CMS Student Policies

CMS 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.


Open Enrollment

CMS accepts new students, age 5+, for private lessons throughout the school year and summer session. Students enrolling during the school year will be charged annual registration and pro-rated tuition for the number of weeks remaining in the semester. All lessons are scheduled on a first-paid, first-reserved basis.


Session Dates

2019 Fall Semester - Register by August 15
18 weeks: Tue, September 3, 2019 - Mon, January 27, 2020

2020 Spring Semester - Register by January 15
18 weeks: Tue, January 28, 2020 - Mon, June 8, 2020

2020 Summer Session - Register by June 1
10 weeks: Mon, June 15, 2020 - Thr, August 27, 2020


Interview Lessons

Private Lessons

New students always begin with a one-time “interview lesson” before enrolling in private lessons for the rest of the semester. This initial “interview lesson” is necessary for the teacher to assess the student’s level of study, discuss goals/curriculum, and determine if the teacher is the best fit for the student. This 30-minute interview lesson costs $33, and payment must be made when you schedule the interview lesson, even if you intend to apply for financial aid. We recommend applying for financial aid before scheduling 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 will contact you to ensure you wish to continue with that teacher or interview with another. An online survey for candid feedback is provided to the student/parent and teacher after each interview lesson.

To enroll for the rest of the semester, the annual registration fee and tuition for the rest of the semester must be paid in full or a payment plan arranged. Your lesson day/time will be held for 3 days after the interview lesson. If we do not receive payment within 3 days, the day/time may be given 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 Classes

New students interesting in joining a group class are granted one free “interview class”. Some group classes require an audition and an additional enrollment in private lessons.


Modern Band Program Policies

Modern Band Annual Registration Fee

Modern Band is a free after-school program made possible through a generous grant from The Dexter F. & Dorothy H. Baker Foundation to allow all interested students access to excellence in music education. Enrollment for the semester is required, but there is no cost to students.


Modern Band Interview Class

New students are welcome anytime during the semester, based on class capacity. Interested students may attend one free "interview" class before enrolling for the rest of the semester.


Modern Band Enrollment

After the first class, the student must enroll for the rest of the semester (see Session Dates) by completing and signing the Student Enrollment Form. The form must be completed in full and returned 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, additional classes will be scheduled.


Instruments & Materials

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. Contact the 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 only to students currently studying at CMS. If the instrument is subject to strain beyond normal use, the student is responsible for cost of repairs or replacement of the instrument.

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 charge 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, the student or parent must reimburse the teacher at the next lesson.


TeacherZone Online Account Access

In Fall 2019, CMS introduced TeacherZone, a proven and user-friendly platform to 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 account when submitting an online inquiry, then log-in credentials will be emailed at the time of enrollment. The platform can be accessed at or through the log-in widget on the Student Resources page of


Tuition & Fees

Annual Registration Fee

Private Lessons... $45, Group Class only... $20

The annual registration fee is non-refundable and applies to the entire family for one calendar year. For students enrolled after 9/1/19, the fee will be automatically assessed on the student’s enrollment anniversary date each year. For students enrolled before 9/1/19, the fee will automatically be assessed on September 1 each year.

Private Lesson Tuition

30-minute lessons... $594 per semester (18 lessons @ $33 per lesson)

45-minute lessons... $882 per semester (18 lessons @ $49 per lesson)

60-minute lessons... $1,170 per semester (18 lessons @ $65 per lesson)


Coaching Sessions

$75 per private 60-minute session (no registration fee, 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 Classes

1-hour class $216 per semester

1.5 hour class $324 per semester


Tuition Payments

Students enroll for the semester and will automatically be charged monthly installments on a credit or debit card through the TeacherZone online platform. CMS accepts all major credit cards: Visa, MasterCard, American Express, & Discover. Students are responsible for updating their card information in TeacherZone.

For students receiving financial aid, the parent/guardian may make a request to the School Director for cash, check, or debit card payments on a monthly or weekly schedule. Students paying weekly must pay at the front desk before their lesson. All lessons must be paid in advance. Only the exact amount due can be accepted. For cash payments, CMS may not be able to make change, so please plan accordingly. In the event the student's account becomes past due, lessons will be discontinued until payment is made in full.


Returned Check Fee

If a check is returned by the bank, a fee of $25.00 will be added to the student’s account and must be paid in cash before the next lesson. Each account will be allowed two returned checks, after which payment by check will not be accepted.


Multi-Instrument/Multi-Family Member Discount

For students studying more than one instrument or a family with multiple students studying during the same semester, CMS offers a 5% discount on the additional instrument(s) or student(s). This discount does not apply to students receiving financial aid.


Financial Aid

Financial aid is available only for students 18 years old and younger. CMS follows Federal poverty guidelines to determine the level of family need. Financial aid awards are valid only for the current fiscal year, and students must re-apply by August 1 each year. For new students during the school year, financial aid is considered and approved on a rolling basis, until available funds are depleted. Please refer to the Financial Aid Application for details.


Merit-based Scholarships - Year-End Gala Recital Auditions

Each spring, CMS teachers recommend students to 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 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.


Cancellations, Absences & Make-Ups

CMS does not provide makeup lessons, credit, reimbursement, or refunds for missed lessons and unexcused absences or any absences beyond two (2) permitted excused absences per semester. There are no makeups for group classes. For private lessons, makeup lessons for excused absences are strictly limited to two (2) excused absences per semester.

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
  • Required school activity or religious holiday with 7 days advance notice to the office
  • Death in the student’s immediate family, including grandparents, aunts, and uncles

CMS does not guarantee a makeup for a missed lesson due to an excused absence. Payment for any missed lesson is due before the student’s next lesson. Students with past-due accounts are not eligible for makeup lessons.


Rescheduling Makeup Lessons

Students are responsible for requesting a makeup lesson time 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. Makeup days are offered before Thanksgiving Break, Winter Break, Spring Break, and at the end of the school year in June.


Faculty Absences

Our teachers are professional performing musicians, and occasionally, pre-scheduled performances may require an adjustment to the schedule. Students will be notified via email or SMS text of these instances at the start of the semester, or as soon as they are known. The office will make every effort to provide a qualified substitute teacher or reschedule the affected lesson(s) if a substitute cannot be arranged. If a lesson is missed due to a teacher’s absence, a makeup lesson will be scheduled or a refund will be given.


Request for Schedule Change

Once the semester has begun, available lesson times are extremely limited. CMS will make every attempt to accommodate your request, but cannot guarantee that we will be able to accommodate all requests for schedule changes. To request a change to your lesson day, time, or teacher, complete and return the Request for Private Lesson Change Form to the office.


Leave of Absence

In cases of family emergency or serious illness only, students or parents may request a leave of absence (LOA) by submitting an LOA Request Form to the Director. Be sure to include any supporting medical documentation. The student's lesson day/time will not be held during the leave of absence.


Discontinued Lessons & Refunds

CMS requires two weeks written notice if you wish to discontinue lessons during the school year. A Request for Withdrawal Form must be completed by the student or parent. The registration fee and any credit on the account will remain available for use only until the last day of the current school year if the student chooses to resume lessons.


Weather-Related Closures

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. If the Director closes the school for safety reasons or inclement weather, CMS will attempt to schedule a makeup lesson or will credit the student's account for the canceled lessons. Check,, our Facebook page, or call 610-435-7725 and listen to the recording to determine whether CMS is closed for inclement weather.


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 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 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 can reviewed by parents and CMS administration if needed.


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.


Special Needs / Access

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.


Child Safety

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, video monitoring and recording are used 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, non-verbal, 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


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


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.


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 student under 18 years of age. The evaluation is reviewed by the School Director and a copy is sent to the student’s parent or guardian. Evaluations for adult students will be completed upon 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. The curriculum is available on



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 Performances

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.


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


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 School Director Jeff Reed at, or anonymously using the form available on the Student Resources page of


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