Frequently Asked Questions 

What ages can enroll?
We teach all ages, from young children to mature adults.  While the maturity level varies from child to child, most children age 5 or older have an adequate attention span for a 30-minute lesson. CMS recommends piano or violin for beginners, because these instruments give access to the full range of the musical scale, allowing the student to develop a solid foundation for future musical development.  This allows students to learn to read notes on both the treble and bass clefs and to develop hand/eye coordination.  We also offer a group Early Childhood Music Experience for ages 3-5.  Check out this great article about the stages of musical education.
How do I get started?
To schedule an interview lesson, please contact the main office at 610-435-7725,, or complete the contact form online at The interview lesson is $30 for 30 minutes and must be paid in full at the time of scheduling, even if you intend to apply for financial aid. After the interview, the Registrar will contact you to ensure you wish to continue with that teacher/day/time and to set up a payment plan.
My child loves to sing and I want to get him or her involved in music. What do you recommend?
We offer CMS Kids Chorus for children ages 6-11 to help them develop proper singing technique, read music, and listen to each other. Once the child’s vocal chords are more developed, we offer private voice lessons focused on the child’s interests.
What instruments do you offer?
Click here to browse a complete list of available instruments available for private instruction.  Click here to browse group classes and ensembles.
Does my child need an instrument?
Yes, students must supply their own instruments so they have access to practice regularly at home. In the case of a piano, if space is an issue, a high-quality keyboard with at least 66 weighted keys is a good option. A weighted keyboard will cost a little more, but the keys will feel more like a regular piano and allow for better volume control. If you are not familiar with the instrument, please discuss the student’s needs with the teacher before purchasing or renting. Contact the CMS office for rental recommendations and information on discounts for CMS students.
What books do I need to buy?
The teacher will determine the student’s goals/abilities and recommend study materials. Occasionally, the teacher will purchase the music for him/her, rather than asking you to go to the music store. It is the parent’s responsibility to reimburse the teacher for the purchase.
Does CMS sell instruments or books?
CMS has a limited number of music books and donated instruments available for rent or purchase, but we recommend you rent or purchase your instrument from a reputable dealer.  Please contact the office for recommendations.
When will my lesson be?
Once you are established with a teacher, your lesson will be at the same time, once a week, continuing for the school year.
When can I start lessons?
Anytime! CMS offers open enrollment throughout the school year and summer.
How much do lessons cost?
30-minute lessons are $30, weekly. As the student advances, 45-minute lessons ($45 weekly) and 60-minute lessons ($60 weekly) are also available. Group classes or ensembles are $12 per week. The annual family registration fee of $45 is charged with the first lesson of each school year ($20/annually for group lessons only). Ensembles are $12 per week.  Financial aid is available to those who qualify.
How do I pay for my lessons?
CMS accepts all major credit or debit cards, checks, or cash. All lessons must be paid in advance. Upon enrollment, a monthly or weekly payment plan will be established through the main office.  
What if I can’t make my lesson this week?
If you are sick or have a last-minute scheduling conflict, please contact the main CMS office at 610-435-7725 as soon as possible so we can notify your teacher that you will not be at your lesson. Since our teachers have reserved a specific time for your lesson, CMS has a “no cancellation” policy. You will still be charged for that missed lesson, unless you have arranged a Leave of Absence in advance with the Director. However, make-up lessons may be available at no extra cost; see below.
If I miss my lesson, can I make it up?
CMS has a “no cancellation” policy for lessons, except when the Director closes the school for safety reasons or in inclement weather. Scheduling private lessons is complex, and lesson days/times/teachers cannot be easily changed once students have committed to their times. In the event that CMS is open and a student must be absent, the student or his or her parents must notify the office in advance. Make-up lessons (“rescheduled lessons”) will be given only for Authorized Absences, pre-approved by the Director in the following instances: Student illness with notice to the office before 11 am on the day of the lesson; Required school/extracurricular activity or religious holiday with 7 days notice to the office; or a death in the student’s immediate family (including grandparents, aunts, and uncles). If the account is on an automatic monthly payment plan, payments will not be adjusted, but instead an “unscheduled makeup lesson” will be added to the student’s account, to be scheduled on a future makeup day. As always, payment for any missed lessons is due before the student’s next lesson. CMS does not offer makeup lessons for “no shows” or student cancellations, except as stated above. Makeup lessons are limited to 3 per year and students with past-due accounts are not eligible. When a CMS teacher is sick or must cancel a lesson, the office will offer the student a makeup lesson.
I am in a play and cannot make my lessons for the next month. What do I do?
Congratulations on your role in the play! CMS supports your performance aspirations and asks you to contact the main office at least 2 weeks in advance to request a Leave of Absence.  Students who plan on missing lessons because of participation in a play, seasonal sports, extended vacation, or other special situation must request a Leave of Absence (LOA) from the office at least 2 weeks in advance; otherwise, the student will still be charged for the missed lessons. For a LOA longer than 2 weeks, CMS cannot guarantee that the student’s existing lesson day and time will still be available upon the student’s return.
How do I apply for financial aid?
Download a PDF of the application or contact the office at 610-435-7725. The form must be completed in full and accompanied by documentation for all sources of income for every person in your family or household (Federal Income Tax (IRS Form 1040), SSI Letter, Child Support, etc.) with a narrative explaining your family’s financial circumstances. Financial aid is based on a standard fee schedule and does not include the annual registration fee. Financial aid is limited, and a new application must be submitted each year. All financial aid decisions are final, and all students pay a share of the lesson cost.
Do you offer scholarships?
Yes, CMS awards a limited number of merit-based scholarships to selected students. See Gala Audition & Recital.
How do I make a donation to CMS?
Thank you for supporting quality music education! You can make a donation online HERE through PayPal, by mail or in person at CMS, 23 N. 6th Street, Allentown, PA 18101.
Can I donate my old instrument to CMS?
We welcome donations of gently used instruments – trumpets, flutes, violins, etc. In the case of larger items like pianos and drum kits, we are happy to post your item on our student bulletin board in our main office and online.
What kind of performance opportunities are available?
CMS offers several in-house recitals and community performances. For a current list of upcoming student performance opportunities, click HERE.
Do you have a question for CMS?