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School of Music

Community Music School Policies

Welcome to the University of South Carolina School of Music Community Music School (CMS)! We are committed to offering the best and most diverse study programs for people of all ages, providing students with the highest quality teaching and learning experiences. We believe that music study is one of the most self-motivating, life affirming and enjoyable activities, and we strive to provide a positive and encouraging environment for all persons.

Child/adult participants should not attend class if either is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or other signs of illness.

Please take a moment to read the following policies regarding study in the CMS. These policies exist to create a user-friendly and misunderstanding-free environment for students, parents and teachers. 

Lessons take place in the UofSC School of Music building located adjacent to the Koger Center for the Arts at 813 Assembly Street. String Project classes take place in the UofSC String Project building located on the ground floor of the Discovery Parking Garage at 851Park Street.

Students under the age of 18 should not be left unsupervised within the School of Music building or outside grounds for any reason at any time. The CMS, CMS teachers, UofSC or the UofSC School of Music will NOT assume responsibility for your child should an accident occur while they are unattended.

Student Practice Guidelines

All students are required to provide their own instruments for study. (information about instrument rental and/or purchase is available on our website or from your CMS teacher) At each lesson, students will receive a lesson assignment detailing what is to be practiced during the coming week. Students are encouraged to practice for shorter periods each day  (as little as 10 minutes each day will make a difference for a beginner) rather than one longer session the day before the lesson. Parents of children 10 and under are encouraged to attend all lessons and to practice with their child at home. All parents of Suzuki students are required to attend and participate in all private and group lessons and to practice at home with their child. Music study and practice can be a wonderful sharing time for students and parents. While parent involvement is encouraged, parents are urged to be supportive and not overly aggressive in their demands on students.

Make-up Policies

1. Any lesson missed by the teacher will be made up. If the teacher must reschedule a lesson, the student should be notified 24 hours in advance. The missed lesson may be made up in several ways:

  (1) adding additional time to future lessons (i.e. adding 15 min. to the next two lessons)

  (2) scheduling an hour-long lesson on a future date, or

  (3) rescheduling the lesson for another day and time

2. If the student must miss a lesson, the teacher should be contacted at least 24 hours before the scheduled lesson. With 24 hours advance notice given, the teacher can reschedule 1 lesson for an excused absence by the student per semester. Without at least a full day’s notice, for any reason, the student will forfeit the lesson. Only illness or family emergencies will be considered excused absences. Other conflicts, such as birthday parties, family vacations, etc., are not considered excused absences and will not be made up. Messages for teachers must be left directly with your teacher’s voicemail.

3. Students are expected to be on time for their lessons. Teachers are expected to wait 10 minutes for a student who might be late. If the student arrives LESS than 10 minutes late, they will receive a lesson for the remainder of their time slot (the lesson will still end on time). If a student does not arrive after 10 minutes, the teacher is NOT required to stay any longer to wait. This lesson will be considered a "no-show" and will not be made up.

Lesson Payment

Full lesson payment is due prior to the first lesson.

Payment arrangements must be approved by the CMS Director prior to beginning any lessons. Financial Aid is available on a limited basis. Financial Aid Application Form (link).


No refunds will be made after the 2nd week of lessons. If a request for a refund is made before lessons begin, a full refund minus a $15 processing fee will be granted. Otherwise, the amount refunded will be prorated in addition to the processing fee charged. There will be no refunds for classes after the first class. Please note that refunds will be made by university check and that this can take up to several weeks.

In an Emergency

If USC closes due to weather or any other emergency, CMS lessons and classes will be cancelled. These lessons and classes are NOT required to be made up by CMS teachers. Every effort will be made to notify students as soon as possible of the cancellation. If you are unsure whether classes have been cancelled, please contact your teacher directly, check the USC Homepage, or call the School of Music at (803) 777-4281.


Metered parking is available near the School of Music. Parking is also available in the Carolina Coliseum lot and in lots near the Music Building. Before approximately 5 p.m. on weekdays, campus and city police regularly issue parking tickets. After 5 p.m. it is usually safe to use them, however, please note that these parking lots are often closed for special events. Metered parking on nearby streets may be the only option at times. The CMS does not have authority to waive University Parking Tickets.

Student Discipline

CMS teachers reserve the right to discontinue or terminate lessons for student disciplinary reasons. All CMS students are expected to behave with the highest respect to the School of Music facilities, CMS teachers, and other CMS students. CMS teachers reserve the right to immediately end any lesson due to disciplinary problems of any student. Disciplinary infractions of any kind will be referred first to the parents, and, if continuing, to CMS supervisors for disciplinary action. Disciplinary action may involve termination from the CMS program. 

Progress Reports

In an effort to keep parents and students informed of successes, progress and areas that may need improvement, CMS parents and/or students will receive end-of-semester reports detailing progress and recommendations from their teachers.


The CMS sponsors end-of-semester recitals twice a year. Students have the opportunity to prepare and perform on these recitals as a celebration of their accomplishments during the year.  Students will perform at the discretion of their assigned CMS teacher.

Lesson Renewals

While the CMS endeavors to create positive growing experiences by maintaining student/teacher relationships throughout a student’s study in the CMS, periodic teacher reassignments may occur due to graduation of CMS teachers. Continuing students receive first priority in re-enrollment and teacher assignments.

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.