Studio Policy

You will be provided with a paper copy at our first consultation that you may sign and return to me.


Tuition payments are a flat rate, regardless of a four or five week month. Payments for the entire month are due during the first week of every month unless prior arrangements have been made.  If payment is made the second week of the month it will be considered late and will incur a late fee of $15.00 in addition to the regular lesson rate.  I will not teach more than two lessons without payment.

Private Piano Lessons Ages 6 through Adult

  • 45 minute lesson – $110.00 per month (27.50 per lesson)
  • 60 minute lesson - $150.00 per month  (37.50 per lesson)

​WunderKeys Lessons for Preschoolers/Kindergarteners 

  • 30 minute lesson - $90.00 per month (22.50 per lesson)

Partner Lessons for Two Beginning Students in the Same Household

  • 60 minute lesson - $150.00 per month for two beginning students near the same age.  Transitioning to private lessons will become necessary at some point based on the student's level of advancement.  The suitability of Partner Lessons will be regularly assessed.  If the two students are not the same level, or have a large age gap, two 30-minute lessons will be given at the same one hour rate.

Tuition Rate Increases

Tuition rates are evaluated yearly and may be subject to increase. You will be given 30 days notice of any rate increases.

Returned Checks

A $25.00 fee will be applied for any returned checks. Please make checks payable to Elaine Bovender. 


We are located on a quiet, country road just off of Carolina Beach Road.  Inlet Acres Drive is a dirt road and can be rough at times especially after a rain, so please take care and drive slowly. If there are puddles, you need to stay towards the outer edge.  The studio space inside our home is well-lighted, cheerful, organized and clean.  The studio piano is a 5'9" Young Chang grand piano which is regularly tuned and maintained in good working order. There is also a Yamaha keyboard which may be used during some lessons. We share our home with our dogs, Dixie (Beagle mix) and Jada (Carolina Dog mix), both are extremely friendly.  During the lesson time, they will rest in a bedroom or play outside when the weather is nice so as not to distract the student and interfere with the lesson.

           a) Lessons at the Studio:   A parent or guardian must remain in the studio with minor children during the lesson times. Parents may wait in the studio or in the seating area on the front porch, weather permitting, but please do not interrupt the lesson. Please make sure that cell phones are on silence/vibrate while in the studio. You may take advantage of the available reading material or there is wifi available and we can provide you with a password, if you would like to use your phone, IPad, etc. for internet connection while waiting for your child. I would also be happy to provide you with a note pad if you would like to take some notes to help your child with practice through the week. The importance of parental involvement is so important to your child’s musical development.      

​          b) Summer Lessons:  Students are advised to continue their lessons during the summer months, as usual. You may want to change to earlier hours or a bi-weekly schedule. Students not wishing to continue during the summer are strongly advised to continue reviewing their lesson material and engaging in daily practice. 

          c) Photographs/Video Recordings:  For educational/promotional purposes, we may request your permission to record or photograph one or more piano lessons or recital/piano party performances or other activities. Any photos or videos will not be sold to third parties and will only be used on my website, Facebook, Pinterest pages and/or my Youtube channel.  There is a photo/video release that you may sign on your registration form accompanying this policy.


Students are expected to come to the lesson on time and with all assigned music prepared and written work completed.  Beginning students are expected to repeat each assigned piece at least five times daily.  As students progress, we will begin implementing practice strategies to encourage quality practice time at home.  The student will be given a practice record to help keep track of home practice time. “Cramming” a week’s worth of practice into the hour before a scheduled lesson is unacceptable and will not produce quality results and it undermines the value of piano study.  Home practice is critical for the development of proficiency at the piano.


The student/parent will be responsible for the purchase of assigned music and supplementary material to work from until the next level is reached.  I usually start out with one method book for you to purchase and we use theory worksheets at no charge to you. We may add supplementary material for the student’s enjoyment and enrichment as the student progresses.  I keep a small stock of method books and supplementary material in the studio available for purchase. Books can also be purchased through or Sheet Music Plus, etc.. I am always happy to order your books for you and present you with a receipt for reimbursement  Typically, the cost of the books is added to your monthly invoice. Some books and supplementary may also be purchased at Music and Arts, 2340 South 17th Street, near New Hanover Hospital.


Students are expected to be at their lesson on time and prepared each week.  Makeup lessons are allowed in the event of illness or family emergency or other conflicts, provided that sufficient notice is given. You may contact me by telephone, email, or through private message on Facebook.  I check these accounts frequently throughout the daytime and evening hours. You may also send me a text message at (910) 520-5184. 

                a) Holidays and Vacations: Lessons are not scheduled during Thanksgiving Week, Christmas, New Years, and Easter Week and you will not be charged for the missed lessons.  If you are planning to go on vacation, please give me at least two weeks prior notice.  You will not be charged for the missed lessons during your vacation time as long as the required notice was given.

                b) Makeup Lessons:  If you are ill or an emergency arises, please notify me by noon the day of the lesson.  Makeup lessons are scheduled every third Friday of the month from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.  The makeup lesson is typically a group session in which we will cover learning activities, technique, rhythm, etc.  The size of the group depends on the number of students who need makeups.  You may attend a makeup lesson in any given month, so for example if you missed a lesson and can’t make this month’s session, you can come to the next month’s session.   Makeup lessons are absolutely not given for no-call/no-shows and you will not be refunded for the missed lesson.

                c) Tardiness:  Students are expected to be on time each week.  However, if the unavoidable happens and you are going to be late, please call to let me know.  In fairness to other students, lesson times will not be extended to compensate for tardiness by the student.

                d) Lessons Missed by the Teacher:  In case of emergency or illness for myself, you will be notified by noon the day of your lesson.  The missed lesson can be made up at one of the Friday makeup sessions.  If I’m going on vacation, you will be given at least two week’s notice and you will not be charged for the missed lessons.

                e)  Student Illness:  If your child is running a fever and is presenting visible symptoms (i.e. sneezing, coughing, lethargy, etc.) and if they are sick enough to miss school, in consideration of the other students, my husband, and myself, please do not bring them to lesson. If any child is presenting obvious symptoms during the lesson time, the lesson will be ended immediately.  Please refer to the makeup policy above in item b.

I will always work diligently with the students and parents to resolve any issues that may arise. Student dismissal is the last resort when all attempts to resolve issues have failed.  Listed below are some possible reasons for student dismissal:

          a)  Unpaid tuition payment: Tuition payments are always due during the first week of the month and invoiced the last week of the prior month.  A $15.00 late fee will be applied to payments not made during the first week, unless prior arrangements have been made.  If payment is not made by the end of the lesson during the second week, the student will be suspended until payment is made.  If payment still has not been received by the end of the month the student will be dismissed.

            b)  No-call/no-shows: If a student misses two or more consecutive lessons without prior notification, a formal dismissal letter will be mailed and the student will be removed from the schedule and their time may be given to a more serious student. Tuition fees paid will NOT be refunded.

            c)  Lack of interest and preparation for lessons: If the student consistently neglects regular practice, neglects to bring necessary materials and fails to complete written assignments on time, I will work with the student and parents to develop strategies to help resolve the problem.  If there are no results and the student continues to show little interest and is consistently unprepared each week, the student may be dismissed. You will be refunded for any unused tuition payment. A formal dismissal letter will be mailed to you.

            d) Disrespect/behavior issues:  Disrespect will not be tolerated in this studio at any time! If the student shows disrespect at anytime during the lesson, disregards instructions, refuses to cooperate, demonstrates violent behavior, etc., the lesson will be ended immediately and the student will be dismissed. Unused tuition will be refunded unless the behavior resulted in damage to my home, instruments or other equipment.


​What does my monthly tuition cover? 

All independent music teachers (IMTs) differ in methods of operation. However, the tuition of nearly all teachers covers the following:

  • Time spent with the student

  • Lessons, performance classes, group lessons.​

  • Time spent in preparation for the student

  • Trips to the music store, lesson planning, bookkeeping, development of curriculum, etc. It has been cited by professional music journals that for every hour enrolled in piano lessons, you are investing in at least 2 hours of the teachers time!

  • Your teacher's training and experience

  • Recital costs and preparations

  • Programs, refreshments, facility rental.​

  • Professional organization memberships​

  • Memberships that are maintained by the teacher to enhance their teaching skills and curriculum.

  • Professional journals and online memberships​

  • Publications to assist the teacher in keeping current on new teaching materials and trends.​

  • Studio expenses​

  • Copying, computer software, teaching aides, instruments, tunings, repairs, website maintenance.​

  • Music books and CDs​

  • Materials purchased by the teacher to keep costs low for students.​

  • Property taxes, self-employment taxes, insurance, business licenses, retirement.​

  • The IMT has no corporation to assist in providing health and life insurance by matching funds. Tuition helps cover the increased living costs of your self-employed teacher.​

  • Continuing education​

  • Lessons and classes that keep the teacher current on methods, techniques and personal performance skills.​

  • Certification costs​

  • Yearly membership fees to Music Teachers National Association, North Carolina Music Teachers Association, and the Cape Fear Music Teachers Association

  • Book and music club memberships​ (This enables many discounts to be passed along to the students)

Grace Note Music Studio