General Policies

2020–2021 School Year

New Student Placement

Creating a successful teacher/student relationship is very important to us. Our faculty members have many specializations, diverse talents, teaching styles and personalities. The more we know about a student’s learning habits, personal goals, and interests, the easier it is to create a lasting and rewarding partnership. Your first step is to fill out our online student profile form at After a careful review of your form, a member of our student services team will contact you to discuss placement with a faculty member. We may recommend a trial lesson to ensure assignment with an appropriate teacher. Trial lessons are the same price as a standard lesson with no obligation to enroll. Classes are subject to availability and student pre-requisites. Most ensembles require an audition. Students may enroll at any time; tuition will be prorated as necessary. 


The Music School operates on a 34-week school year session and a flexible summer session. Returning private lesson and group class students must submit a completed registration form and tuition deposit in order to be scheduled with an instructor. Students who have auditioned and been accepted into an ensemble must submit an Ensemble Acceptance Form and tuition deposit prior to attending the first rehearsal. The Music School will assign registered students into a lesson or group class. If it is not possible to place a student with an appropriate instructor/class during registration, students may elect to place their names on a waiting list or receive reimbursement for the submitted deposit. Student registration is a contract that reserves a specific day/time slot with the instructor each week. It is assumed that students will continue weekly meetings for the entire 34-week session (or portion remaining thereof). Students choosing to withdraw before the end of the session must notify the Administrative Office in writing according to the “Withdrawal/Refund” policy listed below. 

Adult Students

Students over the age of 18 may register for the full 34-week school year session or may opt to register for a minimum of 5 lessons at a time contingent upon the approval of the instructor. Those 5 lessons should be scheduled directly with the instructor, and lessons can be consecutive or can occur on select weeks students know they can attend. All 5 scheduled lessons must be paid for before they can occur. If the lessons are not consecutive, the adult student will not be charged for the weeks in between. If for some reason a student cannot attend their scheduled lesson, they will be responsible for paying for that lesson.

Tuition & Payment 

Payments may be made online, in person, over the phone or by mail to the Carter Center at
667 Waterman Avenue, East Providence, RI 02914 / 401.248.7001.

Private Lessons & Suzuki Group Classes

Students enrolling in private lessons or Suzuki group classes may pay their tuition in monthly installments. An initial deposit will be due upon registration. See the tuition chart at for pricing and payment details. Private lesson students who pay their tuition in full by the first day of the session will receive a discount.


Students enrolling in youth ensembles may pay their tuition in three installments. An initial deposit will be due upon registration with the remaining payments due each of the first three months of the school year.  See the tuition chart at for payment schedule. Youth ensembles students who pay their tuition in full by the first day of classes will receive a discount.


Students enrolling in classes pay an initial deposit upon registration with the remaining payment due 30 days prior to the first class meeting. See tuition chart at for pricing and payment details. 


All lessons and classes for the summer session must be paid in full upon registration.  See tuition chart at for pricing and payment details. 

All Withdrawals

Formal notification of withdrawal must be made in person, by email, or in writing to the Music School administrative staff who must approve the withdrawal. Teacher notification is not considered formal notice of withdrawal. Non-attendance is not considered notice of withdrawal.  

Returning Private Lesson Students 

  • Once registered, returning students are enrolled for the entire school year (September through June).
  • Students may opt to discontinue lessons effective February 1 by providing formal notice to Music School administrative staff no later than January 10
  • After January 10, students are committed for all lessons through June.
  • Students who withdraw prior to the first scheduled lesson will forfeit the registration fee and 10% deposit. 

New Private Lesson Students  

  • Once registered, students are enrolled for the remainder of the school year (September through June).
  • Students may opt to discontinue lessons effective February 1 by providing formal notice to Music School administrative staff no later than January 10
  • After January 10, students are committed for all lessons through June.

Withdrawal for Classes and Suzuki Groups 

Any student who withdraws from a class or Suzuki group class will be responsible for tuition payment in full. Classes will not be prorated for withdrawals. Any discounts are forfeited if a student withdraws before the end of the year. 


Participation in Youth Ensembles is a season-long commitment (September through June). We encourage you to talk as a family about this commitment as refunds are not available to students who choose not to complete the year. Please evaluate your yearly schedule in order to be sure that you will be able to fulfill this time commitment. Students who withdraw before October 1st will forfeit $100 and any registration fees. Those who withdraw after October 1st will be responsible for the full year tuition. If for any reason a member is unable to continue in the program, unpaid tuition will be invoiced according to the payment policy. Any discounts are forfeited if a student withdraws before the end of the year. Ensembles will not be prorated for withdrawals. 


If a student withdraws, there are no refunds for registration fees and tuition deposits. Tuition for ensembles and all classes, including Suzuki group classes, is not refundable unless the course is canceled.

Financial Aid

Financial aid applications are available online at and at all Music School branches. Families applying for financial aid must submit the necessary paperwork annually.

Fees & Discounts


The registration fee is charged annually (September through August) per student or family. This non-refundable fee is due at registration and covers any assignment at all locations.

Late Registration

An additional fee of $35 will be charged to students who attend lessons, rehearsals, or classes without paying the registration fee, and to students who attend the first meeting of lessons, group classes or ensemble rehearsals without submitting their registration form and deposit.

Late Payment

Late payments will be charged a late payment fee of $35 per month.

Non-sufficient Funds

NSF fee of $35 will be added to Music School accounts for returned checks or declined credit cards. Families on automatic installments must notify the Music School if credit card has been replaced prior to scheduled payment to avoid fees.


Students enrolled in several programs at the Music School may be eligible for a tuition discount. See “Fees and Discounts” on our website at for a complete list of discounts offered.

Student Absence & Scheduling

Private Lessons

Students are charged for all the lessons for which they register, including those missed (in person or virtual) through student absence. As a courtesy, students are expected to notify their teachers directly of an impending absence from lessons. The Music School does not offer compensatory lessons for absences and/or missed lessons that occur because students have conflicts, travel out of town, etc. or due to illness. Student lessons are suspended after 3 consecutive absences without notification by the student/family. Students with suspended lessons are still obligated to fulfill their financial commitment.


See Youth Ensembles Membership Policies in your ensemble acceptance packet or at

Inclement Weather & Teacher Absences

Students who start at the beginning of the school year register for 34 weeks of private lessons. There are several weeks at the end of the year reserved for inclement weather and teacher absence makeup days. Students are expected to reserve this time on their schedule in case makeups are needed. Students may also choose to register for additional lessons during this period, if the teacher is available. Please see our Core Calendar for details. If a student cancels or misses a scheduled makeup lesson, there is no credit/refund and no additional makeup lesson. Teacher cancellations and lessons canceled by the Music School due to inclement weather that cannot be made up by the close of the session are credited to the student’s account to be applied to future activity. No makeups or credits are given to students absent from a group class or ensemble. Virtual lessons may be an option during inclement weather.

School Closures

To find out if we’re closed or delayed due to weather, please check our website or news sites and We are listed as follows:

Private Schools
RI Phil Music School
East Providence

Any cancellation listed will affect all our branches unless specified otherwise. Also, if you are without power or Internet and need to find out our status, please call 401-248-7001. The voicemail greeting will tell you if we have made a decision to close or delay opening.

Tardiness & Missing Books

Students who are late for a scheduled lesson or forget their lesson books are not guaranteed their full lesson. Students more than 15 minutes late for their lesson will be considered absent. The teacher reserves the right to cancel the remainder of the lesson.

Photo & Recording Policy

Rhode Island Philharmonic Music School reserves the right, and may give permission to its photographer or outside media, to photograph or video classes, programs and participants at all our facilities and properties. Please be aware that these photos and videos are for promotional purposes and may be used in future publications and media communications. By participating in the Music School classes and programs, you consent to the taking and publication of your photograph and video for these purposes.

Student Safety & Courtesy

Supervision of Children

Parents are responsible for supervising their children at all times. To ensure your child's safety, please be sure to pick them up promptly after their lesson, class, or ensemble. Staff and faculty are not responsible for students (or siblings). Do not allow children to wander off alone, run around in the hallways, or play outside the building. This is a safety factor as well as a courtesy to people concentrating on their lessons and those who are studying or reading.

Taking Care of Waiting Areas

We appreciate your help in taking care of our school by cleaning up after yourself and disposing of any trash, food, or beverage containers in the rubbish bins. Should an accident or spill occur, please see staff at the front desk to report the problem.  


For the safety of all who use our facility, vehicles must follow all posted signage and park in legitimate parking spots. Parking or idling at the entrances is prohibited as this blocks emergency vehicles from gaining access and creates a dangerous situation for people going to and from their cars.  Additionally, use caution when walking through the parking lot as it is a busy zone.
If you are waiting to pick up a student, please pull into a legitimate parking spot and either come into the building to meet your student, or text them your location in the parking lot. Please do not park in a no parking zone at any time. The circular drop off door near the box office is for the purposes of dropping off students with large instruments and to accommodate people with physical limitations. 

Electronic Devices

Please silence all electronic games and devices or use headphones. The Wi-Fi password can be found at the front desk. Please be mindful of ongoing Music School activities and keep phone conversations to a minimum. We appreciate your cooperation.

Virtual Lessons

Virtual lessons may be an option for students and teachers. Virtual lessons allow students and teachers to meet safely from the comfort of their own home during periods of inclement weather and/or other healthy/safety emergencies. During the registration process, you will determine with your teacher the best platform for virtual learning for your instrument. Your teacher will be in touch during any days that may require the use of such platform. If a student would like to request a virtual lesson during their regularly scheduled lesson time, they may reach out to their instructor to make that request, giving 24 hours’ notice. Students are charged for all the lessons for which they register, including those missed (in person or virtual) through student absence. The Rhode Island Philharmonic Music School reserves the right to move to virtual learning at any time to protect the safety of students, faculty and staff. 


Staff and faculty are not authorized to administer medication. If your child requires medication to be administered while participating in Music School activities, they must either self-administer or a parent/guardian or other designee must be present to administer the medication.

Student Anti-Bullying Policy

The RI Philharmonic Music School is committed to a safe, civil and respectful educational environment for all students, that is free from harassment, intimidation, or bullying. “Harassment, intimidation or bullying” means any intentionally written message or image (including those that are electronically transmitted), any verbal, or physical act, including but not limited to one shown to be motivated by race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, gender, sexual orientation including gender identity and expression or mental, physical, or sensory disability, intellectual ability or by any other distinguishing characteristic that:

  • Causes physical or emotional harm to the student or damage to the student's property
  • Places the student in reasonable fear of harm to himself/herself or of damage to his/her property
  • Creates an intimidating, threatening, hostile, or abusive educational environment for the student
  • Infringes on the rights of the student to participate in school activities
  • Materially and substantially disrupts the education process or the orderly operation of the Music School


Cyber-bullying means bullying through the use of technology or any electronic communication, which shall include, but not be limited to, any transfer of signs, signals, writing, images, sounds, data, texting, or intelligence of any nature transmitted in whole or in part by a wire, radio, electromagnetic, photo electronic or photo optical system, including, but not limited to, electronic mail, Internet communications, instant messages, or facsimile communications.

Forms of cyber‐bullying may include but are not limited to:

  • The creation of a web page or blog in which the creator assumes the identity of another person
  • The knowing impersonation of another person as the author of posted content or messages
  • The distribution by electronic means of a communication to more than one person or the posting of materials on an electronic medium that may be accessed by one or more persons, if the creation, impersonation, or distribution results in any of the conditions enumerated in the definition of bullying

This policy applies to any incident:

  • On the Rhode Island Philharmonic Music School premises
  • At any Music School‐sponsored activity or event, whether or not it is held on Music School premises
  • Using property or equipment provided by the Music School
  • Which creates a material and substantial disruption of the education process or the orderly operation of the school

Nothing in this section requires the affected student to actually possess a characteristic that is a basis for the harassment, intimidation, or bullying.

“Other distinguishing characteristics” can include but are not limited to physical appearance, clothing or other apparel, socioeconomic status, and weight.

“Intentional acts” refers to the individual’s choice to engage in the act rather than the ultimate impact of the action(s).

Harassment, intimidation or bullying can take many forms including, but not limited to, slurs, rumors, jokes, innuendo, demeaning comments, drawings, cartoons, pranks, gestures, physical attacks, threats, or other written, oral, physical, or electronically transmitted messages or images.

It is also a violation of our policy to knowingly report false allegations of harassment, intimidation, and/or bullying. Students or employees will not be disciplined for making a report in good faith.

Any acts of bullying should be reported to the Director of Education & Music School, Music School Assistant Director, or Music School staff as soon as possible, ideally within twenty-hour (24) hours.

Acts of bullying may result in disciplinary actions up to and including dismissal from the program.

For more information about bullying, please visit:

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