How are tuition payments charged?
Music lessons run year round. While dance classes run through the school year and a 6 week summer session. When you register you will pay a registration fee that is good all year for all programming. Tuition payments are charged on the 28th of the previous month. Some months you will receive 3 classes, others 5 classes depending on the month. The tuition charge stays the same but over the course of the year you will receive the full complement of classes. If you started late, your first tuition payment was prorated to reflect classes missed.
How do I schedule a makeup music lesson?
Private music students may attend up to two departmental workshops free as makeups for absences. If you are owed a lesson, please sign up in the office or online for one of the workshops.
Can I make up a dance class?
Dance students are more than welcome to attend another class to makeup a missed class. Please let us know in the office so we do not overbook a class.
How do I withdraw from classes?
The deadline to withdraw from all classes and lessons is March 1st. Students must give 30 days notice by completing and signing a withdrawal form in the office. We do not accept email or telephone withdrawals. In order to discontinue payments the office must have a signed withdrawal form. The form will be processed and your account will be settled for all classes including the 30 day period. There will be no credits or refunds within the 30 day withdrawal period but you may choose to transfer to another program for 30 days.
Weather Cancellations & Delays
MusicalArts follows the SAU 16 Exeter school cancellations for the Exeter School and the SAU 11 Dover School cancellations for the Dover school. You can either check WMUR or check the MusicalArts facebook page or website - www.musicalarts.org. Although we make every effort to reschedule and makeup missed classes due to weather we cannot guarantee makeups for lengthy extreme weather events. If there is a delay there will be no morning classes. If you would like to receive cancellations by text message you may sign up for this on our communications form.
There is an encouraged dress code (see class descriptions) that enables the teacher to see the line of the body for accurate form and also to create uniformity in the classroom. Please no tutus or extra decoration as it is distracting in the classroom. No jewelry and hair should be pulled off the face. Ballet students should wear hair in a bun.
Dance Recital & Costume Information
The dance recital is held in June. A recital email will be sent to you after the first of the year with costume costs and expectations for recital. At the recital we celebrate students hard work and put on a professional show on a real stage.
Young Children and the First Class
The first dance class for your 3 or 4 or 5 year old can be exciting and overwhelming. Every child is different and we are supportive of each child’s participation level. Some children will jump right in, waving goodbye to mom or dad with gusto. While others are overwhelmed by the new experience and might rather watch from the viewing tv for the first few moments and then transition to a class with mom or dad watching close by. This is all natural and your teacher is very aware that each child will come to the class with differing skills and participation for this age group. Our goal is for your child to love dance and a smooth transition to class is our goal. Your teacher and the staff of MusicalArts is always available should you have any questions.
Progression & Evaluation
At the end of the year each student is provided with a recommendation form for next year’s class choices. You may at any time ask your individual teacher about your child’s progression.
Instrument & Supplies
Each student should have an instrument to practice on at home. With the exception of drums and piano students need to bring their instrument to lessons. You child should have a practice book, binder, music staff paper and lesson book. We can recommend where to rent or purchase an appropriate instrument in the office.
All students should have an instrument to practice on at home. Your child should be practicing regularly throughout the week to continue progress. At weekly, lessons the instructor will check in and correct any bad habits, assign the next steps, and teach new concepts. A beginning student may be asked to practice 10 minutes every other day, while an advanced student may be asked to practice an hour each day. Your instructor will set practice guidelines the first lesson and you should be available the last 10 minutes of the lesson to review this with the instructor.
Students will set specific goals for each week, month and for the year.
The First Lesson
The first lesson you should bring your instrument and a notebook. Many things are accomplished during the first lesson and the subsequent lessons will be very different than this initial meeting. Your child will be acclimated to lessons, their instrument and get to know the teacher. Sometimes the teacher may even play for the student. The parts of the instrument will be explained and a lesson book will be assigned.
It is important to encourage your child by taking an interest in each practice session. Younger children should have a parent assist with practice. As your child gets older and more experienced, you will find they will take more and more initiative in their practicing. As with any skill, interest will ebb and flow. If you are having difficulty with practicing it is important to discuss this with the instructor.
Music Recitals & Performances
Music recitals are held twice per year, in the winter and spring. Recitals are a fabulous venue for encouragement and a strong feeling of accomplishment in the student. All ages and levels participate. Beginner students will often play with their private teacher. More advanced students may play multiple songs or even have their own recital. You may sign up for these in the office. Recitals are very popular and space is limited. If your child is at an advanced level and would like their own recital please contact the office to schedule this.
Progression & Evaluation
At the end of the year each student is provided with a recommendation form for next year’s class choices. You may at anytime ask your individual teacher about your child’s progression. Parents of music students should be available the last 5-10 minutes of lessons to discuss progression and goal setting for the coming week.
Choosing a Dance Studio
If most dance studios seem to have qualified, friendly teachers, experience teaching children and a big show at the end of the year, aren’t they all pretty much the same? Does it really matter which place you decide to enroll at? Yes. There are 3 main things that can make a huge difference in the quality of instruction your child receives, the amount of extra work and hassles the parents must deal with and the overall enjoyment and satisfaction of being involved with a dance program. Here are 3 things that every parent should consider before deciding on a dance studio for their child.
1. What type of dance floor is used?
Dance is a very physical activity that requires a lot of jumping, which can put stress on bones and joints. Most dance footwear does not provide any cushioning or support, so the shock of dance movement can place a lot of pressure on the knees and back of a dancer. The best way to prevent against potential injury is by choosing a studio with a professional “floating floor”. A floating floor is a dance floor that rests on a system of high-density foam, to absorb the shock of jumping. A high-density foam base is superior to a “sprung” floor, which usually consists of a wood structure built on the regular floor.
The top layer of the dance floor is also an important factor. A vinyl composite “marley” floor is accepted worldwide as the best surface layer for recreational to professional dance. A marley floor allows dancers to slide, with a degree of “controlled slip, but is not slippery so there is less risk of slips and falls. Very few studios use professional marley floors because of the expense involved, and usually opt for a regular floor tile for a studio floor.
Our studio locations have floating floors that have over 700 high density foam blocks under the floor surface and a marley top surface. Our special floors help reduce the risk of injuries and allow students to dance longer without getting tired.
2. What is the size of a class?
If the dance class has fewer students in it each child will receive more personalized attention, learn more and have more fun. With younger students it is easier for a teacher to maintain control over the class and make sure each student understands the concepts and instructions. Our smaller class sizes make sure that no fundamental concepts are being missed. A smaller class size also allows our teachers to ensure that students are not developing bad habits or improper technique.
3. Can I get immediate assistance and customer service?
In many studios the teacher or the studio owner conducts classes and does the administration. By trying to do two jobs at once, the class may suffer as the teacher has to use class time for customer service issues, or the studio may have no customer service available if the teacher is in a class. To have a good experience it is important to choose a studio that can assist you with details like costumes or schedules, even if a teacher is occupied in a class. Our studios have office staff on hand during all regular class times, so you can get immediate assistance.
Getting the most out of Music Lessons
These guidelines will help you to have a successful, rewarding experience learning an instrument. These are practical tips that we have discovered from years of teaching and our experiences with teaching hundreds of students each year.
1. Starting at the right age & in the right program
Adults can start any instrument at any time. Their success is based on how willing an adult is to commit to practicing. For children, starting at the right age is a key element to the success of their lessons. Typically, the younger the student the more involved the parent is as a practice partner and during lessons. It is important that both the parent and child understand the commitment of lessons and practicing. Your instructor will discuss your role and the students practice routine at the first lesson. Children who are older than the suggested earliest starting age usually do very well.
2. Insist on private lessons when learning a specific instrument
Group classes work well for preschool music programs, and theory lessons. However, when actually learning how to play an instrument, private lessons are far superior since in private lessons it is hard to miss anything, and each student can learn at their own pace. This means the teacher does not have to teach a class at a middle of the road level, but has the time and focus to work on the individual student’s strengths and weaknesses. For that lesson period, the student is the primary focus of the teacher. The teachers also enjoy this as they do not have to divide their attention between 5 - 10 students at a time and can help the student be the best they can be.
3. Take lessons in a professional teaching environment
Learning music is not just a matter of having a qualified teacher, but also having an environment that is focused on music education. In a professional school environment a student cannot be distracted by t.v., pets, ringing phones, siblings or anything else. A school environment is not concerned with selling instruments, and have a 100% focus on education. With only 1/2 to one hour of lesson time per week, a professional school environment can produce better results since the only focus at that time is learning music. Students in a school environment are also motivated by hearing peers who are at different levels and by being exposed to a variety of musical instruments. In a music school, the lessons are not just a hobby or sideline for the teacher but a responsibility which is taken very seriously. All of our teachers are professionals who have music degrees, and actively work in their fields.
In addition all of our studios are equipped with high quality pianos, and instrument for students to play.
4. Make practicing easier
As with anything, improving in music takes practice. One of the main problems with music lessons is the drudgery of practicing and the fight between parents and students to practice every day. Here are some ways to make practicing easier:
Set the same time every day to practice so it becomes part of a routine or habit. This works particularly well for children. Generally the earlier in the day the practicing can occur, the less reminding is required by parents to get the child to practice.
We use this method quite often when setting practice schedules for beginners. For a young child 20 or 30 minutes seems like an eternity. Instead of setting a time frame, we use repetition. For example, practice this piece 4 times every day, and this scale 5 times a day. The child then does not pay attention to the amount of time they are practicing their instrument, but knows if they are on repetition number 3 they are almost finished.
Rewards, Praise, and Performance
This works very well for both children and adult students. Some adults reward themselves with a cappuccino after a successful week of practicing. Parents can encourage children to practice by granting them occasional rewards for successful practicing. Praise tends to be the most coveted award - there just is no substitute for a pat on the back for a job well done. Sometimes the greatest reward is having your child play for you at home. Students can be very inspired to play their new music for mom or dad and receive thunderous applause.
5. Use recognized teaching materials
There are some excellent materials developed by professional music educators that are made for students in a variety of situations. For example in piano, there are books for very young beginners, and books for adult students that have never played before. There are books that can start you at a level you are comfortable with. These materials have been researched and are continually upgraded and improved to make learning easier. These materials ensure that no important part of learning the instrument can inadvertently be left out. If you ever have to move to a different part of the country, qualified teachers and institutions will recognize the materials and be able to smoothly continue from where the previous teacher left off.
Most importantly . . . Have Fun!!
Music should be something that you enjoy for a lifetime. So, try not to put unrealistic expectations on yourself or your children to learn too quickly. Remember, quality is far more important than quantity. Learning to play an instrument properly and beautifully is more rewarding than knowing a large library of music that you can play poorly. Everyone learns at a different pace and the key is to be able to enjoy the journey.