Private Lesson information and policies FAQ 2017
Here are the answers to the majority of the questions I'm asked about lessons. It is rather lengthy, but I've been teaching privately over 12 years now and these are the most common questions that I'm asked. Hopefully this will clear up any questions you may have! Although this may feel lengthy, I felt all of the information will help things run smoothly for everyone!
Again, always feel free to contact me with any additional questions that you can't find answers to!
-What ages do you teach?
My typical response to this is that it's more of a maturity level than an age thing. I've had some kids in kindergarten begin lessons with me and succeed because they were able to sit through a half hour lesson and absorb the material and had additional help at home with guided help from parents or anyone else that's around who can help them with the weekly assignments.
That being said, I typically see this kind of a success level with students between 3rd-5th grade, but I am willing to try younger students if you think the child can handle it! I also have many students who start in middle school, high school, college, and adult students!
-How long are lessons?
Lessons are a half hour long and occur on a weekly basis. This ensures there is consistency with the students growth as a musician as well as providing a solid time slot the student will meet with me each week. Hour long time slots are also available.
-What time slots do you have available for open times?
This varies during the summer and school year. I've found the easiest way to sort this out is by letting me know what days and time frames would work best for you. Sometimes I may not have something open that works with your schedule, but I may have a student with more flexablity that could switch to another time frame, freeing up a spot for you! The more options the easier! If you send me the options based on priority I'll try my best to make it work!
-How much are lessons and how do payments work?
My current rate is $24 per half hour lesson. Lessons are paid for a month in advance at the first lesson of each month. There are normally 4-5 lessons a month depending on how the calendar lines up, so the monthly total would be $96 for 4 lessons or $120 for 5. Cash or check is accepted, no credit cards at this time. There is a late payment fee of $5 per week late.
-How much is your lesson registration fee?
IT'S FREE!! Most music stores or other "musical instruction" schools charge an additional $25 fee just to enroll! Some even charge it on a yearly basis!! How do I feel about that? It's dumb.
-I'm still on the fence.......
Guess what, everyone gets a FREE trial lesson! I want to ensure you that I will be a good fit for private lessons and I'm willing to give you a free trial lesson to check everything out and decide if you'd like to move ahead with lessons. This is based on age however..... younger than 3rd grade needs to be discussed with me first as I want to make sure it could possibly work and be a good use of everyones time.
-I know I'm going to take lessons anyway, can I still get a free trial lesson?
Of course, it would be pretty unfair if I didn't offer one to everyone right?
-What do I need to own to take lessons?
Realistically, you can start out with just a pair of drum sticks and whatever instructional book we may being to work out of based on your needs. A practice pad may also be purchased. This is an item that simulates playing on a drum but it's typically a low volume. Eventually you'd want to purchase whatever instruments you may need, but we can start out on basics and I'll help you in deciding what you can get based on your budget and what you are looking at.
---Holiday / Missing Lessons / Bad Weather / Vacations / Late Payment---
-What holidays are the studio closed?
The studio will always be closed on the following holidays that could fall on a weekday: Christmas Eve, Christmas, New Years Day, Labor Day, Memorial Day and Thanksgiving. Any day other than those 6 days, always assume lessons are going on.
-How do makeup lessons work?
This is one of the toughest points to explain. It should be very clear, but I've had trouble in the past with people trying to change my policy on me. In the long run, this policy is exactly the same as most private teachers and it ensures there is a continuous schedule that remains the same on a weekly basis.
Think of the lessons like if you signed up for a class through a fitness club or any other kind of class. You pay the fee for the class session, and if you have to miss due to another scheduling conflict or illness, normally you wouldn't have the option of making up the class. I allow the class to be made up, but there are certain conditions that apply just to make sure it doesn't get out of hand. It's typically never a problem, but as I said, I will be as thorough as possible to cover any questions.
-What if my student/myself has to miss the lesson due to being sick?
Please contact me as soon as you know you will be gone due to illness and we will find a time to makeup the lesson.
-What if I'm not sick and I have to miss the lesson due to a vacation, school conflict, etc.... ?
Please let me know as soon as you know of such a conflict. I normally require a 2 week notice for something like this because it is much easier for me to schedule a makeup lesson for another time. I understand things can come up even a few days before a lesson. As long as it's not excessive I will try my best to make it work. Excessive lessons being missed and rescheduled may end up getting the student bumped to a different time slot. Please be as proactive as possible at knowing school and sports schedules so things can be worked out in advance.
-What if we miss a lesson and don't contact you about the fact we would miss?
In the event of an emergency we'd obviously figure something out for a makeup lesson later on.
If you simply miss because you skipped or forgot about the lesson, the lesson must still be paid for but unfortunately there will not be a makeup lesson available.
-What if you (Ryan Hoagland) have to miss a lesson?
If I have to miss a lesson and you have already paid for it then I will credit that lesson toward the following month. If I know I'm going to miss in advance due to conflicts I may have, I will let you know as far out as possible which typically means when you pay for that month of lessons, you would just pay less the lesson I would miss. Again, you do not have to makeup times that I miss and if you've already paid for it, it will be credited toward the following month.
-What if there is insane weather and I don't feel safe coming in?
I obviously want you and your family to be as safe as possible. In the event of crazy weather, if you must cancel last second for your safety I totally understand and am fine with that and we will work on finding a makeup lesson time. I've had some students who want to reschedule lessons if it's sprinkling while others want to come in and do lessons with 10 feet of snow on the ground.
-School was canceled because of bad weather so that means no lessons right? Not necessarily. Realistically, on most days that school has canceled, the roads are generally in better shape by the time the afternoon and evening rolls around. Lessons will generally only cancel if the mall closes. In this situation you wouldn't have to make up the lesson. Otherwise, you're still responsible for doing the lesson. If you feel it's too unsafe to come in that day though, we can reschedule for another time as described in the paragraph above this one.
-I'm going on vacation for a long period of time, can we skip those lessons?
If it's 2 or less weeks, we would just make up the missed lessons.
Anything longer than 2 weeks you have 2 options:
Pay for the missed lessons and make them up before or after you leave, or I would drop you from my schedule when you leave and when you get back if the time slot you had before is still available you could take it back. If it has been taking by a new student, then we would work to find you another time that would work. I wish I could hold time slots, but in the past I've been burned by holding spots for students who planned on coming back, only to never come back to taking lessons.
-Late Payment Policy
Oh the dreaded late payment. I hate bugging you about it, you also feel bad about it, so how does it work?
Everyone forgets every once and awhile when it's the first payment of the month. So, I'm human and I don't mind giving a mulligan when it comes to late payments. If it happens more than a couple times a year though I have to either charge you a $5 late fee per week that it's late or eventually increase the lesson rate. Even if you aren't sure how many lessons are due at the first lesson of the month, it's always better to bring the payment and ask for the amount. If you have a credit from the previous month you still have to pay the monthly payment at the first lesson of each month, but minus the credited lesson. When in doubt always ask!
-What days do you teach?
Monday - Thursday during the summer, M-F during the school year. I don't teach on the weekends because I want to enjoy time with my family. I also play a lot of other gigs with theatre and out of town gigs so there are times I'm gone and there just wouldn't be much consistency.
-Do I have to enroll for a certain amount of time?
No. You will learn more if you continue with lessons, but I also have many students who do college auditions or just need a little help with this and that and they will take lessons for a few months and then move on to the next thing.
--NEW POLICIES for lessons beginning at my home studio in July 2017---
These are to ensure that things go as smooth as possible for everyone!
Location: At my home in Marion starting in July. You will receive the address privately.
---------Invoking the "2 Minute Rule"
This is probably this biggest rule that I'm going to be picky about. I've had a decent amount of students that would be dropped off early for their lessons at my studio. Sometimes 10, 20, and yes even 45 minutes early before. The problem with this is it creates a situation where I have to pay attention to and watch the student that was dropped off early which sometimes could be a distraction to the student I would be teaching at the time. It's not fair to the student taking a lesson at the current time that they are being distracted by the fact other people are sitting in the room observing them.
Another aspect of this issue is that sometimes students and parents (families) show up for a lesson 10-15 minutes early before their assigned lesson time. Again, in this situation, many younger kids who are being taught a lesson at the time all of a sudden realize there are other people in the room that they don't know, and they start to struggle during their lesson. I've had many students and parents comment to me individually that it bothers them when this occurs. I completely agree as I've seen it can be distracting to students and it's not fair to the student paying for a lesson to have their lesson interrupted half way through and then lose their focus because they know other people are sitting there listening to their lesson.
The last aspect of this is that sometimes I have parents that will come in the second the students lesson is over with additional questions about how the lesson went, etc.... I'm absolutely fine with answering all questions for sure, but please come in during your students time, meaning before the lesson time expires. If you come in when the lesson is over, that's when the following lesson should be starting and you'd be cutting into the following students time. Please feel free to come in to ask during the last 3-5 minutes of your students lesson. Also, email and phone questions are always welcome and fine as well!
Again, correcting ALL of the situations above will ensure every student gets every minute of value from their lessons.
SO, this is where the "2 minute rule" comes in. It's very simple. Students, or students with parents need to wait until 2 minutes before their assigned lesson time to enter my home and make their way down to my studio. This ensures there won't be any distractions to the current lesson taking place until the very end of the lesson, and everyone will get the full amount of potential time out of their lessons. Seating for parents or additional people attending the lesson with the student will be limited as it's all within my studio space, which means I won't have room for multiple families waiting for the next lesson to start. So, correcting all of the situations above should make things run much smoother for everyone! Even if there are no cars out front, many students get dropped off, so assume there are always lessons going on and please do not enter until 2 min. before your assigned lesson time. If you'd like to start the lesson a little sooner you could always text me to see if I'm currently teaching or if it's ok to start early.
Along with this rule is also the 2 min PICKUP rule. If you decide to drop off your student that is ok, please please be prompt about picking them up at the time their lesson ends. I've had students stick around my studio for up to a half hour after their lesson was over. Again, I won't be able to watch multiple kids during the lesson as my main job is to just teach the lessons, so you must ensure your student is picked up when the lesson ends.
-------Parking-----Entering the Studio----Studio Etiquette
My studio is located in Marion very close to LinnMar High School. The studio is located inside my residence which is why I don't post the address online. Scammers like personal info :) If you contact me I'll have no problem giving you the exact address!
ALSO, the permanent studio is currently under construction but should be completed near the end of July. Until then, I will be temporarily teaching out of another room in my basement.
Feel absolutely free to park in my driveway, but only on the RIGHT side of the driveway if you are sitting and waiting. Please make sure the left side is always open so my family can get in and out of the garage. You may use the left side if you are doing a quick drop off or pickup, but please don't sit and wait on that side because it needs to remain open. The driveway only has room for 2 cars so if there is one on the right side then please find a spot to park in the street. Thank you for your help on this one!
If the driveway is taken, there is NO PARKING on our side of the street in front of my house. I wish there was, but due to the width of the street, there is only parking on one side so that 2 lanes are always open.
So, you have to park across the street in front of my neighbors. There are no parking signs on my side of the street so my guess is as good as yours if the city would actually tow you. Lets not find out! The only other thing is there is a block wide mailbox across from my house. It's a very big metal container. Please don't park in front of that because everyone that lives on my street will be getting their mail from it all day long. If you block it they won't be very happy with you.
Please make sure when you park to use the sidewalks to enter my house, please don't cut on any of the grass. It's already a bummer that I can't let people park in front of my house because we don't have parking on this side of the street, so I just ask that any and all of my students respect my neighbors properties as much as possible! They are all very nice and I'd like to keep them all on my good side!
I'm sorry the parking stuff is so confusing but thank you for your help!
-Entering my home and the studio:
No need to ring the doorbell, just knock a couple times then feel free to come in 2 minutes before your lesson begins. I will have some form of security camera at the front door so I'll be able to see who's entering. This is for the safety of everyone.
It's absolutely mandatory that EVERYONE entering the house must take your shoes/boots/footwear off and leave them in the designated spot inside by the front door. No exceptions. If you need shoes to use for playing drum set, you must bring a pair of clean tennis shoes to use and can put them on once you get into the studio.
As for parents, family or friends accompanying students to the lesson:
There is no waiting area like my old studio. Anyone attending the lesson with the student will need to join the student in the studio room for lessons. There will be seating for 3-4 people in the room, but anyone attending lessons must remain in the studio room with the student at all times. It will probably be loud at times depending on what the student is working on. I will have headphones that can be worn for hearing protection or feel free to invest in your own ear plugs or headphones if you'd like. Parents are not required to come into the home studio and may remain in their car or run errands if need be. Some younger students may require parents to remain with them starting out. But I encourage parents of younger students to attend lessons if you can just to be able to help out a little bit if any questions arise at home. Please try your best to keep distractions to a minimum during the students lesson. No answering cell phones unless it's an absolute emergency. Or realistically you can answer the phone, but the phone call must take place inside of my studio which means we'd have to stop the lesson until the call is over. Texting and the normal web surfing is fine.
-No outside food allowed. Students may bring water, parents I'm ok with you bringing a drink in as long as long as you take it with you. Being a home based business I don't want to deal with excess trash if possible.
-Please try to make sure your child is dressed for lessons as if they were going to school. I've had students come to lessons in wet swim trunks before as well as muddy clothes. I do have students that come to lessons directly after sports and that is ok, I just want to keep my studio, equipment, and home as clean as I can.
Lastly, if anyone else is dropping the student off, please make sure to mention these rules to them or feel free to send them a link to the page. I know some kids have grandparents that drop-off, friends, nannies, etc.... Please make sure they are made aware of the studio policies.
Ok I think we made it through all the details!! If you have any other questions please contact me! Again, as detailed as some of these policies are, it's just to help things run smoothly on all sides and give my students the absolute best teaching environment I can create!!
Please feel free to contact me with any other questions via my contact page!