2017-2018 Studio Handbook
Sheridan Studio of Music 2017-2018 Handbook
The best way to reach me is text or email@example.com. My website is kristensheridan.com, though I update the studio Facebook page (search for “Sheridan Studio of Music”) with much more regularity. You do not need to be a Facebook member to view the studio page. On the kristensheridan.com website, there is a “Current Students” page that is password protected, as I post our studio Swap List and other personal information there.
Please understand that if you call during scheduled teaching hours, I cannot answer the phone, but you are welcome to text (preferred) or leave a message and I will call back as soon as I can. In any message you leave, please tell me your name, phone number and until what time I may call you back, as most evenings I am teaching until late in the evening.
Lesson Locations and Attendance
Monday, Tuesday & Friday lessons take place at my home studio (9727 Aspen Hollow Way, Fairfax 22032).
Wednesday lessons are at McLean High School (1633 Davidson Rd, McLean 22101). I teach in the small practice rooms near the Band Office.
Thursday lessons are at Cooper MS (977 Balls Hill Rd, McLean 22101), and take place in the small practice rooms inside the band room.
No makeup lessons are available. Please use the studio Swap List, which contains phone numbers and email addresses of each student that I teach. Please note that the names listed on the Swap List are the names of the students, not the parents. To use the Swap List, please contact another family directly to arrange a swap for any week in which you have a lesson conflict or illness. Be sure to specify all details – exact date, time, and location. Do not call the studio to arrange these swaps; however, please call to inform me if there will be no one attending the lesson. Plan ahead! Arrange early in the year with another student to facilitate swaps for known conflicts, such as band concerts, sports games/meets or trips. Tuition for missed lessons is not refundable.
Parents are welcome to attend lessons. Please feel free to ask any questions you have during your child’s allotted time, and remember that I cannot carry a conversation on into the next student’s time. You may always call or email me after the lesson to continue the conversation.
I sometimes get behind schedule in a lesson day. I try my hardest to stay on time, but sometimes I may run a bit late. You will always receive your full lesson time, even if we start 5 minutes late.
Your monthly tuition payment will vary based on the number of lessons that are scheduled on the Lesson Dates Calendar for each month. Please note that there will be several times this year that I will be traveling with my family or I will have other professional performances, speaking engagements, or conferences to attend. I have built all of these into the Lesson Dates Calendar; if others come up during the year, I will give you as much notice as possible occasions,
Students are responsible for attending all lessons. Payment is due for all lessons scheduled in a month. If you can not attend, please use the Swap List.
In the case of extreme weather, where schools are closed for extended periods of time, the studio schedule may be adjusted to reflect fewer lessons that month.
Music & Activities Fee
The $100 Music & Activity Fee functions as a “slush fund” that allows me to purchase necessary items without having to continually ask parents for checks. Unused funds will be refunded to you at the end of the school year, and I may ask for fund replenishment during the year if necessary. I have available for purchase (at my wholesale cost, often a significant discount from local stores) reeds, mouthpieces, ligatures, cork grease, music, method books, etc. I also have several instruments, wood & plastic, available for purchase or rent. Please contact me for details.
If you are interested in purchasing an upgraded clarinet, PLEASE contact me before buying. I have many sources to help save you time and money.
Parking, Waiting Room, Etc.
Fairfax location: Please park on the street in front of our house or in the cul-de-sac (avoid parking directly in front of our neighbors’ homes), walk in without knocking, and remove your shoes at the front door. Parents, students, siblings, and friends are welcome to sit in the waiting room and use the basement bathroom, watch TV, play with the toys, or borrow the books on the shelves. WiFi is available, and the network key is located in the waiting room or given out upon request. Students are to warm up quietly in the chair by the stairs before their lesson.
McLean location: Please come in the front doors of the school and down the first hallway on the left to the band room. I teach in the small practice rooms between the chorus and band rooms. DO NOT warm up or practice in the hallway outside of the teaching rooms, as it is very disruptive to me and the other teachers. You are to warm up before you arrive at your lesson.
Cooper location: please come in through the back band room doors. If they are locked, please go to the front doors.
When using your phone, please keep your voice to a minimum so as not to disturb the lesson. Students are to silence their own phones while they are with me.
Required Events: Studio Recital
Our celebratory End of Year Recital will be held at 3:00pm on Sunday June 10th in the McLean High School auditorium. Participation is expected of all students. We will once again rehearse and perform pieces in groups, such as duets, trios, quartets, and clarinet choirs. The last three lessons of the year will be group lessons/rehearsals. These lessons will not be at your regularly scheduled lesson time, but will be 1 hour group rehearsal sessions. Payment is due for these lessons at the regular 30 minute lesson rate. This means that you will include these lessons in your May & June tuition payments at the rate of $40 each session. You will receive group assignments (usually grouped by age and location, i.e., McLean area middle schoolers, Fairfax area elementary schoolers, etc.) in April so you can adequately plan for these late May and June commitments. If you are unable to honor these rehearsal commitments, there will be no makeups offered and tuition for both sessions will be due.
There is a $10 Recital Fee that will be assessed to all students to pay for any accompanist or other fees, my administrative and musical preparation time, and venue rental. This fee will be added to your accounting statement at the end of the year.
Required Events: Clarinet Days & Masterclasses
Several Clarinet Days are planned in our immediate area this fall. These are events that feature internationally-known artists giving masterclasses and performances, clarinet choirs for all attendees to participate in, and other performances.
There are also vendors who bring instruments, mouthpieces, ligatures, reeds and more to try. They are a fun and excellent opportunity to talk to and learn from master musicians and have fun trying equipment.
Students in grades 7-12 are required to go to at least one of these events. (Younger students are encouraged to go as well!) They are free to attend and you do not have to register.
Saturday November 4, 8am-4pm Washington Navy Yard
Navy Band Clarinet Day (search for “Clarinet Day November 4 2017” to find the Facebook event)
This year, the featured artist for this event will be Richie Hawley of Rice University. Richie is a good friend and mentor, and is the most successful teacher in the country, having recently had students win positions in the New York Philharmonic, the National Symphony Orchestra, the US Marine Band, and many other major ensembles. He will be presenting a masterclass and a concert that evening. One student from our studio has been invited to perform for Mr. Hawley, and it is my hope that as many studio members as possible will attend to support their studio-mate. Richie’s masterclasses are entertaining and engaging for students of EVERY level. I hope all students can attend.
Friday March 2, 8:00 pm, GMU Center for the Arts
Another former teacher of mine, David Krakauer is the leading Klezmer clarinetist in the world. He will be presenting a concert of film scores at GMU with the 35mm Orchestra.
If a master teacher/performer is in the area, I will heavily encourage students to attend their masterclass and performance. More details as they become available.
Please look at the dates (there’s a more detailed yearly calendar in your binder) carefully. Please note that there will be lessons on some teacher workdays, early release days, and holidays, though not every workday, early release day, and holiday follow the same pattern. Remember, the last two lessons of the year will be group lessons scheduled at different times than your regular lessons.
Inclement Weather & Early Closings
The studio follows FCPS policy as follows:
• If school is closed due to weather conditions, lessons are cancelled.
• If school opens late, lessons take place as scheduled.
• If school closes early, lessons are cancelled.
In the event of a cancelled lesson for weather reasons, these lessons will be made up at a later date, and will NOT count toward your two excused absences.
We have several talented repair technicians in our area. Please utilize their specialized and personalized services instead of sending your clarinet to a shop.
• Elise Bonhivert 703-475-2287, firstname.lastname@example.org Clifton
• Tony Valenti 703-780-4322 Alexandria
Foxes Music: a fantastic, locally owned music dealer & instrument rental store. They are located in Falls Church at 416 Washington Blvd (aka Route 29). 703-533-7393
Music & Arts: several locations throughout Northern Virginia. musicarts.com
In addition to our Studio Recital, there are several performance opportunities available to students over the course of the year. All students are encouraged to participate in their District Solo & Ensemble Festival, held in April. Scheduling is done through your band director, not through me. Students are expected to provide their own accompanist for this event... please see the Accompanists section below for more information. Middle and high school students are also encouraged to prepare for District Band auditions, which are also coordinated through the band directors.
The Northern Virginia Music Teachers’ Association (NVMTA) offers two competitions during the year. The Woodwind Concerto Competition, held this year on February 18, has Intermediate and Senior age groups; students perform one movement of a concerto. The Woodwind Achievement Awards, held in May, has three age groups: 6th-8th, 9th-10th, 11th-12th. Students are to perform two contrasting selections for judges and a small audience. Selected students will be asked to perform in these competitions. Details to follow.
Extra-curricular ensembles/experiences that students are encouraged to prepare auditions for:
• Northern Virginia Youth Winds/Northern Virginia Junior Winds (auditions in late May)
• Fairfax County Band Directors Association Competition (held in May)
• American Youth Philharmonic
• Washington Metropolitan Youth Orchestra
• Summer Camps & Festivals: I teach at both the Vienna Band Camp & Frost/Robinson Band Camp (grades 5-9), and
the George Mason University Clarinet Camp (age 13-18). Many other camps are available out of town.
For District Solo & Ensemble Festivals as well as extracurricular competitions, students will need to employ their own accompanists. Book early! Pianists’ schedules fill up very early in the year, so it is in your best interest to contact them and reserve their services for your performances as soon as you know that you are participating. Many band directors also keep a list of local accompanists.
Don Hoffman (703-451-5962, email@example.com) is the accompanist I ask to accompany my students. I think very highly of him, and his rates are extremely reasonable. In addition to being a talented pianist & accompanist, Mr. Hoffman is also an exceptional clarinetist and is a member of the US Army Band "Pershing's Own". He is well-versed in the clarinet repertoire, and has served as our studio accompanist for many years. He is an extremely valuable resource for our studio!
As an added benefit of our studio, Mr. Hoffman and I rehearse students together at my home studio (featuring a Kawai grand piano) before Solo & Ensemble Festival and selected other important events. We have tentatively scheduled these rehearsals for weekends in early April. These are marathon days of rehearsing 30-40 students for 20-30 minutes each, and is scheduled through SignupGenius in February or March. It is beneficial and rewarding for the student to have both teacher and master accompanist present at these rehearsals.
Other outstanding pianists I recommend:
Diane Carsten Pelak (McLean) firstname.lastname@example.org (studio parent!)
JinYoung Chang (Fairfax) email@example.com
Barbara Cackler (McLean) firstname.lastname@example.org
Laura Marchisotto Bogart (McLean) email@example.com
Required Tools, Apps, Etc.
Music study requires several tools, the most important of which is a metronome. There are many different versions out there, but the most convenient are apps for your phone, iPod, or iPad. Stand alone metronomes and tuners can be $20- $150 each, so these apps are a good deal. I do not benefit in any way from recommending these products... they are what I use for myself in practicing & teaching.
Tonal Energy (recommended) all-in-one metronome, tuner, and recording device. I use it every day. $3.99 http://tonalenergy.com/
Metronome Plus $1.99 http://www.metronomeplus.com/
Tempo $1.99 http://www.frozenape.com/tempo-metronome.html
Cleartune - an excellent tuner. $3.99 https://cleartune-chromatic-tuner.soft112.com/
SightreadingFactory.com is a sight-reading generator (available on their website or their app) that I require my students to use. It is a low-cost yearly subscription service that you subscribe to through me. I buy subscriptions in bulk so that the individual cost is very low. I suggest using this tool at least twice per week to improve your sight-reading skills. Sight reading is a component of nearly every test and audition your student will take, so we will spend time on it in nearly every lesson.
A major component of learning how to be a better musician is listening to great musicians. If you do not know what greatness sounds like, you have no idea what goals you are are working towards! To make sure you have an idea of great musicianship, we will be devoting part of our lessons this year to listening to clarinetists and other instrumentalists. Students will receive regular listening assignments and will be expected to discuss this homework at subsequent lessons. Excellent recordings, masterclasses, etc. are available for free on YouTube. I recommend using this along with a subscription-based music streaming service such as Spotify, if possible.
It has been my experience that the students who achieve the most success in private lessons are the students who are enthusiastic, hard-working, and committed. I understand and appreciate that well-rounded students participate in myriad activities, and clarinet lessons are just one part of a student’s busy day. However, I expect the following:
• Treat me and your fellow students with kindness and respect.
• Say hello to other students and parents in the waiting room.
• Practice the amount of your lesson time, 3-4 days a week (i.e., 30-minute lesson time = 30 minutes of practice, 4 days a week). This is the minimum amount of practice expected of each student. Understand that the more effort you put into your assignments, the faster you improve. The fact that you take lessons does not mean that you will improve at all... it’s the practicing time and degree of your effort that determines your success. Playing in a band rehearsal does not count as practicing.
• Practice your warm-up routine once a day.
• Complete all assignments given by your next lesson.
• Come to lesson prepared with previous assignment completed, clarinet (must be your best instrument & mouthpiece, if you have
more than one!), music, reeds and the provided LESSON BINDER. You will be given a bag to help keep you organized.
Keep everything in the same place so you don't forget anything.
• Students must own (and use) a metronome and ideally, a tuner. Suggested apps are listed above.
Please understand that my studio maintains a waiting list of prospective students. If expectations are continually unmet by a current student or if behavior needs to be addressed for any reason, I will contact parents to discuss the issues and whether or not lessons in my studio should be terminated.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding anything in this handbook, please do not hesitate to call or email me. I look forward to a fun and successful year of clarinet study.
Thank you for your support. I am looking forward to another fun and successful year of learning and music making!