Studio Policy: Explanations of how this all works and the philosophies that support it.


Fill out this form  to join the studio or get on the waiting list. FYI, trial lessons are FREE with no strings attached, pun intended. :-)

Fill out this form to join the studio or get on the waiting list. FYI, trial lessons are FREE with no strings attached, pun intended. :-)

Practice at home is essential for learning to play any instrument. Parents need to help, encourage, assist, plan and remind daily. A good routine, regardless of your age, usually works best. Look at your schedule and or discuss with the student and the other family members as to the regular time that works best for all concerned. Schedule it. In pen.

No one likes to practice all of the time. All of us, including myself, have difficulty getting into it. However, it is much more difficult if several days go by without anything done on it. A consistent daily session works best.

Daily practice is ideal and should be the norm, however I understand that life doesn’t always allow that to happen.  On tough weeks or in special circumstances, make a point to schedule an equivalent amount of practice time, just in fewer chunks.  [Example: If you practice 30/day, make sure you practice at least 210 minutes total in the week. This could mean three 70 minute practices, or two 105 minute practices, etc.]

Parents receive one copy of the parent packet in their first several lessons. The parent packet is available in .pdf form as well.

Environment & Listening

A good musical environment is the best help you can give yourself (and the student.)  Listening to the Suzuki CD, or any other cello repertoire will help put your mind in the context of the cello.  Listening is especially good for the days when you’re super busy and can’t possibly practice. However, this doesn’t replace practicing; it makes practicing easier.  I sometimes encourage students to incorporate active listening (coloring, holding the bow, feeling posture) into their scheduled practice time.

Make sure your practice environment is clean, rid of distractions, and conducive to hard work.  A messy bedroom, TV in the background, loud conversation in the other room, etc. will make practice really frustrating.

Part of creating a great learning environment is getting outside. Make sure to attend as many musical concerts as possible. Any genre or instrumental performance is a great experience; however if any cellists perform in the area, please make an effort to attend. (And invite your fellow cello-friends!) It truly is a treat to see a master at work.  Occasionally, we’ll have a Cello Field Trip. Please keep your eyes and ears peeled for possible Field Trips and feel free to share with me!

Financial Policies

Learning any instrument takes time and commitment - my financial policies support this philosophy. Enrollment in the Studio of Emily Ann Peterson is not a “payment per service” arrangement, but rather a tuition-based membership. Payment of these monthly fees entitles a student to school membership and scheduled lessons which are based upon a 12-month calendar beginning in January.  New students are asked (not required) to commit to 12 months of lessons. Ongoing commitment is based on 3-6 month increments, depending upon the student. Enrolling in music lessons is proof of your commitment and personal investment in a teacher’s offerings and a reservation of that teacher’s time.

Your lesson time is reserved for you; a lesson missed is time and money lost since the time and opportunity passes whether a student uses it or not. The full monthly membership fee is to be paid whether or not the student attends all lessons; lessons missed by the student for any reason will not be made-up nor tuition refunded.  Notification of inability to attend a lesson is appreciated, but does not excuse payment for contracted lessons.  (Ex: Leaving town for the summer doesn't excuse non-payment of tuition for that summer.)

Tuition is due on or before the 1st day of each month.  Please remember that my entire income is based upon the timeliness of your payment for lessons. Such is life. Late payment after the 1st of the month but before or on the 5th of the month will result in a late fee of $30.  Your teacher reserves the right to increase the late fee in $15 increments per 5 days should payment be made even later than the 5th of the month. Late fees can be avoided by signing up for automatic payments online or by using your personal online banking automatic bill pay. To pay online, click here.

A 10% discount is available for students who pay for the full year of membership in advance. This could be more than a $200 savings, depending upon the length of your individual lessons. If you're interested in this option, please let me know.

There are NO refunds.


I offer a select amount of scholarships to students in difficult financial situations. Please remember that I would rather you continue lessons than to quit because of financial reasons.  Do not hesitate to ask if there is an available scholarship opening.  If donating a scholarship to a student in financial need interests you, please let me know.  Music is a priceless gift to give in any circumstance. Read more about the scholarships here.

Missed Lessons

If absences are not explained, I will interpret them as weak commitment.

Your music education is important and regular attendance needs to be a priority.  It is usually impossible to reschedule your lesson time.  Please keep this in mind as you schedule vacations, other activities & commitments. It is clear to see one's priorities based on how they schedule life.

If a student arrives late for a lesson, the student will receive instruction for the remainder of the scheduled lesson only.  Your lesson may be “sandwiched” between other students’ lessons and flexibility to extend your lesson time may not be available.  I suggest each student aim to arrive 5-10 minutes early, just in case. Don't hesitate to softly knock on the door 5 minutes prior, to let me know you're waiting.

Make-up Lessons

It is not possible to schedule make-up lessons when a student misses a lesson for any reason including illness or prearranged vacation. Please do not ask for a make-up.  

Read more about make-up lessons from an economist's view here.

Lessons missed by the teacher at any time for any reason will be made-up at a mutually convenient time for the student and the teacher, or a credit for the lesson will be given to the student’s “lesson bank.”

Please do not assume that I understand that a student will miss scheduled lessons during the holidays or because of other functions you attend.  Because my students are of all ages, in various school systems, or are not yet or no longer in school, the studio will not follow any particular school calendar.  My studio calendar is available on my website where your scheduled lessons will appear.

Inclement Weather & Illness

In the case of inclement weather, lessons will be cancelled and group classes will not meet when the King or Pierce County School Districts cancels or dismisses classes early – unless you hear from me via email. Tuition is already adjusted to include 1 week for inclement weather.

Please do not come to your lesson sick.  If you are too ill for school/work, you are too ill for a music lesson. Tuition is already adjusted to include 1 full week of "sick days" in case I get sick. 

Group Lessons

For cellists of any age/ability, group lessons are a wonderful opportunity. I believe this so much so that when offered, one individual lesson each month is substituted with a group lesson. I use the group lesson environment to instill the love of community into each student's musical education. These group lessons are also an opportunity to open the musical education "box" to hold more than just music or the cello. Guest speakers/specialists will be present at most of these group lessons. Please make every effort to attend these wonderful opportunities.  If absences are not explained, I will interpret them as weak commitment. 

For 2013, group lessons will occur monthly usually on the 2nd Saturday and Sunday afternoons of the month. The full 2013 calendar is available online. Because space is limited, RSVP's and registration are required. Studio members can register via the online studio calendar. The cost of these group lessons are already included in your studio fees and tuition. These lessons are open to the public. So if you have any cello friends who aren't a studio member, please send them a warm invitation. There will be a small suggested donation for non-studio members.

Summer Lessons

Membership is  year-round commitment – without exceptions.  Study during the summer is crucial for students to continue their progress and maintain their skills.  The full calendar year is available in January of each year to allow for adequate planning. 


Conflicts are a natural part of life and any educational endeavor.  Open communication is strongly encouraged and appreciated between the student, (parent,) and teacher.  Any conflicts or problems that may arise in the course of the year should immediately be brought to my attention.  I am easy to work with and always want to help and improve!

Parent conferences or consultations with or without the student can be arranged in lieu of a lesson if the parent and/or myself feel it is necessary for the education of their child. Phone calls can also be scheduled during non-teaching hours.

Lesson Termination

I work very hard for each student and when this amount of care and work is not reflected by a student’s commitment it is very disappointing, for everyone involved.  Therefore, I must reserve the right to discontinue any student who does not exhibit sufficient interest to progress. This may reveal itself as irregular attendance, repeated failure to prepare assigned material, or inappropriate behavior during the lessons.  A 30-day trial period following a student/(parent)/teacher conference will precede termination of lessons.

If you elect to end lessons, a 30-day notice must be given and you will be financially responsible for the following 30 days of tuition.  Please understand that I grow very attached to my students and would like to have an opportunity to end well with them.  This is one of the ways in which I teach respect, responsibility, and follow-through to my students.

Instruments & Supplies

It is important to have instruments that are in good playing condition.  Bows should be re-haired and strings changed at least once a year.  Those students who practice every day will need to do this more often.  Every student should carry an extra set of new strings should a string break.

The following businesses have my recommendation. Unfortunately, MANY poor quality instruments, over-priced and marked-up retailers, and even outright crooks exist in the music instrument business.

Only the following businesses can I endorse in complete faith…

For instrument care, purchase, and rentals:

Birschofberger Violins - 1314 E John St | Seattle, WA 98102 | (206) 324-3119 |

Hammond Ashley | 320 Third Ave NE Issaquah, WA 98027 | (425) 392-3963

To order music, strings, and related supplies at a 50% discount try:

Shar Music

1-800-248-SHAR |

For purchasing Suzuki Materials – CD’s, books, etc.:

Young Musicians

1-800-826-8648 |