Online until further notice
Due to the Coronavirus pandemic and subsequent guidance from the Granby Board of Health, all lessons will be online until further notice.
Online classes work a little differently than in person ones.
How Online Group Classes Work
Online Group Classes are announced in the appropriate Slack channel (if you're not on the Sweet Music Slack, you need to be registered for weekly private lessons to receive an invitation) usually an hour or so prior to the start of the group (7pm). Prior to clicking on the invitation link, make sure you have optimized your connection. You will need a good separate microphone, quality headphones or speakers, a metronome and a LAN connection. Once you are set up for a great connection, click the invitation link, then the green (or teal) "Join" button. You will be using an app called Google Meet. For those of you who were online in the early 20's, you might remember similar products offered under the Google brand such as Wave, + and Hangouts. Meet is Google's alternative to the popular Chinese-owned product Zoom. If you're familiar with Zoom, then you will know how to use Meet. There are some significant differences. Meet doesn't steal your personal information, doesn't sell it on the black market and won't install spyware on your computer. I personally think the sound quality is also better.
Due to the slight delay or "lag" in transmission of image and sound over the internet, you can optimize your connection by making sure that you're directly connected to your internet modem with a LAN cable. If you don't have one, you can buy one from Walmart or Amazon. They are not expensive. Measure the distance from your computer to the modem and then give yourself an extra six feet (just in case). A direct connection can be 10 times faster than a wifi connection, which will decrease any lag you might be experiencing over Wifi. If you would like help setting up your computer and modem, let me know!
Good Separate Microphone
All laptops and webcams come with some kind of an internal microphone, depending on the laptop/webcam brand, the quality can range from ok to not bad, but never good or very good. To optimize your sound input, you will need a good microphone. I recommend the "Blue" microphone from Snowball, but there are others. Read the reviews on Consumer Reports' website and pick something you like. Make sure it's a USB connection because some microphones plug into a separate mic jack, and some are bluetooth.
Quality Headphones or Speakers
All laptops come with speakers. Some desktop pc's also come with them. I recommend the Jeecoo USB Pro Gaming Headset, but there are others. Make sure you get a USB connection, and cups that go over the ears. You can also get a set of quality external speakers with subwoofer. Harmon Kardon is a good brand.
There are decent apps offered for iPhone and Android. You can also buy a standalone version that sits on your desk. I like the mechanical ones offered by Gleam so I can take it outside or on the porch where there's no power.
Online Group Classes start at 7pm and go for about an hour. They may go slightly over depending on a variety of factors, but plan for an hour minimum.
During the class, each person will take a turn playing their part for a predetermined length of time. For example, in the Celtic class, each person will play the tune once through. In the Classical Mandolin class, each person will play approximately 20 measures. While you are waiting your turn, you will have your microphone muted so that you can play along with the person who is playing at that time. They, in turn, will play along with you. Due to the slight delay/lag, there really is no other way to do it. But this way, members have an opportunity to socialize with others, to "play" music with others and to work with a metronome, which is a good skill to have. (When we finally can return to some sense of normalcy after the COVID19 pandemic has subsided, we will be that much more precise).
Beginning students will learn the basics: music theory and how to read music, how to count, meter and rhythm, keys and chords; how to hold the instrument and pick (or bow for violin players); how to practice scales, arpeggios and exercises; how to play basic melodies. At some point, usually within a few weeks, beginning students may be ready for more advanced material which will be assigned at that time.
Advanced students that can already read and understand the basics of their instrument will study more advanced theory including the modes, advanced timing and rhythm, advanced chords, harmonization, improvisation, and will be introduced to a wide variety of music depending on the genre and style they have chosen to study. For example, Classical musicians will be exposed to a variety of composers from the Renaissance Era up to the Romantic Era and everything in between. Folk musicians will be exposed to a wide variety of western European traditional dance music styles including Celtic, Quebecois and Cape Breton music as well as American styles such as Bluegrass, Country, Western Swing, Jazz, Blues, and more.
Read and understand my Policies before coming for your first class.
An unfortunate incident occurred recently, where a student canceled at the last minute. Normally, that wouldn't be a problem, but since this student had a special arrangement where they pay each time they come to a lesson, the backlash was significant. Because of the scheduled time of their lesson, my wife had to leave one of the busiest days at work to come home and take care of our son. She forfeited her normal time plus overtime pay to be here for me, and my student. So not only did we lose my wife's income for that time period, but we lost the income from the student.
Because of this incident, I feel I must reiterate my Studio policies:
Private Lessons are one hour (60 minutes) a week (unless otherwise indicated), 50 weeks a year. Students are required to pay every 4 weeks. Classes are taught in 25 week "semesters", leaving the last week of each semester open for makeups.
The calendar looks like this:
January: 1 week of makeups, 1 week vacation, Online recital (Google Meet) on the 3rd Saturday of the Month
Feb, Mar, Apr, May
June: Online Google Meet Recital on the 3rd Saturday of the Month, 1 week of makeups
July: 1 week of vacation (usually the 2nd week of July)
There are no makeups if a student misses a class for whatever reason, the student must pay for an additional makeup as they would for an extra class. There are no exceptions to this rule. If I miss a class due to illness or other emergency, the makeups will be completed during the last week of each semester at no additional charge to the student. If a student can't make a scheduled class due to inclement weather, classes may be attended by Slack or Google Meet.
The cost of Private Lessons depends on the age and student status. Discounts are available for Senior Citizens (65 and older) and College Students with a valid (current) student ID.
Private Instruction Tuition:
Regular Private (60 minute) Lessons: $300every four weeks
Regular Private (30 minute) Lessons: $150 every four weeks
Senior Citizens (65 or older): $240 every four weeks
College Students (with current ID): $240 every four weeks
Group Class Tuition:
90 minute Adult Group Classes: $100 every four weeks
Tuition is due at the first scheduled class of each month, or 25 week semester. If not received within the first two classes of the month, a $10 late fee will be added to your account. There are no bills sent out unless tuition is past due, then we will notify you by email, so please make sure we have your current email address.
Semester I: September - January 10, Recital 3rd Saturday in January
Semester II: February - August, Recital 3rd Saturday in June
There are no senior or student discounts available for Group Classes at this time. If you are currently taking Private Lessons, you may be eligible for a bulk rate. Please ask.