STUDIO OPERATING POLICIES 2018-19
To keep studio operation simple the policies the policies themselves have been kept to a minimum. Questions are always welcome.
As the serious study of the voice is not a short-term undertaking, studio fees are based on the expectation of annual participation. A yearly tuition fee is paid monthly, by post-dated cheque, over the course of the year. The monthly payment is currently $225.
Post-dated cheques are collected annually, from August to July. Students joining the studio mid-year provide cheques from their start date through to the following July 20th. Cheques are dated for the 20th of the month preceding the month of service. For example, fees deposited on August 20th are for the month of September. Should you decide not to continue at some point during the year, unused cheques will be returned.
The drop-in rate for service is currently $125.00 per hour and is only available to out-of-town students.
Except for the first month of lessons, students are required to provide the courtesy of a one-month cancellation notice.
Normally, the studio is closed for the last two weeks in December and again for the last two weeks in August. The total number of yearly teaching weeks is 48.
Each month students will have three private lessons. The fourth week is reserved for either "Rep Weeks” or “Concert Weeks.” These will be scheduled well in advance. Rep Weeks are workshop weeks and, as the name suggests, Concert Weeks are weeks in which concerts are produced.
Rep Weeks are usually the first full week of the month that begins on a Monday. Rep/Concert Week events and holidays may vary under special circumstances. This might include facilitating date-specific performance opportunities that arise during the course of the year or instructor personal time events. Due to summer and winter closures, that typically fall at the end of August and December, there are no Rep Weeks in August, September, December or January. Regular lessons will be scheduled during those weeks.
All notices and changes will be posted on the studio notice board, shared via the studio Google email list (email@example.com), and/or through a WhatsApp group. Students should read ALL communications pertaining to the studio.
Students wishing to change or reschedule lesson times must give one-week notice to the instructor. Changes are confirmed upon verbal or written notice from the instructor. If you ask for a lesson change and no time match is available; your change request will not be facilitated.
No makeup lessons or refunds are provided for missed lessons. The studio operates on a tuition model and not a fee-for-service model.
In each calendar year, a student may request a leave of absence for one month by providing notice of one month. Their seat in the studio and lesson time will be maintained.
From time to time the instructor may need to reschedule lessons. Except in the case of emergencies, one-week or greater notice will be provided.
No one is ever forced to perform at any workshop or public event. However, the studio operates with the understanding that performance plays a significant role in learning and growth. Therefore, students are helped to prepare for performance and are encouraged to take part in Rep Week (peer to peer) workshops.
As the studio works under the assumption that professional standards contribute to excellence, booking and then backing out of an event is considered highly inappropriate. Doing so, without a release from the commitment, may result in a loss of performance opportunities.
Students who wish to perform for the general public with the studio must do so by supporting the Songkraft Performing Arts Collective; a group of students who work together to contribute to their performance opportunities. Membership is $20, which includes a T-shirt with the SPAC logo.
If you happen to be a person who does not wish to be involved in studio public performance events please be aware; you are not required to perform, however, all studio policies apply to all students without exception.
DISCUSSION: STUDIO OPERATING PRACTICES
There will be no exceptions to the studio policies except under circumstances deemed appropriate by the instructor. If you ask to break with policy the answer will simple be no.
If you are changing lesson times frequently, that’s not going to work in the long run. As you must adhere to the policies, and give notice a week in advance, it is likely to result in some missed lessons. Please remember, tuition applies whether the studio is open, closed for holidays (twice per year at the end of August and December), if you or the instructor become sick, if you get called in to work, decide to go away, or want to do some other activity.
Students have these options:
1. Book a regular lesson time that works for you.
2. Book changes at least one week in advance.
3. Book a month off, once per calendar year, giving one full month notice in advance.
4. Cancel lessons altogether giving one full month notice.
This means that you must reschedule at, or before, your lessons of the week preceding your requested change. If there are changes in your life, and they occur within a week of your lesson, that is your responsibility entirely. If you are away a lot, for personal reasons, you need to be responsible and not the studio. You may use the Songkraft Performing Arts Collective (SPAC) WhatsApp group to try to arrange a swap if you are not in a position to give proper notice.
To some people it seems that the tuition fee model and lesson cancellation policy is unfair. If you pay for a lesson then you should get a lesson, correct?
That statement is not correct. There are many reasons why the tuition approach is fair and better for everyone. The tuition approach affords everyone the opportunity to share in the advantages it produces.
With the hourly fee-for-lesson model, students tend to be much less committed to their lesson times. Cancellations become all too common. Lesson fees would therefore have to be much higher to adjust for the ineffectiveness of the model. The fees would have to be at least $125.00/hour or more.
With the tuition model, students take increased responsibility for their chosen class times and attendance. There are fewer cancellations, better learning outcomes and a program cost that is reasonable. Everyone shares the load if they are sick or if the instructor should get sick. Not unlike post-secondary education, students are free to miss as many classes as they like. After all, they’ve paid for them.
Monthly studio fees have been the same since 1981. When there was a need for a change the program was changed to include a Rep Week and, once again, the monthly fees remained the same. Doing this also facilitated the need to put more energy into workshops and special events. The result of this change has been a better program and fees that have remained the same for almost 40 years.
Most voice teachers just work from a room in their home and they do very little to support their singers outside basic lessons. Songkraft students don’t suffer the same fate. They have a state-of-the art lesson and workshop space, an exceptional rehearsal space and a space that many students have access to for practice. Also, the number of performances available to students continues to rise well beyond the usual once-per-year showcase.
When circumstances may prove to be detrimental to a student’s vocal progress, the instructor may offer to assist if and when it is deemed appropriate to do so. This is very often the case with someone very new to the process and much less likely with someone who’s more experienced.
If you disagree with this perspective, on how to run a fair program, then please remember that you are free to seek service at a studio that operates with teacher’s available on a pay-as-you-go basis.
Before making any decisions at all you should visit the studio, meet some of the singers and learn about their work. Also, if you have additional questions then please ask for further clarification.
Copyright © 2018 John Timothy Mallandaine. All Rights Reserved.