Studio Policies
 (Updated and Effective 06/1/17)
My Mission
Is to train talented and motivated singers and young teachers, sharing my knowledge, encouraging total musicianship and joy in the experience, and/or working with the spoken voice for improved ease of production, projection, and expression.

Communications
Communication between us is important. I communicate primarily by email. Please check frequently for messages. If you forget upcoming vacations, performance dates, or other information, check either the studio’s website (www.TheVoiceBuilder.com) or my emailed newsletter each month for kudos for students, reminders of musicales, calendar updates, etc. You may reach me via email (Nancy@TheVoiceBuilder.com ) or phone calls or texts at (303) 305-9191. 

Also, if you change your address or phone number, please send that information immediately to me. I will check for messages frequently, but will not interrupt students’ lessons to take calls.

General Information
Vocally, in addition to the spoken voice and acting, I work with solos and ensembles in musical theatre, folk songs, mixed belt, art songs, jazz, standards, religious songs, and opera.

Training will focus on finding your true voice (not mimicking others), the health of the instrument, the process of creating sound, correct posture and breathing, acting, and movement. Singers will also study technical musicianship and stylistic differences. (Styles other than those listed above can be added by the performer once the basics of correct sound production have been learned.)

Piano training is also available for my singing students, only, and focuses on good technique (posture, hand position, keyboard skills, pedaling skills, etc.) and musicianship (theory, rhythm, beautiful expression, stylistic differences, etc.). Listening skills and analysis are also very important. We will also use electronic piano and computer software to develop these skills. Music of all types may be studied. (Please note: due to the demand for voice lessons, I no longer accept new pianist-only students.)

Learning
For students from ages 9 to 12, please create a practice contract. It should include the times and places for practice, parental degree of participation (It is proven scientific fact that students under the age of 12 require parental assistance in organizing their time to accomplish goals), and consequences for successes and failures in meeting that contract. Progress depends upon sufficient daily practice. Daily practice, even if as brief as 15”, is really necessary for any progress. And most importantly: PRACTICE RIGHT AFTER THE LESSON! Otherwise, the short-term memory will purge overnight.

At your request, I can provide you with a written evaluation of your student’s progress, covering all areas of his/her study.

Plateaus
All learning has stages of extreme growth and, then, extremely frustrating plateaus. When the body has absorbed the new information, each plateau is followed by a new surge of growth. Be patient with your students (or yourself) if at a blockage, but urge continual practicing. This, too, shall pass!

Visits
Parents are welcome to visit lessons at any time. Young beginners definitely need a parent there for the first few lessons in order to learn how best to help the child. Older students may resist having a parent visit, so you might ask your child for his/her preferences.

Student Conduct
PLEASE! Consume NO SUGAR before lessons (pop, candy, etc.) but eat fresh fruit, nuts, carrots, or other healthy snacks, instead. Please come ready to concentrate on the lesson, not hungry or on a sugar-high.

Warm up, if possible, before your lesson. That makes better use of lesson time.

Pianists, please wash your hands, and make sure your nails are short. Also make certain long sleeves aren’t in the way.

Please show respect for other students. Positive support for each other is a must.

Guidelines for Drop-off, Pick-up at Studio
Unless arranged in advance, please arrive no more than 5” to 10” before your lesson time. Come in right away, quietly, to avoid disturbing any lesson in progress, so that I know you are there.

Parents, please pick your students up promptly, as I cannot wait with them, but must continue to instruct others or leave for my own rehearsals.

Lesson Structure
Physical warm-up (scales, movement) if not done in advance;
Technique and theory (may include vocalizing, software, listening);
Perform pieces and improve them; analyze new assignments;
Journal activities of the day with process goals, memorization goals, etc.

Recording
All students who pay the registration fee for on-site lessons will be provided with a recording card. We will record the lesson, which the student should download into a computer and watch at least once before the next lesson. Please, remember to bring the card back to each lesson.

Practice Requirements
The length of time needed will be determined by the level of the work and the focus of the student. A minimum for beginners is 15 to 30 minutes a day,

Accompanists
If an online student, I will record and send practice MP3s of your songs. In the studio, I will accompany the lessons and the majority of performances. However, in some cases, I will need to provide a substitute for a recital. This is included in the cost of tuition and will not be an extra cost to the student. The exceptions are for additional DAMTA musicales, for which I pay only the entry fee, and any competitions, auditions, and assessments, for which students are responsible for all costs.

Performing
Although performing is not required, I urge each student to do so as often as possible for the many benefits gained. The more often we get up in front of people, the less frightening and more comfortable the experience becomes, and that learned poise in public applies to all parts of our lives. Performing also provides a goal to reach that encourages dedication, focus, and lots of practice; and equally important is the celebration of that achievement. (Applause never hurts!)

Richard L. Evans said, “Sooner or later in life comes a time when it is performance that counts—not promises, not possibilities, not potentialities—but performance…the law of improvement is the law…of participation, of performance.”

To that end, we will have full-studio recitals, twice a year, usually in November and May. In addition, Colorado students may participate in the Denver Area Music Teachers Association’s monthly Student Musicales, and the Colorado State MTA’s activities. Arizona students may participate in local events through the AZMTA. 

Arizona voice students may also participate in the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) auditions the first weekend of November and in the spring, and one in fall: The Classical Singer Scholarship Competition. The Royal Conservatory Music Development Program provides Level Assessments three times a year: May, August, and December. Registration is individual and online at www.musicdevelopmentprogram.org

Concert Attire
​I received this question in a recent workshop from an accompanist:

“How do you tell a young singer that his/her appearance is inappropriate for an audition or competition? I accompanied a vocal student recently who had a very poor physical appearance and it definitely affected the way the judge perceived her before she even began to sing!” So this is just a reminder of appropriate attire. Better safe than sorry!

Please dress up. The audience respects you more if you aren’t wearing casual, torn, or otherwise messy daily clothing, or clothing that is too revealing or short.

For our recitals, for males, nice slacks and long-sleeved shirt; for females, dresses or skirts (at or below knee) and blouses are the minimum. Stockings are truly necessary if wearing knee-length dresses or skirts, as bare legs are very distracting. Dressy pant suits are acceptable. Also wear at least a touch of makeup, and use low-heeled shoes or dressy sandals with straps to keep your posture in balance, but no flip-flops (sloppy, make noise).

For auditions and competitions: Ladies: Wear dressy or semi-formal attire, knee-length or longer dresses, nothing overly bare. Use the same stockings and flat shoes as above. If singing in a winners’ concert, long formal dresses are required. Gentlemen: wear nice slacks, long-sleeved shirts, and tie and/or jacket; a tux is fine but only necessary for winners’ concerts. Both men and women should have clean, neat hair pulled or pinned out of your faces so that the audience can see your smiles and your beautifully expressive eyes!

Lesson Cancellation
Single Lesson--Please email, text, or call before 7:30 a.m. with notification of any single-lesson cancellations, leaving a complete message, as I may not be able to reach you back.

Leave-of-absence requests (maximum 2 months)—Please make this request in writing, with departure and return dates. Your time slot may be held with payment of 50% of the normal monthly tuition. This is because it cannot be sold to others. Without payment, the time will be released to someone on the waiting list, and when you return, you must reschedule whenever there is available time.

Permanent Cancellation—If this is my recommendation, I will consult with the parents, twice, about how to help the student before a making my final decision.

If you wish to terminate lessons, please give 30-days’ advance notification, or payment for one additional month’s tuition, if immediate termination is requested. This is to allow time to replace the student from the waiting list.

Make-up Lessons
Technically, there are NO MAKEUP LESSONS and no refund for missed lessons. I will schedule make-up lessons, if I personally must cancel for any reason.

At my discretion, however, if I can fit you into an open slot on another day, make-up lessons may be given for extreme weather, illness, emergency, or death of a relative.

Payment Information
School-age students are enrolled for the school year (Aug-May) on a contracted tuition basis. Adults may choose to enroll for a semester at a time. Summer lessons are on a flexible, per-lesson basis to accommodate camps and vacations schedules. Monthly group classes (1 1/2 hours on a Saturday) are an included bonus to students.

Tuition for 2017-2018 is based upon a 33-week teaching year. The total is averaged over 10 months. A required $85 registration fee covers supplies, recording cards, lab fees, administration, and recital/musicale fees. This fee is due July 1 to reserve the lesson slot for fall. Should students’ expenses exceed this base fee, they will be billed for them separately.

Tuition can be paid monthly, by semester (5% discount on yearly total), or yearly (10% discount). If necessary, payment amounts are rounded up to the next whole dollar to avoid confusion. For your convenience, I can also accept a group of post-dated checks that will not be deposited until each due date, or I can accept charge cards in the studio for an additional $6 fee. No bills will be sent for these regular payments.

All monthly tuition payments are due on the first of the month, no later than the 5th, whether or not your student has had a lesson during that time. After the 5th of the month, a $5 late fee will be charged.

The drop-in rate is $70/45” for single lessons. For continuing lessons, the averaged monthly rates listed below are only available to students who start at the beginning of the school year. Students who join the studio after that point will pay the monthly average of the total number of lessons for which they are contracted.

Payment Options:
45-minute Weekly Lesson for 33 lessons ($60 per)
- 1 Yearly payment, due Sept (10% disc): $1782 
- 2 Semester payments, due Sept. & Jan.(5% disc) $ 941 
- 10 Monthly payments, Aug-May: $ 198

45-minute Bi-Weekly Lesson for 18 lessons ($65 per)
- 1 Yearly payment, due Sept (10% disc): $ 1053 
- 2 Semester payments, due Sept. & Jan. (5% disc) $ 556 
- 10 Monthly payments, Aug-May: $ 117