Policies

Missed Lessons & Make-Up Lesson Policy

Your child’s music education is important and regular attendance needs to be a priority.

School-year lesson times are selected during the summer. It is usually impossible to reschedule your school year lesson time once the schedule is established for the semester. Please keep this in mind when you consider other activities.

Missed lessons or group classes by the student are not refundable and payment is still required. It is not possible to schedule make-up lessons when a student misses a lesson for any reason including illness or prearranged vacation. Please do not ask for a make-up. This policy exists to protect our teachers. (For an interesting article about this policy, see this article). Lessons missed by the teacher at any time for any reason will be made up at a mutually convenient time for the student and the teacher, or credit for the lesson will be given on the next month’s tuition. Abuse of this no-make-up policy will result in dismissal from the program.

Please do not assume that we understand that your child will miss scheduled lessons during holidays or other functions your child attends. Because our students come from many school districts, are homeschooled, or are not yet in school, the studio will not necessarily follow any particular school calendar, although we do try and align with the District 97 and District 200 calendars.

The studio calendar is arranged very far in advance, usually at the beginning of the school year. Important dates are emailed, placed on the My Music Staff online calendar, and posted in several locations in the studio. Please take some time to carefully review the calendar at the start of each school year and place important dates on your home master calendar. It is expected that families will look at the calendar and reserve recital and other performance dates regardless of other activities that add events to their calendar later in the year. For a child to feel immersed and committed to music lessons, it is important for them to develop a peer group to which they feel attached to. Please make OPSA events a priority to help us develop your families’ musical community. We try our best to make this easy for you by giving you plenty of time to plan. 

If a student arrives late for a lesson, the student will receive instruction for the remainder of the scheduled lesson only. Our lessons are scheduled back to back and we try our best to maintain an on-time schedule.

Illness Policy

Please do not bring sick children to violin lessons or arrive ill yourself. If a child or parent arrives at the studio ill, we reserve the right to send the parent and the child home. If a student is too ill for school, he/she is too ill for his/her music lesson. It is unacceptable to bring a child to a lesson when they have a fever. We work in close proximity and with our hands, so germs spread easily. Please consider the health and well-being of our instructors and the other families in our space. Online lesssons can usually be held when a child is feeling well enough for a lesson but is recovering.

Group Lessons

Group lessons are an integral part of the program at OPSA. Attendance at group functions is required; please mark your calendars at the beginning of the year for these important dates.

For young violinists in a Suzuki Program, participation in group lessons is an essential part of the student’s development. Students and parents both find group classes to be fun and exciting. Group classes can be very motivating.  Group lessons are held each week during the academic year. There are no group classes during the summer months. Missed group classes follow the same policy as our individual lesson policy (no refunds or makeups available). 

Performances

OPSA offers at least two solo recitals during the academic year–one in the fall and another in the spring. We encourage all students to perform on recitals. Students who wish to perform in the solo recitals *must* have a rehearsal with the piano accompanist before the day of the performance. Rehearsals are typically held at the studio during group class for the Twinkle-Book 3 students. Students in Book 4 and beyond need at least a 30-minute rehearsal with the pianist which is scheduled separately, outside of group class. We send out information about this with plenty of notice so you can include it in your family calendar. Students performing in solo recitals must stay for the duration of the recital.

There is also a Benefit Concert every other year. This Benefit Concert involves everyone at the school and is a beautiful demonstration of all the skills and abilities of the various levels of students. Students in all group classes work hard to prepare for this concert, which is held to a very high standard. This event allows advanced students to showcase their skills and highly developed playing abilities through preparing repertoire such as the Vivaldi Four Seasons. The concert also lets the younger and newer students see what is possible for them with hard work and dedication to their practice. All students have potential and when they can see what is possible, it is much easier to reach for and assist them in working towards progress. Years later, students often remember these benefit concerts as moments when they were inspired to work hard to play the violin beautifully at a high level. 

Regarding performances, please consider the following carefully:

  • Please arrive no less than 15 minutes before the start of the performance. Students will leave cases to the side of the performance area or with their parents in their seating area. The first few rows of seats are reserved for performers. Your teacher will help your child know where to sit. Tuning will begin several minutes before the start of the performance. We want to start on time and will need everyone’s cooperation to do so.
  • Students must attend rehearsals for performances. For solo recitals, students must have a rehearsal with the pianist before the day of the performance. For the benefit concert, attendance at two of the dress rehearsals is required. 
  • All OPSA students performing in the recital are required to attend the full duration of the recital. It is not acceptable to arrive late or leave early

 

Communication

Continual communication is a natural part of any educational endeavor. Open communication is strongly encouraged and appreciated between the student, parent, and teacher. Any conflicts or problems that may arise in the course of the semester should immediately be brought to the instructor or director’s attention.

Parent conferences without the student will be held in lieu of a lesson during one of the last few weeks of the school year. This time helps to give both the parent and teacher a chance to communicate each ones vision for the student and discuss how we are doing in terms of working towards this vision. Your child’s development–both musical and otherwise–is very important to us. These conferences help to make sure that the work we do each week and the daily work you do at home in regards to violin are helping to foster a healthy, happy and musical child. You will receive a questionnaire via email in order to help facilitate communication during this conference. Please submit it within a few days of receiving it as your teacher will want to prepare for your conference. Summer and fall scheduling are also typically discussed during this conference so as not to detract from instructional time during regular lessons.

Financial Policies

Financial Policies

Enrollment in the Oak Park String Academy (OPSA) is not a “payment per service” arrangement, but rather a tuition-based business. Enrolling in music lessons is a purchase of a teacher’s services and a reservation of the teacher’s time. Tuition entitles a student to school membership and scheduled weekly lessons. Your child’s lesson time is reserved for you; since time passes whether a student uses it or not, a lesson missed is time and money lost. The full fee is to be paid whether or not the student attends all lessons; lessons missed by the student for any reason will not be made-up nor tuition refunded. Notification of inability to attend a lesson is appreciated but does not excuse payment for contracted lessons.

Invoices are sent out via email at the end of each month. Payment can be made with Zelle, Credit Card, or ACH through our My Music Staff administrative program (link provided upon registration). Students can enroll at any time during the year if there are lesson spots available. Students will be charged a registration fee and recital fee at the time of enrollment (prorated if starting after December).  If a student decides not to continue, tuition will be charged and paid until the end of that month. 

Annual Registration Fee and Recital Fee

To ensure transparency and clarity here is an explanation of our fees and their purposes:

  1. Annual Registration Fee:
    • This fee is charged at the beginning of the summer semester.
    • If you enroll after December, the fee is prorated based on the remaining duration of the enrollment period.
    • The purpose of this fee is to reserve your spot in our program for the upcoming school year.
    • It covers various costs associated with running the program, including administrative expenses and maintenance.
    • Additionally, a portion of the fee is dedicated to supporting the professional development of our teachers. This helps us bring conssitently updated and improved teaching methods to our students in the new school year.
  2. Recital Fee:
    • This fee is collected at the start of the summer semester. Collecting this fee in June allows us to plan for and reserve halls and necessary professional musicians (e.g. pianists) to ensure high-quality recitals that provide everyone with a positive recital experience. 
    • The purpose of the recital fee is to assist in covering the costs related to performances and events throughout the year.
    • These costs include hall rentals, rehearsal spaces, piano maintenance, piano accompanists, and extra staff and musicians needed for special events such as the Benefit Concert. 
    • This fee does NOT include a student’s individual rehearsal with a piano accompanist for solo recitals. This payment is made directly to the pianist at the time of rehearsal. A rehearsal is required for
    • This fee is due even if a family chooses not to participate in the performance opportunities at OPSA.

For the 2024-2025 school year, the Registration Fee is $175 per family, and the Recital Fee is $125.

All students are required to agree to and acknowledge these policies at the time of enrollment upon submitting the registration form. 

Please note that tuition is non-transferable and non-refundable. We appreciate your understanding regarding this policy.

Summer Lessons

The Oak Park String Academy is a twelve-month, year-round program–without exceptions. During the summer semester (June-July-August) students are required to take a minimum number of lessons in order to keep their spot for the school year. Most students opt to take additional lessons in the summer by taking 2 or even 3 lessons a week. Practice duration during the summer semester should be increased as there is no school during the day. The Summer Term is flexible in that students are only asked to sign up for a portion of the approximately 12 weeks of summer to allow for summer travel plans. Summer lessons are also flexible in that a student signs up for each lesson individually, and you are not necessarily tied into the same lesson time each week.

Study during the summer is crucial for students to maintain their progress. Information regarding the scheduling of summer lessons is discussed in May each year. In order to allow greater flexibility during the summer months to accommodate summer activities and family vacations, all lessons will be scheduled by appointment only. There are typically 11 or 12 weeks during the summer semester and we require students to take at least 7 lessons which allows for a lot of flexibility around family vacations, summer camps, etc.

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