CSMA Policies

Class and Ensemble Policies

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Registration and Payment

We strongly encourage students to enroll one week or more prior to the course start date. Programs can fill up quickly and early registration helps us anticipate instructional needs. Registrations are processed in the order received, and students may be waitlisted due to enrollment limits. Classes which have not met minimum enrollment two days prior to the first meeting will be cancelled. For certain classes, enrollments may be accepted after the first meeting on a space-available basis and subject to staff and instructor approval.

Students must be registered through the CSMA office in order to participate in any class or ensemble. Full payment of tuition is due prior to the first class or ensemble meeting. The student’s place in a class or ensemble is not confirmed or guaranteed until full payment has been received.

Students may register in person, by phone, by mail, or on this website. Payment can be made by cash, check, or credit card.

CSMA members receive a 25% discount on all class and ensemble tuition fees. Veterans and students age 62 and older receive a 20% discount. These discounts do not apply to private instruction.

Learn more about membership >>

Refunds and Withdrawals

Students withdrawing from a class or ensemble prior to its first meeting are entitled to a 90% cash refund or credit for tuition paid. Once classes begin, no cash refunds will be given.

Withdrawal prior to the 2nd class or ensemble meeting entitles the student to a credit of 75% of the tuition paid, usable for one year.

Withdrawal prior to the 3rd class or ensemble meeting entitles the student to a credit of 50% of the tuition paid, usable for one year. No credits will be given after the 3rd class/ensemble meeting.

Please note: In the case of short-term classes or programs meeting four or fewer times, no credits will be given after the first meeting.

Membership fees are non-refundable.

For CSMA to honor the above policies, students must notify the office directly when withdrawing from a class or ensemble. Failure to attend or to complete a class does not constitute official withdrawal.

Class Cancellation

CSMA reserves the right to cancel any class or ensemble due to insufficient enrollment. Should CSMA cancel a program, for this reason, the office will notify all registered students. Students are then entitled to a full refund. Occasionally, a class or ensemble meeting may be canceled due to inclement weather, instructor illness, or other reasons. In those cases, every reasonable effort will be made to schedule a makeup session. If rescheduling is not possible, CSMA will offer a pro-rated credit or refund.

Private Instruction Policies

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Registration and Payment

All ongoing private instruction students must be CSMA members, with the exception of those receiving scholarships. New students may purchase up to four lessons before becoming members.

Tuition for private lessons is charged at a perlesson rate. Payment is made to CSMA in exchange for lesson coupons that are sent by e-mail to the instructor and student. Lesson coupons must be purchased in advance by phone, in person, or online. CSMA accepts cash, checks, or credit cards. 

Refunds and Withdrawals

Unused coupons for lessons are refundable within 2 months of purchase.

After their initial four lessons, students must give at least 2 weeks notice before terminating ongoing lessons, or give their instructor 2 lesson coupons. Failure to attend a lesson does not constitute official withdrawal.

Missed Lessons and Makeups

Private instructors at CSMA may set their own policies concerning student absences and the scheduling of makeup lessons. Some teachers charge for missed lessons, and others may excuse a certain number of absences per year. Instructors also vary in their ability to schedule make up lessons. Please ask your teacher for clarification of their policies when you begin lessons or resume them after a break.

Policies for All Education Programs

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Diversity and Inclusion

The Community School of Music and Arts (CSMA) is committed to creating a diverse, equitable, and inclusive environment that is welcoming for all. 

We recognize that the arts uniquely empower the exploration and understanding of identity, and that artistic expression of diverse cultures and communities strengthens the vibrancy of our organization at every level. 

Our mission supports education, production, presentation, and enjoyment of the arts by diverse communities, groups, and individuals, inclusive of all regardless of race, ethnicity, national origin, language, age, sex, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, mental and physical ability, class, and religion. 

In conducting all CSMA business and programs, we will consistently work to develop and maintain: 

  • an organization-wide understanding of the values of diversity, equity, and inclusion; 
  • an organizational culture that supports, reflects, and promotes equitable and inclusive behaviors and practices; 
  • recruitment and retention policies that foster diversity of our Board of Trustees, staff, faculty, and volunteers; 
  • policies and procedures that ensure fair treatment, access, and opportunity at CSMA, and that prohibit acts of discrimination, bias, and harassment; 
  • program offerings that include a plurality of cultures in content and artistic genres; 
  • a welcoming environment and facility that offers a sense of belonging and respect for diverse identities and communities, and encourages participation by all in our programs.

Individuals with disabilities may request reasonable accommodations by contacting CSMA’s office.


Tuition Assistance

Need-based scholarships

To make CSMA as accessible as possible to everyone, we offer a limited number of scholarships to qualified students on the basis of financial need, awarded as tuition discounts. Scholarships may be used for all types of education programs at CSMA and are valid for one year from application. Click here or contact the office for details and application forms.

Senior and veteran discounts

Veterans and students age 62 and older receive a 20% discount on all class and ensemble tuition fees; these discounts cannot be used for private instruction. No application is needed; simply provide proof of age or veteran status.

Member discounts

CSMA members receive a 25% discount on all class and ensemble tuition fees. 

Learn more about membership >>


Photo, Video, and Recording Release

By registering yourself or your child for programs, you give CSMA permission to take photographs, recordings, or videos of you/your child as you/they participate in CSMA activities; and to use such images, recordings, and content for purposes related to CSMA’s mission, including marketing.

This permission is given without expectation of payment or other compensation at any time, and the released material shall be the property of the Community School of Music and Arts. This consent includes, but is not limited to: (a) Permission to photograph, film, interview, record, or make a video of you/your child; and (b) Permission to use, reuse, modify, or publish photographs, films, tapes, digital files, recordings, and any derivative works, in part or in whole, and in any format or media, including the internet, for purposes related to CSMA’s mission.

To opt out of the Photo, Video and Recording Release at any time, please contact the CSMA office.

Child Safety

To ensure your child’s safety, please pick them up promptly after their class, camp, or lesson. Children are under CSMA supervision only during the time of programs they are enrolled in. Neither teachers nor administrative staff is responsible for supervising children who are visiting or waiting on the premises outside of their instruction time.

Personal Belongings

CSMA is not responsible for personal belongings left unattended. You are responsible for your belongings at all times, and we advise keeping valuables with you if you move about the building. Belongings left unattended risk theft, and those unattended for more than 15 minutes may be removed to the nearest lost and found.

Inclement Weather

CSMA will determine and announce any weather-related closures, delays, or program cancellations.

Please check the following resources for weather-related updates:

  1. CSMA website (this site)
  2. Visit the CSMA Facebook page >>
  3. HSC listserve posts

In addition, CSMA will attempt to contact students directly about weather-related cancellations and changes.


COVID-19 Policies

CSMA aligns its COVID-19 protocols and policies with current recommendations of the Tompkins County Health Department (TCHD) and New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH), as mandates and advisories continue to evolve.

Education programs and common use areas

CSMA encourages mask-wearing while indoors and around others, regardless of vaccination status. Masks continue to be a highly effective tool in stopping the spread of COVID-19. Students, instructors, and visitors may choose to wear a mask based on individual preference informed by level of personal risk and the identified level of community risk. CSMA continues to make free high-quality KN95 masks available, and create a respectful “mask positive” environment supporting anyone who chooses to wear a mask for any reason while at CSMA.

However, CSMA requires masks be worn properly over nose and mouth by:

  • Anyone who is returning to CSMA during days 6-10 following isolation after testing positive for COVID-19, consistent with NYSDOH guidance.
  • Anyone known to have been exposed to COVID-19 in any setting within the previous 10 days.
  • Private instructors and students, by mutual consent, if either person expresses a strong preference for mask usage. CSMA staff will liaise such conversations as needed.

CSMA requires students, visitors, faculty and staff to get tested and quarantine at home if they develop any symptoms, as per current NYSDOH and TCHD guidance. Anyone who tests positive must follow all requirements described by NYSDOH and TCHD before returning to CSMA.

To ensure additional layers of protection, we ask everyone to continue practicing social distancing and safe hand hygiene, and urge full vaccination and boosting by all for whom it is medically appropriate. CSMA maintains its ventilation system upgrades including Merv-13 filters and UV disinfection units. 


Public gatherings and events 

In addition, CSMA may require mask usage, proof of vaccination, and/or COVID-19 testing for public gatherings and events, to be determined based on the size and nature of the event.

Updated: September 29, 2022