Fees, Payments and Scholarships

Music Classes and Ensembles

Class / Ensemble Spring and Fall
(per semester)
Summer Per Year
Art Express $55 N/A $110
Prelude and Development $120 $80 $240
Piano Starter for Children $135 $85 $270
Adult Piano: Square One Piano $135 $85 $270
Adult Piano: Piano Forte $135 $85 $270
Guitar Basics for Adults $135 $90 $270
Intermediate Guitar for Adults $135 $90 $270
Guitar for Kids $135 $90 $270
Qi Gong $70 $65 $140
NIUkulele Ensemble $135 $90 $270
Steel Band $135 N/A $270
Guitar Ensemble $135 $90 $270
Symphonette N/A N/A $250
Sinfonia N/A N/A $310


Fall Only/Spring Only (14 Private Lessons) Fall and Spring Semesters 28 Private Lessons
Level 30 Min 45 Min 60 Min 30 Min 45 Min 60 Min
Apprentice I $248 $372 $496 $496 $744 $992
Apprentice II $260 $390 $520 $520 $780 $1,040
Apprentice III $290 $435 $580 $580 $870 $1,160
Associate $408 $612 $816 $816 $1,224 $1,632
Faculty $502 $753 $1,004 $1,004 $1,506 $2,008

Summer Semester (six private lessons)

Level 30 Minutes 45 Mintues 60 Mintues
Apprentice I $99 $149 $198
Apprentice II $104 $156 $208
Apprentice III $116 $174 $232
Associate $164 $246 $328
Faculty $202 $303 $404

Suzuki Lessons

14 Private Lessons and Groups Fall Only/Spring Only 28 Private Lessons and Groups Fall and Spring Semesters
Level 30
Associate Violin/Guitar/Cello $528 $732 $936 $1,056 $1,464 $1,872
Associate Piano $478 $682 $886 $956 $1,364 $1,772
Faculty Violin $622 $873 $1,124 $1,244 $1,746 $2,248

Registration Fee

You will pay a nonrefundable registration fee of $15 per person. This fee helps us cover many expenses, including the cost of employee background checks required by NIU.

  • The fee is paid once during the school year and once in summer.
  • Fall students are not charged the fee when they return in the spring.
  • The fee for one person registering for multiple activities is $15.
  • The fee for two siblings registered on one form is $30.


You are eligible for a discount if you:

  • Register more than one family member for an activity on one form
  • Register one person for two or more activities on one form
  • Are 65 years or older

The discount is $25 when you register for one semester and $60 when you register for two semesters (fall and spring) on the same registration form.

To qualify for the discount in fall, you must register by the second installment payment date and in spring by the fourth installment payment date.

Please note:

  • Discounts may not be combined.
  • Art Express classes do not count toward discount eligibility.

Installment Plan

We offer an installment plan in the fall and spring semesters. In order to participate in an installment plan:

  • Your total balance must be no less than $100.
  • Your first payment must be made by credit card on the date you register.

Installment payments are allowed through the first four weeks of the semester. After that, full payment is expected.

If you add new classes or lessons after your first installment payment, you must use a new registration form. The new classes or lessons are not eligible for the installment plan. Full payment is due when you submit the form.

Credit Card Information

The person who makes the first payment is responsible for all installment payments. We are unable to split charges among multiple payees. We cannot accept a credit card that expires before the date of the final payment. You must inform us if your credit card changes during the payment period.

If we are unable to process a credit card at the time a payment is due, we will inform the card holder. If you do not provide us with new credit card information or payment within two weeks, your teacher will be asked to stop lessons.

Payment Due Dates

If you are paying four installments through the fall and spring semesters, these due dates apply to you:

  • Second installment: Oct. 11
  • Third installment: Jan. 9
  • Fourth installment: Feb. 28

If you registered for a fall activity and a fall/spring activity on the same registration form, please note the following:

  • Fall activities must be paid in full by the due date of the second installment.
  • Fall/spring activities must be paid in full by the due date of the fourth installment.
  • Installments will not be equal.

Refunds and Withdrawals

When you submit a registration form, you commit the student to a full semester of lessons. If a student decides to stop taking lessons after the semester has started, the student or parent must inform us in writing. Giving notice to the teacher is not sufficient.

We will give refunds for private music lessons and Suzuki lessons that have not taken place. You must give us the withdrawal letter before the fourth week of lessons.

There are no refunds for classes, ensembles, parking passes or registration fees.


We have raised over $85,000 since our scholarship program began in 1993, helping more than 650 area children study the arts. Our scholarship program is funded through benefit recitals and other fundraising activities, as well as by private donors.

Need Scholarships

Need scholarships provide financial assistance to students 18 years of age and younger who are unable to pay the full fee for private lessons, classes or ensembles. These scholarships are awarded in the fall and spring. Partial scholarships are allocated by the scholarship advisory board on the basis of need, demonstrated interest and available funds.

If you want to be considered, fill out a need scholarship application form at the beginning of the fall or spring semester. Your application must include:

  • Financial information
  • A recommendation from a teacher (a music teacher, if possible)
  • A program registration form and $15 registration fee (final billing arrangements will be made at a later date)
Need Scholarship Application

Incomplete applications will not be considered. The audition date and application deadline will be announced soon. We will announce recipients within one week of the deadline.

Talent Scholarships

Each year, we award six $250 scholarships to talented musicians who demonstrate a high level of skill and musicianship. The scholarships are awarded to two students in each of the following categories:

  • Elementary (grades three-five)
  • Junior (grades six-eight)
  • Senior (grades nine-12)

All instruments are welcome. Applicants must be enrolled in private lessons or an ensemble at the Community School of the Arts. Applicants who take lessons on two instruments may audition on both. They must submit two application forms and pay the application fee twice.

If you want to be considered, fill out a talent scholarship application form. You will be required to attend an audition.

Talent Scholarship Application

The 2019 application deadline has passed.

If you receive a talent scholarship, you will perform in our annual Honors Recital. Check our our calendar for recital dates. You may not compete for another talent scholarship for two years (two full cycles) after receiving the award.

Sinfonia Concerto Competition

This competition is open to students who are 18 years of age or younger and live within 75 miles of DeKalb. Competitors don't need to be members of the Sinfonia ensemble.

You will be expected to perform one memorized movement of a standard concerto or work with orchestral accompaniment. If you want to compete, fill out a concerto competition application form.

Concerto Competition Application

The application deadline will be announced soon.

The winner receives a prize of $200 and performs the concerto with the orchestra at the May concert. Winners may not compete again on the same instrument.


We partner with local and national organizations, whose assistance allows us to enrich our programs and expand their reach.

Farny R. Wurlitzer Grant

In 2017, we were again awarded a $5,000 grant from the DeKalb County Community Foundation's Farny R. Wurlitzer Fund. This grant helps provide need-based scholarships to students enrolling in our lessons, classes and ensembles.

We are grateful for this partnership. It is through this type of collaboration that we are able to make a difference in our community.

National Endowment for the Arts Grants

We received grants in 2011, 2012 and 2013 from the National Endowment for the Arts, through the Arts Education in American Communities program. This is an invitational grant for $10,000 with a $10,000 matching grant from NIU. This grant program supports our work by helping us bring talented artists and teachers to DeKalb to enhance the community.