The Swap List

The issue of make-up lessons is arguably one of the most controversial issues in private music instruction. Few private music teachers and institutions have an open-ended policy on make-up lessons. The VCM is no exception! The VCM policy and my own personal policy states that lessons are to be paid whether attended by the student or not.

When a lesson time is scheduled at the start of term, what we have mutually agreed to is that I will hold that time slot for you for the 9 months of the VCM calendar September to May and that you will attend your lesson at that time. If weather, illness or my personal professional performance schedule interferes with my ability to give a lesson on a particular day, I forfeit the fee for that lesson and offer a make-up time during the same week or during the month of June. Reciprocally, if circumstances prevent you from attending a lesson, you forfeit the fee for that lesson.

Certainly no one likes loosing money over a missed lesson and there are things that can be done to minimize the loss. For my part I limit performances and rehearsals that conflict with normal teaching times to contracted services with the Victoria Symphony and Sidney Classical Orchestra, and I limit my out-of-town adjudication to one week per year. Since these are dates usually known well in advance, I can provide each of you with a list of no-lesson dates for each semester and give you the option of skipping that lesson (no fee), rescheduling to another time that week or deferring to June. For your part, you may wish to consider limiting scheduled conflicts with the arranged lesson time, or alternatively to advise me before the start of a semester that you will be unavailable for certain dates so that we can explore the possibility of deleting those lessons before they are charged.

Still conflicts will arise, usually through scheduled school events and family vacations, so I can provide you with a Swap List. A Swap List will include the names, phone numbers and lesson times for all participating students. You may use the Swap List to initiate your own change of lesson time by making arrangements with another student to swap times for the week when you know in advance you will need to miss a scheduled lesson. Late in the summer I will be taking a list of those interested in participating so that the list can be circulated early in the Fall. Hopefully, through the Swap List, most of you will be able to make your own arrangements to avoid loosing out on a lesson all together if a pre-arranged situation arises.

Unfortunately, illnesses will still happen. If you do have to lose a lesson due to illness, do remember that in addition to your paid lessons I teach 8 masterclasses per year, in addition to September Savvy and January Jump-Start amounting to a minimum of 20 additional hours of flute instruction available at no extra charge – way more than one or two missed lessons. I am confident that for virtually every student, even with the odd sick-day, the schedule of fees works out quite equitably for all involved. I hope you are in agreement!


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