Piano/Voice Lessons In Your Home!
LEARN FROM A PRO
Rick Blackson was teaching piano while in his teens in the seventies. By his late twenties he had been the music director/arranger for numerous vocal groups and theatrical presentations. He has worked with choirs and taught in schools. Over the years, his private students number in the hundreds. This page reflects his teaching objectives and policies.
Since I see participation in the performance arts as a "quality of life thing," I expect all students to learn at least enough to bring them years of fun and enjoyment. Therefore I try not to take things too seriously or put students under a lot of unnecessary pressure causing them to quit prematurely.
I expect some students to eventually become accompanists, church musicians, lounge pianists, participants in school and/or community theater, wedding singers, members of various music groups or bands, and even musical directors and arrangers. Therefore I have a very eclectic approach that exposes students to a variety of musical styles, respects their individual tastes, and can prepare them for numerous performing experiences.
I expect a few students to go on to music school. Those more disciplined students are encouraged to rehearse diligently, study theory, and play or sing more challenging repertoire until it becomes apparent they are ready for a different kind of teacher.
All vocal students are required to study some music fundamentals with the goal of learning to read music and play piano at a very basic level.
There are intangibles that I bring to each session which I personally believe to be more valuable than music. Every student is approached individually, with attention given to strengths, weaknesses, and personality. This is essential when working with the little ones.
Since Mary Jo and I will not have our own children, it is very fulfilling for me to have so many kids to love, appreciate, and attempt to influence positively by edifying their self-esteem and being one more caring person who loves them. During these often troubling times it is more important than ever that you know that I use the utmost professional and ethical discretion in every aspect of our relationship, especially whenever I demonstrate appropriate affection towards your children.
What I endeavor to be to your kids is a friendly, loving adult in their lives who is both funny and serious, who happens to be at least one teacher they can call by first name. I hope the boys see me as a guy who is into a lot of the same things as they are, like sports for instance, while at the same time being into music and singing and entertaining, things which are cool for guys, too.
While we live in a time in which girls and guys increasingly share more common interests, I believe that there are very obvious advantages to approaching each differently. To the girls I hope to demonstrate extra kindness and patience, and warmth and acceptance. Perhaps idealistically I hope this influence may resonate with them in positive ways that go beyond music and outlasts my association with them. With all of my students I try to be an effective listener and develop good, friendly relationships that have the potential to last a long time. In other words, for me it is about a lot more than just music.
I offer two voluntary showcases per year. I encourage my students to get involved in a variety of church, school, and community theater functions where they may get the chance to perform. I will be glad to help prepare them.
If you are parents who want what I call the Western European or traditional approach consisting of recitals, classical repertoire, competitions, scholarship searches, art songs, and preparation for the music conservatories, there are many teachers in the area who are better suited for you. There are teachers who will place their students in numerous competitions in order to prepare them for music school and the possibility of scholarships. If I have a student who displays unusual discipline, interest in classical music, and adequate ability, I will suggest you find this kind of teacher.
Do not misunderstand, I do teach fundamentals, but my emphasis tends to include learning music for personal enjoyment and life enrichment as well. My training techniques are tried and true. If you have any questions about them, just ask - but don't expect a short answer!
Although my attitude may seem laid-back, my commitment to the schedule is solid. Please seriously evaluate your willingness to make the standing weekly appointment a priority. The new rate schedule and fee assessment for more than 2 scheduled cancellations may assist you as you consider.
As most of you know, I don't hesitate to text to confirm appointments, or find substitute times, or even text at the last minute to let you know that I can come over sooner. I will continue to do this and assume it is all right with you unless you tell me anything different. I certainly don't want to be an annoyance by texting too much. You are also welcome and encouraged to text me any time for any reason, but particularly regarding scheduling. Also, please let me know if you ever would like to schedule time on the phone or in person to talk about you or your kids or anything that pertains to our relationship.
If for any reason you or any in your family discontinue working with me I hope we can continue a friendly association. Sometimes kids can be very awkward if they see me after quitting. Let them know that it's all right; no need to feel embarrassed, I'll still be happy to see them! Also, if you feel you want to try another instructor, that's all right, too!
I have come up with the following list of considerations (not necessarily in order of importance) that will help me decide who will be maintained and who will be denied.
- Tenure – the length of time a student has been working with me already
- Talent – the "wiring," reflexes, voice, etc. the student naturally has
- Attitude – the combination of ambition, drive, motivation, focus, willingness to learn, and willingness to work (or enjoy doing music) on their own
- Potential – my perception of where the combined talent and attitude may lead
- Rapport – my feeling of personal connection and exchange with the student along with other perceived intangibles
- Ability to keep appointments – although I realize that some of the most ambitious and talented students will naturally have more scheduling conflicts, at some point the realities of maintaining a business must (obviously) become a consideration
- Location, location, location – where you live will be factored into my ability to schedule you
- Student/teacher blend – the student's willingness and/or ability to take advantage of what I uniquely bring to the plate as a teacher/mentor.
- Commitment to schedule – your past tendencies regarding keeping appointments, respecting my time and commitment, etc.
Please know I make scheduling decisions with the highest and best intentions for all concerned. Again, thank you for the opportunity to have enriched your life or the lives of your children through musical instruction. To those of you who will be part of my schedule, I look forward to our continued growth together!
CANCELLATION POLICY & RATES
1. Each student will be permitted two advanced scheduled (1 week notice) cancellations per season. This will cover vacations, concerts, dance recitals, and other pre-scheduled events. Seasons are January through May; June through August; and September through December.
NOTE: Please let me know in advance so I can utilize the opening for makeups and such.
2. A fee of $20.00 is required for each half hour unscheduled cancellation. The fee will be waived if we are able to schedule a make-up session that week, or soon after.
NOTE: It is best for each student’s progress to maintain weekly lessons and not skip weeks.
3. If I come to your home and you cancel, the regular fee of $25/half hour plus the travel/time fee is required. The fee will be waived if we are able to schedule a make-up session that week.
You may ask, “What if I/he/she got sick?”
“What if I/he/she has a last-minute change of schedule for dance rehearsal or soccer practice?”
“What if they have a chance to go to Cedar Point with their friends?”
Unfortunately, these kinds of scenarios happen to multiple students every week, making the cancel fees necessary for this business to continue.
If you cancel, it’s essential to reschedule!
Many families bend over backwards to reschedule, and it is greatly appreciated. I also am willing to spend a lot of time and effort texting you –
shifting and tweaking the schedule to accommodate your scheduling needs.
I am very committed to the schedule and will rarely cancel a session or be more than a couple minutes late. However, I will text you frequently to ask if you can switch times or days in order to help someone else do a makeup, avoid a cancellation, or simply tighten up holes in that day’s schedule.
You can help me by:
Responding quickly to texts
Trying hard to find a time for a makeup or alternate time
Being in touch ASAP! Please think and plan ahead if you may need to change your time or schedule a makeup
Help others by being willing to switch if you are reasonably able
REMEMBER – Saturdays and Sundays are available for makeups if needed.
DON’T FORGET FACETIME!
Several students use FaceTime exclusively. Many others use it when they have scratchy throat or sniffles, or can’t find another time for me to get to their home for an in-person appointment.
“MONTHLY PAYMENT STATUS”
At the beginning of each month, you will receive a text to let you know if you have credit, are even, or if you owe for lessons including any cancel fees you may have accrued.
What ABOUT HOLIDAYS?
If your appointment falls on a holiday, you are not obligated to do a makeup for that day, and will not be assessed a cancellation fee, however I do encourage you to schedule a makeup if you are able to do so. Typically, you will receive a text from me in advance informing you of other days/times that may be available in place of the holiday.
You are expected to keep your appointment, or schedule a makeup during school vacation weeks. Let me know in advance if you will not be doing a lesson during a school vacation week. That will count as one of your two permitted “scheduled cancellations.”
On those rare occasions when I cancel, if we are unable to find a makeup time, you will not be assessed a cancellation fee.
In Your Home
$25 per half hour session plus $7 for travel/time expense. Add $2 if more than 15 minutes from Rt. 224/Raccoon Rd. intersection in Canfield.
30 mins = $32
45 mins = $44
60 mins = $57
75 mins = $70
90 mins = $82
30 mins = $27
45 mins = $40
60 mins = $52
75 mins = $63
90 mins = $74
Payments are cash, check, or PayPal: paypal.me/RickBlackson21 and are preferred weekly.
PLEASE ENTER THIS CONTACT INFO INTO YOUR DEVICE:
6723 Abbey Rd. S.
Canfield, OH 44406