Heather Byars









Instructional Schedule - Fall, Winter, & Spring Quarter:

-  The year is divided into four quarters.  The Fall, Winter, and Spring Quarters will be ten-week terms.  As a bonus, an additional week will be added at the end of each term and will include special group activities, recitals, and make-up lessons.

-  Our schedule follows the school calendar as closely as possible.

-  Continuous enrollment in all four quarters is necessary to reserve your place in the studio.  You are considered to be enrolled in the studio until you have given me a written notice of termination one month in advance.

Instructional Schedule - Summer Quarter:

-  The Summer Quarter will consist of six weeks of lessons plus the bonus week for make-up lessons.

-  During the Summer Quarter students have the option of arranging their six piano lessons individually with me rather than having a regular weekly lesson time.  This flexibility will allow student to still get in all of their piano lessons around their travel and summer camp schedule.  Lessons will still need to be scheduled with me during my normal working hours and within the dates specified for the summer quarter.

-  Please understand that, without payment, it isn't possible for me to reserve spaces in the studio. The studio maintains a waiting list of interested students. It is most equitable to offer lesson times to these students immediately when they become available. Some families actually prefer to begin piano lessons in the summer. Students who have terminated their lessons are always welcome to return, but please know in advance that availability of lesson times may be limited and that your space could not be guaranteed after an absence.

Absentee Policy:

- Missed lessons due to teacher illness or absence will ALWAYS be rearranged or made-up during the make-up week.  I make every effort not to miss lessons but every now and then, like most professionals, I need a personal day or become ill. In the interest of public health, I will not teach when I am sick.  The makeup week is built into the schedule to provide me with flexibility to cover any absences that I incur.

-  Makeup lessons can not be carried over to the next quarter. Teacher absences will take priority during the makeup week. The remainder of the week may be used to make-up excused student absences. That means that any excused student make-ups that will not fit into the make-up week will be forfeited and are therefore not guaranteed.

-  Excused absences must be approved in advance. If time permits, they can be made up during the makeup week only. Excused absences include: illness, family vacation, and death in the family.

-  A maximum of two missed lessons may be made up per quarter.

-  Missed time for late arrivals will not be made up or refunded.

-  Unexcused absences will not be made up. (Please don't ask!)

-  You may use the swap list to avoid absences that you are able to predict in advance.  The password will be given to existing students upon request.

-  Students may take their lesson via Skype, to avoid missing.

-  Please remember that most teachers do not offer make-up lessons at all because of scheduling complications. Therefore, this is a generous compromise.

Termination of Lessons:

-  Written notification is required one month in advance of ending lessons. Upon entry to the studio, a deposit equal to one month of lessons will be required. This deposit will be returned to you if written notice is given one month in advance of lesson termination and your account is settled in full.  Failure to give one month notice will result in the forfeit of the deposit.

-  You are considered enrolled in the studio until written notice of lesson termination is given.

-  Click here for a printable termination letter.

-  No refund will be given for tuition money paid in advance.

Conferences and Questions:

-  Please call Heather Byars at (205) 978-9671 if you have any questions concerning lesson progress, billing, etc.  Leave a message if there is no answer. (The phone will not be answered during lessons.)

-  It is often easier to reach me by email.

Broken Arm Policy:

Unfortunately, it is not that uncommon for children to break an arm. Lessons will continue using one-handed repertoire. The time will be utilized strengthening the technical facility of the unbroken arm, exploring creative projects and ear-training, and studying theory.

Practice Expectations and Recommendations:

Expectations for student's practice are reasonable and vary according to the experience of the student. Students will be taught how to have a "quality" practice session and set both short and long-term goals for themselves.  The following are general optimal guidelines rather than strict rules:

-  Early Beginner (first 3 months of study):  10 - 20 minutes daily

-  Beginner (6 to 9 months of study):  20 - 30 minutes daily

-  Early Intermediate (2nd year students): 30 minutes daily

-  Intermediate (3rd year students) 45 minutes daily

-  Advanced (4th year +):  one hour daily

Practice Record:

-  Students will be required to keep a weekly practice record to earn practice points.

-  A parent signature on the record is mandatory for points to be earned.

-  Students who maintain an average of five practice sessions a week will be rewarded at the Spring Recital with a third place practice trophy; six sessions, second place; and seven or more sessions, first place.

Importance of Parental Involvement:

-  It is no secret that the most successful children have lots of parental support, concern, and attention. Parents of young students should be aware of their child's weekly assignments and help them find practice time.

-  Please take the time to make sure that young student's hands are clean and fingernails clipped before coming to lessons.

Importance and Value of Support for Music in the Home:

-  It is crucial to make a family commitment to music. The student needs a quiet, well-lit practice area.

-  Music activities in the home are extremely beneficial to private piano study. Families are encouraged to attend and participate in local music activities.


-  Please park on the street to avoid blocking the carport.

-  Students should wait until it is their lesson time and then enter through the front door.

-  Please make the effort to use the restroom before coming to piano.

-  To keep distractions to a minimum, I prefer for students to attend lessons alone, without a parental audience.  Exceptions may be made in the case of extremely young students whose parents will be guiding their practice sessions at home.  

Tuition Rates for Fall, Winter, and Spring Quarters:

30 Minute Private Lesson:  $267

(3 monthly installments $89)

45 Minute Private Lesson:  $360

(3 monthly installments $120)

60 Minute Private Lesson:  $459

(3 monthly installments $153)

Tuition Rates for Summer Quarter:

30 Minute Private Lesson:  $160

(2 monthly installments $80)

45 Minute Private Lesson:  $218

(2 monthly installments $109)

60 Minute Private Lesson:  $276

(2 monthly installments $138)

Recital Fee:

A $7 per student recital fee will be added to the fall and spring quarter tuition statements to cover recital expenses associated with renting the performance venue, printing programs and awards, and purchasing trophies.

Billing Policy:

-  Tuition is due in advance. A bill will be sent by email one week before it is due.

-  You may choose to pay the tuition in three installments in the fall, winter, and spring, and two installments in the summer. Tuition will be due the first week of each month of the quarter. (If the first week falls on a holiday the payment will be due the following week.) There will be a $2.00 processing fee added to the bill if you choose this payment plan.

-  For your convenience, credit card payments can be made online through Square. This is a great way to avoid late fees.

-  If a tuition payment is late, a reminder will be mailed to you along with a $10.00 late fee. If the tuition payment is late for a second week, lessons will be terminated and you will be billed for any outstanding tuition.

-  A $10.00 returned-check fee will be applied to any returned checks. A subsequent $10.00 late fee may also be added if the delay extends beyond the payment deadline.

-  Tuition includes the cost of lessons, theory and musicianship classes, parties, and admittance to special guest performances. It does not cover the cost of music books, competition fees, or recital fees.


-  Tuition does not cover music books or theory workbooks.

-  Every effort is made to keep the cost of these supplies reasonable.


Please click to download this fillable form.  You may return it to me by email (hbyars@me.com), in person, or by regular mail.

Heather Byars

1820 Highfield Drive

Vestavia Hills, AL  35216