We invite you to read our FAQ reagarding all the services we provide.
+ GENERAL QUESTIONS
How do I book a lesson?
Make sure cookies (including third-party) are enabled in your browser. Click on the Scheduler tab. Select a teacher. Select a lesson type. Click on an available day (shown as white). Click on an available time (also white). Select New User to register (a one-time, two-step process): Enter name, state, phone, email, login (user ID) and password. Enter credit card information to guarantee your reservation. (Your card won't be charged; you'll pay at the lesson.) It will say your lesson is confirmed and send you a confirmation email with directions, maps, phone, etc.
That's it! Instructions will pop up at every step to guide you through; it's easy. After you register the first time, you can book another lesson any time in less than a minute.
How much does it cost?
See the Lesson menu under Scheduler tab for cost and details about each lesson or production/consultation type. At times we'll also offer promotions with discounted rates; see Promotions and Announcements on the scheduling page. (This question also appears under the Financial heading.)
How far in advance can I book?
It varies, but generally not much more than two months, because the farther in the future, the greater the chance that a tour will force us to reschedule you. We will open up new future days as we finalize tour dates and can predict when we'll be free. If you can't find a time that works, or you need to book outside our normal hours, please sign up on the Waiting List and we'll try to work it out. Also, keep checking our schedule for newly opened days as well as cancellations; you may discover an opportunity before we do.
Can I book same-day lessons?
Yes! If you see an open slot, feel free to grab it.
Can I book automatically recurring lessons at the same time every week, every other week, every month, etc.?
Yes. Discuss this at your first lesson and we'll set it up for you. Meanwhile, feel free to go ahead and book multiple lessons now so you can reserve the times you want.
Can I record my lesson?
Yes, we strongly recommend it. Please record audio and video, but do not let anyone else have a copy without our written permission.
How advanced must I be?
It doesn't matter to us as long as you seriously would like to grow musically. We enjoy helping everyone. Ability to read music and lots of time to practice are not critical, but love for music is!
How often should I come?
The answer is different for every person and every life circumstance. We're happy to work with you on whatever basis makes the most sense for you.
How should I prepare?
Look deep into your heart and think about what you'd really like to accomplish. Our goal is to help you do exactly that. If you're a singer, consider giving up smoking (works great for guitarists, too!). In general we ask that you not send us recordings, etc., in advance, because we almost never have time to listen and will just feel guilty about it.
Should I bring an acoustic or electric guitar?
Whatever is normal/comfortable for you. You're welcome to play one of Tuck's guitars, but it's generally better (more realistic) to bring your own. There's a Fishman Loudbox if you need an amp.
What instruments do you have; what recordings/music should I bring?
Patti: Steinway grand piano, various guitars. Tuck: Electric and classical guitars. We both have various fake books and Band In A Box software to play songs with variable keys and tempo, and Patti has lots of other music-minus-one style recordings. If you have backing tracks that you typically sing or play with, bring them. We can both play CDs. If you bring audio files, it will save time if you bring your computer, iPod, etc., rather than transfer them to our computers; we can run your audio output into our speakers. Bring anything else that you think might be useful, but it's also fine if you bring nothing at all.
Someone else will bring me. Where can they wait without being in the way during lessons?
Within a mile or two there are many coffee houses, restaurants, shops, etc., to enjoy. If the weather is nice, they may like to sit outside in the garden. Note to parents: Feel free to stay during your child's lesson.
I live nearby. Can we do the lesson at my house?
Email us at TuckTeach@tuckandpatti.com or PattiTeach@tuckandpatti.com to work out logistics/price.
I have allergies. How is your environment?
Patti has allergies, too, so we have electrostatically filtered ventilation. We have no pets. You are not likely to have a problem.
How can I have a 60-minute lesson if you schedule someone else an hour later?
You can't; please realize that the changeover takes a few minutes, so it is really more like a 55-minute hour.
Can I extend my lesson once I'm there?
Yes, schedule permitting; we'll just prorate it. If we extend it ourselves without discussing it with you, of course we won't charge you extra.
Do you ever teach when you're on tour?
Yes, schedule permitting. Although all tour days will show up as unavailable in our online scheduling system, sign up on the waiting list and we'll let you know if we will have time.
+ LESSON TYPES
How does a Skype lesson work?
Put your Skype Name in your User account when you register as well as in the Notes to Tuck & Patti field when you schedule your lesson. Be sure you have a reasonably fast internet connection (ours is about 20 Mbps download and 3.5 Mbps upload, but in the past we found that 5.0 Mbps download and 0.64 Mbps upload was plenty fast enough). At the appointed time we'll call each other. Also, make sure we have your phone number in case there is a connection problem.
Skype lessons work really well! The slight connection latency will make it impossible to actually play/sing together, but it is amazing how well a remote lesson works otherwise. If you have any concern about your English, feel free to have an interpreter join us.
How can I record my Skype Lesson?
For Mac, Call Recorder works great (www.ecamm.com/mac/callrecorder/). For PC, check out Call Burner, MX Skype Recorder or Pamela (we have not tried these; they were recommended by ecamm).
Why do you charge more for Skype lessons?
Because we have to pay credit card fees, plus additional foreign transaction/conversion fees for people who live outside the US.
How do Duo lessons work?
No doubt you have noticed that improving as a duo is not as simple as becoming better individually then coming back together. We certainly have! The duo format is so intensely interactive, musically and personally, that it brings up lots of other issues, including collaboration, arranging, improvisation, texture, feel, sound, personalities, etc. We've found that the best way to help duos is for all four of us to work together to pinpoint what you most need to work on, jointly and individually, to achieve your duo goal. To do this, find a time when we are both available and schedule two simultaneous lessons, one with Patti and one with Tuck ($300 total). The four of us will work together. We suggest an additional private lesson for each of you after the duo lesson to focus on how each of you can best work individually to serve the needs of your duo.
How do Group lessons work?
You can put together a small group of students (up to 3 for Tuck and up to 4 for Patti) and schedule a Group lesson. Note that each person does not have to sign up individually; just book a single Group lesson under your name for the targeted number of students. It's OK to change the number of participants at any time; we'll adjust the price accordingly when you arrive. You don't need to tell us in advance if you do this, as long as at least one of you comes. If you are a choir or vocal group of more than four people, email PattiTeach@tuckandpatti.com to set up a special group coaching session.
+ PRODUCTION CONSULTATION
How does Production Consultation work?
Today, with so many projects being self-produced in often less than optimal recording/monitoring conditions, it can be really useful to get a reality check at points along the way.
For example, when we rehearse/arrange a song to record, we record demos throughout the process, so we discover what's not working quickly and change it. When we're mixing ourselves or other people, more and more we establish a dialogue early on with the mastering engineer who will ultimately master it, then we send rough mixes along the way for feedback from the trained ears and broad, fresh, detached perspective of a mastering engineer. We do this even though we have mastering-quality equipment and monitoring system and have mastered CDs ourselves. This always improves the mixes and saves the mastering engineer the frustration of later trying to solve mix problems when it is too late to remix, resulting in a dramatically better final product.
We will listen to your tracks/mixes and advise you on engineering/production details so you can perfect your recorded sound. Examples: We'll EQ/process your raw tracks as if mixing and explain what we're doing and why so you can dial up something similar yourself (of course we're particularly good at voices and guitars). Or we'll listen to demos or rough or final mixes and advise you about performance, arrangement, production, engineering, etc. We do this work jointly, just as we do for our own recordings, at our recording studio in Menlo Park, CA.
To do this, find a time when we are both available and schedule two simultaneous appointments, one with Patti and one with Tuck ($175/hour total). Why do we charge so much less for this than our teaching rates? Because you might become a future production/recording/mixing client. And because it fascinates us.
At least 3 days before your appointment, send your audio tracks to us using our YouSendIt.com account (see your confirmation email for details), so we can load them into the computer in advance.
How does Skype Production Consultation work?
We can do this no matter where you are located. We will stream high-quality audio to you in real time while we Skype. We can listen to your music together, discuss it, demonstrate mix options, respond to your feedback, etc., in real time. The streaming audio latency between us and Italy, for example, is only about 5 seconds (Skype is typically less than one second). We worked together this way while mixing the first CD for Just Duet, an Italian duo, refining the most minute mix details in real time, even though they were at home in Italy. It is amazing how much it feels like physically being in the studio together. We would never have been able to collaborate remotely this fast or at this level of detail the old way (record/upload/download a mix with detailed documentation of all changes, wait for detailed feedback, remix a day or two later, repeat many times).
+ INFORMATION FOR TRAVELERS
I'll be traveling from outside the San Francisco Bay Area; where should I stay, etc.?
If you will schedule vacation, flights, etc., around your lessons, then please email us before booking your travel plans, especially flights, at both TuckTeach@tuckandpatti.com and PattiTeach@tuckandpatti.com and tell us what you're thinking. We will work with you to find the time period that works best for everyone, and will reserve lesson times for you even if those days are not open for online scheduling yet.
We like the Red Cottage Inn, only a two minute walk from us. It's quite comfortable; tell them we sent you and you'll get their best rate. If you want to do hotel research (we recommend tripadvisor.com) to see the many other options (including some closer to downtown), Menlo Park is next to Palo Alto; both are small cities with pleasant downtown areas with shops, restaurants, etc. Or stay in San Francisco and drive 30 miles (40-90 minutes) or take the train (35-55 minutes).
Caltrain runs between San Francisco and Gilroy, stopping at Atherton (0.6 miles, but only on weekends), Menlo Park (0.9 miles) and Palo Alto (2.3 miles). It is a reasonably safe area for walking, and the Menlo Park station is across from a great cafe (Cafe Borrone) and bookstore (Kepler's), but El Camino Real, the main street, is busy and not very scenic. Download weekday and weekend schedules (be sure you're looking at the right one!) at www.caltrain.com/schedules.shtml. There are usually taxis at the Palo Alto and Menlo Park stations; otherwise try Yellow Cab at 650-333-3333 or Menlo Park Taxi at 650-326-1111 (there are many others). There are also bus stops very near us. We don't know all the bus schedules, so we'll leave this research to you. We are 18 miles from San Francisco International Airport, 20 miles from San Jose International Airport and 33 miles from Oakland International Airport.
How can I best use the time?
We've had good success with a two-hour lesson once or twice each day, provided you allow enough time in between to digest what happened (as well as take an occasional break). Four hours in a day seems to be the point of diminishing returns, so we generally recommend that you not exceed that. It is especially important to record everything, because there will be too much to remember later.
How much does it cost?
See the Lesson menu under Scheduler tab for cost and details about each lesson or production/consultation type. At times we'll also offer promotions with discounted rates; see Promotions and Announcements on the scheduling page.
How does payment work?
The first time you schedule an appointment online, you will be prompted to register and give a credit card number which will be used to guarantee each lesson. Your card will never be charged unless you cancel after your cancellation deadline. Instead you will pay us when you come for the lesson. We prefer cash or check, made out to William Andress or Patricia Andress, but we also accept credit cards. Paying in advance for several lessons saves time, but it is also ok to pay as you go. If you have signed up for multiple lessons at a discount, you must pay for all of them at the first lesson.
How secure is the personal information I enter online?
What if I don't have a credit card?
Our scheduling system won't allow you to schedule an appointment without a valid credit card to guarantee the appointment. You can also use a debit card if it has a Visa or Mastercard logo on the front. This is necessary to protect us against no-shows and last-minute cancellations, and to protect everybody against our having to raise our rates to compensate for these losses as well as the extra time it takes to schedule by phone/email.
If you don't have a credit card or debit card, have a friend or family member enter their credit card number when you register, and explain that you'll pay for the lessons another way (and will never even see their card number yourself).
If I prepay and something happens to you, will I get a refund (sorry; I don't mean to be morbid)?
Yes! We maintain a computerized accounts receivable system, updated and backed up offsite daily and sent to our accountant weekly, which shows your entire history and where you currently stand financially. We'll also be glad to email an Excel copy of your appointment/payment history to you at any time.
How can I give lessons as a gift?
Email us at TuckTeach@tuckandpatti.com or PattiTeach@tuckandpatti.com to work out the details.
Can I get a receipt for tax purposes?
Yes, no problem. Just mention this in the notes field when you schedule the appointment, or ask us when we meet. Don't miss out on the tax deduction!
I need to issue a 1099 form at the end of the year reporting my payments to you; will you send a W-9 form?
Yes, no problem, just ask.
+ CANCELLATION/RESCHEDULING POLICY
What is your cancellation policy?
Although it's necessary for us to have a cancellation policy, please know that if you have to cancel/reschedule after the deadline, we will make every effort to rebook your time slot, in which case we won't charge you.
Cancellation Policy: Please cancel at least 72 hours in advance, or you will be charged for the missed lesson. The system will not let you cancel less than 72 hours in advance, so if you must cancel after that, be sure to email TuckTeach@tuckandpatti.com or PattiTeach@tuckandpatti.com to let us know. If we can book someone else in your place, we won't charge you.
Rescheduling Policy: If you want to change to a later day, please do it at least 72 hours in advance, or you will be charged for the missed lesson. If you want to change to an earlier day or another time on the same day, please do it at least 24 hours in advance, or you will be charged for the missed lesson.
How To Reschedule: If it is at least 72 hours in advance, cancel your existing lesson, then book a new lesson. If it is less than 72 hours in advance, the system will not let you cancel, so schedule your new lesson and include a note explaining that you are rescheduling, including the date and time of your original lesson. We will cancel it and make sure you are not charged if it is before the deadline.
If you want to change the number of people at a group lesson: Don't worry; you don't have to give us any advance notice. We'll only charge for the number of people who actually come, as long as at least one of you comes.
What if it's not my fault that I had to cancel or reschedule after the deadline? Will you still charge me?
Sorry, but yes. We did a lot of soul searching about this, but finally decided that a consistent policy where everybody assumes their own risk is fairer than for us to raise our prices overall to offset cancellation losses, which can be very high without such a policy. After the cancellation deadline our online scheduling system will not let you cancel and will automatically charge your credit card on the day of the lesson (unless you've prepaid, of course), but if you email us that you will not be able to come, we will try to rebook your slot. If we succeed, we'll make sure you don't get charged. Having said that, we realize that there are some life events for which we will insist on making an exception.
What if you (Tuck and Patti) have to cancel/reschedule due to last minute tour, sickness, emergency etc.?
We will personally help you reschedule as soon as possible at the best possible time for you. If we cancel at the last minute, when you are already en route, your rescheduled lesson will be free.
I keep getting error messages saying "This time slot is no longer available. Please select a different time slot."
When I enter my credit card information, I get an error message saying "There was an error processing your request: An unknown internal error has occured. Please try again later."