Welcome to the Olive Tree Music Academy

Recommended Age

The Olive Tree Music Academy accepts students of all ages and skill levels. One is never too old to begin lessons. For our younger students, we begin as young as three and a half with violin lessons. Piano begins as young as five. Others typically begin roughly at seven, though if your child does not fit into this mold and has the enthusiasm to start younger, they will not be the first one we’ve had start before our generally recommended age. Give us a call and we can discuss what is best for your child.

Teaching styles

We teach beginner, intermediate, and advanced students and all different styles of music.  We like to combine methods that teach a thorough understanding of music reading and theory, and methods that utilize ear training at a motivating pace.

Where to buy your instrument and music

We are unusual as music school in that lessons is all we do. We have no inventory of music books or instruments/accessories. We do have several recommendations for where you ought to go, but it varies by instrument. Guitar Center and Sam Ash are decent options for guitars and drums. But brass, woodwinds, and strings are better bought from places that specialize in those instruments, such as Menzel Violins. Call us and we can direct you to all the best materials.

Purchase or rent before trial?

There are so many factors involved in what is the right instrument for you or your child that we highly suggest if you haven’t already bought one that you call us first and maybe even wait until after your trial lesson to go and buy it. Let us know if you already have one. Its very important to have an instrument to practice with, so be sure to go get your instrument right after your trial after your teacher helps you understand what to look for.

Lesson length, times, and schedule

In general, ages 5-11 of any level are usually best with 30 minute lessons, intermediate students ages 12-17 are best with 45min-1hr lessons, and adults are always best off with hour long lessons.  However, if finances are a major concern then 30min can work for anyone. We also offer 15min lessons for our youngest students.

Lessons are available almost every day of the week but the open availability of teachers and their hours can vary significantly. Contact us so that we can match up your schedule with just the right teacher for you or your child.

Frequently Asked Questions

My child takes music lessons at school. Why take private lessons?

There are many benefits to taking private lessons in addition to school lessons. In group instrument classes there are frequently areas of instruction that cannot be adequately addressed in a group lesson, such as technique. Individualized instruction allows your child to progress much faster and further and have the pride in being one of the better musicians in class. It has be demonstrated so many times that when a child finds a class that boosts their confidence in their ability, it will inevitably spill over into other classes as well. Being the best in their class also leads to additional opportunities, such as solos, which will in turn lead to more benefits, such as leadership experience.

What do private lessons cost?

15 Minute Lessons Weekly

$10Trial
$10Trial
  • $20 weekly thereafter, billed monthly.$85 per month, cancel any time and you are only obligated to the month you've already paid for.
  • Recommended only for children ages 3 to 4.

30 Minute Lessons Weekly

$16Trial
$16Trial
  • $32 weekly thereafter, billed monthly.$135 per month, cancel any time and you are only obligated to the month you've already paid for.
  • This is the best time span for most children.

45 Minute Lessons Weekly

$24Trial
$24Trial
  • $47 weekly thereafter, billed monthly.$195 per month, cancel any time and you are only obligated to the month you've already paid for.

60 Minute Lessons Weekly

$31Trial
$31Trial
  • $61 weekly thereafter, billed monthly.$255 per month, cancel any time and you are only obligated to the month you've already paid for.
  • Recommended for all adults.

Do you offer lessons in the Summer?

Yes! And there is actually nothing different about the summer as the rest of the year except that we slightly change the way we handle billing. We expect that if you or your child took lessons and will be taking lessons in the fall that, minus a couple weeks vacation or so, you will be coming in the summer. The results of skipping a whole summer can be a real bummer for all. The result can be spending all of fall relearning what we taught you in the spring.

On the other hand we also get a lot of people who come for the summer only to keep fresh on what their child learned during the school year at school. Frequently after experiencing the value of getting more individualized attention at our school they stay with us when the fall rolls around!

Why not take skype or online pre-recorded video lessons instead?

Facetime and Skype are great tools to keep in touch with people we can’t be with in person otherwise, but usually when the option to communicate in person is there we seldom do video chat, for several reasons. Video lag time impairs natural communication. The audio can be of such low quality that it is difficult to tell sometimes if a student is out of tune or it is just distortion in the audio connection. Also, think of a guitar lesson. A teacher needs to have a good view to see if they’re using good general posture, but they also need to see their finger positions to correct a chord that doesn’t sound quite right. There is no way to position the camera to accomplish all this, and constantly adjusting the position takes away from valuable lesson time. On the other hand, pre-recorded teachers can’t make any corrections at all. This limits the extent the pre-recorded lessons can take them to, and they may find when they ultimately take private lessons that they’ve been teaching themselves incorrectly which can be difficult habit to unlearn.

Does one have to be musically gifted to take music lessons?

While some students advance in their lessons at different speeds than others, most frequently this has more to do with a sense of determination and a commitment to regular practice at home than to what one might call “musical giftedness”. We find that the opposite is true as well. Struggling in lessons can often be solved by a renewed commitment to practicing. A lot of this task lies in the hands of the students and parents, however, we are passionate about hiring only the most motivating inspirational teachers who will do everything they can to encourage the love of music in you or and/or your child.

Am I allowed to sit in on my child's lessons?

Yes!  Many educational institutions lock parents out but we actually prefer as much of your involvement as possible.  Your child’s teacher is only present one day of the week. The rest of the week their teacher is you, so it is important that you know what they learned in class so that you can remind them to fix their posture or technique, or can answer as many questions as possible. Taking notes is great!  We only ask that you resist the urge to say anything to your child during lessons so that your child can focus on their teacher as hearing instruction from multiple directions can be difficult and sometimes discouraging.

Can your teacher come to my home?

We understand how appealing this option is to parents.  However, we do not know many, if any, good teachers that are willing to do it.  Children are tough to keep focused at home, cancellations happen too often, and traveling lesson to lesson is too much wear and tear on a teachers’ energy and enthusiasm.  The best teachers teach at schools or independently but don’t travel for every lesson.  Our teachers all teach in our classrooms where their space, equipment, and professionalism environment can be consistent.

Do you offer makeup lessons?

Reporting Absences

The best way to cancel a lesson is to log onto our website using your user name and password, click on the class on the calendar you wish to cancel, and choose “Request Cancellation”. This will instantly send an email to both the teacher and an administrator of the cancellation. We also ask out of courtesy that you call us if you are canceling the same day as the lesson, just in case we don’t receive the email in time. aPlease contact the studio if you need help with your user name and password.

24 Hour Cancellation Policy

In order to be eligible for a make-up lesson, you must have notified us of your absence at least 24 hours in advance of that lesson. This is important and is strongly enforced because it is written in teachers’ contracts that if a student cancels within 24hrs or is a no-show, that they are still paid for the time they set aside to be there. Advanced notice gives us time to fill in your slot with make-up lessons or trial lessons for new students. We know that not all events and illnesses can be foreseen, but we hope you understand. We are very flexible when given advanced notice.

What is your snow cancellation policy?

Our cancellations for snow days are not the same as the local school districts’ because our usual hours run opposite to theirs. Snow day cancellations will be notified by email no later than 12pm on weekdays or 8am on Saturdays, but you may also call if you are unsure if lessons are running as usual that day.

If lessons are canceled, then we will make sure that there are more available lesson make-up lessons times than usual listed on the make-up lessons online form so that you may be able to choose a time that works best for your schedule.

If lessons are not canceled, but you still can not make it for any reason, then the usual 24hr notification and make-up lessons policy is in effect.

Tuition refunds are not offered for snow days. If there are ever any exceptions to this they are listed below.

Do you offer refunds for missed classes?

If ever we can not meet our obligation to any regularly scheduled music lessons, you will be first offered a make-up time, but if one can not be agreed upon then you may request a refund for that day, which will always be in the form of a Paypal refund through the same account as your tuition payments. Typical reasons for this are that your teacher is ill and there will not be a another teacher taking his or her place that day, or he/she had car trouble on the way to lessons, etc. Refunds are not offered if your teacher or a substitute teacher is there for your regular time, but you are not due to vacation, or snow, or any other reason. Make-up lessons or doubling up on a future week is an option if 24hr notice is given.

What forms of payment do you accept?

There are two options
1) Pay the flat monthly tuition amount as automated monthly payments using a credit/debit card or Paypal account through our website.
2) We accept checks if it is to pay for the whole school year (or rest of the school year) in advance. This option comes with a 10% discount. This amount would be equal to the number of months between your start date and June, times the monthly tuition amount, minus 10%.

We do not offer any other options such as paying monthly by check. We apologize for any inconvenience. Our schools are made up of 100% music professionals and money is not something we want to have discuss every week or month. This policy allows us to focus on the music and never have to chase anyone for payments.

Can I cancel any time?

Yes.  Most students pay monthly so you are only committed to the lessons within the month you’ve already paid for.

Are you a music store?

We are only a school. We focus 100% of our energy on educating.  This is definitely a good thing.  Our lesson rooms are spacious and are the center of studios rather than in the back corner of a retail store, and our teachers are professionals whose careers are dedicated to teaching and performing and are not involved in any sales..  Please see our instrument pages for our recommendations on where to find an instrument or materials.

Do you offer studio recording/mixing/mastering services?

Our Flemington location doubles as a recording studio.  Please contact Gregg at Erypsus Studios at www.erypsus.com
Trish

Trish Gruswitz

VIOLA TEACHER & CO-FOUNDER
Andy

Andy Gruswitz

CO-FOUNDER

Our Teachers

Evan
Rebecca
Mel
Tom
Molly
Andrew
Zach
Gregg
Jordyn
Terrence
Christine
Angela
Sue
Jess
Jonathan
Cheryl
Sarah

Locations

We have four locations spread across northern NJ for your convenience:

 

 

  • Morris Plains

  • Verona

  • Andover

  • Flemington

locations-map