Frequently Asked Questions
This Page answers most of the questions we receive regarding private music lessons at our music school serving Austin and Cedar Park, but if not, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Do you accept beginners?
How often will I come to a lesson?
What ages do you teach?
What days and hours do you teach?
What styles of music can you teach?
Where do the lessons take place?
What is the difference between taking lessons at a music store, a teacher’s house, and Northwest?
Are instruments provided?
How much do lessons cost?
What forms of payment do you accept?
Is there a registration or enrollment fee?
Will I need a book?
How do I set up a lesson?
What are the teacher qualifications?
What is a certified teacher and are your teachers certified?
What if my teacher misses a lesson?
What is your cancellation policy?
Can I teach myself lessons using Youtube?
Yes, we teach all levels from beginners to near professional musicians. Complete beginners are welcome.
Most students come once a week, for a 30-minute private lesson. 45-minute and 60-minute weekly lessons are also available for students who desire longer lessons. For most students, one 30-minute lesson per week is adequate if the student comes to his or her lesson prepared.
The minimum age requirements are set by the individual teacher for each instrument. Most of our teachers accept students at 7 years of age and older.
At this time we are doing Online Lessons to keep families and teachers practicing social distancing. Schedules are set by each teacher and family at a time that is convenient for you both. Once in-person lessons resume, we will revert to our normal operating hours of Monday through Friday, 3:30pm to 8:00pm; Saturday 10:00am to 2:00pm.
Our teachers come from a wide variety of different musical backgrounds. If you are an intermediate-advanced student that desires to learn a specific style, please let us know. We can direct you to the teacher best suited to your stylistic preferences. All teachers are qualified to teach a well-rounded curriculum of basic music to beginners.
At this time we are doing Online Lessons to keep families and teachers practicing social distancing. Schedules are set by each teacher and family at a time that is convenient for you both. Please call our Northwest location at (512) 258-9785. If you get our voice mail, please leave a message and your call will be returned promptly. Please let us know which instrument you want to learn how to play and the age of the student if the student is a child. The best time to call is during the afternoon or evening.
At Northwest, all of our attention and energy goes to ensuring that students get a high-quality music education. Unlike teachers at retail stores, our instructors do not waste lesson time trying to sell products to students. Our teachers are not music store sales people who teach lessons when they are not on the sales floor. Our teacher’s only job is to teach and play music.
We differ from at-home lessons in that we provide a safe and professional environment free from the many distractions commonplace in the home. Teaching is a professional occupation for our instructors, not a part-time hobby. At Northwest, you know you will be taught by a competent music teacher who has been thoroughly background-checked. Home based teachers also typically do their own scheduling, phone calls, tuition collection, advertising, facility maintenance and so on. We have desk staff so that our teacher’s can focus only on teaching our students how to play music.
Taking lessons in a music school environment also allows students to enjoy the benefits of learning in a musical community where students can meet others who share their passion for music. We dedicate a lot of time, energy, and resources into providing students with regular opportunities to perform for friends and family in student showcase events. Home-based and web referral-type traveling music teachers do not have the resources, staff and facilities to put on the kind of student showcases that we do.
Both of our schools have acoustic pianos, full drum sets and amplifiers for use during lessons. We do NOT provide instruments for students to take home. Call us for recommendations of local retailers if you’re shopping for an instrument. Check out Rock n’ Roll Rentals or Blackerby’s Violin Shop if you don’t have an instrument yet and you’d like to rent one.
Tuition is as follows:
- $124 per month for 30-minute private lessons, taken once a week. (Most students take 30 minute lessons.)
- $186 per month for 45-minute private lessons, taken once a week.
- $248 per month for 60-minute private lessons, taken once a week.
- $248 per month for two family members, each taking weekly 30-minute private lessons.
If your first lesson falls in the middle of the month, we will prorate your tuition for the 1st month to reflect only the lessons you actually receive. After that, we charge a monthly flat rate and tuition remains the same each month. Occasionally, a student will receive only 3 lessons in a month due to the presence of a major holiday. Months with 5 lessons balance out the occasional months where a holiday causes a student to receive 3 lessons.
Tuition is drafted electronically, once a month through your checking account or through Visa/Master card. There is no contract using this method, and you are free to discontinue lessons at any time. However, when you wish to stop lessons, you’ll need to notify our front desk staff by the 15th of the month to discontinue charges for subsequent months. Please call our schools if you have any questions about our payment methods. We’ll be happy to talk to you about how we collect tuition.
No, we do not charge an enrollment fee, administration fee, or office fee.
Some teachers prepare material for students while others use method books. Your teacher will let you know at your lesson.
Please call our Northwest Austin location at 512-258-9785. If you get our voice mail, please leave a message and your call will be returned promptly. Please let us know which instrument you want to learn how to play and the age of the student if the student is a child. The best time to call is during the afternoon or evening.
Each of the teachers that work at the Northwest School of Music was selected based on education, performance credentials and teaching experience. Our teachers come from diverse musical backgrounds. Whenever possible, we try to match new students to the teacher who will be most appropriate for their needs. Check the Teachers page for individual teacher bio’s.
Since there is no widely accepted certification process for private music teachers, we wondered the same thing. As far as we can tell, it’s just an arbitrary, made-up term to make it sound like their teachers are more qualified than other teachers.
Northwest School of Music instructors are University graduates and working professionals with many years of performing, recording, and teaching experience.
Occasionally, a teacher will miss a lesson due to an illness, family emergency or other schedule conflict. Whenever this happens, the teacher and school office may choose to arrange for a substitute teacher or arrange a make up lesson. We have found that many students actually enjoy an occasional lesson with another teacher. It benefits the student by seeing another instructor’s perspective.
Recognize that your lesson time is reserved specifically for you. This means that your lesson slot is unavailable to other students and the teacher has made a commitment to instruct you at that time. Please make every effort to come to your lesson and avoid scheduling other activities during your lesson time. Consistent attendance helps ensure good progress.
Never cancel a lesson as it is better to have the lesson and review the material so progress is not halted yet another week.
We do not recommend using online sources as your primary means of instruction. Self-taught players are often painfully easy to spot by their poor technique and lack of basic music knowledge. We believe that after you have the basics down, learning songs from online sources like a tablature site or YouTube can be a fun supplement to private lessons.
One of the problems with online sources is that most of the information out there is presented by amateurs. You simply will not know if the material is accurate or appropriate for your skill level. Even if the material you are studying is correct, you probably will not know if you are playing the songs correctly and you certainly cannot ask a YouTube video or tablature website why something you are playing does not sound right. The choice of fingering while playing a scale, lick or song, has a huge impact on the way it will sound and how easy it will be to play. Play it right, and it’s a piece of cake. Play it wrong and you can struggle for weeks and it still will not sound right.
And, remember what they say about bad habits. Once you have taught yourself something the wrong way, it’s very difficult to unlearn. A good instructor will develop a music curriculum tailored to your specific needs and interests and will be available to answer questions, address frustrations, and demonstrate correct technique.
Additionally, when you take lessons in a music school environment, you open yourself up to a community of other musicians. Those relationships make for a more enjoyable learning experience and an opportunity to network with other music students.
So why not learn much faster, have the knowledge that you are doing things correctly and have more FUN by taking lessons than trying to do it alone?