Private Lesson Policies 2018-2019

Enrollment Policies

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. (Note: Students who wish to schedule as they go or sign up for a few lessons with no commitment can use drop-in lessons. The preceeding paragraph does not apply to drop-in lessons.) 

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.

Trial Period:
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 ($100 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 apply during trial periods.

Drop-In Lessons:
Take a few lessons or schedule as you go with drop-in lessons. No commitment or consistent lesson time is required. Simply register and pay for each lesson no more than two weeks in advance of the lesson date. Drop-in lessons are $30 per half hour with no registration fee. The regular attendance policies apply to drop-in lessons. Drop-in lessons are available as teachers’ schedules permit. Lesson time preference will be given to students signing up for a consistent time. Drop-in students are not considered current students for registration priority. 

Referral Program:
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.

Discontinuing Lessons: 
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.

Performance and Participation Policies

Playathon and Fundraising: 
NISOM students are no longer expected to participate in fundraisers, but fundraising can help reduce your tuition costs! We offer two student fundraiser activities: Playathon and volunteering. 

Playathon is similar to a walk-a-thon, students collect sponsorships and then perform in a grand public recital. Half of the  sponsorships you collect will be applied to your next trimester’s tuition. Plus, you earn fun prizes! Playathon is a fundraiser, and students must participate in the fundraising component to perform. Look for complete details coming in your Playathon packet in the fall.

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 Policies

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.

Safety and Substances:
NISOM is committed to providing a safe and secure environment. Students and their guests are not permitted to carry in alcohol, illegal drugs, or weapons including, but are not limited to, guns, knives or swords with blades over four inches in length, explosives, and any chemical whose purpose is to cause harm to another person. Regardless of whether an individual possesses a concealed weapons permit or is allowed by law to possess a weapon, weapons are prohibited in  NISOM facilities. Smoking is not permitted in any building in Fountain Park. 

Guardians of minors may drop students off or stay at NISOM during lessons. To allow each family flexibility, NISOM does not require students and guests to check in at the office each week or for minors to be picked-up only by authorized individuals. If a situation should arise where a parent/guardian feels their minor child's safety is or could be at risk, please accompany that child to his/her lesson, or speak with the office manager about the situation.

To be prepared for various emergency situations, NISOM may occasionally conduct drills during lesson times to teach students where to go in case of fire, tornado, or other emergencies. Any missed lesson time during a drill will not be made up and is part of keeping all students safe. In the event of a real emergency situation, lessons will be made up if whole lessons are canceled; partial lessons missed in emergency situation will not be made up.


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