Sharps & Flats
When is my child able to begin music lessons?
This depends on the instrument your child is interested in, as well as the age and maturity of the child. Sharps and Flats recommends beginning piano lessons starting between 4 1/2 and 5 1/2 years old. The determining factor is whether or not a child is ready to sit for the 30-minute lesson. The goal at Sharps and Flats is to be sure each child has a positive experience. Many of our teachers are experienced teaching younger beginners.
When can my child begin guitar lessons?
Guitar can be a tricky instrument to start at a very early age since it requires more manual dexterity than other instruments. Many of our younger students begin on ukulele, which is a great way to get the hang of a fretted instrument without such a long neck and so many strings to navigate. Otherwise, we usually recommend that children between the ages of 4 ½ and 7 years begin with piano or a stringed instrument such as violin, viola or cello.
Do you teach adults?
Yes. We have many adult students of all ages studying music. Music has tremendous benefits for the brain at any age. Whether you’re trying an instrument for the first time or picking up where you left off, it’s never too late to make music!
How much and how often should my child practice?
To get the most out of private lessons, it is important your child practices between lessons. Children under 7 years may not be able to sit at the piano for long, so practicing five to 10 minutes a day (four to five days a week) is fine. It is more valuable to practice 10 minutes a day several days a week than to practice an hour just one day a week. As hard as it is, we always advise parents to resist pestering younger children to practice more. That said, it is also important for students of all ages to understand that it is important to practice. If you are encountering problems with practice routines, please contact us and we will make suggestions based on your student's specific situation.
We recommend making practice time – no matter the number of minutes – a part of a student’s daily routine, just like homework time and soccer practice. You may also want to consider a practice routine that involves more minutes on the weekend than during the week when children are more tired.
How can I get my child to practice more?
For younger musicians, consider stickers and other small rewards for a good week of practicing. Utilize the practice chart in the Sharps and Flats Practice Journal to incenti consistent practice and to keep the student's engaged with their practice "goals" for the week. For older children age eight and up, a practice timer may help so there is a specific beginning and end to their practice. It is also helpful to make practicing a part of their daily routine, just like homework and sports. If you’re looking for more ideas on encouraging your child to practice, ask your teacher or any member of our staff.
How long are lessons?
We offer 30-, 45- and 60-minute lessons. Most beginners start with 30-minute lessons. More intermediate and advanced students may take 45- or even 60-minute lessons. Adult students start with 45-minute lessons. Lessons are taken on a weekly basis.
Why can’t I cancel and make up lessons when I feel like it?
In order to get the most out of lessons it is important to come regularly and consistently. It is nearly impossible for any student to progress on his or her instrument if he or she comes to class irregularly.
In addition, Sharps and Flats attracts the best and most committed music instructors in Connecticut because we acknowledge and understand that teaching music is how they earn a living and it is a highly specialized skill. Teachers only get paid when they teach. Therefore, a studio that promises refunds for all missed lessons is giving the message to students that it isn’t important to come to lessons, at the same time it’s telling its teachers that their skills and expertise isn't valued. It is nearly impossible to retain a committed, professional teaching staff under those conditions.
What is your lesson cancellation policy?
Consistency and commitment are the keys to developing and mastering any pursuit, including playing a musical instrument. Therefore, students are encouraged to attend every lesson in order to advance their skills. If your student needs to miss a lesson (for illness or a scheduling conflict), we require you call the studio a minimum of 24 hours in advance of the lesson day that will be missed. In the event that a lesson is missed due to illness, we will roll ONE CREDIT forward into the next month.
What if my teacher is absent?
If your teacher is absent, a substitute may replace the teacher for that week. There are no credits for lessons missed if a substitute has been provided. Should the teacher be absent for more than two weeks, you will be notified by phone call or e-mail. Students will not be charged for studio holidays or teacher absences if we are unable to provide a substitute. Sharps and Flats holidays are listed below.
• Labor Day
• December 23rd through January 1st
• Memorial Day
• July 4th
Please note: Sharps and Flats does not follow the public or private school holiday calendar.
What about snow days?
You will receive a call from Sharps and Flats if lessons are cancelled due to inclement weather. Lesson cancellations due to inclement weather will be announced on our voicemail message and our Facebook page. If you are not sure whether or not your lesson is cancelled, please call the studio. If the store is closed, please call, check our website or Facebook page.
Are lessons cancelled if school is cancelled or if there is an early dismissal?
School delays or cancellations do not necessarily mean lessons are cancelled. Very often storms are predicted and school is cancelled but by the afternoon the roads are clear. If we do cancel lessons, you will receive a call or an email from us. We typically decide whether or not lessons will take place no later than 1 p.m.
What are my payment options?
Sharps and Flats accepts check, cash or credit card (Visa/MasterCard, American Express and Discover). An active credit card is required at the time of registration regardless of whether you choose auto pay. If you choose auto pay, this card will be used to charge tuition and any outstanding lesson book/accessory charges on your account. If you do not choose auto pay, this credit card is used only in the case of a past due lesson payment and open account balances for the purchase of music or accessories. All credit cards numbers are confidential and secure. Auto charge customers will be charged on the 15th of the month. Customers are required to keep your credit card information updated. A $25 late fee per month will be applied to past due accounts. There is a grace period of 10 days before the late charges are applied. In the case of non-payment, lessons will be suspended until the account is current.
New students pay a $15 registration fee and it includes our Practice Journal.
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