Welcome to the Dana Fontaine Music Studio! To keep things running smoothly, and because we all appreciate a little clarity, I’ve outlined our studio policies below:
Lessons come in 10 week blocks. After the first 10 week block you may continue with 10 week blocks, or switch to monthly billing if you wish. Monthly billing requires a credit/debit card on file for automatic payments, which will include the Paypal fees. Monthly billing is not offered initially because it takes time to lay the foundation for musical success and I want to encourage a commitment to the process. Both 10 week blocks and monthly blocks are prepaid and are non-refundable. They are, however, transferable. Renewals are paid on the last day of each block of lessons.
I have a 24 hour cancelation policy, meaning that if you need to cancel for any reason, just give me at least 24 hours notice and the lesson will not be counted. Cancelations with less than 24 hours notice, for any reason, will be counted. However, if a lesson is canceled with less than 24 hours notice and we are able to reschedule for another day that week, then the missed lesson is not charged. This is a courtesy rather than a guarantee, as I may not always have room on the calendar for a reschedule.
There is no parking allowed on our side of the street. You are welcome to use the driveway if it is open, or park on the other side. Please watch children closely as they cross the street. It’s a quiet neighborhood and I strive to be respectful of our neighbors, so please tread lightly (and drive slowly!).
Arrivals and Departures
If you arrive early, please wait outside until lesson time. When it’s lesson time, please ring the bell, rather than walking in. The only exception to ringing the bell is if you’ve dropped your child off and are returning to pick him/ her up. In that case, the door will be unlocked; just walk right in. If your child is in my house you have open access to come in at any time during the lesson. Heck, feel free to eavesdrop from the hallway if you like. :) Shoes off, please.
During the Lesson
Parents are always welcome to sit in on lessons. It helps to know what we’re working on, since parents are the ones guiding practice. Some drop off, some stay; either way is fine. If you do stay, please use the sitting area, rather than our lesson area, so the student and I can focus on the work at hand. Also, please resist the urge to correct your child from over there. I have a relaxed, encouraging approach, but I will correct them if they need it. It’s difficult for them to hear it coming from two directions at once. And there’s also that fascinating phenomenon where young children behave like angels for people who are not Mom.
Siblings are also welcome at lessons. We have wifi and a ridiculous amount of Legos to help them pass the time quietly.
I teach lessons back-to-back, so expect that I might take a quick few-minute break between students. Thanks for your understanding.
I could wax poetic regarding practice (and frequently do), but here are the main expectations.
First, it’s a rare child who will practice consistently on his/her own. It saddens me when a parent says they won’t provide lessons anymore because their child won’t practice, when it’s the parent who has the ability/responsibility to create a positive practice environment.
I can help you do this.
1. Pick a time of day that can be somewhat consistent. Maybe tack it on to math/reading/homework time. Or it might even be before school, if your child is a morning person.
2. Announce, “it’s piano time!” each day like it’s obvious if you need to. Or set up a challenge. You’ll know what works best in your family, but the goal is consistency. And hopefully the carrot, rather than the stick.
3. Just get them started, but don’t make them stay for a set period of time. It’s the getting started frequently (daily) that works. If there’s a timer ticking it just takes all the fun out of it and ends up being counterproductive. We have to start with a love of music and build everything from there. Help them cover the items from the last lesson and then let them explore. Encourage “messing around” on the instrument. Lean to the side of positive encouragement rather than discipline or consequences.
4. Try for five days each week.
5. Have them write notes in the practice log on our website (covered next). I will write notes back and post silly little gifs or images in the same area to keep the energy going.
6. Keep it fun and light.
7. For voice students: please know that voice is VERY personal, more so than any other instrument, and while each student has their own distinct personality, yours may need a private spot for practice.
Our studio website is interactive and a very useful communication tool, so I would like everyone to get in the habit of using it regularly.
Before practicing at home, students will log in and look at the lesson notes from the last week (on the Calendar) to remind them what we’ve been working on. After practicing, they will go to the Practice Log and write the time practiced and anything relevant (needing help with a certain section of music, ideas for a song they want to learn; anything, really) in the notes field. I check the Practice Log throughout the week and can respond before the next lesson. It’s a great communication tool and keeps the energy going!
The website can also be used to track lessons, billing and payments, lending library, repertoire list, and see the calendar for lesson dates, recitals, and other events.
Please feel free to call or text me at (503) 975-1493 if you ever have any questions, ideas, or concerns.