Late payments and returned checks will incur a late fee of $20.  Unpaid late fees may result in the termination of the student’s contract. NWSM reserves the right to adjust fees at the beginning of each new academic year.

Tuition may be paid via cash, check, card, automatic deposit using bank routing number (email for information on setting this up with your bank account), or online via Paypal.


Summer Months | During the summer months (June 1st through August 29th), private students are still expected to practice and take lessons; however, they are provided with three options:

1.            Students may participate in three monthly group lesson “camps.” These lessons will occur during one week in June, July, and August of 2015. Each monthly camp is comprised of 1-hour sessions over 2-4 days. Class sizes are generally 3-7 students.

2.            Students may participate in two of the monthly summer group lesson “camps” while also taking 4 lessons scheduled approximately every other week around the student’s family vacations.

3.            Or, students may continue weekly lessons (10 in total) as normal.  Students who choose this option may certainly also participate in summer group lessons for a nominal fee.

At NWSM, we feel strongly about continuing the student’s musical education throughout the summer months to ensure maximum retention and progress. In addition, please note that the tuition rate has been determined based on a 12-month calendar.  For these reasons, if a student fails to observe this policy by refusing to continue through the summer, the student unfortunately cannot be guaranteed a spot in the studio in the fall.


Makeup Lessons | Due to our full schedules, makeup lessons cannot be guaranteed.  However, if an absence arises due to unforeseen situations such as an accident or family emergency and the student indicates a desire for a makeup lesson, the teacher will make an effort to accommodate a makeup.  Please be courteous to the teacher and fellow students by notifying the teacher at least 24 hours in advance regarding any known upcoming absences.  If a makeup lesson is not able to be scheduled, students may be able to attend a group lesson instead.

If given significant notice (prior to the start of the month) of upcoming vacations or other absences, reduced month tuition for those months can certainly be negotiated; otherwise, tuition must be paid in full each month, regardless of the number of lessons the student actually attends.


Discontinuing Lessons | Every student stops taking lesson at some point.  Ideally, this decision is made thoughtfully with plenty of discussion between the teacher, parent, and student so that lessons can cease with a positive sense of closure.  For this reason, the teacher asks for one month’s notice prior to discontinuing lessons.  However, the teacher respects the student’s right to end lessons at any time.  Note: At the discretion of the director, students may be asked to discontinue lessons at any time if they have unpaid tuition, an excess amount of absences/unprepared lessons, or if they show a lack of interest.


Parent Participation | Parents are encouraged to be supportive and active participants in practice at home.  Parents are also encouraged to attend and quietly observe lessons approximately once a month.  Your child’s teacher will provide you with details of how you can best assist your child in their musical studies.


Studio Events | Each year, the studio schedules a number of exciting events for private students and their parents.  All of these events are provided at no extra cost, with the exception of the optional theory/performance evaluations.

•             Studio Sessions: Monthly Studio Sessions are provided for private students of similar ages/levels to promote student camaraderie and to reinforce concepts taught during private lessons.  Most Studio Sessions include a theory segment, music history segment, and a performance segment.  With young students, music & movement activities are also frequently included.  With adult private students, there is a focus on piano literature, music history, and repertoire performance in a relaxed environment. Studio Sessions occur during the last scheduled week of most months. Please see the studio calendar on our website for details.

•             Studio Recitals: Performing in a formal recital setting is an exciting opportunity for students to showcase their hard work and improvement over the year in the presence of their family and friends.  All students are expected to participate in recitals. Two recitals are held each year, generally in December and June.  (June 12th & 13th and December 11th & 12th, 2015)

•             Examinations: Students are welcome to participate in theory examinations and/or performance evaluations. These opportunities require additional entry fees.

•             Summer Music Group Lessons “Camps” | During the summer months, 2-4 day “camps” are offered each month.  Participation is not limited to private students, so invite your friends – no matter what their level!


Communication | There are many great ways to stay informed regarding studio news and events!

•             Studio Newsletters: Please watch for studio newsletters and other occasional emails which will arrive in your email inbox.  Newsletters feature practice tips, recognize student achievements, and announce the dates of upcoming studio events.

•             Studio Website: Visit to find teacher contact information, current studio policies and procedures, the studio calendar, archives of previous studio newsletters, and much more.

•             Facebook Page: Students and parents are welcome to join the studio’s Facebook page. “Liking” this page allows students to interact with the teacher and other students while maintaining the privacy of each student’s Facebook profile.

The best way to contact us is via email:, which will be promptly returned with an email reply or phone call.  Phone calls are also welcome, but be advised that we are often teaching classes and unable to answer the phone. Please leave us a voicemail so that we can return your call.  The teachers welcome emails or text messages from students during the week if they have questions regarding their repertoire or other matters.

By signing below, I certify that I have read, understood, and agreed with the policies of NWSM as detailed above.

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