Click the button below to browse open classes and register:

If you prefer to register with a Student Services Representative, please visit us during open hours in Room 101.

Monday – Thursday: 2:30 pm – 6:30 pm
Friday: CLOSED
Saturday: 9:00 am – 1:30 pm
Sunday: CLOSED

Student Services is also available by appointment! Please email us at least 2 business days in advance to schedule your appointment.

312-786-9428  |  studentservices@meritmusic.org

Who do I talk to if I need to change my group class schedule?

We encourage all families to register for their recommended group class to secure their spot and then contact the respective program director to inquire about schedule changes.

Is there a registration fee?

Yes, a non-refundable registration fee of $30 per student applies to each academic year and $15 for the summer session. The Alice S. Pfaelzer Tuition-free Conservatory registration fee is $125. If Merit cancels a program or class the registration fee will be refunded in full.

How do I pay?

Payments are accepted by check, money order, credit card (MasterCard, Visa, Discover, or American Express) or cash. Credit card payments may be made online or over the phone. Automatic credit card deductions can be made to your account monthly. For more information about online payment and automatic payment plans, please contact Student Services.

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 plus a deposit of the first four lessons are due before lessons can begin. Failure to pay within the billing schedule may result in program interruption.

What happens if I fail to pay?

Applications with unpaid registration or private lesson deposits will not be processed. Accounts that fall into arrears without installment arrangements may be sent to collections. Students’ participation will be interrupted if accounts fall behind in payment.

What is the withdrawal procedure?

All requests for withdrawal must be received by the program manager of the respective department, in writing, before considered withdrawn.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 class or private lesson attended. Students receiving financial aid or scholarship forfeit their award upon withdrawal.

What is the refund policy for Instrumental & Vocal Music and Early Childhood programs?

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 (3) classes.
  •  If the student has taken 4 classes, a tuition refund of 50% will be given.
  • If a student has taken 5 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 start date.
  • Students withdrawing on payment plans are subject to the above refund policies.
  • Registration fees are non-refundable.
  • Please allow three to four weeks for processing of refunds

What is the refund policy for private lessons?

If you didn’t receive lessons that were paid for but were not taken due to instructor absence, Student Services will credit your account appropriately at the end of the semester when attendance is reviewed.

Cancellations: Group Classes (Instrumental & Vocal Music)

While this is unusual, classes 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. Band small group cancellations may offer the option for the student to enroll in private lessons in place of the group at an equal tuition rate.

Cancellations: Private Lessons

Students who wish to withdraw from lessons must notify their private teacher as well as the private lesson manager.

Financial aid is extremely limited and awarded on a first come, first served basis.

How do I apply for financial aid?

Please fill out our online financial aid application or submit a copy of your 1040 tax return (2018) or other documents reflective of your household income to Student Services at studentservices@meritmusic.org or in-person in room 101 or 102. If you are unable to provide a tax return, please inquire with Student Services about alternative documentation.

When will my financial aid be applied?

Turning in your 1040 tax return does not mean that you will automatically receive aid. Your financial aid will only be applied once you have provided the $30 registration fee for the Academic Year ($15 Summer Session), and if applicable, paid for the first four private lessons.

How often do I need to submit my financial aid documents?

Families must resubmit their financial aid documents annually. Student Services will keep your financial aid on file for one full calendar year. Submitting your documents does not guarantee your student will receive financial aid. Students must provide the registration fee or deposit for private lessons in order to be considered for financial aid. 

Are new students eligible to receive financial aid?

New students can receive financial aid if their tax return deems them eligible, and if financial aid funds are still available (financial aid is extremely limited and 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 (listed below):

  • Household income exceeds 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 collected by Student Services

For questions or more information regarding financial aid, please email Student Services at studentservices@meritmusic.org 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 class registration!

Academic Year 2019 – 2020 Rental Fee: $37 – $170 (sliding scale, based on financial aid)

You can submit an application to rent an instrument here.


Missed classes:

  • Any student who misses three consecutive classes without alerting the Early Childhood Program Manager or teacher may be removed from the class roster.
  • Please contact the Early Childhood Program Manager as soon as possible to find alternative class times that you would be able to attend.

Make-up classes:

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

Music Master 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:


  • Students are allowed up to 3 absences per semester and can be taken for any reason
  • Though you are not required to report absences, please do let your teacher and/or Program Manager know whenever your student will be absent whenever possible
  • 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 3-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.


  • There are no excused absences for private lessons.
  • Students are expected to be present and on time to all private lessons. Families are responsible for payment of all lessons whether or not the student is in attendance.
  • Private lesson teachers are not required to reschedule lessons due to student absences or tardiness. However, make-up lessons can be given with instructor discretion.
  • As a courtesy, if a student is unable to attend a scheduled lesson, please contact the individual 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.
  • 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 must arrive on time and attend all classes each week.

If you know your child will be absent in advance:

  • Fill out an Absence Approval Form at least two weeks in advance and return the form to the front desk or Conservatory Director. The form is also available throughout the year in the Student Services office or at the front desk.

If your child is absent unexpectedly:

  • Please call immediately so that we are aware of the student’s whereabouts and follow-up with the Absence Approval Form.

Examples of excused absences:

  • Musical performance
  • Academic requirement
  • Observance of a religious holiday
  • Student illness
  • Family emergency

Examples of unexcused absences:

  • Athletic events
  • Oversleeping
  • Too much homework

Failure to submit an Absence Approval Form or to phone in an unplanned absence may result in an “unexcused” absence.  After one unexcused absence or three excused absences, the student and his/her parents will be called in for a meeting.  At this time the student’s future in the program will be determined. Any student asked to leave the program may have his/her Private Lesson Passport revoked.

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.

How does the automatic re-enrollment program work?

Students who join the automatic re-enrollment program will simply need to complete their formal registration once and then your spot in class is secured in perpetuity (or until you tell us you’d like to cancel).  Your credit card will be charged at the start of each 10-week session and all future paperwork and registration hassle will be taken care of for you!

What are the benefits of automatic re-enrollment?

Discounted tuition

Students enrolled in the automatic re-enrollment program receive a 10% discount on class tuition!

Reserved/Priority spots in class

Students who participate in automatic re-enrollment will be enrolled in upcoming classes before registration opens to the general public.  This means that your student will have “first dibs” on their preferred class time- no more losing a spot in your favorite class simply because someone else completed their registration before you!

Skip the paperwork

Once you join the automatic re-enrollment program, your job is done!  Skip the paperwork and hassle of enrolling for classes every 10 weeks- we’ll take care of the work for you.

What if I want to move to a new class for the upcoming session?

You will be contacted by the Early Childhood Program administration a few weeks before the start of each upcoming session to confirm your student’s preferred class schedule.  You will be welcome to change your class day and time if needed and will also be able to move into the next level class if your student will be graduating to the next age range.

I love the idea of this program- how do I join?

All registrations for Merit’s Early Childhood Program will default to the automatic re-enrollment program.  Your credit card will be charged automatically at the start of each session for the registration fee (assessed once per academic year and once per summer) and class tuition (minus the 10% discount).  You are responsible for letting Merit know if you wish to discontinue classes and automatic payments.

What happens if I fail to keep my credit card information current in my account?

You must keep a valid credit card number on file to participate in the automatic re-enrollment program.  If your credit card number changes or expires and you fail to proactively update your account information at Merit, your student will be automatically withdrawn from the auto-enroll program and will no longer receive the priority registration benefits and tuition discounts associated with the program.

What happens if I choose to discontinue Early Childhood classes at Merit?

You must alert Merit’s Student Services Department in writing at least two weeks in advance of when you would like to discontinue your participation in the automatic re-enrollment program.  Students who choose to discontinue within their first 7 or 10-week session of classes will have the 10% tuition discount billed back to their credit card.  Students who have attended at least two full, consecutive 7 or 10-week class sessions will be able to keep their 10% tuition discount but will be held to the following refund schedule:

  • 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 (3) classes.
  • If the student has taken 4 classes, a tuition refund of 50% will be given.
  • If a student has taken 5 classes or more, no refund will be given.
  • Registration fees are non-refundable.
  • Please allow three to four weeks for processing of refunds

Students withdrawing from Early Childhood classes are subject to the rules and regulations outlined in Merit School of Music Enrollment Policies.

What if I don’t want to participate in the automatic re-enrollment program?  What are my alternative registration options?

Merit also offers per-term registration.  You are welcome to register for each 7 or 10-week session of Early Childhood classes individually however you will not be eligible for the automatic renewal tuition discounts and class spots will be subject to availability.  You will need to complete a new class registration for every session in which your student participates.