What procedures does PMA take to protect the privacy and safety of children? 

Maintaining a safe learning environment is the primary responsibility and concern for PMA. A thorough background check is required for all instructors prior to employment, and all staff goes through sexual abuse/misconduct training annually. We follow a strict protocol of protecting students during virtual programs and on our social media. No students will be recorded or used for marketing purposes without prior approval from a parent/guardian. Instructors are trained in making the virtual learning environment as safe as possible; however, parents are required to be present in the home for the duration of all virtual programs as an added level of safety.


What Virtual Learning Platforms does PMA utilize?

Our synchronous (live) programs are taught through Zoom. The virtual classroom is expanded asynchronously through recorded videos and collaborative learning platforms such as Flipgrid, Soundtrap, and Noteflight.


How old does my child need to be to take private music lessons?

Piano: We suggest that pianists ages 5-6 participate in two sessions of our group Friends at the Piano program prior to starting private instruction as it provides a strong peer-centered musical foundation. Students ages 7 and up are generally ready for private lessons.


Guitar: We offer private guitar lessons to students fourth grade and up. In order to be the most successful with learning the guitar, it is best to wait until a student’s fine motor is more developed and  can manage the strength required to play chords. Students younger than fourth grade will benefit from a couple of years of piano lessons, as they will lay a solid foundation for note reading and rhythmic understanding. 


Voice: Unlike other instruments, a singer’s voice lies within the physical body. Singing requires an acute mental focus to breath properly and to manipulate sound and this can be challenging for most elementary age students. Children are typically not ready for vocal lessons until they near puberty, as this is when their voice will begin to naturally change. Starting lessons earlier than this point can lead to strain and damage to developing vocal chords. We believe that a choir, vocal group class, or piano lessons will best suit children younger than sixth grade.


Strings: String students may begin taking lessons at the age of 5 for violin/viola and age 6 for cello. Students must have a solid understanding of numbers and letters and must be able to have  focused attention for the duration of the lesson. It is optimal if parents/caregivers attend lessons for elementary age students so that they are able to assist with home practice during the week.


Do I need an instrument prior to starting lessons? 

Yes, all students need an instrument in good working condition before starting any instrumental program. Though digital pianos are suitable to start, students will benefit the most if they are full-size (88 keys), touch sensitive (can play loud and soft to the touch), are on a keyboard stand, and have a bench (not a household chair). Pianists should plan to upgrade to an acoustic instrument between 6 months to two years depending on the quality of the electronic instrument. Guitar and string students should be fitted at a qualified music retailer prior to starting lessons. Most stores have rental programs for string instruments that allow for students to trade in as they grow and require larger instruments. PMA has a relationship with Heid Music in Madison. Instruments can be rented Here and will be delivered to PMA for pick-up.


How much will my child be required to practice on a weekly basis? 

Students gain the most from instruction when they practice consistently at least 5 days a week. Depending on the level of the students, practice ranges average between 20-30 minutes for beginners and more for advancing musicians.


Will Missed Private Lessons or Group Classes be Made Up?

Students receive one makeup lesson for an excused private lesson absence between Sept-Jan and one for Feb-June 15th. Refunds and tuition credits are not offered in lieu of a makeup lesson. The office must be notified by noon in order for a lesson to be excused. Makeup lessons will be scheduled at a mutually agreed time between the student and instructor and will not be given for lessons missed during the last two weeks of the spring session.


If an instructor is unable to teach due to an illness or other circumstances, the lesson will be rescheduled at a mutually agreeable time. If a student misses a lesson that was rescheduled either due to a student or instructor’s absence, then the lesson is forfeited altogether.


Makeup classes will be not offered to students for missed group classes. Classes canceled due to instructor illness or conflict will be rescheduled.


Can I get a refund if I choose to discontinue private lessons or a group program? 

Withdrawal prior to the start of private lessons will receive a refund for the amount paid minus the annual registration fee. Students who withdraw after the start of lessons are required to make two installment payments beyond the termination date. Year-round students who have paid in full will be given a refund for lessons not received two months beyond the termination date. Students wishing to terminate lessons will need to sign a “termination agreement” stating intent and withdrawal date. The agreement will include payment obligations if necessary. Summer and group class programs should be paid in full by the due date. Refunds will be offered in full minus the registration fee for all summer and group programs discontinued by written notice two weeks prior to the start date. Once a summer or group session begins, tuition will not be refunded.


Does PMA offer financial assistance? 

Prairie Music & Arts believes that opportunities in the arts should be accessible to everyone and strives to assist families that are in financial need. Financial aid is given on an annual basis for lessons or classes from September through August. Awards are for students ages 18 and under. 


Financial assistance is granted based on household income and individual circumstances and is not guaranteed upon application. Prairie Music & Arts has a limited amount of funds and determines assistance packages on an annual basis. In order to distribute opportunities to as many families as possible, awards are limited to no more than two students per household and are not guaranteed to past recipients.


To apply, contact the PMA office at info@prairiemusic.org or (608)834-9550.