Jill Kocher Piano Studio
Studio Policies for Private Lessons

For the Fall and Spring Semesters (September - May)
Lessons will be scheduled once per week at a mutually agreeable time for the student, family, and instructor. A regular lesson schedule is essential in insuring progress. Please click here for holiday closings and optional lesson dates. 

For the Summer Semester (June-August)
Summer lesson scheduling is flexible. You may sign up for as many or few lessons as you would like.  However, a lesson at least every two weeks is recommended to maintain steady progress and aid in learning retention.   

    Summer Lesson Calendars
    For ease of scheduling please complete the Summer Calendar form and return it before May 15.                     
    Please e-mail to request a current summer calendar.  

    Once, I have received your completed calendar, I will work with you individually to schedule         
    summer lessons with what best fits your preferred schedules, pending my availability. You are         
    welcome to keep your regular lesson time for the summer, however you also have the option to 
    move to an alternate time pending teacher availability.

    Billing and Payment Schedule will Remain the Same
    Billing statements will be distributed between the 15th and 20th of the preceding month with     
    payment due on the first lesson of the month.

Closings, holidays, and optional days are listed on the Lesson Calendar page

Missed Lessons

Your full monthly tuition reserves your lesson time whether or not the student is able to attend each lesson.  Advance notification of 24 hours is appreciated but does not exempt you from tuition payment for the missed lesson. No refunds can be made due to sports/activity conflicts, work conflicts, or other personal conflicts. However, in cases when reasonably advanced notice is given, I will gladly try to offer an alternate make-up time. In case of sickness or an emergency when a make-up time cannot be arranged, I will provide a tuition credit for one lesson during each fall and spring term, but not during the summer term.   

If I must miss a lesson I will notify you and reschedule the lesson. If we are unable to schedule a mutually agreeable alternate time, the lesson missed due to my absence will be credited to the following month’s tuition. If you have any questions, please ask.

If we are streaming an online private lesson and lose the connection, I will work with you individually to make up the time. If you are in a group class and lose the connection, I will be work with you individually to be sure you receive all of the instruction content. 

Withdrawal from Lessons
If for any reason a student is to discontinue lessons, you must notify me prior to the 1st of the month by a phone call or in writing. Once the 1st arrives, you are responsible for paying for that month whether your child attends or not. Refunds may be considered only in cases of extended illness or life-changing family events.  

Contact Information 
If questions or problems arise, please communicate them to me by phone or e-mail. Please feel free to call me at any time between 9:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. with concerns or questions. However, please be aware that I normally do not answer the phone during lessons or while driving.  I will return phone calls and e-mails as promptly as possible, usually within 24 hours.        
760.452.7236 home studio
206.949.7917 cell

Conferences and Progress Reports

Written progress reports will be distributed in December and May or June for all students under age 18. Telephone conferences are welcome at any time of the year.     

Teaching Philosophy

I strive to offer comprehensive instruction to build a solid musical foundation that will enable each individual to meet his or her goals.      

My top priorities are: 
    - Guiding students in developing healthy playing technique. This is essential not only to    
       aid in injury prevention, but to allow free musical expression without pain and excessive 
    - Building a solid music theory foundation beginning with the learning of scales, arpeggios, 
      chords, and their applications in music. This will help students to really know what they are 
      playing. It also gives students a structure on which they may learn to improvise and compose     
      their own music.   
    - Offering a positive and nurturing studio environment with flexible, individualized curriculum that 
      will help students to develop self-esteem, independence, and self-discipline, as well as an 
      appreciation and sense of musical artistry. 

Lesson Content 

Each lesson will usually begin with a warm-up time during which students will be expected to present their assigned technical exercises. This may include scales, arpeggios, chords, and technique pieces. Students can also use familiar, well-learned pieces as additional warm-ups.    

The majority of lesson time will be spent on repertoire. Elementary students will mainly focus on repertoire from beginning level method books until their reading skills and basic musical foundation are very secure. Students beyond the elementary level will normally study pieces from a wide variety of musical styles including traditional classical repertoire from the Baroque through the present, jazz arrangements, and popular music. 

I recommend for students to try working on a few pieces of varying difficulty at a time. For example, an assignment for an intermediate student may include one easier pop/fun piece, one etude or study, one new piece of standard piano literature, and one well-learned piece of standard piano literature. By combining better learned pieces with new pieces, this insures students may enjoy the satisfaction of being able to sit down and play something they know well, plus they will experience continued growth by learning new, appropriately challenging literature. Repertoire selection can vary according to students’ individual interests. Students are encouraged to communicate their musical preferences and bring pieces of interest to their lessons.   

Portions of each lesson may also include sight-reading, written theory, ear training (which can involve singing or humming), and music history, as well as movement and rhythm activities away from the piano.   

Practice Guidelines

It is of utmost importance that the student has a regular practice time. At least 30 minutes daily is ideal, and no less than 5 days each week. More practice may be recommended for students studying advanced repertoire or that are preparing for special events. Practice time may be easier to schedule if it is divided into two shorter sessions (15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes later in the day).  If it takes a student less than 30 minutes to complete their practice assignment, then take some fun time to improvise, sight read something you enjoy, try figuring out a tune by ear, or play some older pieces you enjoy.  

I ask parents to support the student’s practice time by:
1) helping the student find the time(s) that will consistently be used only for piano practice
2) keeping the student free of other responsibilities during that time
3) keeping siblings from interfering with and distracting the student during that time
4) keeping the home piano in tune and in good maintenance, in a room free of distractions 
5) keeping a functional metronome available if it has been recommended as a practice aid

Helping Your Child Succeed

Even if you have limited musical experience, there are many easy ways to help your child get the most from music lessons.
•	If your child is a young student, about age 5 through 7, you are welcome and encouraged to observe the introductory lessons with your child.  
•	The last five minutes of your child’s lesson can be reserved for a quick explanation of the practice assignment and will allow you time to ask any questions about the assignment.  
•	Ask to see your child’s assignment sheet and ask your child to explain what she is supposed to be practicing.  
•	Remind your child to practice the entire assignment not less than 5 days a week.  
•	Although it is not necessary to sit with your child each day while he practices, request your child to perform various parts of the assignment for you throughout the week. Offer encouragement and express what you liked about the performance.  
•	If your child encounters a problem or difficulty, encourage her to try to solve the problem by looking back through the method book and assignment sheets for clues or helpful advice. If necessary, you or your child may also e-mail me with assignment or practice questions throughout the week.     

General Lesson Day Guidelines
1.	Students should have all books and assignment notebook ready at every lesson. If a student has misplaced the appropriate books, the lesson will consist of sight-reading, ear-training, technique, and theory work.    
2.	Students should be ready with clean hands and properly trimmed fingernails (not past the end of the fingertips). Do not wear artificial or acrylic nails to lessons as they can damage the piano keys and interfere with technique. 
3. If the student has had a limited amount of practice time prior to that week’s lesson and feels unprepared, please do not fret. The lesson will be used to practice and learn previously assigned or new material together and it will still be a productive learning experience.  
4. Parents or guardians and siblings are welcome to wait quietly and observe the lessons if it does not disturb the student taking the lesson.      

Guidelines for Lessons in Your Own Home
(pending teacher approval)

1.	The piano must be located in a public area of the home such as a living room or den.  
2.	The piano should be kept in good maintenance and tuned at least once or twice per year.  
3.	A chair should be near the piano for the teacher.
4.	A parent or guardian must be on the premises at all times while the teacher is there.    
5.	The piano lesson space should be free from distractions during the lesson time (no TV's turned on, telephone conversations in the same room, other excess noise, interruptions by siblings or pets, etc.).  
6.	Lessons will begin and end promptly at the scheduled lesson time unless the teacher experiences unavoidable traffic delays while en-route to the lesson.  
7.	The teacher reserves the right to suspend in-home lessons at any time, particularly if the above guidelines are not met.  
Copyright © 2020 Jill Kocher