Full Studio Policies
Welcome to My Studio!
Greetings parents and students! I’m thrilled that you/your child has decided to either start studying or continuing studying flute with me this year. This document contains most of the material that you will need to know as you/your child either begins or continues to study a musical instrument. As with any endeavor, studying music requires patience, practice and enthusiasm on the part of the student and their family. There is a direct relationship between parental and family involvement and a student’s success, so please don’t hesitate to show support and get involved in lessons as well as your child’s at-home practice sessions!
My Contact Info
Cell Phone: 847-903-4086
Orientation Process for New Students
Here are some steps for new students to take prior to beginning their lessons:
1. Parent and/or student introduction interview with teacher
2. All materials obtained as directed
3. Read and sign studio policy
Click on a heading below to jump to a specific section
Music, Repairs & Materials
Finding Flute Music and Repairs
Evanston Band And Orchestra
4125 Main St, Skokie, IL 60076
(847) 673-3812 (Request flute technician specifically!)
Flute Asylum* (Tom Peterson)
5 S Wabash Ave #802a (Mallers Bldg), Chicago, IL 60603
(773) 241-4870, www.fluteasylum.com
*You must call in advance and make an appointment. Tom typically only services pre-professional and professional flutes. Be sure to say you’re my student!
Instrument repair, instrument purchases, sheet music and accessories
Flute in good working condition, regular maintenance must be done.
Spiral-bound Notebook for weekly assignments and practice journal
Music stand for practicing (must be able to raise lower height)
Combine Metronome/Tuner (Korg-TM60 recommended)
Tunable App downloaded onto phone or tablet (available for iOS or android)
Cleaning cloths for inside & outside of instrument (please ask for guidance if needed!)
Quiet, distraction-free practice environment
Somewhere to store music (a special bag or filing crate work well)
Desire to learn
Please bring your flute, all assigned music, and notebook to each lesson.
Lesson Expectations For Students & Parents
• Have a commitment to learn
• Show up for all scheduled lessons
• Be disciplined about practicing every day
• Practice what I have assigned in our lessons
• Ask questions if something is unclear
• Listen to the appropriate repertoire at home
• Silence your cell phone (not vibrate, silent!)
Students younger than 10
I require active parental participation for any student who is under the age of 10. When parents are involved and take music in their child’s life seriously (writing notes, asking questions before or after lessons, practicing with student at home), children are also more likely to take lessons seriously. As a result, your child will progress much faster! I ask that parents follow along, taking notes or video in the lessons, and be able to help their children practice material covered in the lesson at home. I will also do my best to make sure parents understand how they can help their child during practice.
Cell Phone Policy
I require all cell phone, pagers, etc. to be turned off or put on silent mode. I ask that all persons in the room refrain from taking calls. If you are reading books, playing games, or otherwise not paying attention to your child’s lesson, I would prefer you not be present during lessons.
Students 10 and older
While I strongly encourage active parental involvement for all my students, I do not require it if the student is 10 or older.
Special Learning Needs
I expect to be informed of any special learning needs, including but not limited to the following:
Severe allergies (animals or food) or health concerns that might affect playing flute
Any physical impairment such as hearing, visual or motor skills issues.
Any cognitive learning concerns (memory, language processing, reading, etc)
ADHD or autism spectrum concerns
I have years of experience helping students of all ages and abilities. In order to best help the student, it is imperative that this information be communicated to me to ensure you/your child experience a comfortable learning environment. It also allows me to use my special skills and tools appropriately. Any information shared with me remains 100% confidential.
Every student progresses and learns differently. For me progress is defined as follows: learn something new in every lesson and at-home practice session. I focus on the process of learning, and I support and help each student on their own journey.
Practice is part of this commitment. Private lessons offer the opportunity to learn the valuable skills of goal-setting and time-management in addition to playing the flute. Consistent, focused practice throughout the week is essential. Keep in mind that several small practice sessions are usually more effective than one long marathon practice each day. Also, QUALITY of practice is much more important than QUANTITY!
In my studio the expectation is to have at least five days a week of practice with 20-30 min/day for beginning students, 35-45min/day for intermediate students, and 60min or more/day for more advanced students.
My teaching approach is extremely practical—time is a precious resource. I do not waste a student’s time with mindless, monotonous work. I emphasize special exercises, numbers of repetitions, practice games, and specific goals, helping students understand how they can break their assignments into small, manageable pieces.
In lessons, we work on developing home practice skills (arguably the hardest part of learning an instrument). Students are guided on creating a practice plan for the week and a practice journal. They are expected to fill it out as they go through the week, and eventually to create their own plan. This becomes a valuable reference resource for them!
During lessons, I ask students lots of questions about what they hear, feel, notice—these observations are crucial to the growth of a student’s own self-feedback loop. We are own teachers in the practice room, so it is critical to really listen to ourselves and assess what we are doing and what we can learn to help improve our skills. The mantra is listen, reflect, learn, improve—repeat.
Of course, I understand that life can be extremely hectic sometimes! If a busy week is coming up with school or family obligations, tell me and we will plan our assignments out accordingly. I encourage students to come to lessons even if they do not feel as prepared as they would like; there are any number of activities we can do for ear training, tone development, and sight-reading outside of the assigned lesson material.
Open Studio Policy
The studio maintains an open studio policy: any student may attend and observe any other student’s lesson unless a students requests otherwise. We learn so much from watching others, and this is the standard policy and format for lessons outside of the US. The idea being that the more exposure we have, the more we learn. If we observe as an objective listener someone struggling with a similar issue we are working on, we often have an insight about our own work that we can go apply. For those interested in teaching, it is critical to observe someone teaching to see how they address corrections, what they address, etc. No one is obligated to attend, but you are welcome.
I provide two recital opportunities per year. One in the fall and one in the spring. Students are encouraged but not required to participate. Recitals are valuable opportunities to present and celebrate the work students are doing in their lessons, and to play in larger chamber ensembles. Every recital features a group flute choir piece with the whole studio.
Accompanist fees for one rehearsal and the recital are part of your monthly tuition. If a student/family requests additional rehearsals, the additional fees are the responsibility of the student/family.
We have performance classes 1-2 (or more) times a semester as schedules allow, typically at Vernon Hills High School. These are great opportunities to participate in group learning activities, flute choir, and/or learn from our special guests. Subject matters are mostly chosen by students. These are included in tuition, though not required to attend. They serve an a make-up for missed lessons, an opportunity to learn something new.
The Student Portal is your one-step resource for studio info, schedule, announcements, recital & performance class info, tuition payment options, and the Dropbox. The Dropbox contains valuable resources I will expect students to access as requested by me. These include recordings for at home listening, exercises, etc. A copy of these policies is also posted in the Dropbox.
Email is my preferred form of communication and I check it regularly. I will always make my best effort to return your email within 24 hours. I will use this method to keep you updated with necessary studio and recital information. If you need to contact me immediately, or you are more comfortable contacting me via telephone, please feel free to call my cell phone at 847-903-4086. Please do not text me important info—email or call me with that info, please.
Communication between student and teacher is essential. If you find yourself frustrated with the material assigned to you during the week, please contact me and we will find a solution. Many times a quick video chat will do the trick!
I expect responses within 24-48 hours to any communication I send to students/parents, please. Especially to anything marked as [time sensitive].
The studio schedule is kept on a google calendar accessible via the Student Portal page of this website (https://www.shannapranaitis.com/studentportal). What is posted on the calendar is what/when I expect to happen. Students are responsible for notating their lesson times and looking at the entire month, including alternate days of the week. Errors? Please tell me ASAP.
Note: Failure to check the lesson calendar and/or properly notate your personal calendars does not exempt you from knowing its content. You can add events to your personal calendar, add notifications, etc., to be sure you never miss a lesson.
Lessons are scheduled on a weekly basis. When a lesson time is agreed upon, we are all making a commitment to keep that time free from other appointments or activities. Tuition pays for my reserved time, my preparation for the lesson, and my own continuing education to be the best teacher possible.
In addition to being a dedicated teacher, I also maintain an active performance calendar and my schedule is tight. Make-ups for missed lessons are not guaranteed. In order for make-up lessons to be available, students must notify me of cancellations as far in advance as possible. Lessons missed by the student will not be refunded. If an emergency or major schedule change need arises, please talk to me or call me as soon as possible. I am always happy to find a solution for my students, and there are several options below if conflicts arise.
For lessons scheduled during the VHHS school day: Unless a student is absent from school, s/he is expected to attend the scheduled lesson. If a student is present at school and chooses to miss the scheduled lesson time to attend to other school-related responsibilities (for ex: labs, make-up work, meetings with teachers) or fails to attend the scheduled lesson for any other reason without proper notification, no alternative time/day will be offered. This is a scheduled class in your day/week and needs to be treated as such.
If the student is more than 10 minutes late for a 30 minute lesson, more than 15 minutes late for a 45 minute lesson or more than 20 minutes late for a 60 minute lesson, the lesson is considered over and will not be taught or made up. Timely arrival is important. Please give yourself time to park and be ready for the lesson. I understand things come up and I will do my best to be flexible and understanding!
The same policies apply for Online Lessons as in-person lessons and will be held on the platform with the highest level of reliability, sound quality, and video for the student: FaceTime, Google Meet, Zoom, Google Hangouts, Skype, etc.
Students must have a back-up platform chosen and ready in case of difficulty with the referred platform.
Students are allowed and encouraged to record their lessons for later reference.
I will use a google doc notebook to track assignments and take notes during your lesson. You may write notes and thoughts into it as well.
Due to our current COVID-19 crisis and all lessons being online right now, I am extending the policies about rescheduling lessons.
If you are not feeling well or have a conflict arise for any reason (ex: you're experiencing a really rough week and need extra time), I will happily reschedule your lesson to another mutually convenient day or time that week if you ask for it. This should not be considered a free pass to constantly reschedule every week. These are weird times for us all, and I want to offer you flexibility when you need it.
Remembering to inform me about conflicts is your responsibility. Last minute changes typically cannot be accommodated.
If a school-sponsored event (assembly, field trip, etc) or other conflict during the scheduled lesson time arises, first try to swap times with another student, or if that is completely impossible, notify me ASAP, and at least 1 week in advance. It is expected that all efforts will be made to avoid scheduling any other appointments during the scheduled lesson time.
With at least 1 week notice, I will happily offer an alternative time/day for that lesson. This may be offered as a virtual lesson, per my availability. If I am not given at least 24 hours notice for such a conflict, you will miss the benefit of that lesson and no alternative time/day will be offered.
Illness: I ask that you/your child do not come to the lesson if the illness is serious. Please notify me as soon as possible, and if the your child is still able, we can have a lesson via Skype/FaceTime/Zoom/Google Hangouts instead of in person. It may be possible to do this virtual lesson a different day/time, but it is not guaranteed. Otherwise, I cannot make up lessons but am happy to use that time in preparation for your child’s next lesson. The times we schedule for lessons are yours and I will do all I can in that time to best benefit you and your child.
Emergencies (broken arm, traffic collision, family emergency, hospitalization, etc.): Please communicate with me as soon as possible. I will do my best to try to schedule a make-up lesson in the future, though I cannot make any guarantees. Emergencies are dealt with on a case by case basis.
Weather-Related or Other School Closing Emergencies: In the event of an emergency school closing or weather travel emergency, lessons are given online at their original time unless otherwise requested/stated. A Computer, tablet or phone will work just fine. Video and high-speed internet are essential. Options: Skype, FaceTime, Zoom, Google Hangouts. It is strongly recommended that you register/set-up at least two of these services and test them in advance, so they are ready when/if needed.
Options When/If Conflicts Arise
Swap Lessons: Students (Families of private students) may trade their lesson time with another student to help avoid absences. Please inform me if you do not wish to have your name included on the swap list. The Swap List is in the Student Portal. Use the following rules to make sure swaps go smoothly:
I must be informed prior to and after arranging a swap. There are sometimes reasons why something is not OK to swap.
When you have found someone to swap with, email me AND the person you are swapping with to inform me of the agreement. I will put it on the google calendar to make it official.
VHHS: If it’s super last minute during the school day, come tell me in person quickly or text me.
No make-up lessons will be given for any missed swap lessons.
Skype/FaceTime/Zoom/Google Hangouts: If there is a serious conflict that cannot be resolved any other way, you may request an alternate day/time and do an online lesson. These are available with at least 24 hours notification and can take the form of Skype/FaceTime/Zoom/Google Hangouts according to my availability and are the responsibility of the student/family to request these options.
Performance Classes: At least twice each semester, I will offer performance classes at TBD time and dates. These will be student chosen topics and activities, such as masterclasses, flute ensemble, or special topics sessions. These are extra opportunities for students to attend in place of a missed lesson, too. If a student has attended all their lessons, this is a bonus session for them!
I am an active performer and travel to give workshops and concerts. There are many benefits to having an active performing musician for a teacher. However, sometimes I will need to reschedule lessons to accommodate tour schedules, unless I am taking one of my six weeks off. Most often this means, we will have the lesson online via Skype, FaceTime, Google Hangouts or Zoom. Or I will reschedule/make-up the lesson to an alternate day/time in addition to your regularly scheduled lesson. In the rare event that we are not able to reschedule a lesson by the end of the semester, I will credit you for this lesson.
Tuition & Payment
Specialty/One-Off Single Lessons: $80/60 minutes; $120/90 minutes
Regular Weekly Private Lesson Fees
30 minutes: $120/month
45 minutes: $180/month
60 minutes: $240/month
To maintain consistency in my student's growth, sanity in my schedule, and to simplify payments, the studio requires a fixed payment at the beginning of each month year-round. Tuition includes performances classes and all recital fees for 2 recitals per year, and students are guaranteed a total of 46 lessons per calendar year. I travel for teaching conferences, performances, and institutes and so there are a total of 6 weeks of vacation time to cover my time away, which I can use at any time. If I do not use this time, they are weeks free to you. [The 6 weeks of vacation time for me are not billed to you. Tuition includes lesson fees, recital fees, performance class fees equally divided across 12 months.]
Generally, I observe the school district break schedules in December (approx. 2 weeks), and most likely the Spring Break (1 week). Any weeks off will be documented on the studio calendar. If it is not indicated as a week off, I am teaching that week. Other holidays, absences or travel should be considered foreseeable conflicts and will be handled under that protocol.
During the summer months, lessons may happen in person or virtually with Skype, FaceTime, Zoom, or Google Hangouts, depending on both my own and student travel schedules, unless I am taking one of my 6 weeks off. Any extended absences over summer months (visiting family in other countries, camps, etc) will be addressed on an individual basis. Please alert me as soon as possible if this will be your situation. I am happy to work out arrangements in these circumstances.
Payment – Checks, Cash or Electronic Payment
Payment is due at or before the first lesson of each month, unless a prior arrangement has been made. Checks, cash or electronic payment through your bank (Zelle, QuickPay, etc), or PayPal. will be accepted. I encourage setting up an auto-pay through your bank (Zelle, Chase Quickpay, etc) using my email or through PayPal (link in Student Portal). I will provide a monthly invoice if there are additional charges (purchase of music or supplies from myself, etc). You are responsible for any bank charges incurred due to returned checks.
Late Fee: $30 late fee will be assessed for late tuition payments. If an extenuating circumstance arises, call me. I am happy to work something out to help you. There's always a solution!
I believe all students who wish to learn should have access to high-quality instruction. Partial scholarships for lessons are available to highly dedicated students with financial difficulty. Please fill out the Scholarship Application Form on the website and I will contact you to discuss the options further.
If for any reason you are considering discontinuing lessons, I ask that you speak with me about the situation so that we can work on it together. I fully understand that not every teacher is for every child and am always committed to what is in the best interest of each of my students. If we have decided it is best to discontinue lessons, I require 1 month’s advance notice in writing (and the tuition for that month). No refunds are given for unused tuition.
Also, remember that this is a relationship that has been developed over time. I care very deeply for my student's continued growth and development. If I can help transition in any way, I would be more than happy to do so! Need recommendations for a superb teacher that will be a great fit? Absolutely! Need to transfer long-range plans, development goals, and plans? I will gladly help!
In the interest of fairness to all families and students, the above policies are applied without exception to all students in the studio. Failure to adhere to the above policies may be grounds for dismissal from the studio, with proper notice, or loss of scholarship.