Teaching Policy

(last updated 06-02-2016)

Contact Information

All pupils/parents are required to fill out a contact information sheet giving details of home address, contact numbers for one or both parents, and a valid email address. If any of these details should change it is the pupil/parent’s responsibility to inform the teacher so that accurate and up-to-date records can be kept for safeguarding and billing purposes.
Any last-minute changes to lessons, such as cancellations, will be sent out via text to mobile phones so it is important that these numbers must be kept up-to-date.


Lessons are typically 30-minutes long and take place at the Sweet Symphony music studio in Speculation House, Speculation Place, Washington NE37 2AP. Lessons are either individual or group lessons, depending on availability.
During school holidays, lessons take place between 10am and 4pm. If there is a specific day or time that a student would prefer their lesson during the holidays, please make it known as soon as possible. Summer holidays, in particular, are notoriously difficult to timetable, so as much notice as possible for any booked holidays or cancellations is much appreciated.

Arriving For Lessons

Pupils are required to wait quietly in the entrance lobby to the building until they are admitted for their lesson. Parents must wait with younger pupils and must collect them in person at the end of the lesson. Due to safeguarding, pupils will not be allowed to leave the premises unless an adult has come to collect them.
During their child’s lesson, parents are permitted to wait in a designated waiting room, which is available from 4:00pm onwards. Please bear in mind that there are several other working offices situated within the building, so please keep noise to a reasonable level.

Pupil Expectations

Becoming proficient at an instrument requires more than just attending weekly lessons. Ideally, practising on a daily basis is recommended, but realistically this is not always possible. However, a regular practice schedule does need to be followed to ensure  progress. Beginner pupils are encouraged to begin with at least 10-15 minutes a day, and this time should increase as pupils improve and move on to more difficult material. Parents should encourage their child’s practice. All pupils are expected to come prepared for their lesson, which includes having done all set work and remembering their tuition book(s) There is a monthly competition with a prize awarded to the pupils judged by myself to have made the most progress that month, regardless of age or skill.

Billing & Other Charges

Lessons are invoiced prior to the beginning of each month. Fees are charged per lesson and so invoice totals will vary slightly from month to month, depending on how many lessons are scheduled. Books, exam fees and other materials are extra and will be charged accordingly. Invoices are sent via email. Payment can be made by cash, Direct Debit or by debit/credit card on the Sweet Symphony website. All payments must be made by the 21st of the month. If the 21st falls over a weekend, cash payments must be delivered by the Friday evening. Students with outstanding invoices will be contacted prior to the payment due date as a reminder. Payments made after the 21st will attract a £5.00 late payment charge, which will be added to the following month’s invoice. Any student who fails to make any payment for two consecutive months will automatically forfeit their lesson space. Any costs incurred by myself in retrieving payment of unpaid invoices will be added to the final amount charged.
Information can always be found on the Sweet Symphony website regarding past/present invoices and any money currently owed. Pupils/parents are encouraged to log in to the website regularly to keep track of their payments.


If a student must cancel a lesson, please give as much notice as possible. If the lesson is cancelled – by either the teacher or student – before the issue of the relevant invoice, the lesson will be cancelled and no charge made. Lessons cancelled after the invoice has been issued – by either the teacher or the student – will still be charged, but a make-up lesson credit will be issued. This lesson credit is valid for 6 months from the date of the cancelled lesson and can be used in any available lesson space – details of which are always posted on the Sweet Symphony website calendar. It is the pupil/parent’s responsibility to regularly check the website in order to keep track of lesson credits, their expiry dates and which lesson spaces are available in which to use the credit.
Please note: 24 hour’s notice is required in order to receive a make-up credit. No-shows and last-minute cancellations will be charged and will not receive a credit.
Pupils no longer wishing to continue with their lessons must give two weeks paid notice. Any unused lesson credits will not be refunded. Pupils missing three consecutive lessons without giving prior notice will automatically forfeit their lesson space and will not be entitled to a refund of any money already paid.