The NISOM year consists of three school-year trimesters plus a summer session. All students must register each school year and summer. Registration is first come, first served, and tuition and fees must be paid in order to reserve a lesson time. By registering for lessons at NISOM, you are agreeing to abide by all policies and adhere to the payment dates.
When you register for private lessons during the school year, you are registering for not only the current trimester, but also for any subsequent trimesters that school year. Private students do not have to register each trimester: Unless you notify us of a withdrawal, you will be automatically enrolled in and billed for lessons through the end of the school year. The lesson time you select at registration will be your lesson time through the entire current school year unless you request a change; a student may switch his or her lesson time between trimesters or mid-trimester if an alternate time is available.
Students are not automatically enrolled in the summer session or any subsequent school years. You must re-register to enroll in future sessions beyond the completion of the current school year or summer session. Lesson times do not carry over from one school year to the next.
Students who are just beginning and are unsure if they will like taking lessons, NISOM offers a four-week trial period. During the trial, the student’s lesson time is automatically reserved for the remainder of the school year or summer session, but the student is not obligated to continue. At the end of the trial, simply notify the office whether you wish to continue.
New students opting to utilize a trial period pay for only four lessons ($85 for 30-minute lessons) plus a reduced registration of $15 to begin. If students enroll in additional lessons at the end of the trial, the balance of the annual registration fee and trimester’s tuition is due at that time. NISOM’s regular attendance policies (page 4) apply during trial periods.
Short Term Lessons:
Students wishing to take a few lessons to prepare for auditions, competitions, or the like may sign up for lessons on a short-term basis for 3 weeks (3 lessons). Tuition for 3 weeks of short-term lessons is $65 for 30-minute lessons, and the registration fee is reduced to $15. If students wish to continue with lessons after three weeks, they may enroll in the remainder of the current session, as schedules allow. Students enrolling in the remainder of the session will pay the pro-rated balance of the tuition calculated at the normal rate, plus the balance of the annual registration fee. The lesson time for short-term students is not automatically reserved for the remainder of the session, so students enrolling in additional lessons may need to do so at an alternate time, as space allows.
Short-term lessons are available only to new and former students or current students adding an instrument or additional weekly lesson. Short-term lessons may not substitute for a trimester for continuing students. NISOM’s regular attendance policies (page 4) apply during short-term lessons.
Referred students receive $20 off their first full trimester or pro-rated at the amounts below, when referred by a current NISOM student or family, and the student or family who referred them get the same amount off their next tuition payment. For those starting mid-trimester or utilizing trial periods, discounts will be pro-rated. If and when students enroll in the next trimester or continue lessons after a trial period, they may claim the balance of the discount up to a total of $20.
9-11 weeks: $15 off | 6-8 weeks: $10 off | 4-5 weeks: $5 off | No discounts for fewer than 4 weeks
Referred students (new students): The referred students must mention when registering the name of the student or family who referred them. No discounts can be applied once a student is enrolled if the referral is not mentioned at registration. It is the students’ responsibility to claim any balance due when making payments, such as when enrolling in additional lessons after a trial period or pro-rated trimester. No refunds. Referrals are valid for new customers/families only. Limit one discount for referees per household with a maximum of $20; discount does not apply to each trimester or multiple students in the same family.
For the referring students (existing NISOM students): It is the students’ responsibility to claim referrals when making tuition payments. No refunds. No cash will be given for referrals. Accumulated referral discounts may not exceed a student’s total fees, and students who discontinue lessons forfeit any unused referral discounts they have accumulated.
If you have no preference for a specific teacher, you will be assigned to an instructor best suited to your ability level and desired schedule when you register. See Faculty Biographies for more information about instructors.
If you are having a problem with your teacher, please discuss this with your teacher first. If you cannot resolve the issue directly with him or her, contact the Executive Director or Assistant Director to discuss this matter in confidence. We will make it a priority to see that any problems are resolved and that you are reassigned in a timely manner.
Students wishing to withdraw at the end of 1st or 2nd trimester must notify the office of the withdrawal during or before the last week of the trimester (when tuition is due). No action is needed to withdraw after 3rd trimester or summer. If it is necessary for a student to withdraw mid-trimester, the student/parent should submit a Discontinuance Form one month in advance in order to receive a refund for the remainder of the trimester or to stop ACH payments. No refunds will be given for those students withdrawing from lessons during the last four weeks of a trimester or if a form is not received.
Playathon and Fundraising:
All NISOM private students will participate in a fundraiser during the school year. NISOM does not charge students as much in tuition as it costs to provide lessons because it is important to us that lessons are as affordable as possible. Instead, we work to make up the difference through grants, private donors, and fundraisers. Students contribute to these efforts through student fundraisers that help support their lessons.
We offer three student fundraiser options. Every private student should select one of these:
1.) Playathon: A grand public recital for which students collect sponsorships to earn prizes.
2.) Volunteer: Watch for announcements as opportunities to volunteer to work or perform arise, or contact NISOM to make other arrangements if you aren’t able to do any of the announced opportunities.
3.) Donate: Suggested donation amounts per student are $100 for the school year (the equivalent of the Playathon goal) OR $45 each trimester.
See Fundraising for more information
NISOM schedules three or more recital dates each year, and students are encouraged but not required to perform in at least one. Our Playathon fundraiser serves as the first recital, and students must participate in fundraising to perform. General recitals are held near the end of 2nd and 3rd trimesters. Any student may participate in either but not both of these general recital dates. Recitals are free and open to the public.
Attendance, Absences and Make-ups:
Tuition reserves all lesson times during the session for a student regardless of student non-attendance, vacation, field trips, school music obligations, sports, etc. NISOM is not obligated to make up for student absences.
Excused Absences: Student illness or family emergency are considered excused absenses. The student/parent must contact the office as early as possible, and in such cases, every attempt will be made to reschedule the lesson during a make-up week or as the teacher’s schedule permits. Teachers may only be able to make up one lesson per trimester/summer. Excused absences carry over each trimester within a school year, but school year make-ups do not apply to summer and vice versa. No credits or refunds will be given for student absences. Cases of extended illness will be handled on an individual basis.
Unexcused Absences: All non-illness or emergency absences are considered unexcused and will not be made up at a future date. Whenever possible we will work with you to find an alternate opening in the teacher’s schedule during the normal lesson week. Please give advance notice, so we can attempt to reschedule. Note that an alternate time may not be available, and in such cases the student forfeits the lesson.
No Shows: If a student does not attend a lesson and we have not be notified beforehand of the absence, the lesson is unexcused regardless of the reason for non-attendance. No make-ups will be given. Cases of emergency will be handled on an individual basis.
NISOM Cancellations: In the event of instructor absence, NISOM reserves the right to provide a substitute teacher. Any lessons canceled due to teacher absences or NISOM closings will be made up during the school year or may be refunded upon request at the end of the school year. Notify the office if you would like to forfeit your refund as a tax-deductible donation. For inclement weather, note that NISOM does not automatically close when Dubuque schools close. When we close, announcements will be made via radio, email, social media, and text message (opt-in only; contact our office for information). Please call our office if in doubt.
Make-up Days: We have set aside days throughout the year as designated make-up days when there are no regular lessons. Students/parents may schedule make-up lessons during this time for excused absences or NISOM cancellations. Note that make-ups are not automatically scheduled; it is the students' responsibility to schedule make-ups for any missed lessons. Students who are not owed any lessons or who do not schedule make-ups do not have lessons these days. Make-up weeks are not counted in the 12 weeks for a trimester.
Late Arrivals: When students arrive late to their lessons, these lessons still end at the regularly scheduled time; students receive shorter sessions. If you will be more than five minutes late, please call our office, so your instructor knows to expect you. If a student (or family with back-to-back lessons) is more than 15 minutes late and does not call, the teacher has the right to treat your lesson(s) as a no show. We do our best to keep lessons running on time, but if your teacher starts your lesson late, you will either receive the full length lesson (ending the lesson equally late) or be compensated equivalent time at a future lesson.
Planned Summer Absences: For the summer session students may sign up and pay for only the lesson dates they plan to attend. If students inform us at registration of any weeks they will be absent, they will not be charged or scheduled for those. The regular absence policy for excused and unexcused absences, NISOM cancellations, make-up days, and refunds applies to all lessons you schedule.