Policies & Procedures

Community Music School is committed to creating an environment for students, parents/guardians, faculty, staff, and volunteers that is safe, nurturing, empowering, and that promotes growth and success. These policies are in place to ensure a positive learning atmosphere which will allow our students realize the life-long benefits of studying music. CMS reserves the right to revise its policies at any time. Updates will be posted on the School’s website and Student Handbook. Students and parents/guardians are responsible for familiarizing themselves with these policies and regularly reviewing the school website for any changes and updates.

Todas las políticas y formularios estudiantiles de CMS están disponibles en español. Póngase en contacto con la oficina en info@cmslv.org, o visite cmslv.org, Student Resources.

CMS accepts new students, age 5 through adult, for in-person and online-only music lessons. Students can begin lessons at any time during the year. For voice lessons, new students must be age 12 or older. CMS schedules lessons on a first-paid, first-reserved basis.

Private Lesson Interview
New students always begin with a one-time “interview lesson” before enrolling in private lessons. This initial “interview lesson” allows the teacher to assess the student’s level of skill, discuss goals/curriculum, and determine whether the teacher is a good fit for the student. This 30-minute interview lesson costs $33. You must make payment when you schedule the interview lesson, even if you intend to apply for financial aid for lessons. We recommend applying for financial aid (if you are eligible) before scheduling and paying for an interview lesson.
The interview lesson fee is nonrefundable. If you need to reschedule a confirmed interview lesson, CMS requires 24-hour advance notice. Missed interview lessons or interview lessons cancelled within 24 hours of the scheduled time will be rescheduled only after CMS receives your payment of an additional $33 fee for the new interview lesson.

After the interview, the CMS office staff will contact you to determine whether you wish to continue with that teacher or interview with another. CMS will also email you and the teacher an online survey (available on cmslv.org under Student Resources) to enable candid feedback after each interview lesson.

To enroll in private lessons following the interview lesson, students or parents must pay the $45 annual registration fee and the first month’s tuition. Your lesson day/time will be held for 3 days after the interview lesson. If we do not receive payment within 3 days, we may assign the tentatively reserved lesson day and time to another student.

If you choose to interview with another teacher, each interview lesson is $33, and payment is due when you schedule the interview lesson.

Group Class Interview
CMS allows new students who are interesting in joining a group class one free “interview class.” Some advanced level group classes also require an audition and concurrent enrollment in CMS private lessons.


Private lesson students must supply their own instruments. If you are not familiar with the instrument, please discuss the student’s needs with the teacher before purchasing or renting an instrument. Contact the CMS office for rental recommendations.

CMS offers a limited selection of instruments for rent or purchase by CMS students on a first-come, first-served basis. Many of these instruments have been donated by generous members of the community and are available for rent only to students currently studying at CMS. If the instrument is subject to any damage beyond normal wear and tear, the student and his/her parents will be responsible for the cost of repairs or full replacement of the instrument.

Rental Fees for CMS Instruments (Based on Availability)

  • Cello $25 per month
  • Clarinet $22 per month
  • Flute $22 per month
  • Guitar $22 per month
  • Keyboard $15 per month
  • Saxophone $30 per month
  • Trumpet $22 per month
  • Violin $15 per month

There is an additional cost for music books and/or study copies. Most teachers will recommend a study series (Suzuki, Alfred, Faber, etc) that can be purchased online or at a local music or book store. If the teacher purchases materials for the student as a courtesy, the student or parent must reimburse the teacher for the cost at the next lesson.


In Fall 2019, CMS introduced TeacherZone, a proven and user-friendly platform to help you manage music lesson schedules, payments, and communications with teacher(s).

By enrolling in lessons at CMS, students/parents agree to regularly access the TeacherZone platform to check their schedule, update payment information, communicate with their teacher, and request rescheduling of banked lessons.

If the student/parent did not create their own TeacherZone account when submitting an online inquiry, the CMS office will email you log-in credentials at the time of enrollment. You can access the TeacherZone platform at https://www.teacherzone.com/Member/Login or through the log-in widget on the Student Resources page of cmslv.org.


Annual Registration Fee
Private Lessons… $45, Group Class only… $20
The annual registration fee is non-refundable and applies to an entire family for one full year. The fee will be automatically assessed on the student’s enrollment anniversary date each year. For students who first enrolled at CMS before September 1, 2019, CMS will automatically assess the registration fee on September 1 of each year.

Private Lesson Tuition

Monthly Payments – Automatic Billing on Debit or Credit Card
30-minute lessons… $132 per month
45-minute lessons… $196 per month
60-minute lessons… $260 per month

Monthly Payments – Manual Billing on Check, Debit, or Credit Card*
30-minute lessons… $140 per month
45-minute lessons… $204 per month
60-minute lessons… $268 per month

Weekly Payments – Automatic Billing on Debit or Credit Card
(2-Week Deposit Required)
30-minute lessons… $33 per lesson ($66 deposit required)
45-minute lessons… $49 per lesson ($98 deposit required)
60-minute lessons… $65 per lesson ($130 deposit required)

Weekly Payments – Manual Payments on Check, Debit, or Credit Card*
(2-Week Deposit Required)
30-minute lessons… $35 per lesson ($70 deposit required)
45-minute lessons… $51 per lesson ($102 deposit required)
60-minute lessons… $67 per lesson ($134 deposit required)

* For any payment plan that is not set up for automatic billing on a debit or credit card, we add a $2 service fee per lesson. This fee applies to any payment that an office staff member has to process manually, including cash, check, money order, or a manually processed debit card or credit card on file.

Coaching Sessions
$75 per private 60-minute session ($225 minimum)
(No registration fee, with minimum of 3 sessions)

Music Therapy
$44 per private 30-minute session
$66 per private 45-minute session
$88 per private 60-minute session

Group Class Tuition

Kindermusik: $67 per 4-week session
Kids Choir: $48 per month
Big Band: $48 per month
Modern Band: Free (see Modern Band section for details)


Students enroll on an ongoing basis. All lessons are billed at a standard monthly rate, based on an average of four lessons per month (a total of 48-weeks per calendar year). If the student enrolls in the middle of the month, CMS will prorate the first tuition payment. CMS will automatically charge monthly tuition payments on the first day of each month to the debit or credit card on file in your TeacherZone account. Students and their parents are responsible for updating their card information in TeacherZone.

CMS accepts all major credit cards: Visa, MasterCard, American Express, & Discover, as well as electronic check (ACH). For any payment plan that is not set up for automatic billing on a debit or credit card, CMS adds a $2 service fee per lesson. This fee applies to any payment that an office staff member has to process manually, including cash, check, money order, or a manually processed debit card or credit card on file.

For students receiving financial aid, the parent/guardian may make a request to the School Director for check or debit card payments on a monthly or weekly basis. Students paying weekly must pay at the front desk before their lesson. All lessons must be paid in advance. CMS accepts only the exact amount due for the weekly lesson.

In the event the student’s account becomes past due, CMS will discontinue lessons until the student or parent makes full payment of current and past-due charges.


If your bank returns a check to CMS for insufficient funds, CMS will add a fee of $25.00 to your account. The student or parent must pay this fee in cash before the next weekly lesson. Each account will be allowed no more than two such NSF checks, after which CMS will no longer accept checks from the student or parent.


Financial aid is available only for students up to age 18, or to students who are 18 or 19 completing their senior year of high school. CMS follows Federal poverty guidelines to determine the level of family need. Financial aid awards are valid only from September 1 – August 31. To reapply, students must complete a new application and supply all required documentation by August 1 each year.

New students are encouraged to apply for financial aid anytime throughout the year. Financial aid applications are considered and approved on a rolling basis, until available funds are depleted.


CMS provides no refunds or credits for missed lessons, except for narrowly defined “excused” lessons, or in the unlikely event of a teacher cancellation, or when the Director closes the School for safety reasons and online lessons are not possible.

If you must cancel a lesson in one of the below-defined situations, and you have provided the required advance notice to the office, CMS will consider the lesson absence to be “excused.” Excused absences are stored as “banked” lessons in the student’s TeacherZone account for up to 60 days.

Excused absences for private lessons are defined as follows:

  • Student illness, with notice to the office before 11 am on the day of the lesson
  • Death in the student’s immediate family, including grandparents, aunts, and uncles
  • Required school activity or religious holiday, with 7 days advance notice to the office.

If you request a banked lesson through TeacherZone, you should attempt to reschedule the lesson with the teacher as soon as possible. Students are responsible for requesting a makeup lesson time for any banked lessons through TeacherZone. If the student has a banked lesson in their account, he or she will be able to choose from a list of the teacher’s available days and times. CMS permits a maximum of two (2) banked lessons on each student’s account at any given time. Banked lessons resulting from a student cancellation that are not rescheduled will expire after 60 days from the date the student banks the lesson (not the original date the lesson was scheduled).

CMS also schedules regular makeup lesson days before Winter Break and Spring Break, all subject to the teacher’s availability. Refer to the CMS Google Calendar for specific makeup days.


CMS teachers are professional performing musicians, and occasionally, a teacher’s pre-scheduled performances may require an adjustment to their lesson schedule. CMS will notify students via email or SMS text in these instances, as soon as possible. If the student misses a lesson because of a teacher’s absence, CMS will make every effort to provide a qualified substitute teacher at the scheduled day/time. If this is not possible, CMS will reschedule the banked lesson (for an in-person or online lesson), or CMS will process a refund or credit to the account.


During the summer, we understand that many families have different schedules. During the months of June, July, and August, CMS will credit a maximum of four (4) lessons for family vacations and camps if the student or parent provides written notice to registrar@cmslv.org, generally by the 15th of the previous month (May 15, June 15, and July 15).

There are no makeup days for cancelled or missed group classes.


To request a change to your lesson day, lesson time, or teacher, please complete the Request for Private Lesson Change Form. All requests must be in writing. CMS will make every attempt to accommodate your request, but we cannot guarantee that we will be able to meet all requests for schedule changes.


To withdraw from lessons, please complete the Request for Withdrawal Form by the 15th day of your final month. CMS requires a minimum of 15 days notice for withdrawal from lessons. If we receive your request after the 15th of the month, we will apply the withdrawal request to a day in the following month that is 15 days after the date of the request.


CMS does not always follow weather-related closures of area school districts. Do not assume that the CMS is closed if your child’s academic school is closed. Check WFMZ.com and our Facebook page, or call 610-435-7725 and listen to the recording to determine whether the CMS building is closed for inclement weather.

If the Director closes the building for safety reasons or inclement weather, CMS will provide an online private lesson via TeacherZone and Google Meet at the student’s regularly scheduled time. If the student does not have access to technology or internet service for an online lesson, the student or parent is responsible for rescheduling the lesson through TeacherZone. If the student does not reschedule the lesson within 60 days, the banked lesson will expire, and CMS will not provide a refund or credit.


Modern Band is a free after-school program for middle school and high school students. Modern Band at CMS is made possible through a generous grant from The Dexter F. & Dorothy H. Baker Foundation. The program’s goal is to allow all interested students access to excellence in music education, with a focus on learning to play and sing today’s popular music. CMS supplies all instruments (including guitars, ukuleles, drums, and keyboards) for our Modern Band. We strongly encourage students to enroll for the full school year. There is no cost to students to enroll, since the program is grant funded.

Modern Band Interview Class
New students are welcome anytime, based on class capacity. Interested students may attend one free “interview” class before completing the required forms and enrolling for the rest of the school year.

Modern Band Enrollment
After the first class, the student must enroll for the rest of the school year by completing and signing the Student Enrollment Form. The student’s parent or guardian must also sign and fully complete the form and return it to the office to confirm the enrollment.

Modern Band Class Size & Waiting List
Each Modern Band class is limited to 15 students or fewer, as determined by the teacher. Interested students will be placed on a waiting list by enrollment date. All completed forms must be submitted before the student may be added to the waiting list. If a sufficient number of students are waitlisted, CMS will schedule additional classes.


CMS is committed to creating an environment for students that is safe, nurturing, empowering, and that promotes growth and success.

CMS is fortunate to be able to offer our students the opportunity to study music in such a unique and historically significant building. Our staff, volunteers, and donors continue to invest in improvements for the benefit of our students and create a positive learning atmosphere. We require that all our students and visitors respect and assist us in maintaining our facilities by following the rules below:

  • Children must be supervised by a parent or guardian at all times.
  • No food or drinks in the studios or studio hallways.
  • No running in the hallways.
  • Non-students are not allowed in the studios. For children under 12 years of age, with teacher permission, a parent or guardian may be present in the studio during the lesson.
  • Whiteboards in studios are for educational use only, with teacher permission.
  • In the lounge, please place magazines back on the rack and dispose of trash in the receptacle before leaving. If you use the Keurig, please wipe up any spilled coffee, creamer, and sugar on the counter. Wipes are available on the end of the bar. Dispose of any excess liquid in the bathroom sink, not the lounge trash cans.
  • Playing the piano in the lounge is encouraged, but please be respectful of others in the room. Do not allow children to bang on the keys or disturb other guests.
  • All toys and instruments must remain inside the Kids Corner room at all times. Return toys to the proper bins & place trash in receptacle before leaving. No running, shouting, or throwing toys.
  • We understand that accidents do happen. If something is soiled or damaged, please notify the staff person at the front desk immediately.

CMS reserves the right to suspend or discontinue any student at any time due to lack of interest, extreme absences, behavior problems, tardiness, delinquency in tuition payments, or parental noncompliance with CMS policies.


By enrolling in lessons at CMS, you accept responsibility to check and reply to all communications regarding your lessons, including by phone, voicemail, mail, email, SMS/text messaging, and chat within our online portal at TeacherZone.com.

TeacherZone.com is the primary platform for communication about your lessons. A valid email address and mobile phone number are required. TeacherZone will automatically send email and SMS/text messages to the student, parent, and teacher for schedule changes or cancellations. TeacherZone also sends email and text messages to the student and parent about payment, practice, and upcoming lesson reminders.

Students are required to notify the office of any changes to contact information. CMS is not responsible for missed lessons due to non-compliance with this policy.

For the safety of our students, students under 18 and CMS teachers may not use regular email, SMS text, or any social media platform to communicate without copying the student’s parent/guardian or a CMS staff member. All communications must be sent through TeacherZone where they will be permanently documented and available for review by parents and CMS administration if needed.


CMS is committed to providing a learning and work environment free of unlawful discrimination and harassment. CMS does not discriminate on the basis of race, religious creed (including religious dress and grooming practices), color, national origin, ancestry, physical disability, mental disability, medical condition, genetic information, marital status, sex (including pregnancy), gender, gender identity, gender expression, age for individuals over forty years of age, sexual orientation, military and veteran status of any person, level of family income, or any other consideration made unlawful by federal, state or local laws in its education programs and admission, employment, and financial aid policies. CMS also prohibits unlawful discrimination and/or harassment based on the perception that anyone has any of those characteristics, or is associated with a person who has or is perceived as having any of those characteristics. Such discrimination, sexual harassment, and/or harassment is unlawful and prohibited by the School.


If you have or your child has any special needs, please contact the office to discuss your situation. CMS is committed to accommodating the special needs of students to ensure that a quality music education is accessible to all.


CMS is committed to a safe, healthful, and supportive learning environment for all students.

The building is locked at all times. Access to the building and studio hallway is monitored by the front desk staff and video surveillance. Students and authorized parents or guardians are permitted in the building only during their scheduled lesson times. For security purposes, CMS uses video monitoring and recording in key areas of the building.

Supervision of Children
All students must sign in at the front office upon arrival and sign out as they leave the building.

The parent/guardian of a student under the age of twelve (12) must remain in the building for the duration of the student’s lesson or class. Children must be supervised at all times. CMS teachers and administrative staff are not responsible for supervising children outside of teaching time. No student under the age of 12 may leave the building unaccompanied.

Smoking, Illegal Drugs, & Controlled Substances
CMS is a drug-free zone. No smoking or vaping of tobacco or any other substance is allowed inside or outside on School property. Students, parents, guardians, teachers, staff, and visitors are prohibited from entering School property while under the influence of any intoxicating beverage or behavior-altering drug. All parties are prohibited from possessing, using, selling, or transferring alcohol, illegal drugs, or controlled substances on School property. The legal use of prescribed drugs is permitted under proper supervision only if it does not impair a student’s ability to perform the essential functions in a safe manner that does not endanger others.

Restroom Use
If a student under the age of 12 must use the restroom during a lesson, then the parent/guardian who is onsite must accompany the student to and from the restroom. If a student under 12 needs to use the bathroom during a lesson and no parent is present, the teacher will walk the student to the bathroom and will stand outside the bathroom door.

Anti-Abuse & Harassment Policy
Teachers and staff are required to follow the code of conduct outlined in CMS’s “Abuse & Molestation Awareness & Prevention Policy” to prevent and report physical, emotional, sexual abuse, and neglect. A copy of this policy is available upon request to the School Director. All CMS teaching studios have doors with windows to the hallway. Teachers and staff may not give gifts or take photos of students under the age of 18 without the prior approval by the School Director and notification of the student’s parents/guardians.

Anti-Bullying Policy
CMS prohibits physical, verbal, nonverbal, and cyber bullying by students, faculty, and staff. Bullying is a form of harassment defined as aggressive behavior that is intentional, is repeated over time, and involves an imbalance of power or strength. Persons who have been bullied or who witnesses bullying must promptly report the incident(s) to the School Director. An anonymous online form is also available on the Student Resources page of cmslv.org.

Reporting Abuse
All CMS teachers and staff are mandated reporters, as required by Commonwealth of Pennsylvania law. If you suspect abuse or neglect, please contact the School Director immediately. All reports of suspicious or inappropriate behavior will be taken seriously. PA Childline reporting procedures will be carefully followed to ensure that the rights of all those involved are protected. An anonymous online form is also available on the Student Resources page of cmslv.org.

Social Media Policy
All existing CMS policies, including those pertaining to student-teacher communications, bullying, harassment, and discrimination, extend to CMS-related activities in the online environment.


In the event of an emergency that creates a dangerous situation in the School, students will exit the building with faculty and/or staff pursuant to a procedure in place for fire evacuation. Emergency procedures and important contact information are posted and available in every studio, lounge, and office. Students and parents/guardians should familiarize themselves with these procedures.


Parents should check in regularly with their child’s teacher to review progress and discuss any issues. Each spring, teachers are required to complete an Annual Progress Evaluation for each student age 18 or younger. The evaluation is reviewed and signed by the School Director. A copy is sent to the student’s parent or guardian and uploaded to the student practice section of their TeacherZone account. Evaluations for adult students will be completed upon request.


Each spring, the Certificate of Musical Achievement Program in Piano allows students of all levels to demonstrate their yearly progress and set goals by performing two pieces (3-15 minutes) & technical studies for a panel of judges, who provide helpful comments about their pieces & technique.


Each spring, CMS teachers recommend students for an audition before an independent panel of judges who evaluate them based upon predetermined criteria. Students with the highest scores are invited to perform in the year-end Gala recital and may also receive merit-based scholarships toward continued study at CMS. We suggest that students who feel they are ready to audition for the Gala Recital discuss the possibility with their teacher in early spring. CMS students at all levels are invited to audition. Students selected to perform in the Gala Recital are not guaranteed a merit scholarship. Recommendations from teachers are due in the office each year by May 1.


Performing in front of a live audience is an important part of the Community Music School experience and is key to developing well-rounded musicians. CMS encourages students of all levels and ages to perform when they are ready, with permission from their teacher. Numerous free performance opportunities are available, including both in-house recitals and community events. Thanks to our generous donors, all CMS recitals are free for students who perform and free for the public to attend. Participation is not required, but is strongly encouraged.

Code of Conduct for CMS Recitals & Performances

  • Students should dress appropriately for a performance.
  • Please do not wear jeans, denim, shorts, or tank tops.
  • Students should arrive by the posted time to warm up.
  • Audience members should silence all cell phones and refrain from talking and entering/exiting the hall during the performance.

Photography/video recording of your student is permitted. Please respect other performers and audience members.
A reception is held following each of our in-house recitals. Families are encouraged to bring additional refreshments for the reception.


Piano accompaniment for instrumental and vocal students is available for CMS recitals. If your teacher is unable to accompany you, we strongly recommend that you use one of our professional accompanists who will help you prepare for the performance.

Each student receives 1 free accompaniment per school year. Fees for additional accompaniment are as follows: Beginner $20, Intermediate $25, Advanced $35. The cost includes one 30-minute rehearsal. If additional rehearsal time is required, regular lesson tuition applies.

The student/parent and teacher are responsible for coordinating a rehearsal time with the accompanist. The teacher is required to check with the office to ensure that there is a studio available for the rehearsal.


By participating in CMS programs, you consent to the taking of photographs, audio recordings, video recordings, and/or other digital images or recordings during auditions, performances, and/or at other events by staff, volunteers, or outside media. CMS may use, edit, alter, copy, publish, and/or distribute those photos and recordings in any and all of its publications, including social media and web-based publications, and/or for any other lawful purpose, without payment, compensation, royalties, or other consideration. Photos and recordings shared in the private student online galleries are for personal use only and remain the property of CMS. Other uses of these photos and recordings must be authorized in writing by the School Director. CMS bears no responsibility for any unauthorized use of images or recordings by a third party.

If you do not wish to have your or your child’s photo used for marketing purposes, you must request and sign a No Photo & Recording Policy Waiver, available on the Student Resources page of cmslv.org.

Please Note: If the student is a member of a performing ensemble, it may not be possible to honor this request.


If a student or parent/guardian has a complaint or concern about something that has occurred at the School, please submit a written summary of the problem to School Director Jeff Reed at jeff@cmslv.org, or anonymously using the form available on the Student Resources page. 

If you have any questions about these policies, please contact School Director, Jeff Reed, at 610-435-7725 x403 or jeff@cmslv.org.