How long are your lessons?
The majority of my pupils have a 30 minute lesson once a week. This seems to be the optimum amount of time for me to listen to the student, provide some feedback and give suggestions for things for them to work on during the week. It is worth noting that pupils should do most of their learning outside of their lessons. Pupils will make the most progress in learning how to play their instrument through regular practice at home. As part of my quality guarantee I will have an in depth conversation regarding practice every lesson, I want to know how much practice has been done, what has been practised, what they enjoyed, what they found difficult. I will also want to know if they have encountered any obstacles that prevented them from doing as much practice as they would have liked. Please refer to my Practice blog for more on this subject.
For younger pupils or those gifted with Special Educational Needs, I sometimes offer 20 minute lessons whilst we get to know each other and until the pupil’s attention span is long enough to merit a longer lesson.
For pupils who have already been learning their instrument for a number of years I do offer 45 minute and 1 hour long sessions as the pieces they are learning become longer and there is also a need to spend significant amount of time each week on wider musical skills including listening, technique, scales and arpeggios, and music theory.
Where can I find your term dates?
I teach for 38 weeks of the year during term time and broadly follow the same term dates as the state schools in Sheffield. I'll give you a calendar before you sign up for permanent lessons.
Do you teach during the school holidays?
When you decide to commence lessons on a permanent basis I will ask you to sign up to a teaching contract that covers 38 weeks of the year during term time. The number of lessons taken throughout term time is added up and divided by 12 so that you pay in an equal amount each month (and to help me to pay my mortgage in August!). If you would also like to have lessons during the school holidays I do make myself available on selected days and lessons are offered on a pay-as-you basis. Where there is sufficient demand I might also set up a music fun day with large group activities following by a concert – please let me know if this is something you would be interested in.
How do I pay for lessons?
For the first few lessons I operate on a pay-as-you-go basis and accept payment by cash, cheque or faster payment. Once you / your child is settled in their lessons, usually after 4-6 weeks, I will at that point ask you to sign up to a standard Musician’s Union Teaching Contract and set up a monthly Standing Order to pay for lessons.
What is the difference between a Standing Order and a Direct Debit?
The Direct Debit service tends to be offered by larger companies, they decide how much to charge you, you decide a date each month that money can be collected and the company will take the amount they have calculated from your account on the relevant date. A Standing Order is an instruction that you set up with your bank and tends to be set up for the same amount every month. You are in complete control of a Standing Order and can cancel or amend this at any point.
Do you use a teaching contract?
Yes, I use the Musician’s Union standard Teaching Contract. I will provide you of a copy of this to review a week prior to asking you to sign up.
What is your notice period?
If you decide that you no longer wish to continue lessons, I will firstly attempt to understand the reasons that have contributed to this decision to see if there is anything I can do differently either for yourself or for future students. The formal notice period is 4 weeks.
Do you have a DBS certificate?
Yes, this will be available for your to view during your initial lesson or at any other time.