Southwest Michigan School Of Music — Beware of signing unreasonable policies
This is a very small hole-in-the-wall school and the owner is a very cold, corporate-minded guy who takes no time to know his students. He is geared more towards kids and likes to stiff his adult students without considering their circumstances. The way he talks to you is that of a serial killer. Cold and very eerie.
He makes you sign an unreasonable policy before you sign up that makes it hard to get your security deposit back.
He makes you pay the whole month in advance, so if u have to miss a lesson, he refuses to make up a lesson (unless you have a doctor's note lol) and you can't get your money back. He also wants 15 days of notice before quitting (actually it is a week, but he lied to me and said 15 days), or else he doesn't give you your $25 deposit back. Most working adults who are busy decide the last minute to quit, and this is nothing more than a cash grab knowing how people's circumstances normally are.
Now to my situation. I had been taking lessons for 4 months, while working full-time and attending grad school part-time. Final exams were coming up and I couldnt find time for practice the last few weeks, so finally I called him the day before and told him I couldn't make my last lesson and decided I needed a couple month break. When I went back 3 months later to resume lessons, my teacher had quit and moved. So I was wary about taking lessons with a new teacher, and I knew I hated him and didn't want his hand in my pocket anymore than it already was. Needless to say, I decided not to resume. I asked him if he could refund my security deposit, and he said he would "take a look at it and send it out". After several months, no response or check. I went back in and he told me that the policy required 15 days of notice. Ridiculous. I decided not to resume lessons because my teacher was no longer there, and he claims that I just quit with no notice. I understand having some type of policy in place, but this is a hole in the wall place, and he acts like he's some university with a complex tuition refund plan. He always was cold, and never seemed to want to know anyone. Once he found out where I work he assumed I had a decent-paying job and that I could do without my money back. Also, there was a lesson he canceled and he offered a make-up date, which was 2 months down the road. I happened to stop lessons before that make-up lesson date came, and he didn't want to give me the money back for that lesson either.
I had a bad vibe from him from the beginning. Very cold, not understanding of your personal situation, and only out to stiff you. He wants your money before he delivers the service.
He has a very complicated withdrawal procedure, which is ridiculous considering it is not an accredited school and it is a measley half-hour lesson a week, mainly geared towards kids.
He is an ### and I knew it from Day 1. Don't trust him. For kids, it is an OK school because kids don't know better, and their schedule is very predictable, hence making abiding by his "policies" a bit more tolerable. My advice is to go with the Citadel Center in Benton Harbor. More of a positive environment.