Lessons & Clinics
In addition to performing, producing, and composing, Nic Chaffee is a very active music educator. He maintains a busy private lesson studio, based out of the Woodshed Studio. Additionally, he is in-demand for school clinics and festival adjudication. This page outlines now Nic works and what is expected of his prospective students.
Playing music is one of the most worthwhile and rewarding activities available to students. It is not Nic's goal to make every student into a professional trumpet player. However, it is his obligation to try and provide the most complete musical experience to each student. With that in mind, here are a few expectations of every student:
Participation in School Music Program: It is impossible to provide a complete musical experience in just one weekly lesson. School music programs provide an in-depth musical education that includes a wide variety of repertoire, numerous on-stage performances, and unique opportunities to travel and make friends. So, it is expected that all trumpet students participate in their school’s music program.
Daily Practice: Playing trumpet is not just an ‘art,’ but also a highly physical activity that requires the development of very specialized muscles. For that reason, daily practice is an absolute must. All students are expected to practice daily for at least 30 minutes. The daily aspect of practice is very important. Trying to squeeze a week’s worth of practice into one long ‘cram session’ will result in the development of bad habits and even injury. So, practice daily, practice in small chunks, and practice patiently. Remember, ‘practice doesn’t make perfect, perfect practice makes perfect!’
Honor Group Auditions: Another fantastic experience provided by the SCSBOA, your school district, or various other organizations; Honor groups are an exciting and challenging way to learn new music and meet other musicians in a more ‘collegiate’ setting. To this day, Nic still find himself on gigs with musicians who he became friends with as a 10th grader in the SCSBOA Honor Jazz Band. Auditioning for these groups is not mandatory, but it is a valuable experience that all students are highly encouraged to try. Audition season comes in the fall. There are specific excerpts provided by the auditioning organizations, which you will work on during your lessons.
Recital: The preparation and performance of solo repertoire is a vital experience to any musician. Nic's entire trumpet studio puts on a recital each June, before the end of the school year. Music is selected around the New Year, and spring is dedicated to recital prep. Participation is expected.
Warm-up for Lessons: A proper warm-up is essential to having a positive lesson. Please schedule your lessons at a time when you can warm up at home prior to your lesson. This will enable you to spend valuable lesson time covering new material, rather than warm-up.
Nic teaches all lessons at his personal home studio, "The Woodshed." It is located very close to the Long Beach Traffic Circle. For security reasons, the address is kept off of the internet, but will be shared with all new students open booking of their first lesson.
Ideally, you will have a lesson every week. However, things happen, conflicts arise, kids get sick, and sometimes cancelations cannot be avoided. In the unfortunate case that you need to cancel a lesson, this is how it will be handled:
You must notify Nic at least 24 hours in advance of your scheduled lesson if you need to cancel. A text message, email, or phone call are all acceptable methods of contact, but email is preferred. Nic will try to reschedule the lesson for another time the same week. However, if the lesson cannot be rescheduled, you will receive a credit on the following month’s invoice for the value of the canceled lesson.
Since same-day cancelations or no-show lessons cause major inconvenience and opportunity cost, these will be charged for and will receive no credit for the next month.
Every now and then, Nic gets sick or get called for a last-minute gig opportunity that he'd be foolish to refuse. So, if Nic cancels a pre-paid lesson on the same day, he will credit the value of the missed lesson to your following month’s invoice.
NEW FOR 2019: If you are genuinely sick, it’s in everybody’s best interest if you stay home and rest rather than coming in for a lesson. So, if you are sick enough that you shouldn’t be around other people, same-day cancellation charges are waived. You just need to let Nic know as soon as possible before your lesson; No-shows will always be charged for. Whether or not you are truly sick is on the honor system, and we all have a strong enough relationship that Nic trusts nobody will take advantage of this. This exception is valid twice per calendar year.
It is important that all students and parents read and understand this information completely. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to call or email Nic at any time.
Finally, Nic thanks you for the opportunity to be your music teacher... Now let's get started!
Rates & Payment
Nic has been teaching trumpet lessons for nearly twenty years, and his rates reflect the level of experience and expertise that he brings to the table. All lessons are scheduled on a 45-minute grid. This includes at least 40 minutes of instructional time, and a 5 minute "grace period" between students for Nic to use as he sees fit. The per-lesson rate is $50.
Nic will provide an invoice at the beginning of each month that will include your lesson schedule for the upcoming month, and monthly payment is required in advance at the first lesson of each month. If you have any vacations or other planned conflicts with your usual lesson time in the upcoming month, please inform Nic in advance so that he can accurately reflect this information on your invoice. Cash or check are acceptable forms of payment. In the rare case of a returned check, a $50 fee will be assessed.