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The Studio > Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) -- Reminders and Refreshers

The Cherry Valley Music Studio has been offering music to the Olney community--and beyond--for 29 years!

Our musical, educational, creative and life experiences, plus a combined 67 years of teaching experience allow us to provide a truly unique and enriching experience for our students in a soul-enriching environment..

As professional musicians, we have performed all over the world, studied with great masters, created compositions, recordings and books. We are blessed to share our experiences with others in a beautiful setting supported by wonderful families.

Here are some frequently-asked questions and their answers:


Why does CVM charge a tuition instead of charging by the lesson?

What if a student loves music and lessons, but does not want to participate in performance classes, ensembles, musicales or concerts?

If my child doesn’t participate in performances, will the tuition be the same?

Why do we have to pay a $100 deposit? What happens if we stop lessons before the end of the school year?

Why is the CVM calendar different from the MCPS calendar?

Why are your winter and spring breaks two weeks long?

If there are few or no lessons in June, why am I charged for that month’s tuition?


Q: Why does CVM charge a tuition instead of charging by the lesson?

A: Despite our personal touch, we are incorporated as a music school and have been devoted to running it as such. We offer private lessons, performance classes, master classes and performance opportunities. Your tuition extends beyond the actual lesson.

Outside of the lesson, our time is devoted to creating individual lesson plans (we have over 50 students enrolled); running performance classes, master classes, impromptu garage band get-togethers, ensembles and concerts; countless office hours spent on accounting, public relations, setting schedules, exploring and renting concert venues, changing lesson times, researching and obtaining music and materials, creating games and flashcards, musical score preparation, program design and printing; helping students locate and purchase fine instruments; continuous development of our musical skills and...well, we think you get the picture!

CVM offers an exclusive Core Musicianship Curriculum, created by Charles, that presents the basics of music more clearly and concisely than any other program we have ever seen, including college, conservatory and graduate-level programs. In addition, he put together a Listening Program of over 200 CD’s of the finest performances of orchestral, chamber, vocal, jazz, guitar and piano music. All of our music students can benefit from these programs.

In 2013 we invested in a stand-by generator whose primary purpose is to run our studios during a power outage. When schools are closed for inclement weather, we make every attempt to stay open and provide a safe environment (yes, we clear the snow ourselves and it is quite a big, back-breaking job, even with the snowblower). Most music schools cancel lessons when public schools close.

We teach on beautiful, well-maintained instruments--two magnificent grand pianos (a Yamaha C3 and a restored 1886 Steinway C), one upright, acoustic and electric guitars, bass guitar, clarinets, a drum set and even ukuleles, all of which require regular maintenance and repair. 

We incorporate creative materials--art, books, manuscripts, visual effects, technology and recordings into our lessons as needed.

We have digital recording capability to help our students prepare for performances and to create CD recordings for auditions and/or applications for college.

Charging a tuition also guarantees that the students and families who enroll are devoted to learning about music and to music education and who will make every attempt to be here as scheduled and participate in our additional classes and programs.

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Q: What if a student loves music and lessons, but does not want to participate in performance classes, ensembles, musicales or concerts?

A: We are happy to teach any eager student and understand that a small number will prefer not to perform.

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Q: If my child doesn’t participate in performances, will the tuition be the same?

A: Yes.

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Q: Why do we have to pay a $100 deposit? What happens if we stop lessons before the end of the school year?

A: The deposit guarantees the student a spot in our schedule. The deposit is returned as a credit on your last (June) invoice of the school year.

If you stop lessons before the end of the school year, you forfeit the deposit. This allows us time to fill the vacated space.

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Q: Why is the CVM calendar different from the MCPS calendar?

A: We teach public, private and home-schooled students. Not all school calendars match MCPS.

Our fall semester begins the Wednesday after Labor Day, not in August when MCPS opens. This allows most students some breathing room to get settled in school before heading back to music lessons.

Our semester is 19 weeks long, followed by your make up lesson week. We balance out the lessons in the fall semester by teaching the Wednesday, Thursday and Friday students the first week of the semester. The Monday and Tuesday students receive their lessons during Thanksgiving week, when the Wednesday, Thursday and Friday students are off for the holiday.

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Q: Why are your winter and spring breaks two weeks long?

A: We need to allow ourselves at least one week of real vacation time. The other week is set aside to make up lessons if we have to cancel at any time for any reason during the semester. Your make up week is still at the end of each semester.

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Q: If there are few or no lessons in June, why am I charged for that month’s tuition?

A: The CVM Studio Policy states that tuition is charged in 10 equal monthly installments. Some music studios require payment in full prior to starting the school year. Since we begin in September and end in June, it seemed reasonable to break the full tuition into 10 equal installments. We try to look out for our families and decided to make paying as comfortable as possible. As always, we will accept payment in full if you prefer.

This year, 2014-2015, the spring semester ends on May 29 and the make up week is the first week of June. Our school year is exactly as long as it has always been. This is the first time in the history of CVM that the last date of scheduled lessons is not in June!

If you would feel more comfortable not making a June payment, we can adjust your monthly payments for 9 equal payments instead. Either way, your total tuition will remain the same.

(FYI: in 2003 we started September 8 and ended June 5 with the make up week ending June 12. The CVM calendar has been the same for more than 15 years, only the dates have shifted according to where they fall in the Gregorian calendar. Next year (2015) we start on September 7th, so we will teach further into the month of June.)

We know that our Studio Policy, Calendar and website contain a lot of information. Please feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns.

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