Studio Policy



TERM OF INSTRUCTIONPittman Music Studio offers year-round instruction.  The instructional contract begins in September when school starts and ends in late August of the following year.  Tuition includes 38 lessons given throughout the entire year and is payable in 12 equal monthly installments.  In addition, students will have the opportunity to participate in performance classes, competitions, recitals, and master classes during their studies.  Intensive study in music theory and classes in music appreciation are available upon consultation with the student.  Students are encouraged to schedule as many additional summer lessons as family vacations permit.  Summer lessons allow students to advance more quickly when they are not busy with their usual schoolwork.

TUITION Tuition is due on the 1st of each month.  PMS fees are tuition based rather than lesson based.  Twelve (12) equal tuition payments are required.  (Any additional lessons, beyond the 38 included in the tuition, are billed separately.)  Regardless of the number of lessons per month (due to holidays, professional leave, etc.), the 12 tuition payments remain the same (unless additional lessons are requested).  A non-refundable annual registration fee of $100 is required.

Tuition fees are:

                        $185.00 per month for 45-minute lessons

                        $243.00 per month for 60-minute lessons

Semester or annual payments are also available.  Please inquire if interested.

The aggregate number of lessons is accordingly prorated for students who begin their instruction after the start of the academic year.  Monthly tuition fees remain the same.

ADDITIONAL FEES A $15 fee will be added to the accounts of all students who participate in performance classes.  For all recitals that occur throughout the year a recital fee of $20 will be levied for each performer.  A $6 charge will be added to accounts of students who receive a student assignment notebook.  Clients who arrange to have lessons taught in their home will be levied a supplemental $20.00 monthly charge.  Students are responsible to pay all competition fees.

BILLING – Invoices are sent via email around the 20th of the previous month indicating the next month’s tuition, fees for music received, contest enrollment fees, studio class fees, etc.  Payments may be made via Paypal, Visa, Master Card, Discover, American Express, Apple Pay, Android Pay, or check.  Please make checks payable to Dr. Frank Pittman, NCTM.


Payment for all fees and charges is due on the 1st day of every month.  Clients will incur a $15 late fee for payments received after the 1st of each month.  A client’s account will be charged $20, plus any additional bank charges levied against the Pittman Music Studio, for checks returned from the bank marked NSF (non-sufficient funds).

SCHEDULED LESSON TIMES – Lessons will be given weekly on the same day of the week and at same time of day (unless other arrangements are made).  A reminder email is sent to each client one day in advance of the lesson.  Clients should notify Dr. Pittman immediately if no email is received or if an erroneous email is sent with inaccurate date/time information.  Clients are responsible for verifying lesson times via the online calendar.  Dr. Pittman should be notified as soon as discrepancies are discovered.

MISSED LESSONS – It is the student’s responsibility to attend ALL scheduled lessons.  With the exception of sudden illness or family emergencies there will be NO rescheduling for missed lessons.  If a student is too sick to attend school then they are not permitted to attend piano lessons.  Dr. Pittman reserves the right to refuse to teach a sick student.  Additionally, any student may be dismissed early from a lesson due to insubordinate behavior or a lack of preparation.  There will be NO makeup lesson in the event of such dismissal.  Any lessons missed due to personal reasons including but not limited to vacations or after school activities will NOT be rescheduled.  Makeup lessons will be given for lessons missed by Dr. Pittman due to sickness or professional obligations.  Missed lessons are forfeited and will not be rescheduledThere are no refunds for missed lessons.

PROBATIONARY STATUS – Dr. Pittman reserves the right to place a student on probation at any time there is concern regarding the student's progress.  Dr. Pittman shall inform the student and parent, by means of a letter of probation, of the terms and conditions of probation.  If student fails to meet the terms of the probation then lessons may be terminated.  See terms below for procedures regarding lesson termination.

TERMINATION OF LESSONS (canceled contracts) – Clients may terminate lesson contracts at the end of a calendar month.  A minimum of two (2) weeks written notice is required (email is acceptable).  There is a penalty fee equivalent to one month tuition installment for terminating lessons before completing the 12-month contract.  If adequate written notice is not provided then the client agrees to pay an extra month of tuition in addition to the penalty fee.  The final bill will include the one-month penalty fee plus any outstanding balance.  There are no refunds on accounts paid in advance, including registration fees, when lessons are terminated by the client.  Dr. Pittman reserves the right to terminate lessons for any reason without prior notice.  There are no refunds of registration fees nor of any tuition installments paid in advance.  Clients will NOT be liable for any ensuing tuition installments following the termination of lessons by Dr. Pittman.  At such time the client agrees to pay any outstanding balance with Pittman Music Studio.

HOLIDAYS & INCLEMENT WEATHER – I will observe the following holidays during the 2015-2016 season:

September 5 Labor Day
November 21 – 27 Thanksgiving Holiday
December 24 – January 7 Winter Break
January 16 Martin Luther King, Jr Holiday
April 9 – 16 Spring Break (Durham, Wake School System)
May 29 Memorial Day
July 4 Independence Day

Weather involving snow and ice will be treated on a daily basis; please call.  With consultation, special arrangements may be made for individual religious observances.

PROFESSIONAL LEAVE – As a professional pianist, visiting lecturer of piano, adjudicator, and as a past president of the NC Music Teachers Association, I will need to be away for professional reasons.  Most of these dates appear below.  However, there might be an occasion when I will have short notice prior to my departure.  I will inform the families as soon as the conflict arises.  In all situations, I will either reschedule the missed lessons or provide a substitute teacher.

October 20 – 23, 2016 NCMTA Annual Conference


Additional dates may be announced as they occur.

ARRIVAL and DEPARTURE from lessons – Please be prompt when dropping off and picking up students.  I cannot supervise nor babysit waiting students while I am teaching.  Students are not to wait alone outside.

FOOD / SHOES – Please do not bring food, drinks or gum into the studio.  Students should finish all snacks before arrival and wash their hands on entering the studio.  Please remove your shoes upon entering my home.

PARKINGYou may park in my driveway or on Hanson Road and walk to the studio.   Out of respect for my neighbors, please do not park on Shady Side Lane.

PARENTAL OBSERVATION – Parents are welcome to observe all or part of the lesson.

PRACTICE – Practicing can be fun!  Each student will learn and progress at their own rate, but I suggest that your child have an “assigned” special time set aside for piano practicing each day, away from radio, TV, computer, and other distractions.  That way, your child will be able to meet their responsibility with a routine.  Practice may be broken into 2 or 3 short sessions rather than one long session if that suits the student’s learning style better.

Beginners will need some parental supervision to make sure they are covering the appropriate pages as listed in their assignment books. 

Please keep fingernails trimmed short—long nails prevent good hand position.

Please make sure that your piano is tuned regularly and is in good repair (all keys and pedals working properly).  If you need the names of good piano technicians, please ask.

Practice intelligently!  There is a speed, no matter how slow, at which you can play your assignment accurately (dynamics, articulations and all other details observed—not just pitches and rhythms).  It is the student’s job to find that slow and accurate speed.  If you have never physically felt nor heard the piece or exercise incorrectly, you are off to a solid start.  Gradually speeding up something that is already otherwise correct is much wiser and far easier than trying to clean up a fast mess.  Be patient and do several repetitions of each part of your assignment—once is not enough.

For best results each week:

•1. Practice again after your lesson (on the same day).  This is a great idea for students who “forget” what to do.

•2. Students are encouraged to re-read the week’s assignment as they sit down for daily practice and to record their daily practice time in their assignment books.

•3. All homework is written in the assignment book.  It is recommended that parents check the student’s assignment book weekly to follow up on assignments, studio news and special activity dates.

•4. Students and parents will receive an email confirming the attendance to the lesson.  Practice reminders will often be included in these emails.

•5. Parents and students are encouraged to visit the studio website for additional updates.

SPECIAL DATES – Please mark on your calendar the dates for any performing classes, competitions, contests, festivals, auditions, community performances, or recitals involving your child.  These dates will be in the student’s assignment book and on the studio website.  Fees for such activities will be added to your account.  These fees are non-refundable.

MUSIC – All new music is given to the student at their lesson.  This enables the student to receive instruction and then return home to practice—and saves the parent a trip to the music store.  A charge for the music will appear on the following monthly invoice.  It is best if music is kept together in a special place at home.  All assigned music, including theory book, assignment book, and flashcards, should be brought to each lesson.  It is very difficult to instruct the student if all of their music is not present.  It is helpful for students to bring their music to lessons in a book bag or tote.

PERFORMING – Students who have mastered a piece are encouraged to perform their music for others.  Lessons may occasionally overlap five minutes to allow for these special performances.

PERFORMING OPPORTUNITIES – Students are invited to participate in as many performances as they are prepared.  Full studio recitals are scheduled in December and in June.  Additionally, several performance classes are held on particular Sunday afternoons throughout the season.  Students may furthermore participate in the Durham Music Teachers Association Playathons (Playathons raise scholarship funds for economically disadvantaged music students in Durham).  Likewise, certain prepared students may be invited to participate in the DMTA student recitals.  Students also have the opportunity to participate in various competitions throughout the state.  Dates for all scheduled activities are located on the studio website.

RECITALS – There is a winter and spring recital for all students who would like to perform.  There are additional recital opportunities throughout the year for advanced students.  It is expected that those attending a recital will remain in their seats until the recital is finished.  Also, except for video cameras, please plan to photograph your child at the piano either before or after the recital.  Students find it very difficult to perform when there are distractions.

GRADUATING SENIOR RECITAL – Interested and prepared high school seniors are given the opportunity to participate in a spring Graduating Senior Recital.

COMMUNITY SERVICE – Students are encouraged to share their music in the community by performing in hospitals, home tours, nursing homes, retail stores, etc.

STUDIO WEBSITE - Please visit the Pittman Music Studio website often for current news, concert information, etc.  I need signed parental permission on file for a student’s name, photo, or recording to be featured on the studio website.