Megan Gilles Music Studio

Willmar, MN
Phone:  320-220-4006
Email:  [email protected]


Where Does Your Music Lesson Tuition Go?

Posted by Megan Gilles on January 27, 2015 at 4:45 PM Comments comments (0)

reprinted from Clavier December 1986. written by Katherine Beard with additions by Megan Gilles.

Where does your Music Lesson Tuition Go?

Dear Parents:

Many people think the private music teacher's fee pays only for the hour (half-hour or forty-five minute) she actually spends with the student. This is incorrect. The tuition fee reimburses the teacher for much more.

Educational Investment

The teacher has already paid for an education-years of private study, college or conservatory training, graduate study, and independent research.

(I have four years at the College of St. Benedict/St. John's University to earn a BA in Music, another five years to attain a Masters of Arts degree from St. John's University in Liturgical Studies, private piano and organ lessons prior to college from the age of 8.


Preparation and Professionalism

Each weekly lesson requires the teacher to spend hours of study and preparation time. Expenses accumulate as the teacher seeks to improve their abilities by attending workshops, lectures, recitals, concerts, and conventions; taking lessons himself; joining professional organizations and paying dues; subscribing to professional journals; and buying books, music, and recordings.

(I attend Piano Contest Workshops, MMTA State Convention, WMTA and WCMTC meetings, pay for membership to WMTA, WCMTC, MMTA/MTNA. The cost of buying music books each year floors my husband and the mileage associated with attending meetings and freelance work is a large amount considering I have a home studio where I do most of my work)

Studio and Operating Expenses

Planning, building, operating, and maintaining an efficient music studio requires many expenditures of time and money: original cost, upkeep and repairs, and replacement of the piano; heat, light, water, and telephone; depreciation of the studio and furnishings; printing charges for statements, programs, and forms; letters and invitations, publicity, postage, and other miscellaneous supplies; building upkeep, adequate parking facilities, snow and ice removal. (We moved to a larger home to accommodate the number of students and family members who were coming to the studio on a weekly basis. Internet and phone costs to communicate to families along with the computer and printer expenses. We purchased a video camera solely for the purpose of recording recitals. My tax accountant probably wonders why I work when we can deduct so much from my income for the expenses we occur for the home studio.)


Salary and Benefits

A teacher whose abilities have brought outstanding success to his students or who has won national honors for professional contributions to the field of music should be entitled to fees that would recognize these achievements.

Benefits that other professional people take for granted, the piano teacher has to provide for herself. These include a guaranteed salary, paid holidays and vacations, hospitalization and medical insurance, sick leave, and personal days, pension plans for retirement and unemployment and office facilities, including the equipment and supplies. While most salaried people receive cost-of-living pay automatically, teachers have to adjust for these increases by raising their fees.

Other Considerations

Universities and music schools consider 20 hours of actual teaching time a week a full-time job for full-time pa because the hours of preparation and study required to prepare for class time usually amount to more than 40 a week.

Many independent piano teachers spend far more than 20 hours a week teaching. Those who do endanger their health and sanity, leave themselves no time to continue to improve as teachers and musicians, thereby limiting what they have to offer their students. In addition, private teachers accept the fact that their jobs require irregular hours-late in the evening-which affect mealtime planning, cut into family life, and curtail evening activities. Music teachers accept these disadvantages because they love the field of music. Indeed love of music, love of teaching, and love of children are the only valid reasons for becoming a piano teacher.

When choosing a music teacher, consider all of these factors, and keep them in mind during the long-term relationship between the student and the teacher. Music lessons are not a product that you pay for each week. They are an investment in a lifetime of enrichment for your child.


Tuition Assistance Grant-MFMC

Posted by Megan Gilles on July 22, 2014 at 3:35 PM Comments comments (1)


Tuition Assistance for Music Lessons is available through the Minnesota Federation of Music Clubs of which I am a member. There is $3500.00 available in the state for this. Typically there is minimal response to these so your chances if you apply are pretty good.

The DEADLINE is FRIDAY, JULY 25th! If you are interested please contact me so we can work together to submit a successful application.  I just found out about this deadline today when I received my newsletter. 

Tuition Assistance Grant Criteria

Once a year deadline:July 25. This is the last date applications can be postmarked to be accepted. The application can be downloaded from our website—

Here is the link for the application.

The following criteria were established to help parents and teachers write the applications and to assist the grant committee in making awards.

Criteria for determining awards:

1.  One student per teacher

2.  Financial need is described

3.  Festival participation is described

4.  Longevity of lessons

5.  Value of music to the family

6.  Student potential

7.  Student’s talent and desire

8.  Character of student/ work ethic

9.  Student can only receive the grant once

In their letters of recommendation, teachers could also answer these questions:

Are you already giving a discount? What do you normally charge?

How have you become aware that there is a financial need?

The maximum grant is $500.

If the yearly costs stated on the application are less than $500, we will award the lesser amount.

Please note:the teacher should send MFMC—by June 1—a one-page report on how the money was spent.

Tuition Assistance Available

Posted by Megan Gilles on October 6, 2012 at 2:30 PM Comments comments (0)

Tuition Assistance Grants:   In August, the Minnesota Federation of Music Clubs voted to launch a new tuition assistance grant program for any student of an MFMC teacher who has completed at least one year of study.   Funds are set aside to support five grants of $500 for the 2012-13 school year.  Best of all, the application process is simple.   We require a letter of recommendation from the teacher and an application form completed by the parent.  The deadlines for applications are October 15 and April 15.  Because of the late notice, for this year only, the fall deadline is November 1.  Award money, which will be sent to the teacher, can be used for tuition or Festival fees or to purchase music through the teacher. 

Are any students needing this? 


The Best Time to Start Lessons

Posted by Megan Gilles on July 22, 2012 at 12:00 AM Comments comments (1)

This is an open ltter from Katherine Glaser to parents on the best time to start lessons. 

It was printed in the September 2006 issue of Clavier on pages 16 and 17.

The Editor's Note states: Teachers have permission to copy this letter for parents inquiring about when to start piano lessons for their children. 

Katherine Glaser is a graduate of the University of Michigan.  She was honored as a master teacher by the Music Teacher National Association for her lifelong work to further music teaching, performing, and composition.  Glaser studied with Artur Schnabel and Pablo Casals during his masterclasses in Puerto Rico. 

Dear Parents,

Many of you wonder when your child should begin piano lessons.  It would be so easy if there were a fixed age to start, but there is none.  In fact, the decision to start usually depends on when a child responds to music in the home, whether it is someone playing the family piano or songs on the radio or television.

I remember when a friend called to ask if her five-year-old son was ready for lessons.  He loved to explore the high and low notes on the family piano and often played keys with his fingers rather than banging them with a fist.  The different sounds delighted teh boy, and he even created short melodies. 

I suggested the mother sit at the piano with her son several times a day for five or six minutes and let him explore the instrument, perhaps making up melodies to nursery rhythms or creating tunes.  Children at this age have short attention spans and work best in small increments of time, although they may stay with a project longer if something truly fascinates them.  Three weeks later the friend called to say her son still loved being at the piano, so I suggested she enroll in group music classes for paretns and children. 

Another parent once commented that whenver she played a C.D. of Chopin waltzes, her four-year-old would dance around the room exclaiming, "I like that" or Who wrote that music?" The girl would go to the piano, pretending to play the waltzes.  I told the parent to ask whether the daughter was interested in piano lessons.  When she responded with excitement, I suggested we begin lessons.

Children who are curious about music may come over to the piano when someone plays and ask how to play a few notes.  A child may want his parents to buy a piano, and if there is none at home, he might ask to visit a friend or relative just to play their instrument. 

If your child shows genuine interest and enthusiasm for music, he is ready to start lessons even at a very early age.  These signs are not absolute, because many students may develop a great love for music only after they begin lessons.

Three- and four-year-olds do best with short periods at the piano each day, and two or three short sessions per week with a teacher, although these arrangements are not often possible to make. 

It is important for parents to acknowledge a child's curiousity for music but, even with highly motivated children, this is a time to be careful.  It is easy to get carried away and give a child more information than he understands or is ready to absorb.  In the beginning most young children simply want to touch the keys and explore the piano, experimenting with the sounds that spark their curiousity.

Piano lessons are an investment of time, money, and hope on the part of parents.  Although there is no guarantee that a child will continue piano lessons in the future, giving him the opportunity to explore this wonderful art form is a gift he will appreciate in the years ahead.


Katherine Glaser

"Mommy, Can we Buy a Piano?"

Children will show many responses to music when they are ready for lessons, including:

  • Whenever there is music your child sings, hums along, or repeats fragments of melodies he remembers.
  • He imitates the sounds of sirens, engines, or birds and reacts physically to the rhythm of the music.
  • Your child pretends to be a junior conductor while listening to a piece of music. 

Summer Lesson Registration 2012

Posted by Megan Gilles on April 15, 2012 at 10:05 PM Comments comments (0)


April 2012


This summer I will be offering a six-week session of piano and/or voice lessons.  Lessons will begin the week of June 10thand continue through the week of July 15th. One lesson during these sixweeks can be rescheduled.  For example,if your child has a summer camp one week during the six weeks of lessons thislesson could be rescheduled.  Once theschedule is prepared, I would ask that swaps occur among other scheduledstudents due to my needing to arrange daycare. Lessons will not be offered on July 4th due to the Independence DayHoliday.  Lessons will be arranged foranother day that week.  Please ask beforeruling out the option of summer lessons in your busy lives.  Talk over possible options with me.  Summer lessons are a great way to continuethe learning that has occurred during the school year and prevent the loss ofskills during the summer. 


Lessons will be offered on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.  30 and 45 minute lessons will beavailable. 


The total cost for six weeks for the 30 minute summer session lessons will be $93.00and for the 45 minute summer session lessons will be $138.00.  Additional costs may be incurred due toneeding new lesson materials to work from.   


Piano students will participate in the summer flashcard challenge with prizes awardedto everyone.  For students interested indoing a duet for the MMTA ensemble concert held in November, this is a greattime to begin work on this. 


Many families have chosen to take additional weeks of lessons over the rest of thesummer.  I am very open to thisarrangement. 


Summer registration and payment needs to be turned in by May 17th.


I will have limited openings for the summer and fall.  Please helpspread the word about the studio.   Whenyou refer a new student, you will receive a $31.00 credit per new student onyour next semester's tuition (Fall, Spring or Summer).  The new student must have a fully paid Fallor Spring semester before the credit will be given.  This is only a credit toward lessons and isnot cash redeemable.

Summer Lesson 2012 Registration

New Students:

Family Information

StudentName________________________  Birthdate_________________

Grade _______ Age______

StudentName_________________________  Birthdate_________________ 

Grade_______ Age_______




PhoneNumbers-(please specify who it is for and what it is -cell phone or home phone)



Best Wayto Contact (Phone/Email) and Time of Day___________________________________________________



Returning Students

Nameof Student(s)_______________________________________________________________________________


All Students

Please number your lesson time choice with one being your first preference.  Please list up to four options.  If you need a different lesson time thanthose listed please contact me


Please number the lesson times that would work foryour family with #1 being the best time. Day lesson times are available by request. 

Select__ 30 minute lesson or            __ 45 minute lesson





































Rice Health Foundation Entertainment

Posted by Megan Gilles on October 28, 2011 at 12:30 AM Comments comments (0)

This event is Saturday, November 12, 2011 at the Convention Center in Willmar.  Students from my studio will be performing from 1-2PM.

This is a "dress-up" event.  No jeans, t-shirts, etc.  Please wear dresses, dress pants, skirts, polo shirts, or button down shirts. 

This is another great opportunity for the students to perform in public. 

They are:













The above is the link for the event. 

Ensemble Festival Rehearsal for Vapor Trails

Posted by Megan Gilles on October 11, 2011 at 5:10 PM Comments comments (0)

Vapor Trails Trio practices will be held:

First practice

Friday, October 14, 2011 at 4:30PM

Second practice

Tuesday, October 18, 2011 at 3:00PM (we will start when Ashton gets here)

Third Practice

Tuesday, October 25, 2011 at 6:00PM

Ashton, Alan, and William all need to be in attendance.

We will schedule additional practices after we see how these go! 

Parents as the at home Music Teacher

Posted by Megan Gilles on September 11, 2011 at 9:30 PM Comments comments (1)

I love being able to meet with my colleagues to share ideas about teaching.  The West Central Music Teachers Club is not only a benefit for me but also for my students who are able to participate in Junior festival.  Our presentation on Saturday was presented by Susan Keith Gray- a member of the Rawlins Trio and the pianist in the group.  She presented on the topic of voicing.  Super fascinating with tons of great examples.  She provided lots to think about and the music played by the Rawlins Trio to finish up was FABULOUS!!!  I was so honored to be able to hear them. 

My friend and colleague and also this year's president of the West Central Music Teachers Club, Barb Swanson, prepared this for our meeting on September 10, 2011.  Before our presentation we have a short meeting.  We begin with Coffee Conversation Starters which were "How do we as teachers "help our student's parents to practice"? and "What are some of your ideas on how to help parents do a good job as the "at home" coach during the week between lessons?"

She provided some take away quotes for the day which I will share with you here.

"Monotony is the enemy of music."-Shin'ichi Suzuki

"Practice is intensely personal, and as variable and individual as it is ncessary.  It is a blending of music, instrument, soul and body into artistic entity.  Practicing well involves discipline and self knowledge along with healthy measures of self-respect and even self-forgiveness".  -Lon Sherer, A MusD; from Practicing: A Liturgy of Self-Learning be a teacher in the right sense is to be a learner.  Instruction begins when you, the teacher, learn from the learner, put yourself in his place so that you may understand what he understands and in the way he or she understands it..." -Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard

from the book "Helping Parents Practice: Ideas for Making It Easier" by Edmund Sprunger published by Yes Publishing-St.Lous*Ann Arbor

When practices aren't productive and positive, the cause is usually an absence of one of the basic ingredients of practice.  Here are some of those ingredients:

Practice basics:

-Keep the focus on making things easier

-Choose reasonable times to practice

-Shoot one arrow at a time

-Attending lessons really matters

-Take useful reliable notes

-You can't learn as you go if you don't take the trip

-Talk about what's working and repeat it

-Ask-don't tell

-Give your child lots of healthy choices

Make demands that are clear, gentle, and firm

-Give concrete pertinent information

-Don't talk about focus, develop it!

-Quit while you're ahead

-Imagine practicing with your parent

-Look for opportunities to play games and have fun

-Listen to recordings

-Review Repertoire to help the playing get easier-playing what they already know (especially if they play it well)

My Thoughts:  Parents are super important to my role as a teacher.  If the parents are not on board than the student and I are fighting an uphill battle.  Routine is essential.  20 minutes to a half hour is not really that long.  Start slowly-15 minutes each time you sit down at the piano.  Every day it gets easier.  Yes, some days are going to be easy and yes-some days your child is not going to want to practice.  Routine is essential though in remembering and getting the brain and the fingers and sometimes the feet for the pedals to all coordinate together.  Encourage your child to give you a concert and listen for places they may be struggling.  Then encourage them to go and work on that section again.  Be supportive and tell them how much progress they are making.  It takes awhile to learn how to play really amazing pieces so listen for the little things like dynamics.

Thank you parents for the job you do in teaching your child(ren).


Fall Lesson Registration Now Available

Posted by Megan Gilles on July 8, 2011 at 2:57 PM Comments comments (0)


The Fall Semester 2011 Lesson Registration Form has now been posted at

Also check out the Studio Policies for Fall Semester 2011/Spring Semester 2012 and the Studio Opportunities. 

Summer 2011

I am excited and ready tobegin the fall season of music lessons.

Included in this mailing is the registration form and the studio policies. On the registration form, I ask for the birth date and current age of the student.  This is needed for all of the competitions/contests.  The Studio Policies will be in effect for Fall 2011 and Spring 2012.  Please look over the studio policies very carefully as it lists the dates for all 2011-2012 happenings in the studio-Recitals, MMTA, and Festival.    

In order to confirm your lessons for this fall, please enclose payment of $124.00 which will be appliedto the first and last months of lessons for the semester (September and December).  If I am not able toaccommodate your request for a lesson time, the payment will be returned toyou.  Once the lesson time(s) are approved by both you and I, the payment is non refundable.   

Lessons will begin the weekof September 5.  Listed below are timesthat I am available for lessons.  Please mark the times that would work for your family. I will make every effort to accommodate your request.  Please number your choices with your top preference as #1.  If you will not be continuing in my studio, please mark that down and return the form to me.  

Complete schedules will be sent to you once lesson times are set up.  You can choose to receive your schedules/tuition statements via email or via hard copy.  Please let me know your preference.  If you have previously told me and yourpreference has not changed I will continue with what you have told me before.    

I have students from several school districts.  To be fair to each student, I will observe all major holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas as scheduled breaks. 

Referral Bonus!

Please help spread the word about the studio.  When you refer a new student, you will receive a $31.00 credit per new student on your next semester's tuition (Fall, Spring or Summer).  The new student must have a fully paid Fall or Spring semester before the credit will be given.  This is only a credit toward lessons and is not cash redeemable.


Thank you for the opportunity to share the gift of music with your child(ren). 



Megan Gilles


FREE concert...check out for more details!

Posted by Megan Gilles on July 6, 2011 at 2:19 PM Comments comments (1)

National Federation of Music Club's Young Artist Award Winner, Mr. Nicholas Pallesen will be performing in concert at the Church of St. Mary in Willmar as part of the Minnesota Federation of Music Club convention.  The concert will take place Tuesday, August 9, 2011 at 7:30PM at the Church of St. Mary, 713 12th Street Southwest, Willmar, Minnesota. 

ALL STUDENTS WHO PARTICIPATED in FESTIVAL this PAST YEAR are eligible to attend this concert for FREE!!  Watch your email for tickets.

Mr. Pallesen, recent graduate of the Juilliard Opera Center, is an esteemed performer who has won many prestigious awards: the Giulio Gari Competition, the Sullivan Foundation and the Opera Index Vocal Competitions.  He was the 2007 Grand Finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and can be seen in the documentary "The Audition."  He has won awards from the Lorin L. Zachary Society, Liederkranz Foundation, Gerda Lissner Foundation, Licia Albanese-Puccini Foundation, Opera Birmingham Competition, and a Richard Gold Career Grant from the Shoshana Foundation. 

He has achieved widespread critical acclaim for numerous performances, including, but not limited to his portrayal of Robert Storch in Strauss' Intermezzo at New York City Opera: of Sharpless in NYCO's Madame Butterfly and in his debut with El Paso Opera; in his portrayal of Bill Foster in the New York premiere of Stephen Schwartz's opera Seance on a Wet Afternoon. And More!

Ticket Prices at the Door:



Student Festival Participants-FREE!!

Contact Megan for more information! 


Richard Yague

Bass, Baritone

RichardYague holds degrees in Choral Conducting and Voice from the University of the Philippines,and has sung with professional choirs all over the world.

 Winner of Opera Competitions, he has held manyoperatic solo roles,

andcontinues performing opera ,and many other types of vocal music.

Mr.Yague is currently a member of “Vocal Essence”

 a professional ensemble based in Minneapolis, MN,


Dr.Tracy Lipke-Perry, (professor at Universityof Minnesota, Duluth) collaborates as his accompanist, andthe Concert will include delightful music from many genres.