--- The Following Studio Policies Were Last Updated on August 14, 2018 ---
New information and/or changes in this document after September 1 will be differentiated below by green text.
All patrons MUST accept the terms and policies before lessons will be scheduled.
Foreword From The Instructor:
I realize this policy page is very detailed and long-winded, but it clarifies what my response(s) will be in many of the possible scenarios that come with running a business and private studio. Please know that I rarely need to enforce many of the following policies, but in the event that I do need to utilize them, I want to be very up-front and transparent to my patrons about what is expected when we begin our contractual relationship and allow you all to reference this at any time should you have any questions. For your convenience, I have added a "summary" section below.
1. What's it going to cost me?
New students should expect the following investment (in order of occurrence):
- First lesson Total Due: $25
- Tuition of $25* (this rate is for a 30 minute lesson)
- Second Lesson Total Due: $135
- Monthly dues after first month: $100 (average 4 lessons per month)
* On-campus/during class time lesson fees vary by campus, pay-per-lesson options are also available
2. Do I have to show up? And what if I get sick or can't come?
Yes. Please plan to attend all lessons scheduled. If an illness/conflict arises, you may cancel by phone call (leave a message if the call is not answered), text message, or email as soon as possible (preferably by 9pm the evening before, or at the latest, by 8am the morning of the scheduled lesson) otherwise, you will be charged the full fee for the lesson. If I have to cancel a lesson, you will be notified ASAP and there will be no expected payment for that lesson. I will always be respectful of your time and expect you to show me the same courtesy. Please inform me ASAP if you are sick or think you may be getting sick and do NOT plan to attend a voice lesson while you are or may possibly be contagious.
3. Do I have to do anything outside of the lessons?
If you'd like to improve, yes! Practice! (and do so consistently!)
4. How will I know what I need to work on?
Each lesson will have at least one objective, but I highly advise you to bring some form of recording device so you can revisit the lesson, practice with it, and have an audible record of your progress. The registration fee will cover the cost of all copies and supplies you will need to accomplish our objectives, so you will not be required to purchase music or other resources.
5. Do I have to perform?
Performing is a vital part of growing as a singer. While it can be scary and nerve-wracking to share your instrument with a live audience, most of our fears come from the unknown aspects of "what if" thoughts while you are on stage. Porter Music Studio provides opportunities for singers to perform in a safe and encouraging environment several times per year to help students learn to manage their nerves and gain confidence in themselves and their abilities. Students should plan to perform a solo in at least 2 recitals per year (Sept.1-Aug.31)
6. What do I do if I need to stop taking lessons?
Notify Mrs. Porter as soon as possible, and give as much notice as you can. In order to receive your Last Lesson Fee credit and adjust your final invoice, a minimum of 30 days notice is required. In case of emergency, communication is key!
This concludes the summary portion of the studio policies. The full description is included below for your reference.
PORTER STUDIO POLICIES & AGREEMENT
1.A.1 Lesson Attendance:
Lessons are scheduled weekly and notification is given on a monthly invoice. Should one need to reschedule a lesson due to a conflict or illness, notice is requested prior to 9:00 PM CST the evening before (or at the very latest, by 8am the morning of the scheduled lesson) and may be rescheduled pending instructor availability within a 9 day time frame. On-campus lesson appointments can be "swapped" with another student within that class period, however, this option is not guaranteed due to the higher possibility that the student who is swapping with you may not be prepared or have their music with them. In the event of a planned absence, students should notify the instructor who will then attempt to arrange a swap. If appropriate advance notice is NOT given (i.e. "no call/text/email, no show"), the lesson will not be rescheduled, the student will be charged for the time slot, and will essentially lose their lesson that week. In the event of an emergency within 24 hours prior to the lesson that prevents the student from attending, please notify the instructor as soon as possible. Multiple or frequent attendance policy violations may result in dismissal from the studio.
1.A.2 Instructor Absence
In the event that the instructor must miss a scheduled lesson, an attempt to reschedule will occur and if there is no possibility for the lesson to be made up, a credit will be applied to your account OR you will not be charged for the lesson that was missed. See tuition policy below.
1.B. Performance Attendance
1.B.1. Studio Performance Expectations
- Students are expected to attend and/or perform in studio-sponsored events.
- The studio event schedule should be established by October 1, and dates/invitations will be sent out at least one month in advance. In case of a conflict, the instructor MUST be notified as soon as possible--failure to communicate a conflict early on could result in the student being responsible for additional fees (for accompanists, copies of music, rehearsal/performance tracks, etc.).
- Students and their guests should attend the event from start to finish. It would be inappropriate to arrive late or leave early.
1.B.2.Performance exceptions include but are not limited to:
- Students who are involved in the TMEA All-Region/All-State/Honor Choir audition process in the fall may choose to opt out of a Fall Semester recital, provided they are selected for multiple auditions and/or have earned placement within a district/region-level performing choir.
- Students with 504 accommodations may negotiate performance participation on an individual basis.
- Students who are taking private lessons
may choose whether or not to participate based on student/instructor discretion.
1.B.3. Alternate Assignments
- Students who cannot perform at a studio-sponsored event due to a conflict, exception, or illness will perform their prepared solo(s) in the studio lesson setting and may be recorded for learning and assessment purposes.
- Students who attend voice lessons during their on-campus choir class and cannot/do not perform in studio recitals should expect to perform their prepared solo(s) for their director(s) and instructor at a scheduled time in order to exhibit their progress within the private lesson program.
For more information regarding performances, please see Performances/Recitals below.
*The following pricing information applies to lessons provided
of public & private school settings/hours. Rates differ between campuses/districts, therefore, my on-campus (i.e. during class time pull-out program) studio rates comply with the amount agreements made within those specified programs. The following policies are in effect regardless of the venue, however, the amounts may differ.*
2.A.1. Current Rates (September 1, 2017-August 31, 2018):
- Outside of school lessons: $25 per half hour
- On campus lessons: varies by school/district.
- Summer Lessons: $20 for twenty-five minutes, $25 for thirty minutes, $50 for one hour.
2.B. Invoicing/Payment Schedules
Lesson charges are due in advance on/before the first lesson of each month. Invoices will be sent automatically on/near the 21st of the month for the following month. If payment is not received on/before the first lesson of the month (or by the 9th day of the month, whichever is more applicable), the student will be charged a $20 late fee and lessons will be placed on probation and/or suspended until payment is received in full including payment for any lessons received and/or missed due to the late payment. Students who have paid the last lesson fee may receive one "grace" lesson which will absorb that fee. The instructor reserves the right to continue or suspend lessons based on her own discretion, however, the student/family is still responsible for the incurred cost of holding their lesson spot. No free lessons will be given.
Potential Fees Include:
- 2.B.1. Registration/Supply Fee: The studio will charge a yearly registration/supply fee of $35 for each student. Newly enrolled students who begin taking lessons after May 1 can expect a prorated fee exclusively for the summer term (Excludes students who are attending sectionals for All-State Choir. Please see the Music Section below for more information). In return, I will provide ALL of the necessary music, materials, and books needed for the year (September 1 through August 31). This fee is negotiable for seasonal or temporary adult students.
- 2.B.2. Last Lesson Fee: When a new student enrolls in voice lessons, I will collect the registration fee, the current month’s tuition, plus a “last lesson fee” to insure that I will have at least one week's notice in the event that a student no longer intends to take private lessons. This is a one-time fee, and does not recur annually as long as the student consistently continues their private instruction with the same teacher.
- This amount will be credited to the student's final month of tuition provided that the instructor is notified appropriately more than 15 days in advance of the final lesson (i.e. high school/college graduation, an anticipated move, or the end of a semester/term with proper notice given to the instructor that they do not intend to continue).
- Dismissal from the studio or sudden withdrawal outside of the appropriate time frame forfeits the possibility for lesson credit.
- 2.B.3. Tuition: Students will (typically) be charged monthly for lesson tuition ($25 per half hour/$50 per hour) which is due upon the first lesson of the month. An annual increase may take place no sooner than September 1st. On-campus* lesson fees very based on the district/campus. (For more information about on-campus lessons, please see the highlighted section above.)
- Any remaining balance due to lessons canceled by the instructor which were not made up will roll over to the following month's invoice. Refunds (minus the last lesson fee) can be issued once per year (September 1-August 31) in the form of a check or money order and will be dated and/or issued no later than August 31.
- Missed lessons without proper/advanced notice WILL be billed. To cancel a lesson and avoid the charge, please contact the instructor and give as much advance notice as possible (the cutoff is at 8AM the day of the lesson), or it will be counted as missed and you will lose that lesson.
- 2.B.4. Late Fee: If payment is not received on/before the first lesson of the month (or by the 9th day of the month, whichever is more applicable), the student will be charged a $20 late fee and lessons will be placed on probation and/or suspended until payment is received in full including payment for any lessons received and/or missed due to the late payment. The instructor reserves the right to continue or suspend lessons based on her own discretion, however, the student/family is still responsible for the incurred cost of holding their lesson spot. Three late payments within one semester/term will result in dismissal from the studio and can incur additional late fees on any remaining balance due for an indefinite amount of time.
- 2.B.5 Former Student Late Fee: Should a student choose to discontinue lessons for any reason at any time where a negative tuition balance is remaining (i.e. lessons were scheduled/attended but were not paid for), they can and will be charged a monthly late fee (see "Late Fee" above) until their balance is paid in full. Proper notice will be provided via electronic and postal mail and they will be allowed until the last day of the current month to submit payment. After that point, studio management will automatically begin applying a $20 late fee per month until the balance is settled. Any remaining balance due on the account can incur additional late fees for an indefinite amount of time and/or will be reported to the Texas Credit Bureau for failure to pay for services rendered.
- 2.B.6. Accompanist/Entry Fee: Porter Music Studio organizes/hosts occasional recitals and performances, for which the student may be responsible for paying for their accompanist and/or entry into the event. Students & families will be notified of the expense at least 4 weeks before the event and the funding will be collected by the instructor a minimum of two weeks prior to the event. One lump sum will be credited to the accompanist and/or organization upon the conclusion of the performance.
- An absence from a performance without prior notice (in this case, after the accompanist is given the music to learn and prepare) will still incur an accompanist fee and/or event fee that is the responsibility of the student.
- An excused absence from a performance due to an emergency with appropriate notice given to the instructor will result in a 50% refund of the accompanist fee and/or entry fee based on the event rules and regulations.
- Full refunds or cancellation of the fee(s) will be available at the discretion of the instructor and accompanist based on situation and length of notice received (i.e. if a conflict is presented BEFORE the accompanist is given music to prepare).
2.C. Payment can be made via cash, personal check, credit card, or PayPal. For more information regarding methods of payment or paying with PayPal, please register and/or log in to your account and select "Pay Online."
Students are expected to practice daily between lessons. Each week the student will be sent home with an assignment to work on for the following week. If improvement is not achieved consistently over the course of one month, a meeting or phone conference will be arranged to discuss and evaluate the student's progress and goals for taking private lessons. Music Teachers Helper has a built-in practice log for students to utilize at their convenience to keep track of and inform their teacher about their practice sessions. This can be accessed by logging into the student account on the website or via the free MTH smartphone app. A tutorial for logging practice times can be found by clicking here.
Students will have up to 3 studio-sponsored opportunities per year (September 1 through August 31) to perform for their friends and families in a safe and encouraging environment, usually in the form of a studio recital. Each student is expected to prepare and perform a minimum of ONE solo per event that is memorized and accompanied (either by live music or an approved track). Students are expected to perform in at least two of the three opportunities provided because participation will:
- give them performance experience,
- help them learn to manage their nerves/stage presence,
- boost their confidence and self-esteem (all students are very well prepared and supported),
- allow them to explore their vocal abilities in various environments,
- learn how to respond to a live audience,
- enhance audience etiquette awareness,
- showcase their vocal advancement through the year(s),
- and expose their ears to a variety of voice types and ability levels.
For information regarding event attendance expectations, please see policy 1.B.
For information regarding potential expenses in performances, please see policy 2.B.6.
On September 1, 2014, the Porter Studio adopted the annual Registration/Supply Fee policy which allows for the teacher to purchase and distribute all necessary supplies and materials for the student.
Students should expect to learn no less than 3 new pieces to build their repertoire and experience within each term (typically referring to "fall semester," "spring semester, and "summer term.") The annual registration fee covers the cost of new music, practice tracks and/or CDs, and 2 paper copies of each piece. Should the student need anything extensive that is more than the cost of the registration fee within the year, the amount and payment decision will be discussed and negotiated so all parties are content.
All-State packets and CDs are NOT included within the "registration fee" bracket because it is an optional process and the cost of the materials needed are set by various vendors. If you plan to participate, you will need to purchase them on your own, through the campus directors, or Porter Studio at an additional cost to the patron.
Students are encouraged to record their lessons either on cassette tapes, CDs, electronic devices, or USB devices. If you have recording capability, you are welcome to bring it with you. Porter studio has purchased a recording device that will either record to an SD memory card OR transfer to a thumb drive for your convenience, however, the preferred memory technology must be provided by the student.
7. Termination Of Contract
As your time in lessons have a beginning they must also have an ending. I wish to make the ending as clear as possible for everyone involved. Please strive to give 30 days notice so I can bring our lessons to an end (i.e. give you a list of songs I think you will love or shows to keep your ears up, make sure you have warm-up and technique tracks for your current voice if you are done studying or if you are transitioning to another school or teacher, I can help you get everything organized and ready for a smooth transition). This time will NOT be used to bombard you with questions about why you are leaving and to try to convince you to stay, but to conclude our time together positively and to encourage a lifetime of music.
If lessons end abruptly (i.e. in the middle of the month or without warning) you will not get a refund of any remaining lessons and the Last Lesson Fee credit will be forfeited. No exceptions.
If you have given appropriate advance notice, we can adjust the final month's tuition to reflect the services rendered including credits for the Last Lesson Fee and any lesson credits that may be applicable.
As stated in the Agreement portion of the contract: "I may terminate my enrollment for any reason at any time by contacting the instructor directly, however, upon termination I agree to pay any remaining/outstanding balance (including but not limited to tuition charges and/or fees) on my account related to services rendered and return or purchase any items/supplies which belong solely to the studio. Furthermore, the "last lesson fee" will only be credited back to my account if I give my instructor at least 30 days' prior notice before terminating the contract."
By signing the contract provided and/or enrolling online for the private lessons program with Porter Music Studio, I hereby give permission for [the specified student] to attend and participate in voice lessons, master-classes, or other studio-related events and understand and commit to my financial obligations in regards to the services rendered. I have read and agree to the studio policies outlined in the registration packet and/or on the studio website. I hereby agree to hold harmless and release from liability Porter Music Studio, Katie Porter, and any representatives thereof for any action, claim, or damage that may arise as a result from the students participation in voice lessons or other related events. I hereby give my permission for any authorized representative or sponsor of the studio to obtain service of and/or advice from an available physician or other medical personnel for the student in case of illness or injury, including any necessary transportation for such emergency care. I hereby agree to assume all responsibility for any costs associated with such medical care. I understand that I may terminate my enrollment for any reason at any time by contacting the instructor directly, however, upon termination I agree to pay any remaining/outstanding balance (including but not limited to tuition charges and/or fees) on my account related to services rendered and return or purchase any items/supplies which belong solely to the studio. Furthermore, the "last lesson fee" will only be credited back to my account if I give my instructor at least 30 days' prior notice before terminating the contract.