Frequently Asked Questions
Our teachers are experienced, trained and licensed professional instructors. They have attending conservatories and universities such as Juilliard, Yale, various state and private universities, conservatories in Europe and Asia and more. In addition to degrees and diplomas, we choose our instructors based on experience, patience, understanding and the ability to communicate ideas clearly when teaching children. We do NOT hire instructors who are high-school students or people who otherwise do not meet our strict criteria in experience and education. Our instructors have been put through and passed security background checks.
When deciding on a teacher for your child, we work with parents to decide which NWMA instructor best fits the needs for the child. Parents can get an idea for this beforehand by visiting the “Instructors” pages on our website and reading through instructor biographies.
If you are a newly registered family with the academy, you may, as parents, meet briefly with your child’s instructor before the first lesson and from time to time as circumstances permit. The instructors are not paid for “meeting time” and this discussion could potentially impose on lesson time. However, the instructor may take a few minutes to chat with you about your child prior to the commencement of his or her first lesson. For non-registered students and families, it is possible for the front desk staff to arrange a time to briefly meet the instructor.
Tuition varies depending upon the program enrolled. See our Tuition page on our website for current information. Beyond tuition, there is an annual $40 registration fee. This fee is pro-rated based on the month enrolled with the academy. Materials (music books) usually cost $20-$40/year and can be purchased through the academy.
Tuition discounts are not available for two siblings. In fact, many academy families with NWMA have two siblings concurrently enrolled. We have some of families with three family members enrolled and for that we give a 10% tuition discount off the monthly tuition total.
It depends on the student, their application, the support and involvement from parents, etc. Generally, each level takes roughly an academic year (September through June).
With our emphasis on “concept” teaching, students very often work through our materials at a similar pace. We can supplement students who either need remedial or more challenging material depending upon their pace within the class. If a student consistently pushes ahead, we will move them into a more appropriate situation.
In spite of the perceived level of attention in a private lesson, the music education industry is finding that children are motivated by studying music along side their peers. In addition, this method of learning introduces students to ensemble playing which, in turn, creates critical fundamental musical principles such as keeping a steady beat and precise rhythm (proper counting). No child likes to feel like the one holding back the rest of the class, so they often work hard to keep pace. It’s a fabulous system!
There are only four students per piano class, sometimes even two or three. There are somewhat larger class sizes for music theory and string ensemble, however those students take private instruction in addition to those classes. Most instrumental and voice instruction is still done privately in 30- minute lessons.
No, but costs on materials are not terribly high as the publishers know if they were, they’d be out of business! For your convenience, we have materials in stock and ready for your child’s first lesson. In most cases, materials cost about $8 – $25 to get started.
Yes! The waiting area in our new facility has a counter where students can do school homework or listen to great classical music at our Listening Station, which is well-stocked with classical CDs. However, since there are no adults responsible for watching out for students left alone in the waiting area, we suggest that parents be as timely as possible.
Because of a high demand for classes at certain times of the year, securing your account with payment information allows us to reserve your child’s time-slot in our academy. In addition your child can begin lessons without interruption when the class begins.
The fact is that we rarely experience a child who is not happy with their new abilities. Furthermore, it takes many months to develop even a basic sense of pitch, rhythm and a general musical awareness. However, you are free to remove your child from lessons and discontinue lessons after providing the frontdesk with a 30-day written notice. See our Tuition & Policy page for details.
Yes, the academy offers private lessons. Private piano lessons can be arranged for advanced students. The lessons are either 30, 45 minutes or 60 minutes.
In the case of piano students, you do need to have some kind of piano or digital keyboard at home. If not, we have rental instruments available. We also rent violins, and other instruments as necessary. It would be unwise to spend money on lessons if your child cannot practice between those lessons. If you have questions about purchasing an instrument, our staff will be glad to advise you.
We are very fortunate to have Roland’s KR-105 Intelligent Digital Pianos. They define state-of-the-art. Their true piano sounds and their unparalleled pedagogical abilities, not to mention their highly intuitive and easy to use touch-screen interface, makes them the idea piano in an educational environment.
Our classrooms also have Roland HP101 digital pianos and our “advanced” private teaching studio has a new 5’10” Brodmann grand piano. We have a 5’6 Cable Nelson grand piano in our Chamber Music studio and a Brodmann full upright, also new.
We have a great number of parking spaces directly in front of and around our academy. There are never any problems with parking.
We have a strict No Food / No Drinks policy in the academy. However, we do provide a water cooler near the bathrooms.
Yes, we do. We feel that performing in public is important for a student’s progress, both musically and developmentally in general. Performance also gives students real and tangible goals towards which they practice and strive. Having said that, students are encouraged to participate in recitals, although it is not required. Recitals are twice a year – typically, one in early December and one in May.
We have a front-desk receptionist who can handle most questions and concerns. If the problem is outside or beyond her expertise, she will pass the matter on to the director. You can reach a live receptionist at the academy Monday through Thursday: 2:00 pm-7:00 pm and Friday: 3:00 pm-6:00 pm.
Our instructors are busy professional teachers and it is out of respect for their time and schedule that we implement a 30-day notification policy. If we had no withdrawal period, teachers would be left with “no-shows” and holes in their schedules, which is a waste of time and resources. Very often, families know ahead of time if there will be a schedule conflict that will keep them from attending lessons and 30 days is plenty of lead time for everyone concerned.
Yes. We have a number of affiliations at the academy: MTNA (Music Teacher’s National Association – www.mtna.org), MTAC (Music Teachers Association of California – www.mtac.org) and ABRSM (Associate Board of the Royal Schools of Music – www.abrsm.org/us). The academy has had students participate in these programs for many years in a row, many achieving the highest levels and standards in theory and performance. MTNA and ABRSM have programs that can work at any level and we will be doing with any students/parents who request it.
Disruptive behavior is simply defined as behavior that distracts a teacher from teaching and other students from learning. This includes talking out of turn repeatedly, making noise with or without an instrument when others are working and not following a teacher’s directions.
If we’ve left out something you feel is important, please contact us so we can improve this document.