2021-2022 Studio Policy


  • To nurture a love for and understanding of music in an engaging, encouraging, and inspiring environment
  • To create a pathway to life-long music making at the piano, for both the hobbyist and professional
  • To equip students with skills to discover and develop their musical voice at the piano
  • To lead students to becoming independent learners and give them ownership of their music
  • To strive for excellence while developing poise, confidence, and self-discipline
  • To pursue music learning with joy
  • So that my students will be more whole from the experience



  • Students enroll for weekly 45-minute private lessons plus 15-minute enrichment time. Lessons may be in the studio or online.
  • Musicianship classes meet in lieu of the private lesson approximately 6 times during the school year, usually the week of a Monday holiday. These are small groups of students of similar age and level. Classes may be held in the studio or online. Classes provide performance and ensemble opportunities as well as focused work on theory and music history.

  • All students perform in the Studio Recitals held 2-3 times a year.
  • Participation is required unless the student is out of town.
  • Based on teacher recommendation, other opportunities are available to motivated students through the Raleigh Piano Teachers Association and the North Carolina Music Teachers Association. These may include:
    • RPTA Young Artists Auditions (YAA) - recommended for most students
    • NCMTA Piano Performance Festival (PPF) - intermediate and advanced students
    • RPTA Student Musicales


  • A non-refundable enrollment fee ($60/student; maximum $120 per family) is due July 1 and reserves your child’s place in the studio for the upcoming year.
    • Covers the student notebook, assignments, handouts, studio awards, recital expenses, digital music licenses, sheet music, access to the lending library for sight reading and ensemble music.
  • 2021-2022 tuition for the studio year (August through June) is $1700 divided equally into 10 monthly payments of $170, due and payable in advance on or before the first lesson of the month, September through June.
  • Alternatively, annual tuition may be divided into two installments of $850 payable September 1 and February 1. 
  • Charges for new music books and any event fees will be invoiced.  The instructor purchases most music for the students’ convenience.
  • Tuition includes 36 lessons per year (30 private lessons + enrichment and 6 musicianship classes) from the end of August through the beginning of June. 
  • Students may take additional private lessons at $48 per lesson.
  • Payment is accepted via checks (made out to Sheila Dacus), cash, and Zelle. NSF checks are charged $25.
  • Scholarships are available for students who qualify through MusicLink (www.musiclinkfoundation.org).
  • New students may enroll at any time during the year; the enrollment fee and tuition will be prorated to reflect the number of lessons the student will receive.
  • Prospective students are interviewed in a complimentary mini lesson to assess readiness and placement before being accepted into the studio or placed on a waiting list. 

  • Your tuition reserves a regularly scheduled time for you. 
  • If you are unable to keep your appointment no refunds or credits can be given, but with advance notice (24 hours if possible, before 10:00 a.m. if the child is ill) and a valid excuse, a lesson may be rescheduled if an opening becomes available or during musicianship class week.
  • A valid excuse would involve illness or being out of town.  Any lessons missed without prior notice will not be rescheduled
  • Musicianship Classes cannot be made up.
  • Please notify the instructor via text during teaching hours, as I do not check email or answer the phone while teaching.
  • Students may trade private lesson times if needed. Please notify the instructor of any swaps.
  • The studio does not close due to weather; please use your judgment for travel.  Students who are unable to attend due to health concerns or weather may opt to take their lesson at their regularly-scheduled time via Zoom or Rock Out Loud Live, or submit a video for evaluation.
  • Students are expected to make regular quality practice a priority in their weekly schedule. 
  • Minimum practice time requirement is three times the student’s age, 5 days a week.
  • Students are responsible to complete all practice assignments and accurately record it on their assignment sheet. 
  • Please see that fingernails are kept short at all times (nails do not extend past the fingertip) in order to develop a healthy technique. Because of risk of injury to the wearer and damage to the piano, students with acrylic nails will not be allowed to play studio pianos.
  • The bench must be at the proper height (bottom of arm level with the key surface) with support provided for the feet if they cannot reach the floor.
  • A well-maintained acoustic piano at home is essential for success. Keep your piano in good working condition with all the keys and pedals working, and have it tuned at least once a year.
  •  Full-sized digital pianos (with 88 weighted keys, full-sized pedals, a music stand and bench) are acceptable for the earliest stages only of piano study but cannot replicate the responsiveness of a good acoustical instrument.  Digital pianos will hamper the student’s technical and musical progress.
  • Keyboards are fun and have their place, but are not usable in developing appropriate technique.
  • Families should plan to invest in a quality acoustical piano
  • It is expected that a student will study for the full studio year from the end of August through June.
  • If lessons must be discontinued, 30 days’ notice is required and a month’s tuition will be due from the date notice is given. Notice should be given in person
  • No refunds are given.
  • The teacher reserves the right to dismiss a student who is frequently absent, has an uncooperative attitude, shows a lack of lesson readiness, or is practicing insufficiently to benefit from the lessons