Journaling To Foster Creative Self

As we head into the school year, I would encourage everyone, regardless of age, to keep a daily journal. For those with limited literacy skills, your entries could even be a couple pages of doodling or a few sentences of thought. Any type of journaling is useful, but I happen to love morning pages:

The morning pages are a creative exercise outlined in The Artists Way by Julia Cameron. We will be incorporating ideas from her book in the studio this year. Cameron’s text has been used successfully in my studio with professional artists and adult students as a means to cope with stage fright, creative blocks, etc. The Artists Way for Parents was adapted from Cameron’s original book, and it is a great read for parents looking to foster creativity, balance, and executive function in their own young families.

Fall 2018 Semester Policies

Private lessons will be offered Sundays 12-3pm, Mondays 5-8pm, Tuesdays 5-8pm, Wednesdays 10:30am-12:30pm, Thursdays 4-7pm, and Fridays 4-7pm.  The 2018 fall semester runs Thursday September 6th through Monday January 28th.  The studio will be closed on Saturdays and on the following dates:

Wednesday 10/31 through Tuesday 11/6
Studio Holiday

Wednesday 11/21 through Sunday 11/25
Thanksgiving Holiday

Winter Holiday

Tuition is based on an 18 week, five month semester of study.

For weekly, thirty minute private lessons, the Fall 2018 Semester fee is $540 prepaid (a 10% 
savings) or $120/month on a monthly payment plan.

For weekly, forty-five minute private lessons, the Fall 2018 Semester fee is $810 prepaid (a 10% savings) or $180/month on a monthly payment plan.

For weekly, sixty minute private lessons, the Spring 2018 Semester fee is $1,080 prepaid (a 10%
 savings) or $240/month on a monthly payment plan.

A $25 registration fee is due each semester from all private students. The registration fee is non-refundable, reserves your lesson slot for the semester, and helps defray the cost of venue rental and related studio recital expenses.

A $45 materials and activity fee deposit will be due at the beginning of each semester. The cost of book and sheet music orders, festival fees, and applicable late fees will be taken out of this deposit. Students may be asked to replenish the fund with another deposit if it becomes depleted before the end of the semester. Leftover funds at the end of the semester may either be refunded as a check or put towards the next semester of study.

Any applicable cancellation credits will automatically be credited as a prorated amount towards
the student’s book and activity fee fund. Any remaining funds at the end of the semester may
either be refunded as a check or put towards the next semester of study.

Fall semester prepayment plans are due by September 10th.  Monthly payment installments are due the 1st of the month (except when a later due date is indicated on the invoice).  Payments which are more than seven days overdue are subject to a $15 late fee. Outstanding accounts may be subject to suspension or termination of services.

Statements are sent on a monthly basis via email. A hard copy of the monthly statement may be
backpacked home with students, by request.

Semester tuition prepayment plans may be paid via check or cash only. Monthly tuition payment plans may be paid via check or cash. In-person credit card processing is available for monthly tuition payment plans.

Please make checks payable to Rachel Winograd.

Subject to teacher availability, pre-arranged absences may be rescheduled up to two months prior or after a missed class.

No-show lessons may not be rescheduled.

If a make-up lesson is missed for any reason, it is not eligible for rescheduling.

Students may receive up to two student cancellation credits per semester (Please call or email Mrs. Winograd prior to your scheduled lesson time to receive a student cancellation credit.  Credit will not be given for a no-show).

Students will be held liable for any additional cancellations made during the semester, unless they are lessons missed due to teacher cancellation or inclement weather.

Fair Lakes Music does not follow the Fairfax County Public School inclement weather closing schedule. If you are unable to make your class due to snow or other weather events, please contact me prior to the missed class to receive an inclement weather cancellation credit. Credit will not be issued for a no-show.

Unable to attend a lesson due to inclement weather or transportation issues?  Consider requesting a lesson via Skype, Google Chat, FaceTime or even telephone.

Students of all ages and levels are expected to choose and follow a primary track of study: piano, voice, or composition. Pianists and vocalists will be expected to take an annual performance assessment through Con Brio (offered in-studio) or Royal Conservatory Development Program, as well as participate in at least one studio recital or NFMC Spring Festival Performance event. Composers must submit a composition for feedback to the Composers Forum, complete a poster project on a contemporary composer of their choosing, and take a theory exam either in-studio, through the Royal Conservatory Development Program, or the NFMC Spring Festival Theory event.

To win a studio excellence award, students must: have excellent attendance, be enrolled as students for the 2018-2019 school year, regularly complete all assignments in their assignment log, regularly fill out their studio practice log, come to lessons prepared with all materials, and satisfy studio requirements for their given track of study.


Music Lessons & The Importance Of Parental Involvement

Growing up, my parents would sometimes suggest that we practice our instruments, but there wasn’t much in the way of oversight and they rarely sat in on our practice sessions.   As a teenaged beginner, I was pretty self sufficient and figured out quickly that regular practice was paramount to making progress week to week.  For younger children, even if they greatly enjoy music lessons, they will probably need regular nudging to stay on top of practice.

For most kids, having a parent in the room with them while they practice is beneficial.  A caregiver presence is a reminder to stay on task, and for younger students, it may be useful to have a parent double check that all assigned practice tasks have been completed.  If a student fails to complete given assignments, it’s important to know why.  Maybe the student is tired and plans to work those missed tasks during another practice session later in the week?  Maybe they forgot to complete part of the assignment, because they weren’t using their assignment log?  Sometimes a child hates a piece because it’s an unfamiliar genre or they are struggling with a technical element, so they skip the assignment altogether. Sometimes the student is exhausted by long hours at school or daycare, followed by a battery of enrichment and social programming.  These are all important considerations for the teacher and parent in designing accessible at-home practice plans that will help the student learn and make progress.

If the parent or caregiver has music background, they may be able to help a child work through trouble spots. However, it’s also important to let children make mistakes and realize them on their own.  If you hear a mistake once or twice, give your child a few minutes to auto-correct and problem solve on their own.   If they fail to auto-correct, ask them if they heard a problem in the excerpt.  If the child isn’t hearing a mistake, or hears it but struggles with troubleshooting, then it’s ok to step in for a moment, gently correcting and guiding them in their practice.  The key word here is gentle; the power of failure and importance of developing critical problem-solving skills can not be understated.  As with anything, allowing your child some independence in their practice time is important for their growth and development.

Most children love sharing what they’ve learned in lessons.  It’s a good idea to encourage practice with regular mini home recitals, even if the audience is just mom and the family pet.  (Or maybe the audience includes a grandparent on Skype or Facetime?!)  Provide your child with the applause and high fives they crave, and don’t forget to have the kids practice their bows and curtsies!

As an experienced teacher and parent of a young music student, I’ve learned what a huge difference parental or caregiver involvement makes to the success of an elementary school aged child in music instruction.   As we enter prepare for the new school year, consider what you can do to help your child get the most out of your investment in music lessons.

Rachel Sarrano Winograd is a composer/singer/pianist based out of the DC region.  She is owner of the independent studio Fair Lakes Music and has been teaching for nineteen years.    

Summer Registration

Keep your music skills sharp and bust boredom with summertime lessons!  Customize your summer schedule to accommodate for camp and travel.  Take advantage of priority registration for the Fall 2018 session.  Plus, enjoy seasonal savings on larger lesson packages.  The summer session begins Thursday July 12th and runs through Monday August 6th.  See your teacher or call today to register! 703-679-7426.

Summer Studio Hours are Thursdays 5-7pm, Fridays 4-7pm, Saturdays 12-4pm, Sundays 12-3pm and Mondays 5-8pm.

30 Minute Summer Lesson Packages:
1 Lesson $33.33
2 Lessons $66.66
3 Lessons $94.99 (save 5%)
4 Lessons $119.99 (save 10%)

45 Min Summer Lesson Packages:
1 Lesson $50
2 Lessons $94.99 (save 5%)
3 Lessons $135 (save 10%)
4 Lessons $170 (save 15%)

60 Min Summer Lesson Packages:
1 Lesson $66.66
2 Lessons $119.99 (save 10%)
3 Lessons $170 (save 15%)
4 Lessons $226.65 (save 15%)

Students are liable for any cancellations made during the summer session, unless they are due to teacher cancellation or inclement weather.

Fair Lakes Music offers make-up lessons.  If you need to cancel for any reason, please be sure to call, email or text your teacher before your appointed lesson time.  No-show lessons may not be rescheduled.

If a make-up lesson is missed for any reason, it is not eligible for rescheduling.

Make-up lesson times are subject to teacher availability and all make-up lessons for the summer session must be completed by August 31st.

Payment is due in full at the time of registration.

Accepted payments include check, cash, or credit. Cash and credit card transactions must be processed in person.