Since I started teaching piano professionally in 1992, my goal has been to glorify God through excellent, encouraging instruction. I teach a well-rounded curriculum that includes some music theory (why we do what we do), ear training (eventually enabling the student to read music and play by ear), and songs that are a fun challenge to learn and enjoyable to hear.
I emphasize different parts of this curriculum depending on the specific needs and desires of each piano student and his/her family, so talk with me about your goals for music! I am equipped to teach styles ranging from classical to the best of contemporary music (including reading chord symbols).
My special niche as a piano teacher is teaching interested students how to arrange hymns and praise songs to use in worship. Many people think you must be born with the ability to arrange music, but this is not true – it can be taught (and I really enjoy teaching it).
Tuition is due on the first piano lesson of each month, and stays the same from month to month (regardless of the number of lessons). This helps my family with consistent income, and makes bookkeeping simpler for everyone. (If you forget your tuition at your piano lesson, please mail it the next day.) Your tuition secures one half-hour slot with me per week (although some of my students pay for two slots per month, so that they receive one hour per week).
This is a monthly tuition and not a per-lesson fee, as you are contracting for a specific time slot, and I reserve it for you weekly, whether you are able to take your lesson or not. So, if you must miss a piano lesson, tuition remains constant for the month.
I take paid vacation days five times per year (and try to arrange these around federal holidays, so that you also would be normally taking most of these off as well) for things like Christmas, etc. We average about 4 lessons a month throughout the year this way.
If I am forced to be absent otherwise (due to sickness, etc.), then subtract 25% from the next month’s tuition. I will teach throughout the entire year (including summers), as I have found that piano students who continue to learn without long pauses enjoy their lessons much more. Teaching piano lessons comprises a very significant portion of our family’s income, so if you decide to not continue for a month or two in summer, I must try to “fill your slot” in order to provide for my family. Some students have chosen to continue to pay the tuition instead to reserve their spaces.
Each student will need a spiral-bound notebook that is reserved just for piano lessons. This is where I will write weekly assignments for the student and any notes to parents. This notebook is my vital link to you, and I ask that parents check it weekly and that students use it daily. In order to help you interpret my writing in it, here’s what the abbreviations mean:
- “Rev. 1” – This means that, in my opinion, the student should have finished that song during the previous practice week and has now been assigned to “Review” it again and finish it. Rev. 2 means that they have been assigned the song for two more weeks than I feel should have been necessary, etc. If you see a song with “Rev.” please emphasize that song and make sure it gets extra practice during the week.
- “Polish” – This means that the student made good progress on the song, but the song still has some “polishing” work to do on certain tough spots. “Prac Times” – This is where I ask the piano student to jot down each day of the week and the times that they have practiced. The minimum goal is usually six days per week at 30 minutes/day. At this rate (if they are practicing carefully like I will teach them to do), they will make progress which will keep all of us (and most of all, the student) encouraged about the study of piano. Please help your student get in the habit of setting a half-hour each day for practice of their piano lesson assignments, and then I encourage them to “play around” on whatever they would like for fun for as much time as they would like.
- OTHER ABBREVIATIONS I OFTEN USE: “LH” = Left Hand. “RH” = Right Hand. “HT” = Hands Together. “HS” = Hands Separate (practice one hand by itself, then the other). “NN” = say/sing the Note Names out loud.
In order to save your time and to get the correct books, you can purchase your books through my online store. You get the right book, and I earn a little bit through the affiliation link. (Even if the book isn’t available from the particular seller that I’ve linked to, any purchase you make once linking from my site is credited to my affiliate account. Your price doesn’t change, and I earn a little extra income.)
If you have any questions about these policies or about the progress of your child, please contact me. I count it a privilege and a joy to teach with excellence to the glory of God. If there’s any way you notice that I can improve in that, please let me know!
Bob Sluss 352.372.9212