Policies and Procedures


The academic year begins the Monday after Labor Day. Students must enroll for a full academic year, unless it is specifically noted in the catalog and on the registration form that the course is divided into shorter sessions. New students may enroll at any time during the year for most programs and tuition will be pro-rated. A non-refundable $40 registration fee is due on an annual basis (each additional family member will be charged a reduced fee of $25). A completed and signed registration form, registration fee, and first tuition payment must be received by NCMC prior to the student attending any lessons or classes.

Students may request the opportunity to take a “trial lesson” with a teacher before committing to a full term of private lessons. This lesson must be paid for in advance and the student must inform the Registrar within three days after the lesson of their intent to continue.

Tuition may be paid in full or in installments, as designated on the registration form, using Visa, Mastercard, cash, money order, or personal check. Students who choose our installment plan option MUST provide a valid credit card on their registration form to secure the unpaid portion, only to be charged if payments in some other form are not received by the dates they are due. (Students enrolling for shorter term courses are expected to pay for these in full upon registration.)

Payment Due Dates:
25% of tuition, plus registration fee due upon enrollment
25% of tuition due Nov 10
25% of tuition due Jan 10
25% of tuition due Mar 10

Overdue balances that cannot be rectified by NCMC with a valid credit card will accrue surcharges at a rate of 5% per month. To avoid suspension from a program, students are urged to contact the Executive Director promptly to discuss any problems with payment. Students with outstanding balances may not register for any additional programming at NCMC until full payment is remitted.


Regular attendance is expected of all students. In the event of illness, family emergency, or religious observance, students may cancel a lesson. It is common courtesy to give teachers 24 hours notice if you cannot attend a lesson for any reason. Students are financially responsible for all lessons, including those for which they are absent. Make-up lessons are scheduled at the discretion of each teacher, and may not exceed two per academic year. Make-up lessons that are scheduled but then missed by a student will not again be rescheduled, and that lesson will be forfeited by the student without a refund.

If a medical condition prevents a student from continuing, a written request for a withdrawal without penalty must be made to the Executive Director immediately. Students who miss two consecutive lessons without proper notification will be withdrawn from a program at the Director’s discretion and no refund will be issued. Lessons or classes cancelled by the teacher or by NCMC will be made up at a later date.

In cases of inclement weather, lessons and classes held prior to noon at NCMC will be cancelled when the Northampton Public Schools close. For cancellations after noon, please call the NCMC office for recorded announcements.


PRIVATE LESSONS: Two weeks’ written notice must be given to withdraw from private lessons. Pro-rated refunds for lessons beyond the two weeks’ notice will be issued as follows:

Through October 31: student will be reimbursed the full cost of the remaining lessons

Nov 1-Jan 31: student will be reimbursed 75% of the cost of the remaining lessons

After Jan 31: student will be reimbursed 50% of the cost of the remaining lessons

GROUP CLASSES: Group classes (choruses, ensembles, young child classes, etc.) can only run when a minimum enrollment is met and each member of the group makes the commitment to regularly attend classes, rehearsals and/or performances, practice at home, and complete the term for which they have enrolled. Out of fairness to others, withdrawals from group classes and pro-rated refunds will not be granted.

In-house credits issued by NCMC's Registrar or Executive DIrector must be used within the academic year it is issued, after which it will be nullified.


Students may not run, yell, or handle instruments or equipment inappropriately or without supervision while on NCMC’s premises. Students must treat fellow students and teachers with respect. No food or drink is allowed in any teaching studio, nor in NCMC’s recital halls. NCMC is not responsible for the loss or destruction of any student’s property left on its premises.


It is the intent of the Music Center that no serious student should be unable to study because of financial constraints. Financial aid is awarded on an annual basis and is applied to all remaining lessons and classes for the academic year. Until an application has been processed, full tuition applies and NCMC cannot award financial aid retroactively. There are no full scholarships, and awards range from 10-60% off NCMC’s regular tuition rates. Families are strongly encouraged to share all information that most effectively substantiates their need.

Applications must be accompanied by the first 2-3 pages of form 1040 from the most recent federal tax return filed for the household of the student applying, even if it does not accurately represent the family’s current financial situation. In situations of joint custody, parents of both households must supply their tax returns. Families who have not filed a federal tax return within the past two years will be required to supply other documentation substantiating their household income and should contact the Executive Director before applying. All documents are kept strictly confidential.

All students at NCMC are expected to attend lessons regularly and be on time, to practice regularly, and to inform the Music Center and teacher well in advance if they must miss a lesson. All students are encouraged, but not required, to participate in recitals and to volunteer at events that raise funds for NCMC’s scholarship program whenever possible. Failure to attend lessons, practice regularly, treat teachers and fellow students with appropriate respect, and meet payment deadlines may result in revocation of financial aid.


NCMC admits students of any race, color, sex, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, physical ability, national and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, physical ability, religion, national and ethnic origin in its hiring of faculty or staff, or in the administration of its educational policies, admission policies, scholarship programs and other school-administered programs.


The study of music can be a joyous and rewarding experience. It offers a unique opportunity to develop one’s self-expression, artistry and discipline. In order to make good progress, students are expected do the following:

• attend lessons and classes regularly and on time

• practice every day in a quiet place--quality of practice is as important as quantity

• keep instrument and books in good working order, and bring to every lesson

• talk to teachers about goals and how to achieve them

• attend live music performances at every opportunity

• make each musical experience an enjoyable one--take pride in being a student of music


Studio recitals are scheduled by teachers in NCMC’s recital hall each winter and spring and are free and open to the public. Students who are interested in performing should make arrangements with their teachers. (NOTE: Tuition fees do not cover the cost of paying accompanists to perform with students at recitals. When necessary, an equal portion of the required fee will be collected from each student who requires this service.)

Be A Good Performer:

• bring a clean, neat appearance to each performance

• maintain focus when performing--do your best, keep going, stay positive

• look at the audience and bow to thank them for being there and listening

• remember to acknowledge your accompanists before exiting the stage

Be A Good Audience Member:

• remember to turn off cell phones prior to entering recital hall

• stay quietly seated and refrain from speaking during performance

• applaud efforts of all performers after they complete their piece

• plan to stay for entire recital out of respect for others


During the academic year, NCMC’s office hours are Mondays 12:00-6:30, Tuesdays–Fridays 9:30–6:30 and Saturdays 9:00–2:00. After hours and on weekends, it is advised that parents of younger students accompany their children into the building. The front door locks automatically at 7:30 each weekday evening. On the rare occasion that a student is scheduled for lessons later than this, or on weekends, special arrangements for building access must be made with the teacher and NCMC’s Executive Director.

After reviewing our policies, click HERE to go to our online registration page.