1.       What is Valley Music Academy?

A.    Valley Music Academy is a non-profit organization that provides artist quality music instruction for students of all ages and ability levels.  We offer private lessons for voice as well as a wide range of instruments including all brass, woodwinds, percussion, strings, piano, keyboard, guitar, bass guitar, banjo, mandolin and much more. 

2.       Why should I choose VMA for private lessons?

A.    VMA offers quality professional musicians and educators.  All of our teachers have many years of training and education as well as many years of experience as teaching in their field.  Man have advanced degrees and most of our teachers are active performers within the area and beyond.  All of our teachers complete a thorough background check.  In addition everything is recorded by closed circuit TV and all rooms are visible from the outside.  Parents are also welcome to attend their child’s lessons. 

3.       Where is VMA located?

A.    VMA is located at 500 S. Wayne Avenue in Waynesboro in the lower level of Grace Lutheran Church.  Parking is in the rear of the building.  From the parking lot, enter the first entrance on the left side of the building, descend the stairs and turn right. 

4.       What ages do you teach?

A.    VMA offers private music lessons to students of all ages.  Our oldest student currently is over 60 years of age; however, VMA has had a student that was over 80 years of age.  Our general rule for children is age 6, however, we have had private lesson students as young as age 4.  We encourage students younger than age 6 to enroll in our Musikgarten program.

5.       When can I enroll for private lessons?

A.    VMA accepts new students for private music lessons at any time throughout the year. 

6.       What is your minimum number of lessons for a new student?

A.    VMA requires a minimum of 4 lessons for any new student.  Payment must be received for the 4 lessons by the first lesson.

7.       How long is each lesson?

A.    VMA offers lessons in lengths of 30, 45 and 60 minutes.  Length of lessons is mutually agreed upon by the student and/or parent and the instructor.

8.       When are lessons offered?

A.    VMA is open for lessons Monday through Friday between the hours of 9 AM and 9 PM, however our teachers are free to schedule the lessons based upon their schedule.  Some teachers may teach every day and others only teach one or two days per week.  We have several teachers for the most popular instruments so there is a good chance we can assist you in your scheduling needs.

9.       Where do lessons take place?

A.    All lessons are taught on site at VMA at 500 S. Wayne Ave., Waynesboro, VA.

10.   Can I take lessons in my home?

A.    No, VMA does not offer private instruction at your home.

11.   How much do lessons cost?

A.    Rates vary based on the length of lesson and are subject to change.  Lessons are billed monthly for 1/4 (17 fall semester lessons) or 1/5 (20 spring semester lessons) of the total number of semester lessons.  The monthly invoice is NOT for a month of lessons as some months may have more or less than 4 lessons.  See our website for current pricing. 

12.   How are lessons billed?

A.    Lessons are billed based on the semester.  There are 17 lessons in the fall semester, 20 lessons in the spring semester and a possibly 11 lessons in the summer.  Tuition can be paid in full at the beginning of each semester, or you may pay monthly.  When paying monthly, the total semester tuition is divided into 4 monthly fall invoices and 5 spring invoices.  Your monthly invoice is NOT for a month of lessons.  Your monthly invoice is for 1/4 of the fall semester or 1/5 of the spring semester of lessons. 

13.   What if there are 5 lessons in a month?  Or only 3 lessons in a month?

A.    Monthly invoices are NOT for a month of lessons (see #12).  Our billing is based on the semester.  Depending on the day of your lesson, there will be months when you may have 5 lessons.  Based on the holiday schedule, you may only have 3 months in a given month.  However, over the course of the semester, you will have the opportunity to receive the full number of lessons for the semester.  VMA audits the lesson schedule at the end of each semester to ensure each student had access to the appropriate number of lessons. 

14.   When do I pay?

A.    Lessons are invoiced about the 3rd week of each month and are due by the first of the next month.  All lessons are billed in advance.  For example, lessons for the month of March will be billed around the 20th of February and payment is due by March 1st. 

15.   Where do I pay?

A.    You may make payment to the office administrator during office hours.  VMA has a payment slot next to the VMA office door and payments can be dropped there during off hours.  You can mail payments to VMA, PO Box 1712, Waynesboro, VA  22980.  We also accept payments by credit card online. 

16.   What forms of payment do you accept?

A.    We accept cash, check and paypal and credit cards through our online processor.

17.   Can I pay online?

A.    We accept payment online through paypal and credit cards.

18.   Are there any discounts available?

A.      VMA offers a 3% discount for pre-payment of the semester of private lessons (17 fall, 20 spring).  The discount is only offered at the beginning of each semester and payment must be received before the first lesson of the semester.  Payment must be made by check or cash only.  Discounts do not apply to credit card payments. 

19.   How often do lessons occur?

A.    Once each week.

20.   Do I have to take lessons every week?

A.    Generally all of our lessons are weekly.  If you have a special situation, we would be glad to discuss that with you and will work with you to make it possible to take lessons.

21.   When is the fall semester and how does it work?

A.    The fall semester generally begins the last two weeks of August and runs through the end of December.  There are 17 weeks in the fall semester.  VMA generally closes the week of Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year, however, teachers may use these week to schedule make up lessons.

22.   When is the spring semester and how does it work?

A.    The spring semester begins the first week after the New Year holiday and will last through the end of the month of May.  There are 20 weeks in the spring semester.  VMA generally closes the last week of May for teachers to teach any make up lessons that may be necessary.

23.   When is the summer session and how does it work?

A.      Summer begins the first week of June through mid-August.  Summer is the only session where we do not necessarily follow a weekly calendar for lessons.  Because many people plan vacations and travel during these months, VMA is flexible during this time.  Our process for the summer is as follows:  (1) In May, each teacher will choose the weeks of the summer that they will offer private lessons.  (2) Students will select the weeks that they will take lessons during the summer.  (3) VMA will invoice monthly for the lessons requested during the summer.  For example, if you choose 2 weeks in June, 3 weeks in July and 2 weeks in August, you will be billed for those lessons each month. 

24.   Am I allowed to take any other lessons?

A.    Yes.  Students can take lessons on different or multiple instruments and from different or multiple teachers each week.

25.   Can I switch teachers?

A.    All of our teachers are professionals and do an outstanding job in teaching their students, however, we are aware that everyone’s personalities do not always work well with each other.  If there is a conflict, we do allow students to request to switch to another teacher.

26.   If I switch teachers, will my payments apply toward the new teacher?

A.    Any payment made for unused lessons would transfer to a new teacher.

27.   What happens when I miss a lesson?

A.    When you sign up for lessons and schedule a lesson time with a teacher, you are making an agreement with that teacher for them to reserve a specific time each week for you to study privately.  The teacher is committed to be present at that time each week and not teach anyone else.   VMA Policy states there are no credits, refunds or make-up lessons provided for student initiated absences.  With that said, if an absence is pre-arranged with the teacher, it is at the discretion of the teacher whether to schedule a make-up lesson.

28.   What happens if the teacher misses a lesson?

A.    The teacher is required to schedule a make-up lesson for teacher missed absences.

29.   What happens if there is a weather related closure?

A.    The teacher is required to schedule a make-up lesson for weather related absences.

30.   What is your inclement weather policy?

A.    Each teacher will decide if and when to cancel private lessons due to weather. 

31.   Can I take off for a period of time and then come back?

A.    The most progress of any student is made with consistent instruction and regular practice, however, if you do need to discontinue lessons for a time, you are always welcomed back to VMA at a later date.  VMA cannot guarantee that the lesson time of your preference or preferred teacher will be available when you return. 

32.   Is VMA safe for me and my family?

A.    VMA is safe and family friendly.  All of our teachers and employees of VMA undergo a thorough background check before coming on staff.  Our facilities are located in the lower level of Grace Lutheran church and are recorded by closed circuit TV.  All classrooms are visible from the hallway and parents can easily view the child during a lesson.  VMA is the safe alternative. 

33.   Are there any discounts available?

A.    VMA offers a 3 percent discount during the fall and spring semesters for students that pre-pay for the entire semester (17 weeks in the fall and 20 weeks in the spring).  Payment must be made by check or cash only.  Credit card payments do not qualify for this discount.  Payment must be received prior to the first lesson of the semester.   No discounts for summer lessons.

34.   Do you offer scholarships, and how does your scholarship process work?

A.    VMA offers needs based scholarships to students through age 18.  Applications can be downloaded from the VMA website.  A complete application and all requested documentation must be provided in order to be considered.  Awards are considered during the month of August and awards are made for September through June.  Applications must be resubmitted annually.  Applications can be submitted at any time throughout the year, however awards are based on the annual budget and there is no guarantee funds will be available after the initial open application period.

35.   Is there a waiting area?

A.    VMA offers a waiting area for family members located at the end of the hallway where the lessons occur.  Free wi-fi is available for your convenience while you wait.  We ask that families with small children remain in the waiting area so as not distract those who are in lessons.

36.   How do we get started with VMA private lessons?

A.      First we need to get you registered for lessons.  The easiest way is to register online at ValleyMusicAcademy.org and click on the PML (Private Music Lesson) link.  Complete the registration form and we will have a teacher contact you directly to schedule your lessons.  You may pay for your first month of lessons online, or you can select pay by check and we will invoice you.  If you prefer, you can call VMA and we will register you over the phone.

37.   Who schedules lessons?

A.      Once you are registered for lessons the private teacher assigned will contact you to schedule lessons.  They will work with you to schedule a time that works with your schedule as well as theirs.  If by some chance no time can be coordinated, the teacher will contact the VMA office and another teacher will be assigned to you. 

38.   Can more than one child take lessons?
A.      Many of our VMA families have siblings studying with different teachers or the same teacher at VMA.  Our faculty will work to coordinate times so that multiple students can study on the same day and time frame if at all possible.  We cannot guarantee lesson days and times are available, but our faculty will do everything possible to make the schedule work for you.

39.   Can I attend my child's lessons?
A.      This is up to the teachers discretion, but most instructors will let parents sit in on lessons, however some may feel that this can become a distraction for the child.  All of the practice rooms have windows so you can look in on lessons without being in the room.

40.   Am I too old to start music lessons?
A.      It is never too late to start!  Music can be learned and enjoyed by students of any age.

41.   How often should students practice?
A.      Students should practice at least 30 minutes every day to see optimal results, however practice time can vary.

42.   What is the best learning method?
A.      There are many different learning methods in existence and no two students learn the same way, so it is important to look for an instructor that can teach multiple methods and who is willing to adapt their teaching style and lesson plans based on your specific musical goals.

43.   Do I have to learn how to read music if I take music lessons?
A.      While it is recommended that you learn how to read music, most instructors will work with the students to find the best lesson plan suited based on the student’s abilities.

44.   How long will it take me to learn how to play?

A.      This completely depends on what your specific goals are, and how often you practice.  Serious students take private lessons for years. If you are a complete beginner the first month or two may be a challenging.  Music is like learning a second language, so at first everything may seem very foreign to you>As you progress (and if you make it past the two month hump things will start coming easier to you and you may find that lessons are less challenging then they were before.