Program Policies


New students may begin lessons any time during a given semester. Due to student demand, teacher request is on a first-come, first-served basis.

Lessons generally occur on the University of Northwestern campus. On a space-needed basis, instruction may also take place at the Academy's satellite locations:

Lesson location should be confirmed with the student's private instructor. Get directions.

Full Year registration includes 28 lessons during the Fall and Spring semesters. Fall-only tuition includes 13 lessons during a 15-week term. Spring-only tuition includes 15 lessons during a 17-week term. Additional lessons may be added at the end of each term as arranged by the instructor and student at a prorated fee.

Make-Up lessons

One make-up lesson will be provided each semester for excused absences only. See Absences, below, for more information. If more than one lesson is missed, the lesson(s) and lesson fee(s) will be forfeited.


Teachers must be notified of known absences (concerts, sporting events, vacation, etc.) at least one week in advance of the lesson. If a student is ill, a call must be made to the teacher’s phone at least two hours prior to the lesson.

Only one make-up lesson will be given each semester (for excused absences only). If more than one lesson is missed, the lesson and lesson fee are forfeited.

If a call is not received and the teacher was not notified beforehand, that absence will be considered unexcused and the lesson fee will be forfeited. In certain cases (family emergency, extreme weather, extended illness), efforts will be made to reconcile lost time in the best interest of both parties.


Lessons cancelled by an instructor will be made up at the earliest convenience of both the teacher and the student. Emergency cancellations will be posted outside of the Academy of Music office.

The Academy of Music only cancels lessons for bad weather when University of Northwestern cancels events for that day. Call 651-631-5310 to find out if the campus is closed. If the student decides to cancel the lesson due to bad weather but the Northwestern campus is still open, the instructor is not obligated to make up the lesson.

Withdrawing a student from lessons or classes requires written notification to the Academy office. Students who discontinue and do not provide written notification of withdrawal will continue to be considered officially enrolled and be held responsible for any tuition charges associated with an official enrollment.

Trial lessons

The Academy of Music offers the chance to register for a trial lesson to see if an instructor or instrument is a good fit. The lesson fee for this one trial lesson will be waived, but you must register through the Academy office. A $15 registration fee will be due when you set up the lesson.  All cancellation and absence policies apply.

Late registration fee

There will be a $20 late registration fee if a student begins lessons with an instructor before registering. The Academy accepts new students throughout the semester with no added fee, but the student must be registered before the first lesson to avoid having a $20 late registration fee being added to the account.  

Address change

Changes of address, telephone or e-mail address must be provided to the Academy of Music office in a timely manner.


Refunds will be given on a prorated basis if a student withdraws from lessons prior to the sixth week of the semester. No refunds or credits will be given if notice of withdrawal or cancellation is given after the sixth week of the semester. Outstanding balances must be paid in full upon cancellation.

Late arrivals

Students are expected to arrive on time for their lessons/classes. Instructors will wait 15 minutes before assuming that a student is absent for a lesson. Instructors are not required to make up the lost time. However, an instructor who arrives late will arrange to make up any missed lesson time.

New students

New students registering for individual instruction are placed with a teacher according to skill level, interests, expectations and schedule. This information ensures that a student will be successfully matched with a teacher who will meet their needs. New students may begin individual instruction at any time in the semester, in which case tuition will be prorated.