Studio Handbook and Policies

What’s the Creative Keys recipe for success?

excellent, creative TEACHING + enthusiastic, dedicated STUDENTS + engaged, supportive PARENTS = skilled, well-rounded MUSICIANS


At Creative Keys we believe music instruction should be:

  • Excellent: Piano lessons should be individualized while still being comprehensive, helping students develop excellent technique, reading and performance skills, and in-depth musical knowledge.
  • Creative: Creativity is a critical and fun part of learning music. We’re creative at every lesson at Creative Keys!
  • Social: It’s powerful and inspiring to play and create music with others.

Teacher Responsibilities

  • Provide individualized instruction for each student, maintain a positive and enthusiastic atmosphere for learning, and encourage a feeling of success at each student’s individual rate of learning.
  • Provide music and materials and assignments matched to individual student’s needs, goals, and learning style and maintain a large music lending library.
  • Offer performance and enrichment activities with a balanced program of theory, technique, ear-training, sight-reading, and performance opportunities.
  • Continue to develop teaching skills and music knowledge by belonging to professional organizations, attending workshops and conferences, reading professional publications, and engaging in other activities leading to professional growth.

Parental Responsibilities

  • Be involved and be a cheerleader – helpful, interested and supportive!
  • Provide a well-maintained piano or good quality digital keyboard.
  • Help students reserve a regular time for practice each day.  This can be done all at once or divided into two or more daily practice sessions.
  • Provide a practice environment that is free from interruptions – family, friends, TV, computer, or phones.
  • Be financially responsible and communicative.  Check your student’s notebook, studio website, and studio emails regularly and communicate any questions or concerns you may have about your child’s progress.

Parent Involvement

Students have the greatest success when parents are involved in a student’s music education. Please show your support by doing at least TWO of the following each week:

  • Be involved in your child’s at-home practice as appropriate for their age and skill level – younger children especially need help from parents with their practicing and will benefit from one-on-one daily assistance.
  • Learn to improvise with your child and improvise together frequently (no music skills needed).
  • Play duets with your child.
  • Listen to classical, jazz, and other music together and discuss what you like.
  • Take lessons or practice yourself!

Student Responsibilities

  • Arrive at each lesson on time, well-prepared, and with all books and materials.
  • Practice – time at the piano is important, and so is what you do with that time.  You’ll make the most progress if you spend time playing every day and practice with the tools that will get you results!
  • Participate in studio activities, performances, and Keyboard Gymnastics Events. Students may also participate in events sponsored by the Tucson Music Teachers Association, such as recitals and the Piano Ensemble Concert.

Music and the Lending Library

Creative Keys provides all required method books and materials as well as extensive supplemental music.  Books and scores may be professionally printed sheet music or prepared from the unlimited reproductions licensed music owned by the studio.  Creative Keys carefully follows copyright laws.

Our vast lending library gives students access to an enormous quantity of quality music and arrangements in many styles and genres – classical, jazz, popular, holiday, contemporary composers, etc.  Students may check the music out as often as necessary, but must agree not to photocopy copyrighted material.  Music must be returned in good condition.  Damaged music will be replaced by the student or becomes the property of the student as part of the music included in their tuition.

What does tuition pay for? 

Far more than a weekly lesson or class!

  • An individualized plan for the student’s course of study
  • Teacher experience and training accumulated over a lifetime
  • Preparation and rehearsal time for the Piano Ensemble concert for enrolled students
  • Continuing education including annual state and national conferences
  • Studio scheduling, planning, communications, administration and organization
  • Exploring new music, trips to the music store, expanding and maintaining the studio lending library
  • Instrument acquisition and maintenance
  • Planning and expenses for performances and recitals
  • Office supplies, computer lab equipment and software
  • Facilities, taxes and insurance, utilities


Tuition is a year-round, all-inclusive membership fee that includes:

  • scheduled lessons and events
  • performance opportunities
  • books and materials, both to keep and lent from the studio library
  • rehearsal time for the Piano Ensemble concert for enrolled students
  • incentives and rewards
  • lab fees, materials, and studio subscriptions such as Piano Maestro, Noteflight, and others
  • community service events and field trips (does not include admission or ticket prices)

Monthly Tuition

  • Mini Musicians (4 year old preschool, kindergarten, first grade): 45-minute group class. $84 monthly.
  • Group Piano Class (second grade through high school): 45-minute group class. $84 monthly.
  • Piano Lessons: 75-minute lesson including private lesson time, piano lab activities, and keyboard ensemble with 4-6 students. $168 monthly.

Tuition does not include fees for TMTA events or other events sponsored outside of the studio, such as the TMTA Piano Ensemble Concert, Keyboard Gymnastics of Phoenix, Clavinova Festival, competitions, and Merit Scholarship auditions.  Additional private lessons for enrolled students may be scheduled at the discounted rate of $86 per hour.

Monthly payments are due a month in advance, on or before the 10th of the month, and may be paid by check or credit card. Automatic billing is optional. Students will be enrolled when registration forms are completed and tuition payments are made.

A late fee of $25 will be applied to invoices not paid by the due date. If payment is late more than once, automatic payments will be required. Students may not participate in lessons or studio events if tuition has not been paid and lessons missed due to nonpayment will not be rescheduled.

All past-due accounts receive a courtesy email and phone call before lesson termination occurs.  Should something come up where you cannot financially fulfill your commitment to your child’s piano lessons, we appreciate and encourage advanced notice and open, ongoing communication. Returned check fees are $30.00.

Families should expect a yearly increase in tuition appropriate to cost of living increases, expenses, and services offered.

Music learning happens over time, therefore, we recommend not pausing memberships when possible.  Piano and musical development is supported best through consistent lessons, practice, and performance opportunities. There is a $35 fee for re-enrollment within the calendar year.

Summer Term

Because studio enrollment is year-round, it includes summer activities.  Summer scheduling is flexible to accommodate vacation and travel schedules of students and instructors.  Summer activities may include workshops, open studio hours to complete projects, field trips, video lessons, private instruction, and other events.

Flexibly Scheduled Students

Flexibly scheduled lessons are occasionally available.  Students schedule and pay for blocks of 3-4 lessons which are scheduled during the morning or early afternoon.  Lessons may be rescheduled with at least 24 hours notice.  Flexibly scheduled lesson tuition includes instruction, music, materials, access to the piano lab and related subscriptions.  Students are welcome but not required to participate in studio recitals and enrichment activities.  Fees for flexibly scheduled students are:

30 minute private lesson – $46
45 minute private lesson – $68
60 minute private lesson – $90
Recital or Enrichment Activity – $25

Cancelled and/or Rescheduled Lessons

The tuition you pay reserves your student’s space in a musicianship class as well as many additional benefits (see above). Missed lessons are inevitable and, therefore, have been taken into account in the overall tuition cost. No credits or refunds are given for missed lessons and tuition remains consistent regardless of the number of lessons attended.

Consider the following options should you need to miss a musicianship class:

  • Visit the studio website and sign up for an open space in a difference musicianship class.
  • Email videos of your assignments in advance and they will be reviewed and responded to during your lesson time.
  • Request a recorded video lesson if you need new material to work on.

Due to their nature, it’s not possible for group activities such as ensembles, enrichment activities, summer workshops, and recitals to be rescheduled or made up.  “No show” lessons will not be rescheduled.

Please note that the instructor may cancel lessons from time to time for various reasons including (but not limited to) personal illness, family needs, or professional travel. Although planning and scheduling is done ahead of time, an exact number of lessons for each year is not guaranteed. As stated above, the inevitability of missed lessons on the part of the student or the teacher has already been considered in the formulation of the term tuition.

Discontinuing Lessons

Every student stops taking lessons at some point and its important lessons culminate positively.  Please provide one month’s notice prior to the 9th of the month to discontinue lessons.  When you give notice, you will have one more month of instruction.  If you decide not to take the last month of instruction, you will forgo the deposit.  There is a $35 fee for re-enrollment within the calendar year.

Either party may terminate lessons at any time.  However, at the discretion of the teacher, students may be asked to discontinue lessons at any time if they have unpaid tuition, an excessive amount of absences/unprepared lessons, or if they show a lack of interest or refusal to cooperate during lessons.  Tuition and fees are non-refundable regardless of the party terminating the lessons.


Please drive slowly and do not park on the street.  Use the circular driveway to drop off and pick up students, but please do not park there.  Enter the circular driveway from the east and exit from the west.  Please park on the west side of the studio, by the garage, or on the east side, out of the way of traffic in the circular drive.

When You Arrive

  • Please arrive ON TIME with your music, assignment book, and any other relevant materials.  Lessons will begin and end on time, and students who are late will have what remains of their lesson time.
  • When you enter the studio, please remove your SHOES – this prevents little rocks from damaging the wood floors.
  • Please wash your hands when you arrive, and be sure your FINGERNAILS are trimmed at least twice a week.  It’s impossible for students with long fingernails to use correct technique on the piano.  Students who trim their nails just before their lesson will have practiced with incorrect technique all week.
  • Please put away electronic devices and CELL PHONES during lesson time.
  • Please don’t bring beverages, candy or gum into the studio.  If you bring a snack, please eat it in the kitchen area.  To protect our instruments, no food or beverage other than a closed water container is allowed anywhere else in the studio.

Keyboard Lab Expectations

Creative Keys Music Studio students have access to our Studio Technology lab where they use iPads, keyboards, and the internet. Students using the keyboard lab and equipment at Creative Keys agree:

  • To respect all studio property and to use equipment carefully.  If a student does not respect the property in the lab, their use of the lab will be discontinued and parents will be charged the replacement cost of intentionally broken items. Normal wear is expected.
  • To only use the studio iPads and Internet to complete the work assigned to them.  Students may not do homework, email, social networking, or any other personal activities on the studio equipment without express permission from the instructor.
  • To immediately report access of inappropriate material to the teacher.  The studio has three levels of hardware and software filtering.  While precautions are made, it is possible that students may accidentally access objectionable material on the Internet.
  • They will not:

    • upload or download any file without the teacher’s permission
    • disable, change the settings or in any way damage the devices
    • access or modify another student’s materials, scores or files
    • copy, download, or distribute any copyrighted material without permission

Contacting the Studio

A TEXT or an EMAIL is the best way to reach me and I check my email several times a day.  I prefer not to answer the phone during lessons so if you must reach me during lesson hours please send a quick text or email.

Respecting Students and Studio Property

Students are expected to respect studio instruments, equipment, and music, and will be responsible for replacing damaged items.  Students are also expected to show respect for the instructor and other students in the studio.

Medical and Liability Statements

This Studio Policy is a legal contract made between Creative Keys, LLC, and the family, for the provision of private music instruction services by Creative Keys, LLC, to Student. The undersigned has read the Creative Keys Studio Policies found at, and fully understands its terms, conditions, and provisions. The undersigned agrees that if any portion of this Studio Policy is held to be invalid, then the remaining portions shall continue in full force and effect.

Unless written notice is given to the studio, permission is granted to Creative Keys, LLC, and its operators to seek medical treatment for the participant in the event they are not able to reach a parent or guardian.

To ensure your students’s safety, please be sure to pick him/her up promptly after class/lesson time. Creative Keys, LLC, instructors and staff do not supervise children before and/or after classes/lessons. Children are under supervision during their instruction time only. Neither instructors nor staff are responsible for supervising children outside of teaching time.

Parents, legal guardians of minor students and adult students fully waive and relinquish any and all claims against Creative Keys, LLC and its owners, instructors, agents and employees from injuries or damages as a result of participating in any activities or classes in any way associated with Creative Keys, LLC. I further agree to indemnify and hold harmless Creative Keys, LLC from any and all claims resulting in injuries, damages arising out of, connected with or in any way associated with the activities of any of the programs.

Photo and Video Release

By initialing below, I hereby give permission to Creative Keys to take photographs and videos of my child(ren) and use them in printed or online formats for advertising and educational purposes. Photos and videos may be used in the studio scrapbook, advertising materials, lesson demonstrations, professional presentations and blogs, and on studio owned websites, blogs, and Facebook pages. The studio follows online safety rules in this matter. Photos taken by the teacher OR that are shared with the teacher by other parents or students of gatherings or performances become the property of the studio, may be edited, and can be used at the discretion of the teacher in regards to the studio. I expressly release Lynnette Barney, Creative Keys, and Music Together from all claims which I have or may have for invasion of privacy, defamation, or any other cause of action arising out of exhibition or distribution of any materials in which my child(ren) may appear. This Consent is binding upon heirs and future legal representatives.

PARENT AGREEMENT: I have read the Studio Handbook and Polices at and agree to abide by all the terms and conditions in that document.  I acknowledge my financial responsibility to Creative Keys and understand the cancellation and rescheduling policies.

Please note that my policies are in accord with recommended professional policies of the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA), the Arizona State Music Teachers Association (ASMTA), and the Tucson Music Teachers Association (TMTA).

This handbook spells out the respective contractual obligations and responsibilities between the Creative Keys, LLC, and the student/responsible Parent. Creative Keys, LLC, has found that the relationship between Creative Keys, LLC, and student/responsible Parent works to everyone’s benefit if we clearly set out the terms and conditions under which the Creative Keys, LLC, will provide the music instruction program to the student. Therefore, all parties agree to be bound by the terms and conditions of this Agreement.

Creative Keys, LLC, reserves the right to update or modify these policies at any time and without prior notice unless a material change is made; in which case we will notify you through the email you have on file. Your use of our services following any such change constitutes your agreement to follow and be bound by the policies as changed.