All students are required to read and sign our School Policy Agreement when they enroll. You can download and read it here.
When are instructors available? Can I see the schedule online?
Call or stop in to get a list of current available times and register for lessons. We have instructors here Monday through Saturday, so it’s just a matter of finding a day, time, and teacher that will work for you.
Can I take a trial lesson to see how I like it?
Yes, we can schedule a $30 half-hour trial lesson with any instructor or instrument before you commit! When you make a weekly commitment, the cost is $135 for a 5-week session, only $27 per half-hour lesson. If after your trial lesson you decide to enroll with that instructor, we will apply the $30 payment to the 5-week cost.
How far out can I schedule lessons?
Students must start their lessons within 2 weeks of registering. Lessons are not based on months, quarters, or semesters, but are ongoing and paid for in 5-week increments. Once enrolled, we assume a student will be taking more than 5 lessons; your spot is reserved for you indefinitely until you notify us to stop or make a change. So if you decide to stop lessons at any time, please let us know!
What if my schedule doesn’t allow me to make a weekly commitment to the same day/time?
If you are unable to make a weekly commitment or don’t want to be constantly rescheduling missed lessons, you may opt into our “floating” lesson plan. Floating lessons are $30 per half hour and may be arranged on a week-to-week basis. There is no guarantee your desired day, time, or teacher will be available on a given week, but there is no expiration date or obligation beyond complying with our 24-hour cancellation policy; lessons will remain in your account until you are able to use them.
Can I take lessons every other week?
If you wish to take lessons every other week, you can either opt into our floating lesson option or commit to hour-long lessons every other week at a day/time chosen by the instructor.
What if I have to stop lessons temporarily because of travel, medical, schedule conflicts, or other reasons?
There are no refunds on any lesson payments. However, if at any point a student cannot continue lessons and you have given us at least 24-hour advance notice, any money in your account will remain there until the student can resume, or you can transfer it to another student in your family.
Can I pay via cash, check, or credit card?
All of the above! We can also keep a credit card on file for automated billing.
Can I pay on the day of the lesson?
We request that you pay for lessons in advance to reserve your spot. This guarantees your commitment to lessons and guarantees our teacher will be paid for the time you have reserved.
How do I know how many lessons I have left?
You can always call to check your account balance. We also email a statement every week showing how much money is in your family’s account. Simply divide the balance remaining by the cost of each lesson to know how many you have left.
What do the weekly statements mean?
We email a statement to the primary billing contact every Monday summarizing any transactions (payments & lesson fees) from the previous week. Accounts with a negative(-) current balance indicate money remaining in your family account. week. Think of the statement as a weekly bill, and the money you have paid toward lessons as a credit on your bill. If the statement amount is
negative, it means you have money remaining in your family account for lessons not yet taken. A positive balance indicates money you owe for lessons already taken. Accounts with a current balance of 0 should contact us to drop lessons or pay for the next session. A note under a lesson transaction may be one of the following:
sa/un – student absent/unexcused
sa/mu – student absent/make-up (this is billed on the day of the missed lesson)
mu [date] – A make-up is scheduled or was already given
teacher absent – ok (the account not charged for this)
Who do I notify if I’m going to miss a lesson?
Please call or email the shop to cancel your lesson. It is not enough to simply tell your instructor; all scheduling is handled by the school administrator, so it’s important you communicate with us directly. If the store is closed, leave a voicemail or send an email. All messages are dated and time-stamped, so we know when you tried to contact us.
Why do I need to give 24-hour notice to cancel a lesson?
There are several reasons for our cancellation policy. First, we have an agreement with our instructors to pay them based on the students listed on their schedule. If a lesson is canceled the same day, we still have to pay them for the time they set aside to be here. Second, it serves as an incentive for students to come at their regularly scheduled time. We want you to get the most benefit out of weekly instruction. Just as sports teams do not allow players to miss practices or games, we do not want you to miss your lesson! Finally, it is important for us to know what times will be open on a given day so we can offer make-up lessons, trial lessons, or even lunch breaks for our instructors, so we ask you notify us as soon as possible out of courtesy to the teachers, administrator, and people waiting for make-up lessons.
Quick! Something came up and I can’t make my lesson time today. What are my options?
1) Let the store know as soon as possible. If it’s outside of store hours, an email may be quicker than a phone call.
2) Tell us what time you are available that day. We can’t guarantee your teacher is able to give a lesson at another time, but we can try!
3) Send another family member to take the lesson instead. Our teachers don’t mind who takes the lesson as long as someone is here!
I/my child is sick. What should I do?
Let us know as SOON as possible, by leaving a voicemail or sending an email. In the case of a last-minute cancellation such as illness or family emergency, you are charged for the absence in order to pay the instructor for their time. That said, we understand things happen unexpectedly; so our teachers will occasionally offer a make-up if their schedule permits. Please note make-ups are not guaranteed; make-up times are limited and priority must be given to students who cancel in advance. Once again, you may also send another student in the person’s place to guarantee you do not lose out altogether.
Why do I have to make-up my lesson? Can’t I just add it to the end of my 5-week session?
Students who make a weekly commitment to a specific lesson day and time are paying for an instructor to reserve a spot for them every week. If we extend your 5-week session we are holding a spot in the schedule for you without payment. Therefore we don’t extend sessions, but with enough advance notice we are happy to arrange a make-up lesson for another day or time that is within 30 days before or 30 days after the missed lesson. Make-up spots are limited so the more advance notice you give, the more options there are for you to reschedule.
Why can’t I reschedule a make-up lesson?
If a lesson is canceled, rescheduled, and rescheduled again, the store is reserving one and a half hours of time (the first lesson, the first make-up, and the second make-up), while only being paid for a half hour of time. This is not sustainable. A fun fact: 15% of scheduled lessons are canceled every week that require a make-up lesson. If we were to reschedule missed make-ups as well, the task would be impossible! So be sure to schedule your make-up for a day and time you know you can come.
**HERE’S A TIP: if a student is unable to attend a lesson for any reason, another student from the same household may take the lesson in the student’s place. This may be easier than trying to reschedule the absence and is more cost-effective than being charged for a same-day cancellation.**
I’m an absolute beginner. Can you teach me?
Of course! While most teachers have expertise in a specific advanced style, they all enjoy teaching students from the ground up.
I’m an adult and have never played a musical instrument before. Can you “teach an old dog new tricks?”
Congratulations for being willing to try something new! Yes, we most certainly can. We work with students of all ages and levels from all walks of life.
Do I need my own instrument? Do you have beginner instruments for sale or rent?
You will need your own instrument for the lessons and for practicing at home. Drum and piano students can use instruments already set up in the music school for their lessons. We do not do instrument rentals; but we have affordable student-model guitars, violins, ukuleles, and other stringed instruments available for purchase starting at $99. For young students who eventually outgrow fractional-size instruments such as violins, we also offer a trade-in value toward the next size up. This makes it more affordable than most rental options.
Why take lessons when I can watch tutorials on Youtube?
While we love the vast resources available online, you can’t always know if what you are watching is trustworthy or if someone is giving you bad advice. At the Down Home Music School, our qualified, experienced teachers will work at your pace, lay a solid foundation of good techniques and practical music theory, customize exercises to fit your specific strengths and weaknesses, and teach you not just how to play one song but to play for a lifetime.
Do you use a specific teaching method?
Each teachers has their own method of teaching and may recommend instruction books based on that method. From there, they will build a lesson plan tailored specifically for you based on your strengths, weaknesses, and goals.
How do I find the right teacher for me?
We do our best to match teachers and students based on variables such as musical genre, goals, learning style, personality, age, experience, etc. You can see the complete list of instructors and read more about them HERE.
Will you come teach lessons at my home?
All lessons are given in our fully-furnished music school on the second floor of the Trolley Barn, easily accessible via stairs or elevator. Our spacious, wood-floored facility includes 6 carpeted/insulated lesson rooms with glass doors, a piano/percussion studio, a group classroom, recital stage, and large waiting area with complimentary refreshments.
Can you teach more than one student at a time?
Our system is set up for one-on-one instruction. That said, some students like to schedule 2 half-hour lessons back-to-back with the same teacher and take them both together; this is at the teacher’s discretion and may depend on the learning speed and style of the students.