Maggie's Private Studio FAQ's
- Q: How long are lessons?
- A: Lessons are 50 minutes. Exceptions can be made for those under 8 or for financial reasons.
- Q: How much do lessons cost?
- A: Because regular practice is so important, my fees are on a scale inversely related to hours practiced per week.
- < 30 minutes/week = $40/lesson
- .5-1 hour/week = $35/lesson
- 1-2 hours/week = $30/lesson
- 2-4 hours/week = $25/lesson
- 4-6 hours/week = $20/lesson
- 6-8 hours/week = $15/lesson
- 8-12 hours/week = $10/lesson
- 12-14 hours/week = $5/lesson
- > 14 hours/week = free
- If I cancel a lesson or if you cancel a lesson with at least 24 hours notice, you will not be charged.
- Payments can be made pre or post, weekly or monthly.
- If 4 consecutive weeks pass without at least 4 hours of total practice, you may be dropped.
- Lesson time and cost (but not practice times) can be cut in half for those under 8 years of age or for financial reasons.
- Q: How much should students practice?
- A1: Frequency is the most important aspect of practicing. The more practice times in a week, the better; the more practice times in a day, the better. For those who are young and/or on busy schedules, I have found that a minimum of 4 days a week is enough to show improvement. For those who are in high school and are thinking about pursuing music in college, 7 days a week is necessary. (If you can't do 7 days a week, you won't succeed in college.)
A2: Research suggests that it takes a MINIMUM of 10,000 hours to MASTER a skill, but only 20 focused hours to learn the fundamental basics. To reach 10,000 hours, one would have to practice 3 hours a day for 9 years, 2 hours a day for 14 years, or an hour a day for 27 years. To reach 20 hours, one would have to practice 2 hours a day for 10 days, an hour a day for 20 days, or a half hour a day for 40 days. This is much more manageable, and I suggest students make consecutive goals of 20 hours each (preferably in 10 weeks or less), mastering a subset of skills each time. As a weekly goal, I have found it takes a MINIMUM of 2 hours each week (20 hours for every 10 weeks) to show improvement. Less than that will set a student up for frustration and failure. More focused practice will almost always equal more improvement and more success.
- Q: Should students just play through each exercise once?
A: NO! One should go back over the piece, specifically repeating trouble spots, trying to play them correctly until improvement is shown. If time is limited, and one must only play through their pieces, one should remember the trouble spots so they can be focused on in the next practice session (without playing through the entire piece).
These are specific guidelines for practicing:
- Play through a piece.
- When (not if) a problem is encountered (off note, rhythm, right or left hand, etc.), think about what happened and identify the cause. (Start with the biggest problem first.)
- Isolate the problem by breaking it down to its simplest/smallest form. Where exactly is the problem? What is causing it?
- Try to fix the problem with a variety of strategies.
- Reinforce playing the section correctly by repeating it many times successfully and consecutively.
- Once you've got it, reincorporate the once-problem spot back into the music. Begin with slightly larger chunks of the music, and gradually increase the size of the chunks until you are confident the problem is fixed.
If the problem should occur later, go back to step 1, and repeat as necessary.
- Q: How long should a practice session be?
- A: Ideally, one would practice several times a day for short periods. Duration depends on the number of assignments. Typically, beginning students use 15 to 30 minutes, intermediate students use ½ to1 hour, and advanced students use an hour or more (total per day).
- Note: With regard to practicing in general, keep in mind that a teacher has only 20% affect on a student’s progress. The remaining 80% is up to the student.
- Q: How soon should students be able to read music?
- A: This is different for each individual. I prefer to take an approach similar to that of teaching reading. A child doesn't learn to read before he learns to speak. First, he learns to speak, then he learns his alphabet, then he learns to read and write. A music student can learn things as he/she progresses. For example, one does not need to learn to read notes he/she is not yet playing. The way I teach, some students learn to read music within 3 months; others take up to a year.
- Note: When writing on music, use pencil or erasable pen. DO NOT use permanent ink.
- Q: How long are lessons?
- A: Lessons are 45-50 minutes.
- Q:How do you decide who gets which time slot?
- A: There are four main factors I take into consideration when working out our schedule: the age of a student, how long a student has been with me, how much a student practices, and how regularly they attend lessons. Other than that, I do the best I can to be fair and amiable. It is almost impossible for anyone to get precisely the time they would like.
- Q: What if a lesson is missed?
- A: If a lesson is missed, it is important to stay on a practice schedule. DO NOT STOP PRACTICING!
- Q: What if a week goes by and a student hasn't practiced at all?
- A: We will practice during the lesson and try to accomplish as much as possible. Hopefully, the student will be encouraged to practice.
- Q: What if many lessons are missed?
- A: I reserve the right to replace your time slot with another student if you miss more than one lesson a month on a regular basis, or several lessons in a row without calling. If a student takes a month or more off, including during the summer, they may lose their time slot.
- Q: Do you teach "tab" (tablature)?
- A: I teach note reading first on all instruments except banjo. If someone wants to learn tab, I will teach it after they can read music at a satisfactory level. For banjo, I will teach note reading after they have a good understanding of tablature and rhythm notation.
- Q: Are there expenses other than the lessons and instrument?
- a 3 ring binder
- up to 4 books within the first year and intermittently after that
- CD's or mp3's
- a metronome
- extra reeds
- cork grease
- other accessories such as, a strap, a cleaner, etc.
ALL STRING STUDENTS:
- a tuner, if needed (There are new models of tuners that have a metronome built in.)
- extra strings
- rosin if a bowed instrument
- a shoulder rest (There are many different kinds of shoulder rests, and everyone’s needs are different, so PLEASE ask me for recommendations before purchasing one.)
- Occasionally, a student will find a chin rest to be uncomfortable or painful. There is one chinrest available that is superior to all others when it comes to comfort. PLEASE ask about it before purchasing any other.