Policies and Fees



The Breth Studio accepts students on the basis of individual and family commitment to the highest musical achievement of which the student is capable.

An audition/interview is required for which there is a nominal fee that is applied to tuition if the student joins the studio.

Group Class

In addition to weekly private lessons, all students attend and perform in group piano class every other week. The primary purpose of the class is performance practice.  The tone is informal, and socializing is an important part of it. Through this experience, students develop friendships and enter into a supportive network of peers.

Other issues we address are:

what to listen for in music
how to talk about what we hear
structure and imagery in music
composers’ lives and styles
how to practice
music theory

Group class attendance is required.

Group classes are closed to parents and other observers.

Performance Opportunities

  1. Recitals: All students perform in three or four studio recitals each year. All recitals except the concerto recital are open to the public; guests are welcome.
  2. Other noncompetitive events: All students take part in selected community music events.  This gives students specific goals to meet, exposes them to a variety of piano literature, gives them a sense of how they’re doing in the real world, and introduces them to other children who share their interest in music.  Preparing for these events motivates students to polish their repertoire and to constantly reach for higher goals.
  3. Competitive events:  Students may choose to participate in competitive events as appropriate.

Missed Lessons

No makeup lessons unless I miss a lesson or in the case of school closure due to severe weather.

If you take a family vacation outside of the school holidays, you forfeit the lessons missed. The summer lesson schedule, however, is flexible.

Lesson Swaps

If a lesson must be missed, use the calendar to check my schedule. Exchange times with another family and inform me of the change.

Parental Involvement

I expect parents of young children to observe most or all lessons, and to help children practice at home. Lesson observation should be discontinued by the student’s 9th-grade year, if not earlier.



To build muscle strength and coordination, piano students “train” every day by practicing.  I expect parents to assist them in the following ways:

Make a practice schedule. At the beginning of the school year, assist students to make a chart showing one week’s schedule, with the time and duration of all activities and showing specific practice times for each day. Students render this schedule in an artistic way according to their choice, and present it to the group class.

Keep the room quiet. Do not allow phone calls, visitors, TV or other distractions.

Supervise the practice. Parents who do not actually sit with the student during practice time should read the practice assignment each week.  If questions arise, ask for clarification. Read the Parents’ Guide to Practicing.


The student who graduates with good sight-reading skills is the student who will play the piano throughout life.

To this end, students borrow sight-reading books from our studio library and are required to sight-read a certain amount at home each day. They are graded on sight-reading at lessons.

Donations to the sight-reading collection are welcome.


Musicians work out just like athletes.  They do exercises and routines like dancers.  We call this part of our study technique; and we do a lot of it.  There is a myth that practicing technique is simply mindless repetition.  Actually, it requires just as much imagination and alertness as practicing repertoire; and when that attention is given, it is just as enjoyable.

Students need

a well-maintained instrument (tuned at least two times per year)

a metronome

a music dictionary
a good quality recorder
a three-ring binder
short fingernails. Long nails make proper finger position impossible. Cut nails flush with the end of the finger, and keep them that way for daily practice.

Tuition & Fees 2017-18

Annual tuition covers

38 lessons. (at least four lessons in the summer)
16 group performance classes
3 studio recitals


Tuition rates are as follows:

Lesson length Annual rate Trimester rate
60 minutes $6180 $2060
75 minutes $6825 $2575
90 minutes $9276 $3092

Payment schedule

Due dates for trimester tuition payments are July 1, November 1, and March 1.

Statements are issued two weeks before each due date. The July statement includes a $35 registration fee.

A $20 late payment fee is assessed if payment is more than two weeks overdue.

All tuition payments are non-refundable, unless lessons are terminated by me.

Scholarship Assistance

Please inquire if scholarship aid is needed.


Call me, if you have questions or concerns, at 202-237-1525, weekdays between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. I try to find a time each day to return calls. I check my email regularly (nancy@brethstudio.net).