Frequently Asked Questions
When can I start lessons?
You can start lessons virtually any time. When you are ready to enroll contact the school to discuss available days and times, and we will get you started.
How do I Reserve my time slot?
Simply come in and fill out the simple enrollment/consent form and pay form OR you can call the academy where we can take your information over the phone. Once enrollment and payment has been processed your lesson day/time with an instructor will be scheduled and we will send you an email confirmation. Depending on your start date, tuition will be pro-rated if you begin after the first week of the month. PLEASE NOTE: because lessons are first come, first serve, lesson days/times will be released and made available for scheduling another student if registration is not completed within two days.
Once you begin your lessons, that lesson day/time and studio space is reserved for you for that month. If you find you need a different day/time for any subsequent month, or need to discontinue lessons just let us know by the 15th of the your current lesson month.
How do I Pay Tuition?
Tuition is paid by automatic monthly payments which is set up at the time of registration. Tuition must be paid before lessons can begin.
How often will the lessons meet?
Scheduled Lessons meet once a week on the same day and time for 30-minutes (or 45 or 60 minutes for our intermediate, advanced and older students) on an ongoing basis. Lessons are taught year-round. The schedule is based on a 48-lesson year. There is an average of 4 lessons per month, however in some months you may receive 3 or 5 lessons. Your tuition is averaged and is the same each month to simplify your bookkeeping. NOTE: months with 5 lessons weeks are your BONUS month. When you miss that week, we do not reschedule, pro-rate or credit your account.
Breaks are scheduled around major holidays; i.e. July 4th, Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc. and are NOT factored into monthly tuition rates.
Schedules are posted in our waiting area and copies are available for you to take home. The schedule is also posted here.
What do I need to bring?
GUITARS/BASS: All you need to bring is your guitar or bass. We will have an amp, cables, and written material provided for you. We do recommend purchasing a guitar tuner and, if possible, a metronome (or downloading one of our top recommended FREE metronome apps HERE). Many guitar tuners have a built in metronome inside and are relatively inexpensive.
PIANO: We have professional high end quality digital 88 key pianos. all you need to bring is your assignment notebook, lesson book or any special music you want to work on.
DRUMS: We have both an acoustic drum kit and a professional touring grade electronic drum kit on-site at our studio - just bring your drumsticks!
VOICE: Please bring your instrument.
At what age can my child start lessons?
We find that students that are at least five years old do best.
Do you teach adults?
Yes. Our oldest student to date was 78 years young!
Is the instructor qualified?
All of our instructors have many years of formal study, with most having college degrees in music and theory. In addition to that, they also have years of professional playing and performing experience. Quality instruction is our top priority - we only have the very best on staff resulting in a great lesson experience for you!
Can I attend my child’s lessons?
Yes, you are welcome to attend lessons with your child. Programs for younger students may require parental attendance with their students. As children get older they naturally become more independent so parental attendance may become less important. But, it is always recommended that the parent stay current with their child's assignments, stay involved, and show interest in their child's music.
Can my two children have a lesson together?
Possibly. We try to place students who are in the same age range and skill level together in a group lesson. If the children are in similar developmental phases siblings often work well together. The older student may progress faster. If the skill gap becomes too wide, one or both siblings may need to be placed in private lessons. As your children grow the developmental gap tends to close. For example a 5 year old probably cannot keep up with a 7 year old. But, an 8 year old can probably keep up with a 10 year old. Once students reach age 13-14 or so, it is usually okay for them to learn together.
How long should I take lessons?
You can take lessons for as long as you would like. Everyone learns at a different pace and no two students learn exactly the same way. What might come easily to one student may be challenging for another. The journey of learning to play an instrument or sing varies from one person to the next. If it’s a hobby or something you want to do for personal enjoyment most take lessons long enough to learn to play songs they enjoy or have reached a playing level they are satisfied with. Normally, between 3-5 months is good amount of time to cover all the basics, fundamentals, and get a good feel of the instrument. We recommend taking at least a few months to evaluate how far you have come with the instrument and gauge how much you would like to pursue it further.
Can I just take one month of lessons?
Your longest lesson commitment is month-to-month. However, in one month you really do not have enough time to give your lessons a fair chance. Give it time, learning music can be a lifelong endeavor. Ensemble and other special programs are typically for a fixed period and students must enroll for the duration of those programs. Should you find that you need to discontinue lessons we do ask that you let us know in writing by completing and returning the Sad-To-See-You-Go form by the 15th day of your final month.
If I haven’t had time to practice, can I or should I just postpone my lesson?
We strongly encourage that you take advantage of your weekly lesson even if you haven’t been able to practice (or practice as much as you like). It gives you the opportunity to clear up something you might have forgotten since the previous lesson, or that you may be having difficulty with. One good way to look at it is as your supervised and structured practice session for the week with your musical mentor.
I have a crazy schedule. Can I just schedule lessons every other week?
While there are some lesson providers that will do that, for our studio that doesn’t work for us because we know it doesn’t really work for you. 20+ years of professional experience has proven that irregular lesson attendance and many missed lessons in a row results in the students losing motivation and interest. It doesn’t foster improvement either because you will constantly feel like you are “starting over” again each time.
Do we need a real piano at home to take piano lessons?
Although a real (acoustic) piano is ultimately ideal, it is not necessary to start, and they need regular tuning which can cost $200 or more a year. Many students start with electric keyboards and once they decide they like it, then consider an acoustic piano or comparable quality digital piano. The best type of non-acoustic keyboard to rent or purchase is called a digital piano. What you want is a keyboard that has full sized keys (each individual key should be the same size as an standard piano key) and is touch sensitive (if you hit the key hard it makes a loud sound, if you hit it softly, it makes a soft sound). Get a keyboard with at least 60+ keys so that you do not outgrow it too quickly (a regular piano has 88 keys). Weighted keys are a big plus, they give digital pianos a more realistic feel. Some of the high end digital pianos have a very realistic sound and feel and are suitable for advanced students and professional pianists.
Can my child and I have a music lesson together?
A parent with a child 13-14 years of age and up is usually okay. However, because of differences in how adults and children learn, it is generally not recommended for parents and children under the age of 12 to take lessons together.
What if my child begins lessons and dislikes the instrument?
Children usually stick with an instrument if the parents are encouraging and show continued interest in their child's progress and praise their achievements. However, if your child does decide they want to try another or an additional instrument just speak with the Director or Director's Assistant. They will be happy to help you find an alternative lesson.
What if we do not like the instructor?
Not every teacher is a perfect fit for every student. If you or your child wants to change instructors, just let the Director know. She will be happy to help schedule with a different teacher.
How long will it take me to be able to play?
This varies from student to student and really depends on the individual, interest, age of the student and (for students 8 and older) how often they practice between lessons. Playing music is a physical skill. It takes repetition over time to improve. You can probably learn a few simple songs or tunes in just a few lessons, but the world of music is near limitless. There is always something fun and new to learn. Most students take lessons for at least one year, while many choose to study their instruments for many years, and some never stop.
What is the earliest age that my child can take voice lessons?
You can start singing at any age but parents should know that the student's voice will change with adolescence. Many classical voice instructors agree that professional type voice training should be delayed until after puberty. This is because of the changes that happen as the child matures physically, such as development of lung capacity, vocal-chord changes, etc. However, Moscow Music Academy instructors know that children love to sing, and that learning by singing can be a fun and valuable way to develop musical skills. It is recommended for younger students that they study singing along with an instrument such as guitar or piano to work with singing along with music they are learning on their instruments.
Is half an hour long enough for a lesson for beginners?
Yes, in a half hour an instructor can provide plenty of musical material and exercises for the beginning student to practice at home during the week. As you advance you may wish to upgrade to a full hour lessons if you practice an hour or more each day.
How much should a student practice each week?
To master the physical skills necessary to play an instrument takes spaced repetition. For best results, play frequently and regularly for brief amounts of time. Try to schedule at least five days of practice a week. Young beginners are encouraged to play 5 to 10 minutes a few times a week to become familiar with their assigned material and have fun exploring musical concepts. Older and more experienced students may need more like 20 to 30 minutes regularly (daily or at least every other day). The more you play and practice, the faster you will improve, but, don’t overdo it. Some advanced musicians and professionals practice many hours daily. If you plan to practice an hour or more be sure to take a short break every half hour or so, to reduce risk of repetitive strain injury (RSI). The important thing is this: If you really engage yourself in the activity of practicing, and do it frequently, briefly, and regularly, you will have success learning learning to play music.
What is your make up lesson policy?
First, learning to play music is a long-term endeavor (for many it is a lifelong experience). Students and parents should not be overly concerned by an occasionally missed lesson. The most important thing is to continue regular play and practice at home.
Because studio rooms are blocked out for each enrolled student's lesson day/time, and because we are contracted to pay the instructor for the time they have set aside to teach students placed on their roster, students who regularly miss their scheduled lesson appointment due to non-illness related reasons are not entitled to private make up lessons, and are responsible to pay for all appointments, regardless of appointments missed.
However, as a service to our clients, Moscow Music Academy has an awesome free group make up lesson policy. Group Makeup Classes are offered on Saturdays. Our group make up lessons are unlimited; any time you miss your regular lesson for any reason (vacation, sickness, whatever), you may sign up for a group make up class. To sign up for group make up classes just speak with the office manager for a date and time (classes do fill on a first come first served basis).
As an alternative, if you know in advance you are going to be missing a lesson, you may just want to ask your instructor for extra homework (home-play) assignments.
I contacted the Academy in advance to inform them of my absence, why can’t I have a free private make up lesson or credit?
In most cases, if the student is absent at their regularly scheduled time the instructor must be there anyway for their other students that day. So, to be fair to our teachers we pay them regardless of whether the student attends the lesson or not. We understand you want to get the most value for your money, however if we gave free private make up lessons or credits to all those that missed their regular lesson we would not be able to stay in business. Please also consider that, unlike a doctor’s office we do not double and triple book appointment times (just in case someone does not show up). Not only that, we work hard to keep our instructors on schedule so you do not have to wait 30, 60, or even 90 minutes for your appointment like you do at many doctors’ and dentists’ offices. Many music schools (and other learning centers) across the country do not offer any make up lessons at all. Their take is that you contracted for a specific time, and if you don’t come that is your decision.
For example, at the university I (Michelle Karel-Ward, director) attended, I did not get to schedule another guitar lesson (or any other class, ensemble or lesson) if I did not attend at the scheduled time. Same thing with the private lessons I took as young girl. I understood that my teacher's time was spent whether I was there or not. At Moscow Music Academy we try to be more generous by offering FREE, one hour long, group make up lessons. These classes should be considered complementary education, rather than a substitute for your private lessons. The purpose is to add value to the experience and help the developing musician. Remember, learning to play music is a long-term endeavor (for many it is a lifelong experience). Students and parents should not be overly concerned by an occasionally missed lesson. The most important thing is to continue regular practice at home.
I have a school, or work activity, etc., that I cannot avoid. Can I have an exception to the make up lessons policy?
Moscow Music Academy has a free group make up lesson policy. Group Make-up Classes are offered on Saturdays. Our group make up lessons are unlimited; any time you miss your regular lesson for any reason (vacation, sickness, whatever), you may sign up for a group make up class. To sign up for a make up class, contact the office staff for a date and time (classes do fill on a first come first served basis). As an alternative, you may want to contact the academy and ask for extra homework (home-play) assignments from your instructor.
I am ill and cannot make it to lessons – Can I have a make-up lesson?
Moscow Music Academy has a free group make up lesson policy. Group make up classes are offered on Saturdays. Our group make up lessons are unlimited; any time you miss your regular lesson for any reason (vacation, sickness, whatever), you may sign up for a Group Make-up Class. To sign up for a make up class, fill out our convenient online form or contact the office staff for a date and time (classes do fill on a first come first served basis). As an alternative, you may want to contact the academy and ask for extra homework (home-play) assignments from your instructor.
What happens when my teacher can't make their lesson appointment? While this rarely happens, we will always do our best to have one of our suitably qualified teachers substitute. If a suitable teacher is unavailable, a private make-up lesson with your instructor will be scheduled as promptly as possible.
Why can't I deduct my missed lesson from monthly Tuition?
Your tuition reserves your specific studio space, lesson day and time each week with an instructor. When you miss your lesson we aren't able to book another student for that same day and time. Additionally, because the instructor has set aside time to be at the academy to teach on specific days/times, we are obligated to pay them for their time. This fee system is no different from many other educational systems. When you miss your class or private session with your teacher the school does not refund or credit the cost of your missed class or lesson.
Tuition rates are set at a flat monthly rate and are based on a 48-lesson year. On average you will receive 4 lessons per month. On occasion you will have a BONUS month and receive 5 lessons at no extra cost :)
Our scheduling (including free monthly group make up classes) and tuition structure allows us to keep our rates affordable to a wider range of students in our community, it ensures a more consistent and higher quality education and learning experience for both the student AND the teacher.