Although we have been fortunate in Marshfield to have relatively few cases of COVID-19 compared to other parts of the country, there is still a risk of transmission of the virus both to teachers and students during one-on-one music lessons. In order to reduce these risks and keep everyone as safe as possible, I have instituted the following policies. The ones specifically related to the pandemic will remain in place for all lessons as long as necessary. If there are any updates to these policies, they will be posted on this page and an e-mail will be sent to all students and parents informing them of the same.
Alternatives to in-person lessons
If you wish take lessons, but are not comfortable with the in-person lesson procedures listed below, I will be offering remote lessons via Zoom. These lessons will be offered to students who are continuing their study of an instrument, but not to students just starting out on an instrument.
Procedures for in-person lessons
- Lessons will be held at Sanctuary Church (185 Plain Street) in Marshfield. There is ample parking. Come in the doors in the middle of the building. Lessons will be held up the stairs and to the right, in our Meeting Room. Sarah will most likely be in the courtyard or just inside the building waiting for your student, especially in the first few weeks of lessons.
- Please take stock of how you’re feeling before you leave the house. You know the drill: are you (or is your student) having a hard time breathing, experiencing chest pain, fever, chills, cough, runny nose, etc? Is anyone in the family just not feeling well? Stay home and let me know. We can take a week off or even do a remote lesson instead.
- I expect everyone will follow the state guidelines regarding quarantine if you travel outside Massachusetts. We will arrange to have remote lessons during those 14 days.
- All students and people accompanying students should wear masks. I will also be wearing a mask during lessons. If there is a reason why it is not possible/advisable to wear a mask, please be in touch.
- Since Sanctuary also has a preschool, I’ve been asked to have parents stay outside. When you arrive, I’ll meet your student (and you if you want to walk them up) in the courtyard just outside our main entrance and bring your student inside with me. There are rare instances when I find that having a parent present during a lesson or two helps with a behavioral issue or helps clear up some practice problems, but we’ll take those instances on a case by case basis.
- Your student will use hand sanitizer upon entering the building. There will be tissues, plastic bags (for soiled tissues), and hand sanitizer in the room where lessons will be held. I’ll also be sanitizing door handles, chairs, the piano, etc. between lessons.
Lessons (in person and remote) will be held weekly except for school holidays. I will do my best to inform you at least a week in advance of other scheduling conflicts on my end and will work with you to reschedule lessons.
If your student needs to miss a lesson for any reason, please let me know at least 24 hours prior to the scheduled lesson time. If your student missed school because of an illness, please do not bring them to their lesson that day. Let me know and I will work with you to make up the lesson. If you forget about a lesson or schedule something else during a lesson time and forget to let me know about the change 24 hours in advance, you will still be charged for the lesson. Letting me know in advance allows me to schedule another lesson during that slot.
Lessons are $25 for a 30 minute session. Please plan on paying for lessons a month at a time. Checks can be made out to "Sarah Huber". You can also use @bornstringed to pay on PayPal or Venmo.
Practice Time and Parental Involvement
This should go without saying, but I'll say it anyway: students should plan on practicing regularly throughout the week, so be prepared to help your child find a regular time to practice every day. Taking music lessons is a big time investment as well as financial investment for any family. There’s only so much I can do with your student in one half hour each week and I send your child home with things to practice and work on every single week. To make sure your student gets the most out of their lessons, and you the most out of your money, practice is essential. They *will* make progress if they find the time to practice at home. I know everyone has a lot going on, but practice is just part of the process of learning an instrument. I encourage students to practice 5 days a week for 20-30 minutes. But you know what? 5 or 10 minutes is better than 0 minutes. What matters is that they practice and that they practice regularly. And they'll need your help in prioritizing practice time and making it fun! Think of music lessons being less like story time at the library, where you go and don’t think about it until you go again next week, and more like math class, where what you learn this week builds off of what you learned last week and you need to practice adding during the week to get better at it before you can learn to subtract. Make practicing a part of the family weekly schedule. Use it as a way to break up homework sessions. Help make it fun for your student.
Support from parents is crucial to the student’s success. I’ll write down their assignments for the week in a notebook and send home music and the occasional worksheet in a folder. Read that with them, help them remember what they worked on in lessons, ask them to teach you what they’ve been learning, ask them to play something for you. It'll mean a lot to them and it'll help them enjoy practicing.
Musicians play instruments. For the greatest amount of progress and success in learning an instrument, possession of an instrument is ideal. I realize that this can mean a large financial investment, but it doesn't have to. There are plenty of affordable options that don't involve running to Walmart for a guitar. Even for young students, having a real instrument is preferable to having a toy or very inexpensive instrument. Real ones stay in tune better, are easier to play, sound better, and will inspire greater pride as your student gets older. Yes, they are more expensive, but they are worth it.
Pianos are their own challenge. I don't expect every family with a piano student to run right out and purchase a baby grand for their living room. But, rather than not having any keyboard at all, shop Craig's List and try to find an electric keyboard in your price range. Or visit some yard sales. Or check out a music shop and see if there are any used instruments.
I am more than happy to talk to you about instruments and help you find the right one for your student, your family, and your wallet. Just know that this is all part of being a musician.
Students should realize that a huge part of being a musician is playing in front of people. There are usually various opportunities during school year to perform in front of people. They might have to be different this year (perhaps over Zoom or with a smaller group of people), but please be open to these opportunities and help your nervous students realize that music brings joy to people, that nobody will be judging them, and that the more they play for people the easier it will get.