MCS Logo 2011
Student Studio Manual
New September 2013

Our Mission

Musical Chairs is an ensemble of professional music instructors creating a superior music learning environment which fosters a love for music, provides an outlet for creative expression and builds self-confidence.

Attendance Policy

Your instructor has set aside a dedicated time for you / your child each week. When we do this, it means you are committing to the lesson both in attendance and payment. We know that to insure reasonable progress for our students, they must regularly attend their lessons. 

If you need to cancel a lesson, 24 hour notice is needed for the lesson to be eligible for a make up lesson. Your instructor will schedule this with you individually. If you opt to not have the make up lesson, you are still responsible for payment of that lesson. Lessons can be canceled using your Student Website (see below), by emailing or by informing your teacher directly. 

"No shows" and short notice cancelations are not eligible for make ups. We do understand when an infrequent last minute illness arises and will do our best to work with you, however. 

Please note that many of our teachers have a wait list for students. It is not fair to the instructors to forego lesson fees from students who regularly cancel when other students are waiting and willing to commit to weekly lessons. Musical Chairs prides itself in hiring the highest caliber of professional instructors. In order to maintain this level of instruction, we must provide them with predictability of income. Our policy also serves to address this need. 

Studio Holidays * Musical Chairs takes the following days as Studio Holidays. Lessons will not be scheduled on these days and do not need to be made up.  At times, instructors and parents choose to use these days to schedule make up lessons, this is at your mutual discretion.

Studio Holidays:  
New Year's Eve and Day * Martin Luther King Day (Monday) * Memorial Day * 4th of July * Labor Day * Thanksgiving Thursday and Friday * Eve and Christmas Day

** Other Religious Holidays can be taken as "no make up days", please let your instructor know in advance. 
** We do not take President's Day as a holiday because schools generally do not all take this on the same day. 

At Home Practice

Practice at home is a critical component to success in your child's music lessons.  We do everything we can to send your child home with instructors of what to work on and practice strategies.  We do not mandate a specific amount of time required because it varies by student and level. It is important for parents to know that Frequency is more important than Duration particularly for younger, new students.  Encourage your child to spend a short time at their instrument every day (which usually turns into a longer time without them knowing it). There will be hills and valleys through the duration of their music education. When your child is in a valley, it is not time to quit. We will help you re-evaluate strategies to keep your child interested. 
Similar to homework from school, many children require parent / adult supervision in this process. You need not be musical to assist your child by sitting with them, reading through their lesson assignment and making sure they follow a methodical process. If children feel you are participating in the process with them, they will be more engaged. Musical Chairs does offer a Supervised Practice program where our advanced students supervise the practice of newer students. The cost of this is $5 per 30 minute session and is paid directly to the student supervisor. It is a win/win for teaching mentoring, creating role models and making practice more productive. If you are interested in this, please contact us at
Please know, nearly every child says "I don't want to practice." This is why Musical Chairs is working on our specially formulated Staying Power Juice that could be consumed by parents every morning (joke). The truth is, its not easy. You will grow tired of reminding your child to practice, but stay the course. Volumes of research exist to show that children who have musical education do better in school. They are more self-confident. They possess higher levels of self-discipline and become self-starters. Additionally, music is one of the few childhood activities that truly engages both the right (creative) and left (analytical) sides of the brain simultaneously. You are giving your child a gift that will carry through their lives. Nothing worthwhile is ever easy.  

Billing and Payment

Musical Chairs invoices on a 3 month basis for private lessons. Step the Beat, Drama, Camp and other group programs are billed individually and payable in advance of the first class. For private lessons, invoices will be sent to you via email. Students / families are welcome to pay by monthly installments if you prefer.  Payments for each month are due at the beginning of each month.  The final payment for each session is due on the 1st of the 3rd billing month. For example, the final payment for Fall tuition is due on November 1st.

Payments are accepted by check to Musical Chairs Studio, PayPal or Chase QuickPay.  The preferred method of payment for us is Chase QuickPay for those of you who bank with Chase. Fees are never assessed. Click here for easy instructions:  Chase QuickPay Instructions

To accommodate families who wish to pay by credit card, we have set up an arrangement with PayPal. You can also use PayPal to transfer funds via checking accounts. Please note that PayPal may assess fees depending on how you process your payment. If you click the link on your invoice directly or from your student website, a fee will be assessed and added to your next invoice. Unfortunately, we are not able to disable the PayPal button on your emailed invoice. If you use a credit card through PayPal, a fee will also be charged. It is possible to use PayPal without a fee, please see these instructions. PayPal No Fee Instructions

Please note that Musical Chairs is not a "pay per lesson" music school. We pride ourselves in offering the absolute highest quality teachers available. To maintain these resources, we must offer them some predictable level of income. When you commit to a lesson spot, you are committing both in attendance and payment. As mentioned in the attendance policy, if a lesson is canceled in advance, we will do everything we can to accommodate a make up lesson. However, if a make up is not an option for families, the lesson should not be deducted from the invoice. This policy has been established with our students in mind and is in line with other musical schools in the area who have similar objectives toward excellence.

Student Websites

Musical Chairs provides families of students enrolled in private lessons with a student website. You will receive a welcome email with your access information when you sign up for private lessons with us.  Because group class programs are paid in advance and attendance is not recorded, families in our Step the Beat / Drama program do not have websites. 
Here are some tips to how you should use your Student Account Website: 
  • Review your lesson schedule
  • Cancel or request lesson changes
  • Record practice time
  • View your current invoice / balance
  • Make a payment on your account
  • View payments you've made

Parents can access their personal websites at:


Your user name is:  firstnamelastname (for the primary billing/account parent)

Your password is: music  (feel free to change this to something known only to you)


**username and password are case sensitive**

Studio Helper Logo

Performance and Recitals

Regular performances are an important component of your child's music instruction. Recitals give students a tangible goal to help insure progress. Performances also build critical self-confidence skills that will carry your children through life. 

Musical Chairs offers recital opportunities about every 2 months.  Our goal is for each student to perform at least twice yearly. We offer them in a variety of settings and always with a non-threatening approach. Children are encouraged to do their best - not be perfect. 

In addition to recitals, we offer other performance opportunities. Serenading Seniors is our community "give back" program where we share our musical gifts at various senior homes in the area. For motivated students, Musical Chairs participates in area music competitions where children are evaluated by judges and compared to others. Information about these programs is distributed through our monthly Newsletter and is also available on our website.

music learning community

Online Music Theory

Music Learn Community is a supplementary theory program that Musical Chairs subscribes to and administers to our students. The cost is $5 per month which includes the online subscription, weekly administration and incentive prizes. Assignments are sent weekly via email to the parents. Students are asked to "pass" two music theory games. Progress is monitored weekly and feedback is given to the teachers. 

We know that students who are strong in music theory progress more quickly in their lessons. Parents are seeing better results for the dollars spent on lessons. Additionally, theory is the most overlooked portion of a weekly lesson because teachers are focused on the instruction of the instrument. This system has a proven track record for results and is in line with our philosophy of continually raising the bar in music education. For all the reasons above, this program is not "optional". We do respect, however, that some families do not encourage computer screen time.  Please contact us if this is the case and we will work out an alternative theory arrangement. 

What else do we do?

At Musical Chairs, we are striving to create a music community for our students and families. We do this by offering numerous opportunities for students and families to interact with one another. Here is a sampling of ongoing activities available to you and your family:

Jam Session - a summer rock band program
Summer Camp - a week long day camp engaging children ages 4-10 in various music activities.  Master Classes held periodically to hone in on a specific skill or subject area

Step the Beat Logo
Step the Beat is our Early Children Music Fundamentals group class designed to prepare children ages 3 - 1st grade with the basic skills needed to begin learning an instrument. 

Dance Party 2
Open Mic and Dance Nights at our Borelli's Restaurant on the main floor of the 2124 W Lawrence studio space. 

We are also proud to announce Academic Coaching this year!  Parents can bring their children to music lessons and also leave them for a tutoring / homework session.  Instructors are education specialists in the areas of reading, language and math up to and including high school and test prep assistance. 


We also offer In School - After School Programming to bring private lessons, group music and drama as an enrichment program to area schools.  If you are interested in this for your school, please contact us at

Stay Connected to Us!

There is a lot going on at Musical Chairs Studio. We try very hard to keep everyone in the loop. To be sure you don't miss something, we encourage you to stay connected with us in the following ways: 

Like us on Facebook :)    Like us on Facebook

Monthly Newsletters similar to this format will go out. Please take a moment to scan through them each month for important updates.

Musical Chairs Website is updated regularly with class / program registration, new instructor bios, and upcoming events. This is also a good way to stay connected. 

Musical Chairs Studio, Inc.


2124 W Lawrence and 2136 W Wilson  Chicago, IL. 60625

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