Lisa Bender's Teaching Philosophy

Music has enhanced my life in a way I cannot put into words, from the first time I sat next to my mother at the piano until today.  I believe music is a gift to humanity from God, useful for lifting the spirits, making our brains work more efficiently, and for bringing joy through its beauty and the sense of accomplishment that comes from learning the language of this art.  I believe that everyone should have access to music, and that all who have a desire to learn to play an instrument or sing, should have the opportunity to learn. 

I believe that the two best ways to build strong musicians are to instill a love of a wide variety of music, from Baroque to Jazz, and also to instill a good work ethic in each student.  I believe in the importance of learning to read music.  I believe that performance opportunities are a key part of developing strong musicians, and I believe that these opportunities can lead to an increased level of self-confidence for the performer in addition to improved musicianship. 

Billing and Attendance

Tuition is due the first week of every month and considered late after the 10th day of the month.  Tuition may be paid directly at the time of the lesson with cash or check (made out to Lisa Bender), credit card (I have a card reader), or paid online with credit card.  Tuition is as follows:

30 minute lessons            $20 per lesson

45 minute lessons            $30 per lesson

60 minute lessons            $40 per lesson

  • Thirty minute lessons are $20 per lesson, which usually comes out to $80 per month (4 lessons), but some months will have 5 lessons ($100 per month) and some will have 3 ($60 per month), depending on the length of the month and what day of the week lessons are held, and in December, usually only 2 lessons will be offered ($40) due to Christmas break.  Parents of students and adult students will need to pay in advance for the month (by the 10th day of the month), according to how many lessons they will receive that month. 
  • Forty-five minute lessons are $30 per lesson, which usually comes out to $120 per month (4 lessons), but some months will have 5 lessons ($150 per month) and some will have 3 ($90 per month), depending on the length of the month and what day of the week lessons are held, and in December, usually only 2 lessons will be offered ($60) due to Christmas break.  Parents of students and adult students will need to pay in advance for the month (by the 10th day of the month), according to how many lessons they will receive that month.
  • Sixty minute lessons are $40 per lesson, which usually comes out to $160 per month (4 lessons), but some months will have 5 lessons ($200 per month) and some will have 3 ($120 per month), depending on the length of the month and what day of the week lessons are held, and in December, usually only 2 lessons will be offered ($80) due to Christmas break.  Parents of students and adult students will need to pay in advance for the month (by the 10th day of the month), according to how many lessons they will receive that month. 

A 10% discount is available for the total cost of lessons/therapy for families with two or more students enrolled.

A limited number of need-based scholarships are available upon request.  Call or email Mrs. Bender for more information.

Meadowlark Music Studio operates on a three-semesters-per year schedule.  The semesters are as follows:

Fall – September through December

Spring – January through May

Summer – June through August

Meadowlark Music Studio offers a minimum of 12 lessons, one group lesson and one recital during the fall semester, 18 lessons, one group lesson and one recital during the spring semester, and a minimum of 10 lessons during the summer semester.  Occasionally, a few more lessons than the minimum will be offered, depending on Mrs. Bender's schedule.

Typically, no lessons will be held Thanksgiving week, during the last two weeks of December and the first few days of January, during one week in mid-March (spring break), and during the last week of May.  These dates are not set in stone, and so schedules will be communicated at the beginning of each semester and as needed, especially at the beginning of the summer semester because of vacations.

Studio Program

All students are encouraged to be involved not only in weekly lessons, but also semi-annual group lessons and recitals.  Most lessons are 30 minutes in length, but 45-minute  and 60-minute lessons are available to those interested.  Group lessons are held prior to recitals.  During the group lessons, three things are accomplished: 1) students are given a chance to practice performing in front of their peers, 2) students are given a chance to perform a song that they composed (on a volunteer basis), and 3) students participate in a music history game on a musical era or composer chosen by Mrs. Bender for which the students are given study guides at least a month prior to the group lesson.  Recitals are usually a mixture of piano, voice and beginning guitar students, and are held at Meadowlark Music Studio (Mrs. Bender’s house) in December and in May.

Lessons and Practicing

Students are expected to come to their lessons on time and prepared with all musical materials.  Each lesson will include instruction on technique, note reading, rhythm, expression, and theory.  Music history will be incorporated into lessons on a supplemental basis, especially during the month before the group lesson in preparation for the music history game.  Students are expected to practice a minimum number of minutes each week, to be determined with Mrs. Bender depending on student’s age, ability, musical goals, and schedule.  Practicing is the most important aspect of becoming a strong musician, and I value immensely the parents who support their children’s musical achievement by encouraging and sometimes requiring them to practice at least the minimum amount each week.  I encourage all students to develop a strong work ethic in order to achieve their musical goals.

Meadowlark Music Studio attendance and cancellation policies:

  • If Mrs. Bender is given notice at the beginning of the month of a lesson or series of lessons that will be missed for any reason, there will be no charge for those lessons.  However, it is highly recommended that students receive a lesson every week for optimum progress whenever possible, and Mrs. Bender cannot guarantee that a spot will still be available if lessons are paused without pay for a month or more.
  • Up to three make-up lessons will be offered per semester for any scheduled lesson that is cancelled by the student with 24 hours or more notice, or for lessons cancelled due to illness or emergency.  If a make-up lesson date and time can be agreed upon, no refund will be given.
  • After three make-up lessons have been scheduled during any given semester, no more make-up lessons will be offered and student or student’s family will be responsible for lesson charges.  If scheduling becomes an issue, Mrs. Bender will try and offer a different lesson slot that works better for the student or student’s family to avoid repeated cancellations.
  • For up to two lessons per Fall or Spring semester and for one lesson per Summer semester missed due to illness or emergency for which no make-up lesson is scheduled, a refund will be credited to your account ($20 for 30 minute lessons, $30 for 45 minute lessons, $40 for 60 minute lessons). 
  • After two lessons have been refunded during the Fall or Spring semester, or one lesson during the Summer semester, no more scheduled lessons will be refunded for the rest of that semester (unless of course the student or student's family decides to pause lessons for a set amount of time due to extenuating circumstances, extended travel plans, etc., with at least 24 hours notice given, or unless the lesson is cancelled by Mrs. Bender). 
  • For any lesson that is missed with less than 24 hours notice, unless it is due to illness or emergency, no refund will be given, and no make-up lesson will be offered.  Mrs. Bender will offer up to three make-up lessons per semester and will refund up to two lessons per Fall and Spring semester and one per Summer semester in cases of emergency or illness.
  • For any scheduled lesson that is cancelled by Mrs. Bender and no make-up lesson can be agreed upon due to schedule conflicts, a full refund will be credited to your account. 

Music and Materials

I will make students and families aware of music and materials needed that I do not have in stock and the student and family will be responsible for ordering the books or purchasing the materials, such as a metronome or method books (see resources page for great online sites for ordering method books).  I will provide information on where and how to purchase the materials if needed.  When I have books and materials in stock I will make out a bill or invoice for the items and families can pay me directly with check, cash, or credit card, or online with credit card.