Guidelines and Policies

Please see below for the Nelly Berman School’s guidelines regarding

Tuition/Payment, Absences, Vacations/Holidays, Snow Days, Summer Lessons, Withdrawal, Accompaniment Fees

Welcome to the Nelly Berman School of Music! We hope your experience at our school will mold your child not only into a wonderful musician, but also into an adult who sets goals, perseveres through difficult tasks, and communicates effectively under pressure!

New families meet with our director, Elena Berman, for a free evaluation during which she is able to assess your child’s learning style and musical potential to better match the student with the right teacher. We feel that this unique approach of matching the right teacher for each individual student determines their future musical achievement.


Tuition and Payment Schedules 

1. New families have two trial lessons billed on an individual basis, during which time they can decide if the teacher and/or instrument is a good fit. If not, the student can try another teacher or instrument. If they decide to continue, they are enrolled from the point in the semester they start lesso

2. Families are automatically registered for lessons from semester to semester. 

3. Families are required to pay on a semester basis, without deducting lessons they did not take. (As outlined in Student Absences section below)

*All new families to the Nelly Berman School of Music will be charged an annual registration fee according to semester in which they enroll:

  • Fall (September – December): $120
  • Winter (January – March): $90
  • Spring (April –  June): $65
  • Summer (July – August): $0


4. Each family that takes lessons of 30 minutes or more, must make a Fall semester deposit payment of $350 PER STUDENT + $120 Annual registration fee (+$65 for each additional student/as part of Annual registration fee) Due by September 1st, either by check, exact cash, or paid by Zelle (610-213-3457 Elaine Berman).

***This payment covers: a) $350 deposit towards Fall semester tuition; b) Annual registration fee of $120 for the first student and $65 for each additional student.***

5. The registration fee also includes unlimited weekly performance class opportunities from September through May, and then in July and August. Performance classes allow students to practice performing in front of their peers and parents, which is very different than practicing at home or playing for their teacher at lessons. These classes include peer participation, promote self-confidence, and prepare students to perfect their pieces for their three yearly concert performances on the big stage and competitions.

6. The remainder after the initial payment that is due September 1st for Fall tuition is either due in full by Monday, September 26th, or due in three more installments receivable by Monday, September 26th, Monday, October 24th, and Monday, November 28th.

7. A late fee of $15 will be assessed if any payment is not received in full within a week of the due date. If you choose to pay in installments, please note that late fees can be assessed on multiple late installment payments.**


Student Absences (Number of Makeups Allowed Per Semester) 

  1. NBS aims to develop student’s musical skills, which come with lesson consistency, as well as with multiple lessons per week, for those students who are committed to musical excellence. Thus, our policy is that all lessons must be taken, and all lessons are to be made up. Improvement in playing only comes with weekly reinforcement of skills learned previously. Unlike success in academics, playing an instrument well requires consistent development of physical motor skills. Having two lessons a week is a proven way of exceptional physical dexterity and mastery.
  2. Please note that teachers will give only TWO makeups per semester for lessons missed by the student. To receive your two makeup lessons we must receive 24-HOUR NOTICE of cancellation unless it is an emergency situation. (Although our official policy for makeups is two per semester, if you let us know far enough in advance, our office will help you reschedule more lessons, if possible so that your child will not lose the lessons!) However, please note that teachers are not required to give more than two makeups per semester for student absences. 
  3. Makeup lessons for Fall and Winter Semesters must be taken in the semester they are missed or they are forfeited. To makeup missed lessons, either extra time can be added to the existing lessons, a teacher may offer to give a lesson on a different day, or substitute teachers may be brought in if necessary. Spring makeup lessons may be carried over into the summer, and extra time added to the existing summer lessons for which the student needs to register in order to receive extra time. 
  4. As teachers are contracted for a specific number of weeks per semester, all semester lessons must be paid for regardless of makeup lessons scheduled, even if a student is unable to make up a lesson during the current semester. In that case, the makeup can potentially be taken during an NBS semester break at the teacher’s discretion. Please keep in mind the beginning and ending dates of the NBS semester. Family vacations that conflict with those dates must still be made up.
  5. Chamber, orchestra, or group lessons missed by the student will not be made up. These lessons do not qualify for a makeup lesson and will not be deducted from your tuition. The teacher works with any number of students from the group who show up and still 

needs to be paid for her/his time. If ALL members of a chamber group are away at the same time AND notify the office more than 24 hours in advance, then the lesson will qualify for a makeup. 


Teacher Absences 

  1. In case of a teacher being absent for concerts for personal reasons, the lessons must still be paid for and the teacher will make up the lessons. 
  2. The teacher may choose to make up the missed lessons either by having the lesson another day in person or online, or by adding extra time to the existing lessons. We prefer makeups to be done during the semester in which the lessons were missed. If not possible, lessons can be made up during NBS breaks.


Family/School Vacations/Holidays 

Please keep in mind the beginning and ending dates of each NBS semester. Family vacations that conflict with those dates must still be made up. If you know in advance that you will be starting a semester late or leaving before the end of the semester, please notify the office in advance and work out makeup dates. Also, NBS does not observe ALL regular/school/federal holidays. 


NBS observed holidays: 

  • New Year’s Day, January 1st 
  • Memorial Day 
  • July 4th 
  • Thanksgiving (Thursday through Sunday following Sunday) 
  • Christmas, December 25th 


2022-2023 Semester Dates:

  • Fall: Wednesday September 7th – Saturday December 24th
  • Winter: Tuesday January 3rd – Sunday April 2nd
  • Spring: Monday April 10th – Sunday June 25th
  • Summer: Wednesday July 5th – Monday August 21st


Snow Days 

When the Nelly Berman School closes due to inclement weather, all lessons that day will take place ON LINE, and must be paid for.


Summer Lesson Policy 

The summer semester consists of 8 weeks. Families may choose to pre-register for a specific number of weeks around their vacations. These lessons must be pre-paid, and cannot be made up if missed unless given ample notice. If there are any makeups owed from previous semesters, those lessons need to be ADDED to existing planned summer lessons, as teachers need to come an extra time in the summer for those missed lessons.


Withdrawal Policy 

  1. Families who wish to withdraw during the middle of a semester (Fall, Winter, and Spring) understand and agree that they will give a two-week notice, and will be held financially responsible for those two weeks of lessons. During those two weeks, the family may try another teacher at the school or another instrument. 
  2. Families and students understand and agree that, even if they withdraw from the Nelly Berman School of Music, they cannot ask any member(s) of the Nelly Berman School faculty to teach them privately. 
  3. If you withdraw in the middle of a semester and have already paid in full, you will get a refund for the lessons after the two-week notice is up. 


Accompanist Fees

Below are accompanist’s rates for rehearsals in preparation for concerts. All pieces written with a piano or orchestral accompaniment must be performed with a piano accompaniment at our performance classes and concerts. The family needs to provide the piano accompaniment score scanned to a week before the rehearsal and bring a hard copy to the rehearsal.


Regular Accompanist Rates: $43/30 min  $66/45 min  $81/1 hour

Master Accompanist Rates: $48/30 min  $71/45 min  $86/1 hour

Performance fees at Performance Classes: Between $7-14 Depending on Level (Subject to Change)

Performance fees for NBS Concerts: $10-16 Depending on Level (Subject to Change)

Performance fees for non-NBS Competitions: $95 (does not include rehearsal)


*PERFORMANCE CLASSES are offered weekly throughout the year on Saturdays, and periodically on a weekday if families notify the office that Saturdays do not work for them. Students are welcome to sign up for as many of these classes as they want to, with their teacher’s approval. Sign-up sheets are SENT TO THE WHOLE SCHOOL, AS A LINK TO A FORM TO REGISTER. 

These informal performances, in front of a small group of peers and parents, in the NBS Recital Room are meant to encourage students to have a goal of practicing with more focus and diligence while they are learning a piece. Students who participate learn various performance skills which help them control or prevent their performance anxiety. Students that perform frequently are able to hone their memorization skills, and figure out what works and does not work at a given performance. This continuous self-evaluation allows students the freedom to reach musical expression under pressure.

Students can repeat the same piece at different performance classes as a way to improve the initial performance, or get ready for a competition. These performances should not be thought of as concerts, but rather a possibility to improve their playing.  These classes are led by a faculty member who gives brief constructive suggestions to each student, and asks for feedback from the other students who are performing there as well. Student participation is also part of the learning process for each participant, as each is trying to pinpoint what makes a successful performance from their point of view. The feedback from peers is quite helpful for young students, and these classes help music students form friendships.



*We welcome our students to participate in our ‘Rising Stars’ concerts, occurring twice annually – in December and June. These concerts take place in a large 200-seat auditorium at St. Luke United Methodist Church in Bryn Mawr. We encourage our students to participate in at least two performance classes in preparation for these concerts in a more formal setting on the big stage.

We encourage our students to compete at our Annual Celebration of the Arts Competition. This year’s competition will take place on January 14th at the Nelly Berman School of Music. Students receive judges comments, with a score up to 25 Points, and are given a placing of either Platinum. Gold, Silver Plus, Silver, or a Bronze award. Winners concerts take place at the Neumann University. The Gala Concert features ballet dancers from the International Ballet Classique, and art students from the Main Line Arts Center.

We invite our students to participate in our Practice-a-Thon in November where students compete for prizes for number of minutes/hours they practice and also help raise money for our scholarship program by getting sponsors to support their practicing.

Students can hone their technical skills in our Spring Studies and Scales Competition on Line.

We look forward to hearing our students improve their skills and develop excellent musical understanding of what music is all about!


If you have any questions about your child’s music lessons and their progress, please do not hesitate to make an appointment with Elena Berman to discuss how to help better develop your child’s potential.