My teaching schedule is as follows:
- Wednesday 12pm-8pm
- Thursday 12pm-8pm
- Friday 12pm-6pm
You will have a fixed time slot which will remain the same from week to week. Please make sure any time slot is manageable for you in terms of travel time and other obligations.
To arrange a slot, email me (email@example.com) with your preferred times. We’ll try and place you in the most suitable slot, and every year or so I attempt a “rebalancing” exercise, where I check what times work for eveyone then try and place everyone in the best slots for them.
Rates & payment
My monthly rate is £134.40 for hourly lessons and support each week, or half-hourly lessons pro rata. As well as lessons, this fee also covers work done outside lessons, such as preparing music, making recordings, or the like. Between lessons I am available for support and questions over email, and students are encouraged to check with me rather than “spinning their wheels” until their next lesson!
Tuition is invoiced monthly in arrears - I usually issue an invoice towards the end of the month, payable by the 1st of the next month.
Casual tuition at £40 per hour is available where I have vacancies or absences and can offer a free slot. This are only suitable for people who need a few hours tuition - normally this wouldn’t be suitable for beginners, even with prior musical experience.
Tech stuff & online management
The platform I use for lessons is called Whereby, and a link will be sent to you before your first lesson. This link will always be the same. It works as an online classroom, and you can join and leave freely. If you join while a lesson is still in progress, feel free to hang around while we wrap up and hand over.
It’s extremely helpful if your internet connection is comfortably capable of handling two-way video without lagging - this may involve banning family members from iPlayer, getting closer to the router if using WiFi, or connecting directly to the router with a cable (I have found this often makes a huge difference). If the connection is very slow we can abandon video and use audio only, though I prefer to avoid doing this if we can. A few students have found that they get the best experience with a 4G or 5G connection, though I recommend being certain about what you pay for data!
For playing practice chanter your standard equipment will work just fine. When playing pipes, the sound level will overwhelm basic computer microphones. There are lots of options here but I have found that a basic dynamic microphone (rated to 140dB) and a cheap USB audio interface produce good results. USB microphones are cheap and widely available but I have found them surprisingly problematic, and often the specifications do not match what is claimed.
It’s helpful if you can arrange the camera to give a clear view of the student’s upper body. This often entails placing the camera off to one side (three-quarters view) and further back than is usual for video-calling. This lets me see fingering clearly. It is also helpful if the student wears wired (not bluetooth) headphones of some kind, as this eliminates echo on the line.
Student absences are not refundable. If 24 hours notice is given, a “catch-up lesson credit” can be given. Catch-up slots will usually be available on a Saturday or during other empty slots during regular teaching times. Only one catch-up credit is available at one time; if you miss two weeks in a row, you can attend one catch-up lesson.
Tutor absences will be credited at 25% of the monthly fee per lesson missed, or a catch-up credit issued if a suitable slot can be found. Credits will be applied in advance if possible, or to the following month’s invoice. I aim not to have to cancel lessons but from to time to time it is of course inevitable. Notice will always be as long as possible.
I usually take a few weeks break during the year, particularly during the busiest parts of the piping season. There will also be a two week break over Christmas.
Although learning to play music is a life-long journey, it is normal that only part of that journey is spent with any one teacher. When it’s time for you to move on, it’s time, and I understand it’s not personal. I ask for a month’s notice in order to finish current projects and set goals and directions for future progress.
Finally, I reserve the right to terminate lessons if I feel it appropriate (with unused lessons refunded) although I hasten to add I have never yet done so!