Student Policies

CMS is committed to creating an environment for students, parents/guardians, faculty, staff, and volunteers that is safe, nurturing, empowering, and promotes growth and success. These policies are in place to ensure a positive learning atmosphere where our students can realize the life-long benefits of high-quality music education.

CMS reserves the right to revise its policies at any time.  Any policy updates are posted on our website and communicated via email.  Students and parents/guardians are responsible for familiarizing themselves with these Student Policies and are responsible for regularly reviewing the website and email communications for updates.

Open Enrollment

Private Lesson Enrollment

Students may begin lessons at any time. Private lessons are scheduled on a first-reserved, first-paid basis.

CMS accepts new students age 5 through adult for in-person private lessons and online-only private lessons. CMS generally recommends that voice students be at least 12 years old. However, after an interview lesson and at the discretion of our voice teacher, we may accept younger students for private voice lessons.  

Group Class Enrollment

CMS offers a variety of age-specific group classes, including performance ensembles and summer campsKindermusik classes are open to our youngest students, age 2 months to 48 months, with a parent or caregiver. 

The deadline to enroll in any group class is two business days before the first day of the session (e.g., by Monday for a Wednesday class or by Thursday for a Monday class).  The session tuition and, if applicable, the registration fee must be paid in full and all enrollment forms must be completed by the enrollment deadline.

Interview Lessons

Private Lesson Interview

New students always begin with an “interview lesson” before enrolling in private lessons. This “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 $38. You must make payment when you schedule the interview lesson, even if you intend to apply for financial aid for lessons. We recommend that you apply for financial aid (if you believe you may qualify) before scheduling an interview lesson.

The interview lesson fee is nonrefundable. If you need to reschedule a confirmed interview lesson, CMS requires at least 24 hours advance notice. Missed interview lessons or interview lessons canceled within 24 hours of the scheduled time will be rescheduled only after CMS receives your payment of an additional $38 fee for the new interview lesson.

After the interview, CMS will email you a CMS Student Enrollment Confirmation Form to allow you to give candid feedback and confirm how you would like to proceed. You must complete the form before the student can enroll in lessons. If we do not receive the form within 5 business days after we send it to you, a staff member will contact you again by email and/or phone to determine whether you wish to continue with the teacher, interview with another, or discontinue. After 5 days, if we do not receive any feedback and/or confirmation, we may assign the tentatively reserved lesson day and time to another student. 

Once we receive your form submission confirming you will enroll in private lessons, we will charge your first annual $49 registration fee and the first month’s tuition (which may be prorated depending on your enrollment date) to the card on file. CMS will email you an official confirmation once your enrollment process is complete.

If you choose to interview with another teacher, each interview lesson costs $38, and CMS will charge your card on file when you schedule the interview lesson.

Group Class Interview for Performance Ensembles

CMS allows new students who are interested in joining a performance ensemble the opportunity for a one-time  “interview class” at a prorated tuition rate.  The rate varies based on the regular tuition rate for each ensemble. Some advanced-level performance ensembles also require an audition and concurrent enrollment in private lessons at CMS.  An “interview class” is not available for all group classes or for summer camps.  

INSTRUMENTS & MATERIALS

Private Lesson Materials

Private lesson students must supply their own instruments and materials. 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.  They are available for rent only to students currently studying at CMS. If the instrument is damaged beyond normal wear and tear, the student and his/her parents will be responsible for the cost of repairs or full replacement of the rental instrument.

Rental Fees for CMS Instruments (Based on Availability)

Cello… $30 per month
Clarinet… $25 per month
Flute… $25 per month
Guitar… $25 per month
Guitar Amp… $15 per month
Keyboard… $20 per month
Saxophone… $30 per month
Trumpet… $25 per month
Ukulele… $20 per month
Violin… $20 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 scheduled lesson. A limited selection of replacement or supplemental instrument supplies may be purchased in the CMS office for an extra cost. If supplies are not in stock, students are responsible for obtaining necessary supplies for instrument functionality as per their teacher’s instructions.

Group Class Materials

Performance ensemble students must supply their own instruments.  For other group classes and summer camps, CMS provides all materials, unless otherwise noted in the class description.

TeacherZone Online Account Access

CMS uses TeacherZone, a proven and user-friendly online platform to help you manage your music lesson schedules, payment method, payments, student documents, assignments, practice time, and communications with your 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 you did not create a 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 link on our Student Resources page.

TUITION & FEES

Private Lesson Tuition

Annual Registration Fee for Private Lessons… $49

The annual registration fee is non-refundable and applies to an entire family for one full year. The fee will be automatically charged on the student’s enrollment anniversary date each year. For students who first enrolled at CMS before September 1, 2019, CMS will automatically charge the registration fee on September 1 of each year.

Private Lesson Tuition
Monthly Payments – Automatic Billing on Debit or Credit Card
30-minute weekly lessons… $152 per month
45-minute weekly lessons… $224 per month
60-minute weekly lessons… $296 per month 

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

Group Class Tuition

Annual Registration Fee for Group Classes only… $25

For students not currently enrolled in private lessons at CMS, a $25 group class registration fee will be automatically processed after enrollment. The annual registration fee is non-refundable and applies to an entire family for one full year. Students currently enrolled in a group class or private lessons, and those in their immediate households who have already paid a registration within the last 12 months and register for a group class, ensemble, or summer camp will not be charged an additional registration fee.

Group Class Tuition
Please refer to each group class, performance ensemble, or summer camp description for tuition.  Tuition and the registration fee for any group class must be paid in full on a debit or credit card at least two days prior to the first day of the session.

 

Tuition Payments

Students enroll in private lessons and performance ensembles on an ongoing basis.  All lessons are automatically billed at a standard monthly rate. Weekly students are billed based on an average of four lessons per month, and biweekly students are billed based on an average of two lessons per month. Tuition will not change month to month and will not be affected by calendar variances (for example, 5 weeks vs. 4 weeks in any given month), or CMS closures for holidays and breaks; the monthly cost is not a reflection of the actual number of lessons in a given month. 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.  

CMS accepts all major credit cards: Visa, MasterCard, American Express, & Discover, as well as electronic check payments (ACH). For any payment that must be manually processed by our office staff, CMS adds a $2 service fee per lesson. Students and their parents are responsible for updating their payment information in TeacherZone. 

In the event the student’s account becomes past due, CMS will discontinue lessons until the student or parent provides an updated payment method for all current and past-due charges.

Financial Aid

Financial aid is available only for students up to age 18, or for students who are 18 or 19 and completing their senior year of high school.  Adults with disabilities may also be eligible.

In accordance with Federal Poverty guidelines, CMS awards tuition assistance to each family on a sliding scale, based on household income, size, and other factors.

The 2024-25 financial aid cycle runs from September 1 – June 30. Beginning September 1 and for the remainder of the cycle, CMS will consider applications and approve aid on a rolling basis as we receive applications, until our available funds are exhausted. If aid funds are no longer available, CMS will waitlist new applicants until an existing student discontinues lessons and an aid-funded opportunity becomes available.  Beginning in 2025, the annual financial aid cycle will run from July 1 – June 30. Students must reapply by June 1, 2025 to be considered for the start of the 2025-26 cycle on July 1. 

Please refer to the Financial Aid Policy & Application for full details.

Cancellations, Banked Lessons, & Makeups

CMS provides no refunds or credits for missed lessons or lessons canceled by the student. If you must cancel a lesson, and have provided the required advance notice to the office in accordance with our policy, CMS will consider the student’s absence to be “excused” and will “bank” the lesson. The student can then reschedule the “banked” lesson for a “makeup” lesson at a later date.

Excused absences for private lessons are defined as follows:

    • Student Illness or Medical Appointment – Notify the office before 11 AM on the lesson day
    • Work Obligation (Adult Students) – Notify the office before 11 AM on the lesson day
    • Required School Activity – Notify the office at least 7 days in advance
    • Religious Holiday – Notify the office at least 7 days in advance
    • Death in the Student’s Immediate Family – No advance notice required; “Immediate family” also includes grandparents, aunts, and uncles

Unexcused absences for private lessons include:

    • Family emergency outside the confines of the excused absence policy
    • Traffic/travel delay 
    • Vacation (see Summer Scheduling Policy for vacations in June, July, and August)
    • Other activity or sports
    • Student No Call/No Show

After the excused absence is approved, students should attempt to coordinate a makeup lesson time and date with their teachers and notify the front office. Banked lessons expire at the end of each quarter (the end of March, June, September, and December); any outstanding banked lessons that have not been made up within that time period are forfeited and removed from the system.  There are no refunds for these expired or forfeited banked lessons. CMS allows a maximum of two (2) banked lessons on each student’s account at any given time*.

MAKE UP DAYS

CMS also schedules regular makeup lesson days before Thanksgiving Break, Winter Break and Spring Break, all subject to each teacher’s availability. Please inquire or check the school calendar for upcoming dates.

ONLINE MAKEUP LESSONS

In-person students may request to reschedule an excused banked lesson as an online lesson, subject to the teacher’s approval, within the same notification timeframes as listed above.

*Summer Vacation Policy

CMS understands that during the summer, 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 summer 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).

TEACHER CANCELLATIONS

In the event that CMS or a CMS teacher must cancel a lesson or group class, CMS will notify students via email and/or text as soon as possible. If a student misses a scheduled lesson or group class because of a CMS cancellation, we make every effort to reschedule the lesson or group class, or will process a refund for the lesson or group class to the student’s payment method on file on a quarterly basis, as described above.

GROUP CLASS CANCELLATIONS

CMS does not provide makeup days for weather-canceled or missed group classes.

Students or their parents may cancel a group class or summer camp enrollment or transfer to another session and pay only a $25 service fee per student by providing written notice to registrar@cmslv.org at least 15 days before the first day of the camp or group class.  If the student or parent cancels enrollment or requests a transfer within 14 days of the first day of the session, a $75 cancellation service fee will apply.  CMS will reduce this $75 fee to $25 for excused absences as defined by CMS policy above.   CMS will issue a refund (less the cancellation service fee) under these policies and apply a credit to the card that was used to register the student. The $20 registration fee is nonrefundable and will continue to cover any future registration for group classes for all family members for one full year.

Request for Schedule Change

To request a change to your lesson day, lesson time, or teacher, please complete the online Request for Private Lesson Change Form on the Student Resources page.  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.

Request for Withdrawal

To withdraw from private lessons or a group class, please complete the online Request for Withdrawal Form on the Student Resources page by the 15th day of your final month.  CMS requires a minimum of 15 days notice for withdrawal from private lessons or a group class.  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.

Weather-Related Closures

In-Person Private Lessons

CMS does not always follow weather-related closures of area school districts. Do not assume that CMS is closed if your child’s K-12 school is closed. Check your email inbox, cmslv.org, our Facebook page, WFMZ.com, or call 610-435-7725, and listen to the recording to determine whether the CMS building is closed because of inclement weather. 

For in-person lessons, if the Executive Director closes the building for safety reasons or inclement weather, the CMS teacher will provide an online private lesson via 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 contacting the teacher before the student’s scheduled lesson time. CMS will reschedule the private lesson in accordance with our policy for Rescheduling Banked Lessons.  If the student cancels, or is a “no show” for the online lesson at its regularly scheduled time, CMS will not reschedule the lesson.

Online Private Lessons

For online-only students, even if the CMS building is closed due to the weather, online lessons will be held as scheduled.

Group Classes

For group classes, if the CMS building is closed due to the weather, no class will be held.  CMS does not provide makeup days for weather-canceled group classes.

Code of Conduct

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 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. Please refer to the Child Safety Policy below.
  • No food or drinks in the studios, studio hallways, recording studio, or recital hall.
  • 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. 
  • 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.
  • We understand that accidents do happen. If something is soiled or damaged, please notify a CMS front office staff member immediately.
  • Students must attend lessons regularly and arrive on time, prepared for lessons with the appropriate instruments, books, and materials.

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.

Communication

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.

In-person students must contact the office at registrar@cmslv.org or 610-435-7725 x404 (Option 2) regarding any schedule-related questions, lesson cancellations, or rescheduling requests.

Online-only students should contact their teacher directly regarding any schedule-related questions, lesson cancellations, or rescheduling requests.

Non-Discrimination Policy

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.

Specific Needs/Access

If you have or your child has any specific needs, please contact the office to discuss your situation. CMS is committed to accommodating the needs of each student to ensure that a quality music education is accessible to all.  Read more about our mission.

Child Safety

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

Security

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 or class 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. 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.  For group classes, ensembles, and summer camps parents are not required to stay on the premises during the class time; however, our parent lounge is available for those who choose to wait. 

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 any physical, emotional, sexual abuse, and neglect. A copy of this policy is available upon request to the Executive 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 prior approval by the Executive Director and notification of the student’s parents/guardians.

Anti-Bullying Policy

CMS prohibits physical, verbal, non-verbal, and cyberbullying 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 witness bullying must promptly report the incident(s) to the Executive Director. An anonymous online form is also available on the Student Resources page.

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 Executive Director immediately. All reports of suspicious or inappropriate behavior will be taken seriously. CMS staff will carefully follow PA Childline reporting procedures to ensure that the rights of all those involved are protected. An anonymous online reporting form is also available on the Student Resources page.

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.

Facebook Community Music School, Allentown
Instagram communitymusicschool_lv
Linkedin Community Music School Lehigh Valley
YouTube CMSLehighValley
Google Business Community Music School Lehigh Valley & Berks
Google Maps CMS Lehigh Valley
Apple Maps Community Music School

Emergencies

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.

Annual Progress Evaluations

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 private lesson student age 18 or younger. The evaluation is reviewed and signed by the Executive Director.  The CMS office emails a copy to the student’s parent or guardian and uploads a copy to the student practice section of their TeacherZone account. Teachers complete evaluations for adult students only on request.

Certificate of Achievement in Piano Evaluations

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.  Learn more about the Certificate of Musical Achievement Program in Piano curriculum.

Merit-based Scholarships – Gala Recital Auditions

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.  Learn more about the Gala Recital Auditions.

Recitals

Performing in front of a live audience is an important part of the CMS 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. 

Please refer to the Recital Guidelines and Code of Conduct for CMS Recitals and Performances.

Piano Accompaniment for Performances

Piano accompaniment for instrumental and vocal students is available for CMS recitals and recordings. If your teacher is unable to accompany you, we strongly recommend that you use one of our accompanists, to help you prepare for the performance and learn how to collaborate with a professional musician. 

Fees for accompaniment are as follows: Beginner $20, includes 15-minute rehearsal & performance, Intermediate $25, includes 30-minute rehearsal & performance, Advanced $35, includes 30-minute rehearsal & performance.  If additional rehearsal time is required, regular lesson tuition applies.

To request piano accompaniment, review the guidelines; then, your teacher must complete the appropriate recital form at least 2 weeks prior to the recital deadline.

Photo & Recording Policy

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 Executive 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.  

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

COVID-19 Coronavirus Waiver

Any person experiencing fever or any other possible coronavirus symptoms should not participate in CMS in-person lessons, classes, or ensembles, or visit CMS’s facilities. Any person visiting must follow appropriate CMS, state, local, and/or federal guidelines governing social distancing and safety protocols. Your participation in CMS’s in-person lessons, classes, or ensembles, or presence on CMS’s property may expose you, your child, or others to coronavirus. By virtue of being on CMS property, you knowingly and voluntarily agree (i) to fully assume all coronavirus, health, and other personal injury risks when visiting CMS facilities and property and (ii) your use of CMS facilities, property, equipment, or services shall waive and release CMS from all coronavirus-related and other personal injury claims, liabilities, demands, and damages that you or any of your guests or minor child(ren) might assert. If you disagree, including on behalf of your minor child(ren), please refrain from visiting or using CMS facilities and participating in CMS activities.  Read the full Health & Safety Plan.

Complaints or Concerns by Parents or Guardians

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 Executive Director Jeff Reed at jeff@cmslv.org, or anonymously using the contact form available on the Student Resources page.

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