What are studio policies?

Music studio have policies in place in order to ensure the greatest amount of musical education with the fewest distractions. Being in the music business as a performer and instructor for several decades, there’s a lot of commonality between successful students, their habits, and the time they spend acquiring musical knowledge (practicing/rehearsing).

I teach out of my home studio in a residential Columbia, Maryland. It’s a quiet location without the frenetic atmosphere of a music store. During recital season, I may have lessons at a performance venue so students can acclimate to the surroundings and performing.

I have a studio contract that spells out our agreement to work together to provide the best program of study.

How do I/we start?

Students come from a wide scope of musical experience, so I assess their musical interests, previous experience, aspirations in music, learning style, and practical requirements, in order to carefully match them with an ideal instruction path.

All prospective piano students start off with an introductory lesson. This helps students and parents understand my approach and helps me to get a sense of their interest in order to meet their specific musical needs.

After the initial lesson, we will determine if it’s the right fit. If it is, we can start with regular, weekly piano lessons.

What about practicing/rehearsing?

All students are expected to practice regularly.

Taking piano lessons and practicing go hand-in-hand. There is no real purpose in taking lessons if one does not, or cannot, practice between lessons. I prepare for each and every lesson, and I do so under the assumption that the student has practiced what I assigned in the previous lesson.

Tuition and cancellation policy?

Per lesson: 30 minutes, $35 / Monthly: $140
Per lesson: 60 minutes $70 / Monthly: $280

Tuition for each month is due the first lesson of the month. This guarantees your slot on the calendar, and priority if for any reason, the schedule must change. Tuition is payable by cash, check or Paypal (extra fee applies).

If appropriate notice is given, a make up lesson can be arranged. If a student cancels less than 24 hours before, or is late for the lesson, students have the opportunity to make up the lesson if my schedule allows (unless, of course in the event of an emergency). Lessons cancelled due to inclement weather can be made up within that month.

Any lesson canceled by me will either be refunded or applied to future lessons (or double lesson).

What are my obligations as a parent/guardian?

• A parent or legal guardian must remain on the premises throughout the lesson unless other arrangements have been made.

That is, students who are 13 and younger are not to be “dropped off”.

With a parent or guardian present, there is a clear understanding of what takes place during a lesson. The parent/guardian will also know what is expected of the student in between lessons. This is important in order to establish daily and weekly goals.

Any audio and/or video recording and social media policies?

Video and audio recording can be mutually beneficial on a number of levels. It allows me to assess my teaching and provide a record of what took place during the lesson. Parents and guardians are encouraged to record the lesson with the understanding and agreement that such recording is for personal use only and not to be disseminated or posted to social media without my permission.

Do you have any pets or other allergens?

For those with allergies, please understand that there are two cats on site.

Any other policies?

No cellphones calls in the studio area. Give your child a gift of an uninterrupted lesson by turning off your cell phone. Telephone sounds must be silenced during lessons.

We will have to assess our teaching arrangement if there are:

• Frequent lack of practice between lessons
• Excessive absences, cancellations, lateness or reschedule requests
• Inappropriate behavior
• Repeated late payment of tuition

• There will be a $35 charge for any check returned as non-payable. That’s what my bank charges me.

• I will not share your information, photographs, or audio or video recordings with anyone without your written permission.

• By scheduling lessons with me you are indicating that you have read and understood this policy, and that you agree to adhere to it.

• This policy is subject to change and updating. When it is changed or updated, current students will be notified.

A couple of other things too

Practicing is the key to success. I want to share a secret: the best time to practice is right after a piano lesson (same day, that is). This galvanizes the instruction into memory and allows immediate application. It doesn’t have to be a long session, but using this procedure can help students progress quickly and advance their acquisition of skills.

Daily practice should be devoted to these areas of learning:

• Finger exercises (scales, intervals, chords, arpeggios, runs, etc.)

• Scored musical selections

• Improvisational exercises

• Solo and ensemble skills



All students are encouraged to attend at least four live musical performances per year. Attending live music events give students a fresh perspective and teaches proper performance protocols and routines.


Student recitals provide opportunities for piano students to perform in a friendly, low-pressure environment, meet other piano students, share ideas and stories, and hear each other play.

Piano students can learn and play a wide variety of styles, from jazz to rock to pop, and at all levels from beginner to advanced. Taking part in the student piano recitals offers the chance to gain inspiration and new ideas for music-making. It’s also a celebration of music and the piano, and the student’s accomplishments.

All students are required to perform in student recitals. If a recital must be missed, a recording project will be considered for fulfillment.

Brian Nelson
888-650-JAZZ (5299)