If you are interested in music lessons for yourself or your child, you have come to the right place! My name is Ryan Neaveill (last name rhymes with “level”), and I have been performing and composing for over thirty years and teaching music to kids and adults of all ages for over twenty years. I am located on the west side of Champaign, Illinois.
MY BACKGROUND AND EXPERIENCE
After receiving my bachelors degree in music composition and theory in 1989 from Illinois Wesleyan University where I majored in piano and minored in voice, I taught for five years at the Morton Academy of Music in Morton, Illinois.
In 1994, I moved to Champaign and began composing and teaching in this community. If you’d like to check out some of my published compositions and arrangements, click here. I have performed with countless groups from orchestras to jazz ensembles to rock bands to acapella singing groups. I have adjudicated state music contests for Illinois Music Educators Association (IMEA), conducted and directed numerous church music programs and, in recent years, have done masters level work at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, Illinois, in the area of music ministry.
I am also a published and award-winning composer, having been a recipient of the ASCAPlus Award for the past five straight years from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, as well as various other honors and awards.
I offer lessons in the following areas:
For beginning piano and guitar students, I use a graded lesson series such as those published by Alfred or Hal Leonard. For voice students, I will typically select songs from various genres (music theater, popular music, classical arias, etc.), depending on the student’s skill level and interests, and work on technical aspects such as support and breath control as well as more interpretive aspects such as dynamics and phrasing. For more advanced piano students, I will select literature usually from a wide range of composers/genres (everything from Bach to Thelonious Monk) that will challenge them to develop new skills and techniques. I also help students work on sight-reading, improvising, playing “by ear”, and notating and composing music. We will also discuss the historical and social significance of music.
I teach all styles and genres of music including classical, jazz, and pop/rock. And, while I believe that having a well-rounded music education is important and encourage students to try a wide variety of different styles, I also understand that sometimes we want to focus on only one type of music, so I try to tailor my lessons and use music that will hold the student’s interest.
I am also an extremely patient teacher. I understand that everyone works and learns at a different pace, so don’t worry if you’re afraid you won’t catch on quickly! I will help and encourage you!
I teach all ages. I currently have students as young as five and as old as 70. It’s never too late or early to learn!
WHY YOU SHOULD STUDY WTH ME
In addition to being one of the most experienced and educated music instructors in this community, I’m also one the most affordable. Not only is my tuition the lowest in town, but I don’t charge any hidden fees (such as registration fees) or make my students pay for books—I supply all the lesson materials. I do this because I love music and want everyone to have an opportunity to study music without having to worry about the cost.
As the father of two kids, I’m also one of the most patient teachers you’ll find. Alot of that patience comes from my own personal experience of having spent a few years as a stay-at-home dad with my own two children. Not that child-less teachers can’t learn how to interact with children, but my experience has been that having kids of your own helps alot and gives you a greater insight into working with young people.
Also, you will find that many music instructors have “day jobs” and teach music part time; so they simply don’t have time to prepare for your lesson and think about what could be beneficial to you. That’s not the case with me. Teaching music is all I do and I spend a large portion of my non-teaching time thinking about my students, selecting music for them, and preparing lessons that will help take them to the next level.
Not only does teaching out of my home allow me to be affordable, it also gives us plenty of elbow room! There’s plenty of room for mom, dad and other siblings. This is a nice change from the scenario in most music stores where you’re crammed into a small, closet-like lesson room with no windows!
Finally, I am not only a musician (pianist, guitarist, vocalist) but also, and more importantly, a composer. And because of my training and vocation as a composer, I bring a unique element to music instruction that most ordinary teachers lack. When you think of great musicians of the past, they were pretty much all composers: Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, etc. These composers were highly sought after as teachers. They were the instructors with whom other musicians wanted to study. There are piano teachers out there who can teach you what notes to play and which fingers to use, etc. But they do not have nearly the level of expertise and understanding about the “big picture” in music as those of us who are composers.
For an example of how my knowledge of composition might work in a lesson, check out this online lesson I wrote on Variations using the tune “Mary Had a Little Lamb”.
In addition to my diverse musical background, I have been fortunate to experience great diversity in the students I teach. Not only do I welcome all ages of students, but students of all ethnic and cultural backgrounds. People come to Champaign-Urbana from all over the world to study or work at the University of Illinois and many of these folks have sought me out as a teacher because of my appreciation for diversity. I have taught students from all across the globe—from Argentina to Venezuela, from Korea to Iran, and almost everywhere in between! I appreciate not only teaching my students about the universal language of music, but learning from them about their unique cultural and musical heritage and incorporating this into their lessons.
By teaching lessons out of my own private studio, I can offer rates considerably more affordable than you will find at some of the other music stores and academies in Champaign-Urbana.
You may have found that other instructors and music stores/academies in Champaign-Urbana refuse to post their tuition rates on their website and many of the ones who do publish this info charge upwards of $120 a month for a weekly 30-minute lesson. But I have no problem whatsoever posting my rates because I know I am the best deal in town! Not only is my tuition the lowest of any local music teacher, but I provide all the music for my lessons at no additional charge to you. Most other teachers will charge you extra for the lesson materials. Also, I do not have any hidden or extra charges such as “registration fees” that many music “schools” or “academies” usually add on to their tuition bills.
I also offer a number of payment plans which decrease the amount of your tuition based on how many months you pay for at a time. You can review the list of payment options below and decide which plan works best for you.
MONTHLY TUITION DISCOUNT
Most students choose to pay for their lessons on a monthly basis, taking advantage of the Monthly Tuition Discount which saves them 33% (over $40 per month) compared with paying for lessons one at a time. Monthly tuition is $80.00 per month and is due on or before the first lesson day of the month. This is for a 30-minute lesson each week. The number of lessons you receive each month will vary since some months will have five lesson days instead of four (this happens at least four times per year for each day of the week). These “extra” lessons are balanced by the weeks when there are no lessons, for example due to holidays and breaks (see the ATTENDANCE section below). But your monthly tuition never changes so you will always know exactly how much is due each month.
Over the course of a year, assuming you have not had to miss any normally scheduled lessons, you will have received between 47 and 49 lessons or approximately four lessons per month. By paying monthly, you also receive a major tuition discount when compared with the single-lesson payment plan. For example, if you pay the $30 single-lesson payment each week for 48 weeks, your total tuition paid at the end of the year is $1,440. But by paying in twelve equal $80 monthly payments, you will have paid only $960 for the whole year--a savings of $480. This discount is equal to 16 lessons (or two month’s worth of free lessons!). However, you must attend your lessons faithfully to sustain this discount. I will not reimburse you for missed lessons! This incentive is to encourage and reward students for regular attendance which, when combined with regular practice, is very important if you wish to become a better musician. Although I cannot reimburse you for missed lessons, I do make every effort to allow you to make up missed lessons (see the ATTENDANCE section below).
You can save even more money off of your tuition by paying for more than one month at a time. For example, if you pay for six months of weekly 30-minute lessons, tuition is only $400 (or $800 for the whole year). This is a savings of $600 off of the single-lesson payment plan (or the equivalent of 20 free lessons!). But again, since I am offering such a great tuition discount, I cannot reimburse you for missed lessons; so the amount of money you save is totally up to you and your ability to attend lessons regularly!
You’ll also receive a discount for taking more than a 30-minute lesson each week. For example, tuition for a 60-minute lesson each week is $140 per month compared with a total of $160 at the 30-minute tuition rate. Lessons longer than 30 minutes can be split among areas of study. For example, a 60-minute lesson can be split into 30 minutes of voice and 30 minutes of piano. Lessons longer than 30 minutes can also be split between family members for example a 60-minute lesson could be split into a 30-minute lesson for your son and a 30-minute lesson for your daughter.
TUITION PAYMENT PLANS
Following is a list of payment plans for weekly 30-minute and 60-minute lessons. You are never bound to any of these plans for any length of time. For example, you may decide to start out with the monthly plan and then switch to a three-month plan. It’s completely up to you how many months of lessons you would like to pay for at a time. And the more months you pay for in advance, the more money you save on your tuition. Most students take lessons in 30-minute or 60-minute timeslots; however, I do also offer lessons of other lengths (such as 45 minutes or 90 minutes), but have not posted every possible rate here in order to avoid cluttering up this page. If you require a lesson other than 30- or 60-minutes, just let me know.
TUITION PLANS FOR WEEKLY 30-MINUTE LESSONS:
TUITION PLANS FOR WEEKLY 60-MINUTE LESSONS:
Tuition is due on or before your first lesson day of the month. If you need to miss the first lesson of the month, you have the option of paying your tuition online (see below) or making other arrangements to make sure it is paid on time (such as paying at the last lesson of the previous month). Tuition not paid by the first lesson of the month will revert to the Single-Lesson Payment Plan (see below) for each week the tuition is late. For example, if you’re supposed to pay the $80 monthly tuition for weekly 30-minute lessons but don’t pay until the third lesson of the month, then you will be charged $60 ($30 per lesson) for the first two lessons plus $40 (your pro-rated normal rate) for the two remaining lessons for a total of $100 instead of $80 for the month.
I accept cash, checks or I can also process your credit or debit card. Please make checks payable to Ryan Neaveill.
If I have an email address on file for you, I will send an electronic invoice via Paypal providing the opportunity and convenience of paying your tuition online and securely using any debit or credit card (or a PayPal account if you have one). Of course, paying online is not required—you can always choose to pay by check or cash at your first lesson. Your tuition will always be the same amount per month (or per multiple months if you choose this option) whether there are three, four or five lesson days in the month. If you pay by check, please make checks payable to Ryan Neaveill.
From time to time I will accept students who, for whatever reason, may wish to pay for only a single lesson at a time. If you wish to pay as you go, then the tuition for a single lesson is $30 per 30-minute lesson or $60 per hour lesson. Please note that if you choose this option I cannot guarantee that you will get the same lesson day/time each week. I reserve regular lesson times for the students who have the discipline and commitment to attend and pay for their lessons over regular and consistent lengths of time and who understand that you cannot become a good musician by taking one or two lessons here and there and practicing sporadically!
Of course, regular attendance at your lessons is essential if you want to learn and improve in your musicianship. But things do come up from time to time so, if you have to miss a lesson, call or email me and we’ll try to arrange a make-up lesson. I realize that sometimes things even come up at the last minute, so you don’t even have to give me 24 hours notice! But please call ahead, even if it’s only 10 minutes before your lesson time. I will not make up lessons at which you simply do not show up and do not call or email me to notify me of your absence!
I do my best to be flexible with scheduling and allow you to make up lessons when necessary but please remember that when you cannot make it to your normally scheduled lesson and have to make it up on a different day/time, I am sacrificing extra time from my schedule for you; and, while I do not typically mind doing this once in a while, I would prefer that it not become a habit. Also, my teaching schedule is usually pretty full, especially during the school year so finding a suitable makeup time that works for both of us may not always be possible.
You are responsible for contacting me to arrange any makeup lessons. And makeup lessons need to be scheduled within four weeks of the missed lesson. If you do not arrange the makeup lesson within those four weeks then you lose that lesson.
I rarely need to cancel or reschedule lessons because of my own illness or absence, but in the event that I do, I will attempt to find a suitable day/time for a makeup lesson with you or, if this is not possible, I will pro-rate your next tuition payment accordingly.
I teach lessons on weekdays year round except for the following:
Note that not all of these days will necessarily affect the weekday lesson schedule (for example, New Year’s Day or Independence Day may fall on a Saturday or Sunday). Assuming you attend all of your regularly scheduled lessons, you will receive 47 to 49 lessons over the course of a year, or approximately four lessons per month. I will not reimburse you for lessons that you need to miss and cannot make up, therefore the amount of instruction you get for your tuition is totally up to you and how faithfully you attend your lessons. However, because my rates are the lowest in town, you could easily miss one lesson per month and still be getting more lessons for your dollar than you would receive with some of the other local music instructors who charge over $120 per month.
You may terminate your lessons at any time, though I do prefer you show me the courtesy of letting me know at least a couple of weeks in advance so that I may have adequate time to fill your vacant time slot. No refunds will be given for lessons terminated before the end of your tuition payment period.
You can email me at info@CUmusiclessons.com or call me at 217-778-3134. I keep my phone on “silent” if I am teaching a lesson so please leave a voice mail if you do not reach me and I will return your call as soon as I am able. I do usually prefer to communicate via email simply to avoid playing “phone tag!” I look forward to hearing from you!
I am located in Stonegate Village on the west side of Champaign (just south-east of Kaufman Lake, and north-west of Centennial High School). The address is 2403 W. Springfield Ave., Apt. X4, Champaign. To see the location in Google Maps, click here, or for a downloadable map in PDF format, click here.
Even though the address is Springfield Avenue, Building X is actually
off of Kenwood Road (approximately 500 feet south of the
Springfield-Kenwood intersection). The building sits at a 45 degree angle
to Kenwood Road and is marked with an X (literally! X marks the spot!).
There is a buzz-in security system, so just push the button for X4 and I
will buzz you in but I will do my best to try and watch for you and meet
you at the door!
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What should I bring to my lesson? Bring a small spiral notebook. I will write in this book so you know what to practice each week. If you are a guitar student, bring your guitar! If you have specific music you’d like to learn, bring it in!
Can I sit in and observe my child’s lesson? Absolutely! In fact, I encourage parents to sit in on their kids’ lessons. That way, you know what they should be working on and can encourage and supervise their weekly practice schedule.
Will you come to my house and teach the lessons here? No.
How much should I practice each week? As a general rule for kids 8 years old and younger, I recommend at least 15 to 20 minutes of practice at least five days a week. For kids 8 through early teens, 30 minutes a day. For older teens and adults, try to get in at least 45 minutes to an hour.
Copyright © Ryan D. Neaveill
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