Policies & Procedures

REGISTRATION  (Academic Year)

The academic year begins the Monday after Labor Day, and ends sometime between the last week of May and the third week of June, depending on the day of the week and its corresponding holidays and snow days.


Students must enroll for the full academic year, or for the full length of the course for which you are enrolling. New students may enroll at any time during the year for most programs and tuition will be prorated. A non-refundable $40 registration fee per student ($65 per family) is due on an annual basis. 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 wishing to apply for financial aid should do so prior to registering, as scholarships are not awarded retroactively.


Tuition may be paid in full or in installments, using Visa, Mastercard, cash, money order, or personal check. Students who choose our standard quarterly installment plan MUST provide a valid credit card on their registration form to secure the unpaid portion, only to be charged if payment has not already been received by the assigned due dates. (Students enrolling for shorter term courses are expected to pay for these in full upon registration.) Recipients of financial aid and/or multi-enrollment households may be eligible for additional payment plan options. For more information, contact NCMC’s registrar.


Quarterly 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.



Private lessons are offered during the months of July and August, and students may register for four or more lessons, according to faculty availability. Payment for lessons is required in full upon confirmation of schedule by Registrar. (A registration fee will be applied, as specified on the form.)



Regular attendance is expected of all students. 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. Students who miss two consecutive lessons without notification will be withdrawn at the Director’s discretion and no refund will be issued.


Lessons or classes canceled by the teacher or by NCMC will be made up at a later date.  Make-up lessons that are scheduled but then missed by a student will not be rescheduled, and that lesson will be forfeited by the student without a refund.  In cases of inclement weather, lessons and classes held prior to noon at NCMC will be canceled when the Northampton Public Schools close. For cancellations after noon, please call the NCMC office for recorded announcements.


Students are expected to avail themselves through the month of June for make-up lessons. Students who anticipate being unavailable in June must notify the Registrar upon enrollment, so other arrangements for make-up lessons can be made earlier in the year, where possible.



PRIVATE LESSONS:  Within 48 hours of a student’s first private lesson with a teacher, the student may withdraw without further financial obligation.  Otherwise, students may, with two weeks’ notice, withdraw from private lessons without penalty before October 31 (or within 30 days of a student’s first lesson of the academic term). After this date, an early withdrawal fee equal to 25% of the tuition for the remaining lessons will be applied.


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 prorated refunds will not be granted.


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. 


In-house credits issued by NCMC’s Registrar or Executive Director must be used within the academic year they are issued (or specified window), after which they will be nullified.



Students with limited financial resources are strongly encouraged to apply for financial aid at ncmc.net/aidform. (Paper forms are also available.)


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, plus the subsequent summer. Until an application has been processed, full tuition applies. NCMC cannot award financial aid retroactively.

Returning students reapplying for financial aid must be in good standing to be considered for a financial aid award. Unpaid account balances, excessive absences, or other issues may result in an application denial.


For more information, please visit ncmc.net/aidform or request a paper copy.



NCMC admits students of any race, color, sex, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, physical ability, religion, national and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school, nor does NCMC discriminate in its hiring of faculty or staff, or in the administration of its educational policies, admission policies, scholarship programs, and other school-administered programs.



NCMC routinely photographs its programs and events, including individuals partaking in them for promotional purposes.  If any student objects to being photographed or filmed, we ask that they submit this request in writing upon registration, and we will do our best to honor their request.



Studio recitals may be scheduled by teachers, and are free and open to the public. Students who are interested in performing should make arrangements with their teachers. Tuition fees do not cover the cost of accompanists to rehearse or perform with students. When necessary, an equal portion of the required fee will be collected from each student who requires this service.


NCMC faculty members and students are encouraged to engage in special community outreach opportunities organized by NCMC – for instance, student performances at local nursing homes as part of NCMC’s Music & Alzheimer’s Project.  These opportunities benefit fellow non-profit organizations and individuals, while at the same time providing a unique educational experience for the students participating.  On occasion, with NCMC’s permission, a teacher may substitute a student’s regular lesson for their participation in such an event.



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. For an overview of student conduct, please review NCMC’s expectation of all its students here.


During the academic year, NCMC’s office hours are Mondays 12:00-6:30, Tuesdays–Fridays 9:30–6:30 and Saturdays 8:30–3:00. After hours and on weekends, parents of younger students are strongly advised to remain in the building during their child’s lesson. The front door locks automatically at 7:30 each weekday evening. NCMC is not responsible for the loss or destruction of any student’s property left on its premises. On the rare occasion that a student is scheduled for lessons outside these hours, or at a teacher’s home studio, special arrangements for must be made with the teacher and Executive Director.