Policy

You have actively made a decision to enrol for private music and/or math tuition and as such it is important to take note of the following regarding how a private teaching facility operates:

–          Although WRMStudio is that of a private nature, it is still an educational one and as such follows the same basic code of conduct.

–          It is the position of this studio that piano lessons are to be treated with the same level of importance as any other subject your child may be studying in school.

–          Music is not just an extra-curricular activity.  It is an extension of the academic portfolio that can lead to many opportunities as well as supplement various cognitive skills in the long run.

It is by these three key points that I ask you to please respect my curriculum and my commitment to your child’s musical education by maintaining a priority level for piano studies equal to that of other school subjects–regard it as a “private extension” of academics that would otherwise be unavailable to your child.

  1. SERVICES OFFERED

By enrolling at WRMStudio you have chosen to receive lessons or tutoring in one or more of the following subjects or instruments:

–          Mathematics

–          Piano

–          Recorder

–          Guitar

–          Ukulele

–          Voice

  1. CURRICULUM CONTENT: MUSIC

I make use of three systems that I adapt to form my own unique approach to music.  UNISA, Trinity College London as well as ABRSM are the most recognized academic music curriculum and is also recognized worldwide.  Though my preferred choice is Trinity College due to its condensed and “to-the-point” approach, I am qualified to teach all three curriculums.

During a course of study, I attempt to cover all areas of musicianship:

–          Theory

–          Technique

–          Formal Analysis

–          Harmony

–          Aural Training

–          Sight- Reading

–          Performance and

–          a Comprehensive study of musical literature in a progressive fashion.

I truly feel that a well-rounded musical education helps students define for themselves what music means to them.  It also helps them decipher what area of music they will shine in be it, performance, composition, improvisation, history or analysis to name but a few.

  1. CURRICULUM CONTENT: MATHEMATICS

Nowadays, there are a vast amount of resources freely available on the internet that covers all mathematical topics for all grades and levels.  At WRMStudio, I realized the need for students to be ahead with their mathematical skills, especially with a global math system that are fragmented, inconsistent and failing our children.

I make use of the following systems and techniques, dependent on the system that each student comes from to fill in the gaps or enhance the skills already learned:

–          Khan Academy

–          Leading Mathematical Websites

–          My own perspective and methods

–          Development of Unique Problem Solving Skills

–          Step-by-Step skills learning

  1. WHAT DOES TUITION COVER?

Tuition at WRMStudio covers the following:

–          A one-on-one, private session with each student

–          Lessons, performance classes and group lessons

–          Time spent in preparation for each student

–          Trips to the music store, lesson planning, bookkeeping, development of curriculum, etc. It has been cited by professional music journals that for every hour enrolled in piano lessons, you are investing in at least 2 hours of the teacher’s time!

–          Your teacher’s training and experience

–          Access to professional journals, online services and the studio’s student portal and website

–          Studio Expenses

–          Music books, CD’s and other materials purchased by the teacher to keep costs low to you as student

–          Book and Music Club Memberships that is shared to enable discounts to each student

  1. BILLING, ADDRESS AND PAYMENTS

There are certain guidelines to which I strictly adhere regarding missed lessons, the billing process and late fees. These guidelines are consistently maintained, and cannot be altered as they allow the business portion of music lessons to flow smoothly and equitably.

For private lessons, you have the option of taking lessons at my studio in Pretoria or at your residence.  Should you have lessons at your residence, a travel fee will be charged monthly dependent on the area you reside.

 

 

It is important to take note of the following regarding lesson fees:

–          Lessons are charged at a flat fee each month, calculated at 45 lessons a year, irrespective whether you make use of all 45 lessons.

–          Should you make use of private tuition, travel fees are included and charged to each lesson.  Should a lesson be cancelled or missed by you as student, no travel fees will be credited back.

–          Travel fees are only credited back should the teacher fail to attend a lesson.

  1. INVOICES AND PAYMENT OPTIONS

All fees for lessons are due in no later than the first of each month.  Bills are submitted during the last week of each month for that particular month.  No cash payment will be accepted, only EFT transfers directly into the business account will be accepted.  Banking details will be supplied on each statement issued. If payment has not yet been received by the first of the new month, lessons will cease and you will not be allowed access to your lesson or the portal until settlement has been made.  You will also be held responsible for any lessons missed due to late payment.

Take note that should de-registration take place due to payment failure, you will be charged the registration fee to activate your account on the portal and website.

Ensure that you settle your account in its entirety.  Invoicing is done well ahead of month end to give all students and parents a fair chance to make arrangements for payment.  Should you make a payment that is less than the amount specified, notify the studio immediately and make arrangements for settlement of the difference.  The studio shall not assume on any student or parent’s part that outstanding amounts on accounts will be settle the next month.  Failure to notify the studio will result in lesson cession and student de-registration.

 

  1. REGISTRATION DATES

From 2017 onward, there will be certain registration dates that need to be adhered to.  Registration dates will be communicated on the website and will be sent out to active students as well as students that have been placed on the waiting list.  Dates are usually one week before a new term commences and one week before a term comes to a close.

No new students will be added the roster after these dates as all study guides and planning for the term has finished when lessons resume.

  1. LESSON TIMES SCHEDULE BREAKDOWN AND INFORMATION

During any one term, there are usually a total of twelve lessons that takes place, depending on the length of the term as well as any holidays.  The first lesson of any term is dedicated to revision for existing students or an introductory session for new beginners or students.  Every third or fourth lesson is dedicated to Music Theory and as such, dependent on the number of weeks in a term, there are usually two or three Music Theory lessons in total per term.  The rest of the lessons are used for Practical, Aural and Sight Reading.  During the second last week of each term, a revision lesson is scheduled to go over the work and explain the study guide handed out for the term assessment.  The last week of each term is reserved for the term assessment.

Lessons times are utilized in full most of the times however, with some exceptions:

–          Should a student fail to present his/her books during a lesson, it is my right as teacher to cancel the lesson or shorten the lesson according to what can be done with the limited resources available for that current lesson.  This is a discipline and principle matter.  I do have exceptions in some cases when books are forgotten but this rule is usually strictly enforced.

–          There are no swop outs of lessons in the term planner.  If it is theory week, and you fail to bring your theory work and only brought your practical books to class, the lesson will not proceed for that particular week as naturally I have not prepared for practical.

–          During revision lessons, no new work is done and should a student be up to speed with the work, the lesson is shortened.  Should the work be complete and there are no questions from the student, the lesson is deemed to be over.

–          Term assessments can also be slightly shorter at times, depending on how fast the student finishes the written part of the assessment.

  1. GROUP LESSONS

At times, group lessons will be held where students have the opportunity to meet each other, play in front of an “audience” as well as do fun and interactive music activities.

Group lessons are usually 90 minutes in duration and counts as one lesson attendance.

From 2017 onward, two group lessons will be held during the two longest terms of the year.  Group lessons are scheduled and added to the timetable at the beginning of the year.  Group lessons are not interchangeable for standard, private lessons.  These types of lessons will be held at school or at the studio.

Adult students are not required to attend the group lesson and are the only students that can change their group lessons to a standard lesson.

  1. ATTENDENCE, MISSED LESSONS, MAKE-UPS.

Regular attendance of lessons is an issue of responsibility and choice on the part of parents and students.  The studio shall not assume any financial responsibility for a student’s absence(s). Monthly rates are flat fees, and shall not be lowered nor refunded for missed lessons. “Make-ups” cannot be arranged due to limited availability.  My time is also worked out very sensitively and as such disturbs my time, allocated to each student for preparation of lessons.

Please take note of the following regarding missing or cancelling a lesson:

–          Should you or your child become ill, a doctor’s letter must be sent to the studio to be able to be credited for the lesson.

–          Should you or your child need to attend a business trip, function or a sporting event and are not able to attend a lesson, no credit will be issued for a missed or cancelled lesson.

–          Should you not be able to attend a lesson due to scheduling holiday breaks during scheduled lesson times, no lesson credit will be given for the lesson missed.

–          Should you not be able to attend due to traffic problems, the lesson will be seen as missed and no credit will be given.

–          Should I as teacher be unable to attend a lesson, full credit will be given for the lesson missed, irrespective of the reason.

–          Credit will be effected on the next invoice pending.

Please remember that I operate similar to a service based business.  It works similar to owning a DSTV subscription or a cell phone contract.  Should you not be using the service as intended, it cannot be expected of me to credit you back funds.  Clients cannot call their service provider during a holiday away from home and inform them they will only be paying half the fee as they won’t be able to use that service.  I am not a pay-as-you-go service.  By entering lessons, you are liable for the monthly fees involved.

  1. NATIONAL HOLIDAYS, SCHOOL HOLIDAYS & OPERATING TIMES

Studio terms are set out at the beginning of the year with the information provided by the Department of Education.  WRMStudio follows the Public-School Timetable.  Operating dates finalized at the beginning of each term is final and cannot be altered.

The studio will be closed on listed National Holidays as made publicly available by the government for that particular year.  No lessons will be held on these dates.

No lessons will be held over school holidays.  The first lesson starts on the first day of school and runs until the last of each term.

  1. TERMINATION OF LESSONS If a student and/or parent should decide to terminate lessons at any given time during the year, the studio requires a TWO WEEK WRITTEN NOTICE. Such notice must be delivered to me (Werner Richards) personally (or, if personal delivery is not possible, a signed letter can be emailed). Regardless of when appropriate notice is given, such student/parent shall be financially responsible for lessons until the end of that particular term of cancellation.
  1. CLASSROOM REQUIREMENTS

Each student needs the following requirements:

–          An A4 binder where all printed pages can be filed

–          An A5 hardcover book where homework can be written into

–          An A4 hardcover book where all sheet music can be pasted into

Please, refrain from using flip files to archive work.  Through experience, flip files cause work to become disorganized and it takes a considerable amount of time to take out and file pages again during lessons.  Also, when pieces are filed in a flip file, easy access to writing down notes are problematic.

All books and files need to be accompanied to each music lesson.  Failure to remember your books for a lesson will results in no lesson being given for that day.  We cannot continue or progress if there is no material to work from.

  1. INSTRUMENTS

It is expected that students have a well-maintained instrument at home to practice on. An acoustic piano is not required, but strongly recommended. If an acoustic piano is not an option, a digital piano is an excellent alternative.  I recommend the Yamaha CLP or CVP range as they offer the best solution for a digital piano.

A keyboard should only be used during the initial phase of studies should there be no alternative available at that particular time.  However, if the student will be studying for the long term, it is essential that a decent piano be acquired as proper technique cannot be learned with keyboard only.

A metronome is required and essential to developing a good sense of rhythm and tempo. A basic metronome can be purchased for around R100. There are also a lot of free metronome apps available on the myriad of mobile devices currently on the market.

For Recorder and Guitar, please contact me personally to discuss the best and most affordable option in terms of instruments.

  1. HOMEWORK, MARKS AND TEST PREPARATION

Homework is given for a reason.  In music, if we do not practice what has been learned during each lesson, we forget and no progress is made for that week.  It is the same with preparing for your assessments during the year.  When work is given, it is recommended to complete the work as soon as possible after a lesson.

It is important to take note of the following:

–          Homework counts marks as well as practicing adequately.

–          It is not the studio or teacher’s responsibility to ensure that homework is completed on time.

–          There is also no time to revisit work that has not been completed on time.  Should you fail to complete Theory work for example, it becomes your responsibility to study and complete and hand the work in with me so that I can check it.

–          The schedule shall not be adapted to accommodate poor planning or forgetfulness.

–          Should a student be sick or I as teacher be absent, I will ensure every effort is made to make up the work that was lost or the schedule will be adapted.

  1. TERM ASSESSMENTS

During the course of one study year, there will be four assessments held.  The assessments are held at the end of each term during the last week of the term.  The studio tries to avoid school tests and exam times as much as possible however, there are no guarantees of this.  Term Assessments cannot be missed as this creates the opportunity to create tangible feedback between student, teacher and parent.  Assessments are also used as a guideline to potential and whether each student brings his/her part during the year.

It is important to take note of the following:

–          Assessments determine whether a student are allowed to continue studies each term.

–          The criteria used for marking is that of Trinity College London.

–          The criteria are as follow:

o   The pass mark for music at the studio is 60%

o   To achieve Merit:  75%

o   To achieve a Distinction:  87%

Please note, these thresholds are not thought up by the studio but a general, worldwide practice in music.

–          Should a student’s yearly average dip below 60%, the studio reserves the right to de-register the student and replace him/her by a student from the Waiting List. Achieving below 60% indicates that the student is not working adequately, there is no interest in music or the student’s maximum potential has been reached.

  1. YEARLY ACHIEVEMENT COMPETION

The studio runs a competition throughout the year for the students based on their hard work and marks achieved throughout the Term Assessments.  Prizes are awarded for the Top 3 Students and various special certificates are handed to students that excelled in different areas of their music studies.  This is the studio’s way of rewarding hard work and giving back to each student.  The studio encourages all students to work hard and do their best throughout the year as any student can achieve top tier status.

It is important to take note of the following:

–          To be eligible for prizes and special certificates, a student must have written at least 3 term tests that includes the final year assessment held in term 4. Thus, students that register during Term 2, 3 or 4 will not be eligible for prizes or special certificates during that year.

–          Students that register late in the year will still receive their yearly certificate based on the marks they obtained.

  1. OFFICIAL EXAMINATIONS

As I follow the curriculum of Trinity College London, UNISA and ABRSM, students have the option to enter into and play or write the official graded examinations at their respected institution of choice. These dates are handed through at the beginning of the year and added to the schedule on the Music Teachers Helper Portal.

In order to play or write an official exam, it is important to take note of the following:

  • Please note that placement is first come first serve, meaning I require you to inform me as soon as possible in order to get the best possible exam date.
  • Exam dates are posted on the Music Teachers Helper Portal. These dates are subject to change at times and will be updated accordingly should any changes takes place.
  • There are fees connected to each Practical and or Theory exam. Fees are payable in full before registration can take place and are available on the Music Teachers Helper Portal.
  • Please note changes to registrations details after registration will cost R100 administration fees with the TCL Representative.
  • No registration for exams will be made on behalf of any student should their be outstanding fees with the studio.
  • The TCL representative will do her utmost best to accommodate the dates you request, however, it is impossible to accommodate everybody due to very real constraints of available dates, location and working hours per day.
  • If you indicate numerous dates/times as unsuitable, your entry may need to be deferred to a later session.
  • It is important to know that entering into an exam is a serious decision and requires commitment in order to be ready.  TCL holds a high standard with exams and poor performance due to inadequate practicing and discipline during the preparation for the exam does not only reflect poorly on each student, but ultimately on me as teacher as well as TCL.
  • I thus require each student practice or study more frequently should you decide to enter an exam.
  • I require all students that enter into TCL exams to set aside at least 30 minutes a day to practice, Mondays to Fridays, or 5 days a week.  This is non-negotiable and I will require you to be actively involved during the next 2 months to check whether the work is being done properly and on schedule.
  • It is also my duty and right as teacher to request that a student withdraw from the exams should I find that she/he will not be ready to pass.  The reason for this is in order to uphold the high standard of the studio, me as teacher as well as to safeguard students against failure that could lead to loss of interest in music as subject.  Music is foremost supposed to be fun, and students react different to music exams than any other school exam.
  1. MEDIA RELEASE

From time to time, photos, videos and audio recordings of students may be posted on the studio website and social media platforms for promotional and workshop materials.  Identifying information will be excluded or limited to full names only as well as grade or skill information.  Parents wishing to exempt their students from any published media may do so by providing a written exclusion request.

  1. RECITALS, PERFORMANCES AND YEARLY CONCERTS

During the year, several performance opportunities will be made available to qualified students.  These events provide pupils with further incentive to practice and excel, and can have a positive effect on a student’s sense of accomplishment.  Recitals build confidence and reinforce the concept that good practice habits result in good pianists.

When students reach an appropriate level of advancement, they will be eligible to participate in the studio’s annual recital.  This takes place at the end of the 3rd Term in August or September.

Students who take part in these programs commit to the event at least four months in advance, thereby giving ample time to prepare their respective piece(s).  All music – except duets – is to be memorized.  Deadlines for preparation are imposed and strictly adhered to in order to ensure that all participating students are secure with their piece(s).  Those students whose piece(s) is/are not performance-ready by the deadline shall be withdrawn from the program.

Students scheduled to perform for recitals are required to attend and perform.  Except in cases of family emergency or illness, students my not “drop out” from the program.  Such behaviour then affects the entire recital, and is not fair to the other performers.

Performers must be at the facility no later than 20 minutes before the beginning of the recital.  Participating students and their families are expected to remain for the duration of the entire recital, thereby providing ample audience and respect and support for all performers.

  1. STUDIO PROCEDURES

No food or drink (except water) is allowed in the studio!

Please take personal responsibility to uphold this directive.  It is very uncomfortable for me to have to continually remind people of this.  If in doubt, don’t bring it in.

For all students, no matter what age, the following rules apply at all times:

–          Only the student having lesson are allowed inside the studio or classroom.

–          Should a student be early, please wait outside the studio until your schedule time is due or you are called in.

–          Remember, I am your teacher and as such, I need to be treated and respected in that regard.  I do not mind having fun with my students, but the focus must be on the work.  Should a student not respect the lesson time, I will escalate the matter with each parent and bad behaviour will be added to the students record that could jeopardize future lessons with the studio and me as teacher.

As a piano instructor, I support and care for all of my students and their families in a very special way.  One-to-one education is very concentrated, and the bond between teacher and student can grow quite strong.

Nevertheless, the studio reserves the right to terminate a student’s lesson for the following infractions:

–          Inappropriate behaviour toward me on the part of the student. This includes violent out lashings, swearing, defamation of character, unacceptable advances or any other displays which fall outside the realm of common respect and decency.

–          Inappropriate behaviour toward me on the part of a student’s parent(s). This includes all of the above.

–          Attendance at lessons in any type of intoxicated state.

–          Failure to pay monthly lessons in full.