What are your teaching qualifications?

I am an experienced private lesson instructor, performer, and music educator. I hold a Master’s Degree in Clarinet Performance from the prestigious College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati, and I also hold a Bachelor of Arts in Music (Magna Cum Laude) with concentrations in Clarinet Performance and Music Education from Virginia Tech. During both of my degree programs, I was able to formally study clarinet pedagogy, which is the study of clarinet teaching methods.

What ages do you teach?

I welcome students of all ages and ability levels! I have taught students from beginners putting the clarinet together for the first time all the way to mentoring college level clarinetists.

What is your teaching philosophy?

My first goal is to help my students reach their musical goals. From learning to play the first notes to successfully auditioning for Juilliard Pre-College, I have helped students past and present reach new heights of achievement. I always encourage and nourish my students’ interests, while simultaneously guiding them to a high standard of musicianship. Each student has a unique path of strengths and weaknesses to navigate, which is why I believe that music lessons are such an effective tool for teaching resilience, determination, and discipline to young students. Finally, I encourage my students to be inquisitive in lessons, and I aim to foster a sense of security so they can learn to push themselves to new levels of success.

How can I tell that my student is progressing?

Unlike many other formats of music lessons, I do not use a set series of method books in the lessons that I teach. While this does not lend to a “check the box” method of tracking student progress, this allows me to teach each student at their own pace, and with materials that are suited to their exact individual needs. I regularly write custom worksheets and exercises to help my students reach their full potential as musicians. You will hear progress in their tone quality, in their range of notes, in their ability to read more complex music, and you will also hear an increase of self confidence. Music lessons are also a wonderful vehicle for teaching life skills such as diligence, hard work, long term planning, setting personal goals, and learning to manage situations that are out of our comfort zones. My goal as a music teacher is to help your student reach their personal musical goals while also broadening their life skills that will serve them well into adulthood.

Can I sit in on my child’s lessons?

You are always welcome to sit in on your child’s lesson. You are also welcome to make yourself comfortable in my living room while I teach if you would like to be present, but not directly observing.

How much is tuition?

Tuition is collected in the form of 10 equal payments between September and June regardless of the number of lessons held each month. Each student will receive up to 36 lessons per academic year. Tuition rates are as follows:

  • $35/ 30 min lesson x 36 = $1260/ academic year or $126 / month
  • $50/ 45 min lesson x 36 = $1800/ academic year or $180 / month
  • $65/ 60 min lesson x 36 = $2340/ academic year or $234 / month

What does tuition cover?

Tuition covers the time I spend with your student, and the hours of logistical and preparatory work that it takes to run a successful music studio. This includes, but is not limited to...

  • planning lessons
  • researching new repertoire for student
  • researching equipment and materials
  • attending music education and clarinet conferences
  • staying up to date on pedagogical methods
  • creating worksheets for students
  • creating study materials for students
  • answering student emails
  • providing lesson notebooks, photocopies, and thumb rest covers
  • and much much more!

What is the studio fee, and what does it cover?

A fee of $100 will be due at the first lesson of the academic year to cover the following operational costs:

  • Recital fee (venue rental, pianist performance fees, etc.)
  • One solo piece per student per academic year
  • Humidifier packets as needed for students with wooden instruments
  • Plastic reeds (for students to borrow in their lesson if they do not arrive prepared with appropriate reeds)
  • Teaching supplies (Method books, practice challenge prizes, etc.)
  • Office supplies (Student notebooks, copying material, software, etc.)
  • Subscriptions (My Music Staff, Sight Reading Factory, International Clarinet Association etc.)

How long are lessons?

Lessons are given on a weekly basis at 30, 45 or 60 minute intervals. Most beginners start with 30 minute lessons. By late middle school or early high school it is recommended for students to move up to 45 or 60 minute lessons. As students progress, a longer lesson gives me more time to work with the student on more advanced concepts, and it helps the student cover more material each week.

What is your cancellation policy?

If you must cancel your lesson please give me at least 24 hours’ notice via email, phone call, voicemail, or text message. If you would like to reschedule on one of the predesignated make up lesson dates, please communicate that when you cancel the lesson.

  • Should you give me less than the required notice, the absence will be considered unexcused, and will count toward the total number of lessons paid for that year. You will not be allowed to make it up on one of the make up lesson dates.
  • If the student is sick or if there is an unforeseen emergency, their absence will be excused, and you will be allowed to reschedule on a make up lesson date.
  • Scheduling conflicts such as band concerts, or vacations should be resolved in advance by using the swap list (48 hours’ notice required) or requesting a lesson on a make up lesson date (24 hours’ notice required).
  • I reserve the right to cancel lessons at any time, however I will always make an effort to reschedule canceled lessons and I will always give you advance notice if possible. I reserve the right to have a qualified substitute cover lessons if necessary.

What is the swap list?

The swap list is an optional list that each family may choose to join at the beginning of the school year. It provides another opportunity beyond the pre-arranged make up dates to hold a lesson. Lesson times and family contact info (parent name, phone number, and email address) will be on the list, so that if a one-time conflict arises (for example, a band concert), you may contact another family to trade lesson times to avoid a missed lesson.

How do we sign up for lessons?

Contact me at rjmclarinet@gmail.com or at 703-763-9406 to schedule a free trial lesson today!

What materials are required for lessons?

The following materials are the absolute essentials. More materials will be discussed and suggested as lessons continue!

  • Clarinet in good working condition
  • Mouthpiece
  • Ligature
  • Silk Swab (not felt!)
  • Reeds