Studio Policy | dhhow music: studio for advanced music studies

Studio Policy



Although most piano teachers request payment at the first lesson of each month for all lessons and classes to be received that month, I bill at the beginning of the next month for the number of lessons taken the previous month in the form of a billing statement (invoice). Payments may be made using credit card, ACH, PayPal, or check. A $20 fee will be assessed for returned checks.

There is no annual registration fee or deposit required. There are no additional fees for studio performing workshops, rehearsals, or recitals.

Books, materials, and non-studio entry/application/registration/master class/examination fees that are paid by the teacher will be billed as they occur on your monthly statement. I will let you know all registration/application fees in advance. Books from the Bookmark-ette (Sheet Music) Store at the Westside Music Conservatory will be invoiced directly from the Westside Music Conservatory. Payment for Theory & Group Classes are also made directly to the Westside Music Conservatory.

Parents will be responsible for the payment of any missed lesson, unless notification has been made by 9:00 p.m. the previous evening.


If your child wakes up ill or is sent home from school due to illness, please e-mail/text me immediately to reschedule that day’s lesson. Lessons missed due to illness (or family emergencies) will not be billed as missed lessons. Your child must be fever-free, vomit-free, and diarrhea-free for 24 hours before attending a lesson. (Sneezing and runny noses due to allergies are, of course, a different matter.) Although you may think your child is feeling well enough to have a lesson, I do not want any unnecessary spread of viruses, diseases, etc. Several of my students are asthmatic and/or suffer from chronic bronchitis (myself included), so please be conscientious! If your child does come to a lesson and is obviously ill, (s)he will be sent home immediately, and you will be charged for the lesson. My teaching schedule has enough flexibility to occasionally accommodate lesson time changes.

Personal Hygiene

Please be reminded that the studio and theory work areas are intimate spaces, especially on warm-weather days. If necessary, please have your child shower AND change into freshly laundered clothing before coming to the studio; teenagers may also need to use deodorant and/or brush their teeth. All students must wash their hands and/or use hand sanitizer (available in the studio) before their lesson.

Food & Drinks (NO PEANUTS)

No food and drinks are allowed in the music studio at my home. No food and drinks are allowed in the studios and classrooms at the Westside Music Conservatory. If your child needs to have a snack before the lesson and cannot eat outside or in your car, please do so at the dining room table at my home or in the common waiting area in at the Conservatory. As several students have severe peanut allergies, please NO FOOD CONTAINING PEANUTS!

Drop Off & Pick Up

A parent/guardian must be present for and actively observe all lessons, performing workshops, and studio recitals for students through school grade 5, unless previous discussion has resulted in other arrangements being made. The key to a child’s early musical success is parent involvement, and the priority that the family places on music in the home. The monthly Theory & Playing Classes are, however, for students only.

If you need to drop off your child early and/or pick up your child late, please do NOT assume that 1) I will be home or at the Conservatory, 2) that another adult will be at my home, or 3) that the school operations manager will be at the Conservatory.

Home Studio: your child is welcome to wait outside on the front porch (covered) until I get home if he/she is early and there is no adult in the house. If I need to leave and you are late picking up, I will have your child wait inside if there is an adult in the house. Otherwise, I will ask your child to wait on the front porch until you arrive. If your child is too young to be left unsupervised outdoors, please make arrangements for someone else to pick up!

Westside Music Conservatory: although there is a school operations manager, she is not always at the Conservatory on the days and/or times that I teach there. Please be reminded that she is not a babysitter. Her office does not overlook the common waiting area. If your child is too young to stay home by him/herself, then your child is too young to be unsupervised in the common waiting area; we have several exits—the front door opens on Wilshire Boulevard—as well as an open-access kitchen.

Home Studio Etiquette

Although the music studio is a part of my house, please refrain from wandering around. You are more than welcome to use the waiting area and are encouraged to practice on the hybrid upright piano (please use the headphones). Siblings may do homework in the waiting are or at the dining room table. There is a guest bathroom: make a left at the first hallway coming in from the front door and go straight. If you need a glass of water, feel free to ask!

Conservatory Etiquette

There are many studios at the Conservatory, please refrain from wandering around and speaking loudly in the common waiting area. All the teachers can hear your conversations, and it is very distracting for the students taking lessons. PLEASE NO RUNNING! You are more than welcome to do homework or read quietly in the common waiting area. Do not enter any studios/classrooms without first asking for permission. THANK YOU!


Attendance is mandatory for all scheduled lessons (and 75% of the Theory & Playing Classes), as well as for studio performing workshops and studio recitals. In addition, all students in school grades 2 & up must participate in the annual MTAC (Music Teachers’ Association of California) Certificate of Merit Evaluations. (Students who are early readers may participate in Certificate of Merit as soon as they are able to take the written theory part of the evaluation without reading help from an adult.) I also expect all students to work toward sitting for The Royal Conservatory of Music (RCM) Certificate Program examinations in both Performance & Academics (written theory/harmony/history subject examinations). The RCM Certificate Program is an international standardized assessment/examination program.  (Think Honors/AP Exams in Music) for each performance level and academic subject examination, starting from preschool and going through college and associate artist diplomas.) Careful preparation is necessary for these exams and participation for my students is highly encouraged and strongly recommended! Students already in high school are exempt from this requirement if they are transfer students and are preparing to take the Certificate of Merit Advanced Level Evaluations before graduating. Additional events and competitions will be suggested for individual students when appropriate.

Students who miss lessons, Theory & Playing Classes, studio performing workshops, or studio recitals for unexcused reasons, and students who are unprepared for Certificate of Merit will be dropped from the studio roster to open space for students on the waiting list.

Lesson Length

Lesson lengths are determined as follows (Certificate of Merit Levels):

Level: Lesson Length

  • Preschool, Pre-Preparatory: ½ hour/week
  • Levels Preparatory, 1, 2: ½ hour/week
  • Levels 3, 4, 5: ¾ hour/week
  • Levels 6, 7, 8: 1 hour/week
  • Levels 9, Advanced, Advanced Panel: 1-1½ hours/week

Longer lessons and/or more frequent lessons are recommended for:

  • Students who want extra help with theory
: add 15 minutes to regular lesson length.

  • Students who are playing at a significantly higher level than their C/M level
: add 15-30 minutes to regular lesson length.
  • Students who are pursuing more advanced study and are preparing for competitions
: double regular lesson length.

Practice Schedule

Required minimum practice schedule (written theory assignments not included):

Level: Practice Schedule

  • Preschool, Pre-Preparatory: 20 min.; 6-7 days/week
  • Levels Preparatory, 1: ½ hour; 6-7 days/week
  • Levels 2, 3, 4: ¾ hour; 6-7 days/week
  • Levels 5, 6, 7: 1 hour; 6-7 days/week
  • Levels 8, 9: 1¼ hours; 6-7 days/week
  • Levels Advanced, Advanced Panel: 1½ hours; 6-7 days/week

Longer practice sessions are recommended for students who are pursuing more advanced study and are preparing for competitions (e.g., double the required minutes per day). Progress is directly related to quality practice time. Motivated younger students should take advantage of their less demanding school schedule to build technical skills, repertoire, and musicianship before the rigors of high school.

Community Service

Community service and volunteer work are extremely important to me. I would like to encourage all of my students to participate in at least one community service program through music this year! Students in Grades 6-12 are strongly encouraged to join the MTAC Santa Monica Bay Music Students' Service League (MSSL).

Please share your music!  It is a wonderful gift to the community

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