WELCOME...Thank you for considering me to guide you in your musical journeys. I have a deep passion for music of all genres, and I am looking forward to sharing that with you. It is my earnest desire to foster a love of music in all students and to develop the self-esteem and self-discipline that is essential to musical accomplishment. I will do my best to encourage and challenge each student's abilities with a well-rounded curriculum of theory, ear training, history, literature, sight-reading, and performance. The followings are the guidelines and policies for my studio; please read them carefully and advise if you need further clarification.
TUITION & LESSONS...There are a variety of ways a student or family of students may receive lessons each month; the most typical is one lesson per week, although two lessons per week is another option. Tuition prices are computed on the basis of a student's individual needs and take into consideration the length and frequency of lessons, as well as the intensity of the course of study. The prices for each lesson are as follows:
30-minute sessions: $30 each
45-minute sessions: $45 each
60-minute sessions: $60 each
Students have two options for tuition payment.
Monthly: students are billed for the total number of lessons for each semester (Fall, Spring, and Summer) according to the Lesson Schedule calendar published at the beginning of each semester. The monthly payment is calculated by dividing each semester's total amount by the number of months in that semester.
Semester: students pay for the full semester and receive a 10% discount.
Tuition is to be paid by the first day of each month. Checks may be made payable to Tom Thompson, NCTM, or you may make payments via credit or debit card through Zelle, Venmo, CashApp, or PayPal at www.ttsmonline.com.
MUSIC, MATERIALS, ACTIVITIES...Anything that the student needs with regard to music and materials will be purchased by the client preferably at Sheet Music Plus. I will advise the client of exactly what is needed, and the student should have that music and/or materials by the next lesson. All entry fees for contests, festivals, auditions, and tests will be invoiced directly. All invoices are payable on receipt. There is no extra cost to participate in studio recitals; these will be presented by me in honor of the students.
STUDENT MEMBERSHIPS...Students in grades one through twelve are encouraged to hold membership in the student affiliate chapter of the local association of the Texas Music Teachers Association. There is also the opportunity to become a member of the National Fraternity of Student Musicians in the late spring; this is done by successfully participating in the National Piano Playing Auditions (Guild). Any student membership dues will be invoiced directly, and payment is due upon receipt. Additionally, students are encouraged to participate in certain events, auditions, contests, recitals, and masterclasses as their schedules permit.
COURSE OF STUDY...Each student is required to declare a course of study (or track), which will help to set expectations and boundaries for both the student and the teacher. Available tracks are as follows:
Educational/Enrichment Track - intended for the average student, for whom the study of piano or organ is part of an already full and busy life. The student can progress at his or her own pace, without the pressures of deadlines and outside evaluations. The student will be expected to attend lessons and practice the minimum amount of time each day. If suitably prepared, the student will be invited to participate in the studio's recitals. Outside performance opportunities are optional.
Conservatory Track - intended for the serious musician. To accomplish everything that needs to be addressed at each lesson, the student must receive at least one 45-minute lesson each week. The student will be expected to practice at least one hour each day, with possible increases when preparing for special events. There are many contests and festivals available for students on this track.
Competitive Track - intended for the very serious music student who is interested in devoting the necessary time to preparing for competitive events. This may require extensive amounts of practice time and sacrifice on the part of the student and parents, with respect to scheduling additional activities.
PRACTICE MAKES PERMANENT...Every student is encouraged to practice a minimum amount of time each day. The length of his or her lesson generally determines this length of time. For example, if a student takes one 30-minute lesson per week, he or she is encouraged to practice a minimum of 30 minutes every day. There are times when practice time may need to be increased due to upcoming events. Weekly assignments are written and placed in each student's binder at the end of each lesson, which includes expectations for the next lesson. Please keep in mind the following:
Practice does NOT mean quickly playing through your pieces once or twice.
SLOW practice is the best way to truly learn pieces well.
FAST practice is the absolute worst way to practice.
Practice doesn't make perfect; it makes permanent.
PERFECT practice makes perfect!
PARENT PARTICIPATION...Parents are welcome to sit in the studio during the lessons, especially parents of small children. The purpose of having a parent present is so that he or she will get a sense of the student's progress, as well as to be able to assist with practice and answering questions at home during the week. Parents are encouraged to ask questions regarding technique, theory, or any other assignment; however, any other interference is not acceptable. The families of students with very young siblings are asked to sit in the living area or wait in their vehicles during lessons. The younger siblings in the studio are almost always a distraction and, therefore, will not be allowed. There is also a nearby park where families may spend some quality time while waiting for lessons.
MAKEUP LESSONS...Lessons that I cancel will be rescheduled. If notified by the student at least 24 hours before the lesson time, the lesson will be made up as schedules permit. If less than 24 hours' notice is given by the student, a makeup lesson is not guaranteed (except in extreme emergency situations).
CALENDAR...The studio calendar is posted on my website and updated as frequently as necessary. Please take the time to mark the events on the calendar in a prominent place to ensure that there will be a lesser chance of conflicts. Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions or for clarification of any events listed on the calendar.
PERFORMANCE OPPORTUNITIES...During the course of our time together, students will be offered many opportunities to perform in public, as well as to compete and participate in festivals and competitions offered at the local, regional, state, and national levels. Additionally, students are encouraged to perform at school, church, or community functions. Of course, it is my desire that all performances be positive experiences and that each student presents himself or herself well; therefore, adequate preparation must be at the forefront of every performance opportunity. To this end, I request that all performances be planned in advance before they are scheduled. This will allow us to select the appropriate repertoire and ensure that the student will have enough time to prepare it.
I look forward to sharing this year with you and your family. Thank you again for the opportunities to lead in your musical experiences.