"[J]azz is not just joy, it's intellectual, it makes you use your mind. Yeah, it's great, you can dance to it, but it's also an intellectual...and everybody needs that, you need to think. That's why music lessons are great for children, because children need to activate that part of their minds."--Sonny Rollins, in a January, 2006 interview with Ira Gitler for Down Beat magazine.
I always have room for more students over the summer, although the schedule will get more complicated as the high schools start summer marching rehearsals in late July. Still, it's a great time to join the studio if you can.
The only way to absolutely guarantee a spot with me during the school year is to start over the summer. (When setting my schedule, my first priority goes to people who have been studying over the summer, followed by those who had lessons last year and are returning to the studio. After those people are scheduled, I find room for as many new students as my remaining time allows.) If you'd like a copy of my summer lesson letter, which comes out in early May, send me an email and I'll get you one.
I teach for four entities: Collin College (Spring Creek Campus in Plano), the Garland Independent School District, the Rockwall Independent School District,and my home studio in Garland. During the year, the GISD schools in which I teach are Rowlett and Sachse high schools and Coyle, Hudson and Schrade middle schools. (I have also taught at other GISD schools in the recent past, and may do so again in the future, though not likely this year.) The lone RISD school in my studio at this time is Rockwall-Heath High School.
During the summer, all non-college lessons are taught at my home studio in the Firewheel area of Garland.
The current rates are as follows: GISD/RISD and home studio--$18.00 per lesson (rate set by district); House calls--$20 per half-hour. Collin--tuition depends on in-county or out-of-county tuition and whether or not 1-credit lessons or 2-credit lessons are selected.
How long are lessons?
Lessons are thirty minutes at the home studio (unless an hour is arranged) and either 25 or 50 minutes at Collin, depending on the number of credit hours selected. In the GISD, lessons go as follows: During-school lessons at the GISD high schools are all thirty minutes now, due to block scheduling. At the middle schools, they are for half the class period, except for the period that includes lunch, when they are for one-third of the (longer) class period. In the RISD, all lessons are for half the class period. All before- or after-school lessons at all levels are thirty minutes, as are summer lessons, unless you request an hour. (Are you confused yet? You should try putting my schedule together every year!)
Do we have to take lessons every week?
I will occasionally take students on an every-other-week basis, but only if it fits my schedule and does not cause me to have to sit around at a school during that alternate week. If another student can be found to alternate with you, I will certainly accept such an arrangement.
However, during the summer, I am well aware that people will miss some weeks due to camps, family vacations, etc., and I'm happy to teach people for as little or as long as they will be available.
Won't the student get behind from missing part of band class every week?
Not at all; unlike most academic classes, where new information is taught nearly every day, music is taught by repetition of many similar concepts until they are perfected. If anything, students in lessons tend to be ahead of the class because they receive individualized attention and work at their own pace. This is especially true at the beginner level, where most of the students in lessons get to advance far ahead of the class.
What happens in case of a family emergency, or if the student wakes up sick on a lesson day?
I am aware that these things will sometimes happen; if so, you may simply email me, leave me a voice mail or text message my cell phone (the number of which will be provided to you). This will alert me to your absence and will result in your not being charged for that lesson. If you are the first lesson of the day at your particular location, an email is fine, but a text message is even better.
How can you possibly be full by the first week of school each year?
Well, it works like this: My top priority is given to the students who've taken lessons over the summer; they keep me in food during the lean parts of the year, and they usually tend to just continue from summer to fall with minimal interruption. Second priority goes to those students who took from me last spring; I'm usually able to have a spot saved for them even if they aren't able to take over the summer, though I have run out a few times. By the time I get done scheduling those two groups of people, there's not much room left for anyone else, especially when you consider that I teach at six schools as well as the college and have to deal with all those differing class schedules, which never quite fit together. So again, if you'd like to have a spot with me in the fall, the only guaranteed way to do so is to start in the summer.
More FAQ's will be added as they come up. Need a question answered that's not covered here? Send me an email and I'll do my best to answer it.