Music Academies Building front
115 N 3rd St, PO Box 1298, Niles MI 49120 (map)

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The Music Academies' Goals, Policies, and How to Reach Us

The goal of The Music Academies is to provide each student with a musical experience that will have lifetime value. While many will not pursue music as a profession, the lessons they learn in organization, personal commitment to doing their best, and accomplishing personal goals through dedicated and committed effort will promote their success in any field. A student may only be attending for one session, but it is expected that during that time the student and supporting parent will dedicate the time necessary to be successful.

What is the time commitment needed to succeed?
We have made an interesting observation over the years. Some of our students who did not possess a great level of natural musical talent developed into some very delightful musicians, and even make their living now from music. Other more talented individuals have enrolled, but were never able to give a pleasing performance.

What makes the the difference?

As in any other activity in life, developing effective personal skills does not come from simply knowing how to do something:  skills are developed by repeating the learned techniques consistently and often over an extended period of time. Developing technical knowledge into usable personal skills takes practice time. If you are not willing to make a commitment to practice the techniques you learn in your lesson at least 30 minutes a day for 5 days a week every week, consider a different activity other than music that can give you instant gratification.

It's not talent that's most important: it's time dedicated to the purpose.

Class/Lesson Calendar
The Music Academies operates 3 sessions within a year:
1) Fall/Winter-September thru December
2) Winter/Spring-January thru May
3) Summer-June thru August

When you enroll in a session, it is expected that you will commit to attendance for that entire session. While continuing lessons into the next session is encouraged for best progress, if an evaluation between the parent and instructor indicates a mutual agreement that lessons should not be continued in the next session, we would appreciate at least one month's written (postal or email) notice of your intent.

Lesson Rates
For current lesson rates and class openings available, please call 269-362-5780

Payment Terms
Monthly lesson fees for both Group Classes and Individual Private Lessons are due and payable on or before the first of the month in which lessons will take place.  Monthly fees submitted after the 5th of the month will incur a $10.00 late fee in addition to the regular lesson fees for that month.  Lesson and any late fees submitted late after the 10th of the month may result in cancellation of the student's enrollment.

There are no refunds for missed lesson times for any reason. Carryover credits for paid lesson times may be given at the instructor's discretion for lessons missed because of illness or extreme emergency if reschedule times are not available.

Lessons scheduled and not paid for may be turned over to collection or credit rating services for resolution.

Attendance Policies:
Enrolling in lessons is a purchase of specific teacher and studio time slots, very similar to renting an apartment for a specified time period.  Whether you choose to attend or miss a lesson does not change the rental to be paid for that time slot.  Please keep this in mind when considering and scheduling other recreational and entertainment activities.  The studio schedule is very tight, and rescheduling a lesson for reasons other than extreme family emergency or illness will not be considered.  We ask that if you know you will be absent to inform us at least 24 hours in advance to make it possible for students who must cancel for emergency or illness reasons to reschedule.  Monthly fees are not reduced for lack of attendance for any reason.

Our phone does not recognize text messaging; texting is NOT an acceptable way to contact us.

Plan on arriving 5 minutes before the official lesson start time in order to prepare the instrument and lesson materials for starting the lesson punctually.  It is not fair to the person who arrives on time for the lesson immediately following your lesson to have to wait for you because you were late.  Your lesson will end at its scheduled time, and arriving late only insures that you will not get the benefit of the number of minutes of instruction you paid for within your scheduled time slot.

The student should be picked up promptly at the end of their lesson time.  Leaving the student unsupervised by a parent or other responsible adult for periods when they are not actively engaged in lessons or classes raises serious legal and insurance issues.  With your cooperation, the institution of late pickup fees will not be needed.

Termination of Enrollment
A student's termination from lessons in the current session may occur for the following reasons:
1) chronic absences
2) chronic tardiness
3) failure to make timely payments
4) chronic lack of practice
5) repeated disruptive or belligerent behavior

Meet the Staff . . .
Valerie Rumpf Picture
Valerie Rumpf, founder and president of The Music Academies, has been performing since she was 8 years old.
Valerie earned her Bachelors (with high honors) and Masters degrees in Music from Indiana University (SB), having studied under the Toradze Studio instructors in piano,  Eric Kus, David Machavariani, and Earle Perez on cello, and Delores Wilson on violin and viola.  She is also an accomplished composer and member of ASCAP and ASTA, having had works performed in the US and in Europe.  Valerie is also an enthusiastic orchestra conductor, having studied conducting under Dr. Michael Esselstrom and Dr. Robert Colt at Indiana University, and Bruce Ochimura at Western Michigan University.  She currently conducts the New Apostolic Church Orchestra in the South Bend District, and the Niles Area Community Orchestra in Niles, MI.

Her unique style of teaching is the key to the success of The Music Academies.  While being a firm believer that each student at all ages should be musically literate, she also observes the individualities of each student and tailors instruction so that music can become a reality for them.

In her "spare" time, Valerie also continues to compose and arrange music for the various groups she works with,  is primary organist/pianist and choir leader at the New Apostolic Church in Niles, and play cello in the Rumpf Village String Quartet
.  She also performs privately as pianist in Style, a local professional piano/violin duet.
DAR pic

David Rumpf has been playing strings for the past 57 years, having started violin instruction at age 10 under Zeal Fisher. After 25 years playing violin, David tried viola 32 years ago, and decided that viola tones were more to his liking, and has played viola ever since. He also was the orchestral strings department manager at Woodwind & Brasswind, and helped in the design of affordable higher quality instruments for school orchestra programs. During his tenure there, he also originated the Chincello, an instrument that produced cello tones, but played under the chin like a violin. Since that time he has also developed the Magnum violin for violinists over 5'5" tall, and the KinderCello for teaching the very young cellist. He currently is principal violist in the Niles Area Community Orchestra, and also is the violist in the Rumpf Village String Quartet.

David is also currently chief executive officer of Prodigio Music, a local supplier of musical instruments and supplies.

Rita pic

Rita Schenk has been a musical performer since childhood. Having studied under Delores Wilson for violin, Rita also excelled for all 4 years in the Penn High School orchestra, and participated in the Donald Dake Honors Music Camp at St. Mary’s College under the instruction of Nicolas Orbavich and Tsung Yeh of the South Bend Symphony, and the South Bend Youth Symphony under the direction of Grayling Hawkins.  Rita also plays viola with style. Currently she is concert master for the Niles Area Community Orchestra, and also performs at special occasions as a violinist for Style, a professional piano/violin duet, and as a member of the Rumpf Village String Quartet.

Rita is also an accomplished keyboard artist, having studied under Natia Shioshvili of the Toradze Piano Studio at Indiana University South Bend, and competed in the national Stickley Piano Competition. She is currently the principal pianist for the Niles Area Community Orchestra, and also performs regularly on piano and organ at the New Apostolic Church in Niles.

Alexander "Xander" Rumpf has been playing musical instruments since a child, beginning on violin at age 8 under Delores Wilson, and playing all 4 years in the advanced orchestra at Penn High School.  While in high school, Xander also started playing classical and electric guitar.  After 4 years serving our country in the US Navy as an operations specialist (and countless hours of playing classical guitar), Xander has returned to join the staff as  specialist in intermediate and advanced classical guitar instructor.  He continues to perform for small gatherings and in the New Apostolic Church during  worship and praise services.

Valerie Rumpf
David Rumpf
Rita Schenk
Xander Rumpf
General questions

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