FAQs

Do you have to be a member of First Presbyterian Church
to enroll at First Academy of Music?

No. First Academy of Music is open to all interested students, regardless race, sex, national origin or religious affiliation or commitment.

How much does it cost for private lessons?

The basic rate is $34 per half hour plus a $10 registration fee per semester. 45-minute and 60-minute lessons are also available at a discounted rate.  Tuition is prorated for students joining after the start of the semester.

Can we pay as we go?

Tuition for private lessons is charged by the semester. We accept personal checks and all credit or debit cards. There are two payment options.
    Option #1 Pay all fees at registration.
    Option #2 Pay in monthly installments – 1st payment  (plus the registration fee) due before semester begins. The remaining payments are due on the 15th of the month.
    Families anticipating applying for financial aid should consider option #2.

Do you offer financial aid?

FAM will provide a financial aid application upon request. Aid is available for students eighteen years old and younger enrolled in private lessons. Awards are based upon a rating system that considers family income, number of students enrolled in FAM, extenuating circumstances, community service and student performance evaluation. All information on application remains strictly confidential. Financial aid applications are due before third lesson of the semester. Financial aid is awarded for the academic year. Students receiving financial aid in the fall semester do not need to reapply for the spring semester. However, if circumstances have changed and they would like the committee to review their new status a new form can be submitted for the spring semester.

Our financial aid program is partially sponsored by donations in memory of Phyllis & Paul Benedict; in memory of Ariel Dorn and in honor of Hank Hochstetler. Proceeds from the Fine Arts series of concerts held at First Presbyterian Church of Bonita Springs also support the financial aid program.

When does the semester begin?

The fall semester generally begins mid-August. Instruction for the spring semester generally begins mid-January. Recitals are held at the conclusion of each semester.

At what age can a student begin private lessons?

FAM offers a comprehensive group experience for students as young as infants. However, the age at which a student can begin private lessons is dependent upon the instrument and in some cases the physical development of the child. We welcome adult students of any age.

How young is too young?

Adults can start any instrument at any time. Their success is based on how willing an adult is to commit to practicing. We teach many beginners in their 60’s, 70’s and 80’s.

For children, starting at the right age is a key element to the success of their lessons. Some people will tell you “the sooner the better” but this attitude can actually backfire and be a negative. If a child is put into lessons too soon they may feel overwhelmed and frustrated and want to stop lessons. The last thing you want to do is turn a child off music just because they had one unpleasant experience which could have been prevented. Sometimes if the child waits a year to start lessons their progress can be much faster. Children who are older than the suggested earliest starting age usually do very well. We have found the following guidelines useful in determining how young a child can start taking individual lessons and be successful.

Piano/Keyboard

At our school 5 years old is the youngest age that we start children in private piano lessons, with teacher consent. Not every youngster is ready for piano lessons. At this age they have begun to develop longer attention spans and can retain material with ease.

Guitar

7 years old is the earliest we recommend for guitar lessons. Guitar playing requires a fair amount of pressure on the fingertips from pressing the strings. Children under 8 generally have small hands and may find playing uncomfortable. Bass guitar students are generally 10 years old and older.

Voice lessons

10 years old is recommended as the youngest age for private vocal lessons. Due to the physical nature of voice lessons (proper breathing techniques, development of the vocal chords and lung capacity), the younger body is generally not yet ready for the rigors of vocal technique.

Percussion

The appropriate age to begin drum lessons depends on the size of the child and the type of percussion being taught.

Flute, Clarinet & Saxophone

Due to lung capacity (and in the case of saxophone the size of the instrument), we recommend that most woodwind beginners are 9 and older. Students as young as 5 may start flute lessons using a curved head flute.

Do you offer Suzuki violin?

Although our violin instructors may use the Suzuki materials and methodology when they believe them to best suit the student, we do not have a formal Suzuki program. We enroll violin students from the age of 5.

What days and times are available for private lessons?

A music staff person can tell you what times and days each instructor has available. Times are assigned on a first come – first served basis. Register early to secure your slot. No slot is held until the registration fee and at least one month of tuition has been paid.

What if we miss a lesson?

Students are allowed one make-up lesson during make-up week – week 17 in the fall and week 21 in the spring. Students forfeit other absences. All teacher cancellations are made up.

Who do I call if I have to cancel a lesson?

Call FAM’s director at 239-992-3410 or the check-in coordinator at 239-992-3233 x.233.

What is a duo or shared lesson?

Two students of similar age and experience level may share a 30 minute lesson with approval of the instructor. This is particularly appropriate for beginners &/or siblings. Duo lessons run on the same schedule as private lessons.

What group lessons are available?

Group instruction is offered in a series of 8-week sessions in Bagpipes. See the schedule for days and times. A musical theater class for students between the ages of 12 and 19 is offered during the summer session.

Do you have classes for toddlers?

Not at the present time.

Who are the instructors at FAM?

All members of the faculty are degreed and experienced instructors in their areas of expertise. Faculty members include professional educators, church musicians, symphony players and active performers. Each instructor has undergone a background check.

Where is First Academy of Music?

First Academy of Music is located in the First Presbyterian Church, 9751 Bonita Beach Road, Bonita Springs, Florida. First Presbyterian Church and is east of Interstate 75 (exit 116) and west of US 41 on the south side of Bonita Beach Road.

Do students have to perform in recitals?

Recitals are scheduled at the end of each semester. The December recital is primarily seasonal music and is less formal than the May recital. Most of our students look forward to playing for an admiring audience and displaying the progress they have made. All students are encourage to play in recitals but participation is not mandatory.

What if I have more questions?

Call the director at 239-992-3410 x232. The office is open Monday – Thursday from 9am to 5pm and on Friday from 9am to 1pm. If we are unable to answer the phone, please leave a voicemail message and we will return your call as soon as possible.

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