Frequently Asked Questions 

Tuition, payments and registration

  • How much do private lessons cost?  Private lesson tuition for the school year is $1800 for 34 weeks.   For 8 weeks the summer tuition is $400.   Tuition for private lessons is the same for all instruments.  Students can enroll for lessons at any point in the year, and tuition will be pro-rated based on the number of weeks remaining in the regular school year or summer session.

  • How much do classes or the Full Program cost?  Refer to the contract for tuition structure.  In general, Saturday class enrollment ends in October, but in some instances we can tutor a student who enrolls mid-year so they can catch up.

  • How long are private lessons?  Private lessons are 45 minutes each, held on a regular weekly basis.

  • Can I have shorter or longer lessons?  For very young students, age 4, we recommend 30 minute lessons.  For older students, 5 or 6 and above, who are beginners, the instructor has the discretion to offer 30 minute lessons, but we recommend 45 minute lessons.  Students can also enroll for 60 minute weekly lessons.  The annual tuition is $1200 for 30 minute lessons; $2400 for 60 minute lessons.

  • Do I have to register for the entire year?  Yes; our regular school year runs from the first week of September through the last week of May, but students can enroll at any time in the school year.  Tuition is then prorated through the end of May. We believe that learning to play an instrument requires commitment, dedication, and time, and enrolling for the year gives students time to improve their skills.  Also, your instructor will reserve your lesson time in his or her schedule for the rest of the year.

  • Do you offer scholarships or financial aid?  We do not offer scholarships or financial aid at this time.  Some of our students support their tuition with the help of extended family members, and other students use our payment plans.

  • Do you offer a discount for multiple students from the same family?  No.  However, students who enroll in the full Conservatory program of private lessons and Saturday classes will find that a discount on lessons and classes is built into the tuition structure of the full program. 

  • Are there any fees?  All students pay an annual non-refundable registration fee of $35.  This fee applies from September to August, so students who enroll for the regular school year session will not pay another registration fee when they enroll for the summer session.  New students who enroll for the summer session will pay a $20 summer registration fee at that time, and will then need to pay a new $35 registration fee in September.  The registration fee covers EPCoM’s administrative costs for enrolling a student.  Students who elect a payment plan will pay a $10 per payment fee (see below).

  • Do you offer payment plans?  Students who do not wish to pay their tuition in full at registration can choose one of our optional payment plans.  There is an additional $10 fee for each payment received if you choose a payment plan.  Students who pay their tuition in full at registration do not pay this fee.  Our payment plan options are as follows:

Payment plan #1: Four payments
 

1. ¼ tuition, $35 non-refundable registration fee, and $10 payment plan fee, due at registration
 

2. ¼ tuition and $10 payment plan fee, due the first Friday of November
 

3. ¼ tuition and $10 payment plan fee, due the first Friday in January
 

4. ¼ tuition and $10 payment plan fee, due the first Friday in March
 

Payment plan #2: Two payments
 

1. ½ tuition, $35 non-refundable registration fee, and $10 payment plan fee, due at registration
 

2. ½ tuition and $10 payment plan fee, due the first Friday in November



        Families with more than one student can combine the students’ payments so that they only pay a single payment plan fee per due date.  For example, a family with two students which chooses payment plan #1 will pay only $40 total in payment plan fees, rather than $80.
 

        All students who elect one of the payment plans must provide a credit card number that we will keep on file.  Your credit card will automatically be charged with the amount due on the payment date unless you elect to bring in the amount in cash or check before the payment date. 
 

  • How do I register?  Call the Conservatory office, located in our downtown facility (833-0263) and set up an appointment to interview with the Director.  The student and a parent (if the student is under 18) both need to be present to register and sign their contract.  Everyone involved in making the financial decisions for the family should be present at this meeting.

  • What if I change my mind and decide I don’t want lessons or classes?  We want all students and their parents to be comfortable before they register, which is why we require all prospective students and their parents to meet with the Director first.  However, if you decide to withdraw after registration, the student must present a withdrawal request in writing to the Director, who will determine the refund based on the date the request for withdrawal is received.

         After the first scheduled class meeting: 75% of tuition will be refunded

         After the second scheduled class meeting: 50% of tuition will be refunded

         After the third scheduled class meeting: 25% of tuition will be refunded

         After the fourth class meeting: no refund

         The $35 registration fee and any payment plan fees received are non-refundable.





Lessons, scheduling and instructors

  • Who will my instructor be?  This depends on several things: first on the instrument you would like to study and where you would like to take lessons (downtown or east side), but also on your ability level, the style of music you want to play, your schedule, and the instructor’s schedule. 

  • When will my lesson be?  Your lesson will depend on the schedules of you and your private lesson instructor.  Once a time is agreed upon, the lesson is set for the contracted period.

  • Where will my lesson be?  Your lesson will be at our downtown location (within Trinity-First United Methodist Church, at I-10 and Mesa).

  • Can I make up or reschedule lessons that I miss?  According to the contract, lessons missed for any reason by the student will not be made up.  The teacher is paid for this time and builds his or her schedule around the students schedule, so when a student doesn’t show up for a lesson, that time is also lost for the teacher.  Because of this, we encourage you to find a time that you know is good for you, and that you won’t need to miss.  However, if an instructor misses a lesson for any reason, he or she will make up the lesson.   Lessons missed by the teacher will be made up at a mutually convenient time during or after the school year.  The Conservatory may supply a substitute teacher or replace a teacher. 

  • Do I need to have my own instrument?  Yes.  However, if you don’t have one yet, wait until you talk with your instructor to hear what he or she recommends—what type and size of instrument to buy, where to buy it, and whether you should rent or buy an instrument.  Piano students do need to have an acoustic piano to practice on at home, but for beginners, an electric keyboard may be appropriate.  Again, you can talk to the Director or your instructor about recommendations. 

  • Can I change lesson times or instructors?  No. When you choose a lesson time, you should choose a time you know you can come regularly.  As a rule, teachers do not rearrange their schedules.

  • Can I try out a teacher before I enroll?  No, but the director will discuss each teacher available with the student and/or parents.

  • Can I get high school or college credit for classes I take at the Conservatory?  We can offer class credit to private and homeschooled students.  We do not offer class credit for public high schools or for colleges.  However, by taking Conservatory classes, you may be able to test out of certain college classes, depending on the college’s policy.  We do offer our own Pre-College Certificate Program for students, which is a four-year program of private lessons in an instrument or voice, plus music skills classes in ear training, music theory, music history, and performance.  The Certificate Program is aimed at preparing young musicians to enter college as music majors.

  • How old does my child have to be to enroll in lessons?  Am I too old to take lessons?  We can teach children as young as four years old in violin and piano, and students can begin drums at age five.  Other instruments begin around age seven, but it depends on elements like the size of the instrument and the size of the student.  We teach adults as well; no one is too old to take lessons.

  • Do you have any ensembles for students to play in?  We have a Jazz Ensemble on Saturday afternoons, and qualified students can participate in chamber music, particularly string quartet.  Beyond the Conservatory, many of our vocal students participate in the ensembles of the El Paso Choral Society, including the Young Ladies Choir and Girls Choir, and many of our instrumental students also participate in the orchestras of the El Paso Symphony Youth Orchestras.

  • Can I sit in on my child’s lesson?  Yes.  With very young students, the parents will sit in the lesson so that he or she can help the student practice at home.  For older students, it’s sometimes a distraction to have a parent observing the lesson.  If a parent does sit in on lessons, we ask that they not disrupt the lesson, and be respectful of the teacher’s wishes if the teacher later believes that the student works best when the parent is not present. 

  • Can my children have lessons together on the same instrument?  Can I take lessons with my child?  No.  In private lessons, students progress at different speeds, particularly when they are different ages and have different initial levels of ability.  Private lessons are intended to be one-on-one instruction. 

  • Can I schedule lessons at the same time?  This depends on the instructors’ schedules, and is easiest to set up if you register early for the regular school year.  We will do our best to accommodate this if at all possible.  We have a number of families with multiple students who have lessons either consecutively or at the same time. 

  • My child is very young.  What happens if he or she doesn’t want to continue with lessons?  If the family and teacher find that the student is not succeeding in lessons as expected for his or her age, or if the child does not want to continue lessons, the parent can take the lessons in place of the child.  This can be particularly advantageous for future music study for the student, because children often want to do what they see others around them doing.  When a child sees and hears his or her parent practicing and learning the instrument that they wanted to play, it can often spur the desire to study.