View step-by-step instructions for registering online. 

Click the button below to register:


If you have a question or need any assistance with registration, financial aid, or billing, Student Services is here for you. Please contact us at [email protected] with any questions or stop by office 101 in Merit’s West Loop music center. We’re currently experiencing an influx of registrations and requests, so please expect a response within 2-4 business days. Thanks for your patience!


Tuesdays – Thursdays, 3:30-6:30pm.

We’re also available for in-person appointments by request! To request an in-person or phone appointment with a Student Services Associate, please email [email protected] with your preferred availability, and someone will respond to coordinate your appointment. Thank you for your patience and understanding in advance!

Forgot your password or which email address you used when you registered? Not a problem!

You can reset your password here.

If you’ve also forgotten which email address is on your account, email us at [email protected], and we can email you temporary login information

Is there a registration fee?
Yes, there is a non-refundable registration fee of $30 per student for each Academic Year that must be paid in full at the time of enrollment. The registration fee for Summer Session is $15. The Alice S. Pfaelzer Conservatory registration fee is $200. Conservatory registration fees may be eligible for payment plans. However, we are not able to prorate these fees for early withdrawals.

If Merit cancels a program or class, your registration fee will be refunded in full.

All registrations (group classes, private lessons, or Early Childhood classes) made after the registration deadline will incur a $15 late fee in addition to the base registration fee.

  • Academic Year 2022/23 deadline: September 10
  • Spring Semester 2023 deadline: January 14

How do I pay?
Payments are accepted by check, money order, credit card (MasterCard, Visa, or Discover), or cash. Credit card payments may be made online or over the phone. Automatic credit card deductions can be made to your account monthly.

When are payments due?
Registration fees are due in full at the time of registration. Tuition is due prior to the start of the program. Payment plans are available and must be set up at the time of registration. For private lessons, a registration fee and a deposit for the first four lessons are due before lessons can begin. Failure to pay within the billing schedule may result in program interruption.

Do you offer payment plans?
Yes! We’re happy to offer payment plans for music classes and lessons. During your online registration, you’ll have the option to choose a “Select a Payment Option”. Select “Payment plan with $X due now”. Simply pay the amount due (i.e. your registration fee) by credit card or electronic check.

Once you’ve paid the registration fee, your outstanding invoice will be updated with your new payment plan. You have the option of receiving a monthly invoice for manual payments or scheduling automatic credit card payments. See below for more information on auto-payment. Need help? Contact us at [email protected].

Families are responsible for all installments of their payment plans—even if students withdraw from programming early. We are not able to prorate tuition fees for early withdrawals. Non-payment of payment plan fees could result in additional requests for payments, suspension of services, and referral of accounts to a collection agency.

How do I sign up for auto-payment?
Signing up to have your monthly installments charged automatically is easy! If you already have a card saved to your account, simply email us at [email protected] confirming the last four digits of the card you’d like to use, and we’ll set your monthly payment plan up to charge that card automatically each month until the end of the session. If you don’t have a card saved to your account, head to the “Billing Info” section of your Merit account, add a card, email us at [email protected] with the last four digits of that new card, and we’ll get your payment plan set up to charge automatically to save you the hassle going forward.

What happens if I fail to pay?
Merit is dedicated to working with families to satisfy payment obligations including, but not limited to, offering financial aid and creating payment plans, so students can remain enrolled in programming. Accounts that fall into arrears without communication to Student Services or installment arrangements may be sent to collections. Students’ participation may be interrupted if accounts fall behind in payment. Applications with unpaid registration or private lesson deposits cannot be processed.

We’re dedicated to providing access to music education through the award of financial aid to eligible families. Aid is based on a sliding scale of up to 75% of tuition. 

Please note that while Merit desires to provide as much aid as possible, it is a limited resource and is awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. 

How do I apply for financial aid?

Please fill out our online financial aid application after you register for your class or lessons. If you are unable to provide a tax return, please inquire with Student Services about alternative documentation.

When will my financial aid be applied?
Once approved, your financial aid will be applied once you have paid the $30 registration fee for the Academic Year (or $15 for the Summer Session), and, if applicable, the deposit for the first four private lessons.

How often do I need to submit my financial aid documents?
In order for us to maintain a fair and equitable process, families must resubmit their financial aid documents annually. Student Services will keep your documents on file for one full calendar year. Due to limited resources, submitting your documents does not guarantee your child will receive financial aid. Many factors are taken into consideration.

Are new students eligible to receive financial aid?
New students can receive financial aid if their family’s tax return deems them eligible and if financial aid funds are still available. As noted above, financial aid is a limited resource and is awarded on a first come, first served basis.

What would prevent a student from receiving financial aid?

There are a variety of reasons why a student might not receive financial aid:

  • Household income exceeds the threshold to qualify for financial aid
  • All of Merit’s financial aid has been distributed and there are no more funds available
  • Registration fees and private lesson deposits were not received by Student Services

For questions or more information regarding financial aid, please email Student Services at [email protected] or call 312-786-9428.

Merit’s instrument rental program is administered through the Glasser-Rosenthal Library. The rental program is open to students who are currently enrolled and receiving financial aid. Please note that rentals are subject to availability, so you are encouraged to see the librarian about instrument needs soon after completing your class or lesson registration! Learn more about renting instruments.

How do I request to rent an instrument?
To rent an instrument, fill out an Instrument Rental Inquiry or email [email protected] to find out if your instrument is available.

How much does renting an instrument cost?
Academic Year 2022 – 2023 Rental Fee = $50 – $200 (sliding scale, based on financial aid)


Tuesday – Thursday: 4:00 – 6:30 pm
Friday: By Appointment
Saturday: 9:00 am – 2:00 pm

Library support is always available by appointment! Please email us at least 2 business days in advance to schedule your appointment. Contact us at [email protected].

Please be sure to obtain your instrument prior to the start of classes!

PLEASE NOTE: As of December 1, the deadline to drop or change your spring semester schedule without penalty is January 14.

Group classes (Instrument & Vocal Music)
We encourage all families to register early for your recommended group class to secure your spot and then contact your respective program manager or director to inquire about schedule changes. Your program director can help determine if there’s availability during another class time that works better for your schedule or if your child should be placed in a different class due to skill level.

Private lessons
When registering for Merit’s private lessons, keep in mind that enrollments span the full academic year: fall, spring, and summer semesters. If needed, day, time, and length changes can be made to your private lesson package at any time. If you wish to change the length of your lesson, you must submit this request in writing to the Student Services Department. Lessons can only be cancelled during the drop/add window between semesters.

How do I withdraw from classes?
All requests for withdrawal must be received by your respective program manager or director, in writing, before being considered withdrawn. Verbal requests to withdraw do not fulfill this requirement. Notifying the teacher does not constitute notice of withdrawal. The effective date of withdrawal is the date that the written notice is received, not the last date of the class or private lesson attended. Students receiving financial aid or scholarship forfeit their award upon withdrawal.

Withdrawals: Private lessons
Students who wish to withdraw from lessons must notify both their private teacher and the private lesson coordinator in writing.

Refunds: Group classes (Instrumental & Vocal Music) and summer camps/workshops

The refund policy is as follows:

  • Students withdrawing more than two days before the first class/lesson will receive a full tuition refund, minus the registration fee.
  • A pro-rated refund will be given to withdrawing students who have taken up to three classes.
  • If the student has taken four classes, a tuition refund of 50% will be given.
  • If a student has taken five classes or more, no refund will be given.
  • Students registering for classes that are six weeks or less in program duration are not eligible for a refund after the start date.
  • Students withdrawing from payment plans are still subject to the above refund policies.
  • Registration fees are non-refundable.
  • Please allow three to four weeks for the processing of refunds

Refunds: Private lessons

Attendance is expected at all scheduled lessons. We are unable to provide refunds, credits, or make-ups for any lessons missed by students. If your teacher cancels a lesson, they will work with you to reschedule the lesson.

Refunds: Early Childhood classes

The refund policy is as follows:

  • Families withdrawing more than two days before the first scheduled class are eligible for a full credit or refund, minus an administrative fee of $45.
  • Families who withdraw within the first three weeks of their scheduled class date/time are eligible for a prorated credit to their account. Full refunds are not available after the start of the semester.
  • Credits will not be issued past the third week of the semester.
  • Annual Membership withdrawals made prior to the two semester commitment will incur a $200 cancellation fee.

Cancellations: Group classes (Instrumental & Vocal Music), Early Childhood classes, and summer camps/workshops
While this is unusual, classes or programs may be canceled due to insufficient enrollment. If this occurs, the school will make every effort to reschedule the student for another class at a convenient time. If this is not possible, you will receive a full refund including both tuition and registration fees.


Make sure to let your teacher know you won’t be in class by filling out the absence form that pertains to your program. Please keep in contact with your program manager if you have questions or concerns.



Missed classes:

  • Need to miss a class? Please contact the Early Childhood program manager as soon as possible to find alternative class times that you would be able to attend.
  • Any student who misses three consecutive classes without alerting the Early Childhood program administration may be removed from the class roster.

Make-up classes:

  • A total of two make-up classes per semester are permitted so that students can bond and the class culture can grow.
  • In order to prevent over-booking any singular class, please do not attend a make-up class without first contacting the Early Childhood program manager.
  • All make-up classes must be completed by the last week of the semester.

Music Masters 2 families:

  • In order to stay current with the curriculum from week to week, please plan your make-up classes to take place within the same week as the class you intend to miss.

If you plan to discontinue your class


  • Attendance is expected at all group classes. We are unable to schedule make-up classes or provide credits for missed classes.
  • Students are allowed up to three absences per semester and can be taken for any reason. Please let us know when your child will be absent by filling out our absence form.
  • If your student is marked “tardy” to class three times, it will be considered the equivalent of one absent day and will count against your three day allowance.
  • If your student will be performing in a concert, attendance is mandatory for the dress rehearsal and the concert. Students are also required to attend the first day of a new semester. Absences are not allowed on any of these mandatory attendance days.
  • Merit may dismiss any student from group classes who has three consecutive absences without notification; who has exceeded their absence allotment; who is consistently tardy; or who fails to adhere to their payment schedule.


  • Students are expected to be present and on time for all private lessons. There are no excused absences for private lessons.
  • As a courtesy, if a student is unable to attend a scheduled lesson, please contact your instructor directly at least 24 hours in advance. If the instructor cancels the lesson or is late, the teacher is responsible for making up that lesson time. We are unable to provide refunds, credits, or make-ups for any lessons missed by students.
  • Merit may dismiss any student from private lessons with three consecutive absences without notification; who has a pattern of absences; who is consistently tardy; or who fails to adhere to their payment schedule


  • Students are expected to be present and on time at all Conservatory activities.
  • If needed, students may take up to four absences per year.
  • In the case of planned absences, you must fill out an absence form at least one week in advance.
  • If your child has an emergency and must be absent unexpectedly, please call or email your program manager or director to inform us as soon as possible. You will still be asked to fill out an absence form for documentation.
  • An absence from any Conservatory class counts as one full day of absence.
  • If a student is marked tardy to a class on three separate occasions, that will result in one full absence on their attendance record.
  • A student may not be absent on a mandatory attendance day (noted in the Conservatory calendar).
  • Students who do not meet the attendance requirements of the program may be asked to leave the Conservatory (this may affect their financial aid award eligibility in Merit’s Private Lesson Program).

Our address is:

Merit School of Music
Joy Faith Knapp Music Center
38 South Peoria St.
Chicago, IL 60607

Merit is easily accessible by car, public transportation, and rideshare. However, parking in our West Loop neighborhood is extremely limited and our parking lot is for permit parking only.

Due to the limited space in our lot, parking is strictly enforced and vehicles will be towed at the owner’s expense. There are two 30-minute visitor parking spots available to guests who check in at the front desk.

Parking options include metered street parking around Merit as well as nearby paid public parking lots. We recommend using SpotHero to conveniently find a parking spot.

Merit has moved to masks recommended for all visitors. Proof of vaccination is no longer required.

Please note: Merit’s COVID safety team will continue to monitor conditions and could make the decision to return to more conservative COVID mitigation measures if and when deemed necessary.

Read about our rules and protocols for staying safe while making music here.

Questions? Email [email protected] for help.

The safety of students, families, faculty, staff, and all visitors to the Joy Faith Knapp Music Center is of the utmost importance to the Merit School of Music.

In cases of inclement weather or emergency situations, Merit will actively monitor the situation and keep you up-to-date on the status of classes via the email on your Merit account. In urgent situations, we may also text or call the phone number on file.

You can also check www.meritmusic.org or www.emergencyclosingcenter.com for updates at any time.

Please always use your discretion if you personally believe your commute to be unsafe and report any absences to your teacher and/or program manager/director as soon as possible by filling out an absence form.

In order to ensure we can get in contact with you in emergency situations, always make sure your contact information is up-to-date on your Merit account at ASAP.com.

Merit School of Music’s EIN is: 36-3028768

Need help making a donation? Contact [email protected]