Steele Music Studio

Dr. Susannah Steele, Instructor

Piano Studio Syllabus




Cell:                336.847.8651





Susannah Steele’s music studio strives to provide quality music instruction in a positive and supportive environment. The individual needs and interests of each student are carefully considered; lessons and music are planned accordingly.  I use a variety of teaching methods tailored to meet the meets of each individual student.


Although this is a private piano studio, and is not affiliated with any school district, it is no less an educational institution.  It is the position of this studio that piano lessons are to be treated with the same degree of importance as any other subject your child may be studying in school. Please respect my commitment to your child's musical education by maintaining a priority level for piano studies equal to that of other school subjects -- regard it as an extension of academics that would otherwise be unavailable to your child.


The following policies explain how the Steele Music Studio runs and what is expected of students. 



During lessons we will work on developing piano skills in reading, coordination, and music theory concepts.  We will study technique, music theory, sight-reading, and solo repertoire.  Students can progress from their own level, and every effort will be made to accommodate different learning styles and preferences.  Throughout the year students will have the opportunity to enrich their musicianship through performance in recitals, festivals, and competitions.



Generally, the lesson will be divided into several parts:


knowledge of technique, including scales, arpeggios, sight-reading, etc., is essential to becoming a well-rounded musician


knowledge of theory helps the student learn and memorize faster, aids in their interpretation of the piece, and deepens their appreciation for the music

Pedagogical Pieces: 

many of the pieces studied will present one or more specific pedagogical challenges, which, when mastered, will expand the student’s ability at the instrument

Performance Pieces:

these pieces will be used for public performances, and must be memorized unless they are to be performed as a duet or trio with other performers.



In the case of the young beginner, lessons will cover the same areas of study, but may take a more fluid and age-appropriate approach.



The Academic Year is based on a 9-month calendar from September to June. Many but not all studio breaks coincide with local school systems, so please refer to the online calendar and personal communication to keep track of the schedule.


The Summer Term will offer a variety of camps and lessons with flexible scheduling to accommodate vacations and time off. Summer schedule will be announced mid-spring. Students who take lessons in the summer are guaranteed a spot in the fall. Students who take the summer off will be placed on a waiting list for fall.



Lessons are billed on a tuition basis, divided into equal monthly payments from September to August.  Summer lessons will follow a different tuition and payment schedule.


Steele Music Studio accepts checks cash, and Paypal. Invoices are sent out at least one week prior to payment dates. 


Tuition reserves your weekly time slot. It also covers the cost of:

·      Lesson planning and repertoire selection

·      Piano tuning and maintenance

·      Costs associated with recitals

·      Professional studio memberships

·      Incentive programs and game materials

·      Studio insurance


Tuition does not include the cost of music. Lesson books, piano music and other supplies needed for lessons can be purchased through the studio on a reimbursement basis.


$20 late fee for all payments received past the 10th of the month

$30 fee for all NSF checks.

If payment is not received by the second lesson of the month then no lesson will be given.


If you find that you cannot financially fulfill your commitment to lessons, advanced notice and open communication is greatly appreciated!


For current tuition rates, please contact the Steele Music Studio via email or call me at 336.847.8651.



Lesson times are weekly appointments. Each lesson time is reserved for a specific student, and it is their responsibility to attend.  Lessons missed by the student will not be rescheduled. A student who does not attend a lesson will simply miss the benefit of that lesson. Please be assured that tuition pays for far more than the time spent during lessons.


Any lessons cancelled by me will be rescheduled at the earliest mutually agreeable time. 


Illness: Students who are ill should not attend lessons. If you are too sick to go to school then you are too sick for your lesson. Please notify the teacher by 12 pm if you cannot attend.


“No Shows”: Any student who misses three consecutive lessons without communicating with me in advance will be removed from the schedule without reimbursement.


Reschedules: In the event of a family emergency or other extenuating events students may be able to reschedule a lesson. Please provide 48 hours notice if at all possible. Lessons will not be rescheduled for playdates, sporting events, non-emergency appointments, or family vacations.


Lesson Swap Schedule: If you know in advance that you will not be able to attend your regular lesson time, please consult the lesson swap list* which will be provided to you at the beginning of each year to see if you can switch with another student.


Other exceptions: As with anything there may be other extenuating circumstances. Please talk to me – open communication is key!



·      Please arrive a few minutes prior to your lesson time. Knock, enter, and then please wait quietly until your time.

·      Students are expected to bring all materials (assignment notebook, method books, other music, etc.)

·      Food, gum, and non-water drinks are prohibited in the studio.

·      Please refrain from wearing any loose bracelets or heavy jewelry on your fingers, wrists, or arms.  Nails must be trimmed.

·      Lessons will often incorporate the use of music apps or other theory websites. Students are encouraged to use these outside of lessons as well!

·      Questions? Need to talk? Quick questions can be handled during your lesson time, or you can call, text, or email me as needed.



Regular practice and cooperation is expected.  I will assign weekly technical and musical assignments to fit each student’s needs.  Practice skills are taught in the lessons, and students should utilize these skills at home.  Younger students need parental help in finding time to practice and knowing how to practice.  As students mature, they should be able to take on the responsibility of practicing daily and practicing correctly.


Brief but frequent practice sessions often achieve the best results.  Students will see much more improvement with daily practice (at least 4-5 days a week) than with an entire week’s practice time crammed into the day before your lesson!



All students must have regular access to an acoustic piano or an 88 key modern digital piano with a weighted hammer action. Acoustic piano should be kept in good working order and should be tuned at least once a year.



Students are strongly encouraged, and sometimes required, to participate in various studio events.  These events fall into several categories:


Recitals: Recitals offer students a sense of accomplishment and pride for their hard work. They also help them learn the importance of setting and achieving goals. Students will be given the opportunity to participate in several recitals each year—See the calendar for recital and other performance dates.


In most cases, memorization of performance pieces is required.  I reserve the right to deny any student the right to perform based upon their failure to meet the minimum standards of performance readiness. 


Please note the attached sheet regarding performance information and etiquette.


Festivals and Competitions: All students will have the opportunity to participate in at least one festival each year held by a professional music organization.  Specific participation and repertoire requirements will be discussed on an individual basis.  A modest registration fee may be charged.



In the case of inclement weather I will contact you and make an announcements online in the event of a closing.



Parents are encouraged to get involved in their child’s musical development, whether or not they have any musical background themselves.  Opportunities for involvement include:


- Creating a quiet space where the student can practice

- Helping the student schedule a regular time for practice each day.

¯ Sitting with your child during practice time

¯ Noting any special directions in the lesson assignment notebook

¯ Rewarding goals that have been met

¯ Encouraging your child to perform for family and friends


Parents are welcome to come to any lesson, but should use discretion as to whether it will distract the student or not.  Friends should not attend lessons with the student.


** Siblings who take lessons back-to-back are welcome to wait in the studio and silently read, draw, play on tablets, or work on homework during each other’s lessons. Please bring enough materials to stay occupied.




Because some students may learn more quickly than others, it is important that we are concerned with individual accomplishments in music. Students and parents must be careful about expectations they have for their children or themselves.  Any musical skill takes patience and practice.  Keep goals challenging yet attainable, and remember to have fun!

Steele Music Studio

Offering private piano lessons for all ages and group music classes for young families.