Private Lessons

New Students

Welcome!  Private lessons can be started at any time of the year.  Please read through the information below to learn more about how private lessons work at the Center for Irish Music.  

If you are ready to get started, please go to our online registration site! There, you can fill out a Lesson Inquiry Form. You will need to be prepared with the following information: 

If you have additional questions before you can fill out the inquiry form, please contact our Registration Coordinator and Administrative Associate, Lily Gaetgaeow at and she will get back to you promptly.

Returning / Continuing Private Students

Returning students need to re-register every term.

Cost of Private Lessons

30 minute private lesson $32.00 ($28.80)*
45 minute private lesson $48.00 ($43.20)
60 minute private lesson $64.00 ($57.60)

*Students registered in ensembles receive a lower rate on private lessons, equal to a 10% discount, since private lessons are required.

Cost of Semi-Private Lessons

30 minute semi-private lesson $20.00 per student
45 minute semi-private lesson $27.00 per student
60 minute semi-private lesson $35.00 per student

Note: the CIM does not match students up for semi-private lessons. If you are interested in semi-private lessons, you must find a lesson partner yourself!


We accept payment by credit card through your student portal (see upper right-hand link on any page on the website) or by check, by mail or the drop box directly outside the CIM office. 

Required Items for All Students

  • An instrument
  • A recording device
  • Small notebook

Note: The Center does have a few instruments available for loan. Please contact us if you are in need of an instrument. 

Registration Fee

All Center for Irish Music students must pay an annual registration fee upon registration in the Fall. The fees are $20 per student. The registration fee is valid from September to September. Registration fees are not eligible for discounts.

Discounts and Reduced Rates

Multi-family member discount: When you register by the registration deadline each term, each member of your immediate family will receive a 5% discount on any CIM class or lesson for that same term.

Ensemble Member Private Lesson Rate: Students enrolled in any of our ensembles, youth or adult, receive a lower rate on their private lessons (requal to a 10% discount). Adult and intermediate ensemble students are required take lessons at least every other week on their primary ensemble instrument. Advanced Youth and Starling Ensemble students are required to take weekly lessons on their primary ensemble instrument. 

How do Private Lessons Work at the CIM?

CIM offers private lessons and group classes in three terms:

Fall term - 17 weeks long, September through January
Spring term - 16 weeks long, February through June
Summer term - 10 weeks long, mid-June through August

All term dates and important events can always be found on our calendar page.

CIM offers private lessons on a weekly schedule. Lessons on an “every-other-week” schedule (EOW) are available depending on instructor availability.

Update for Fall 2021: We are currently offering lessons and classes both online and in person. Please see our policies page and read through our COVID-19 Preparedness Plan for more details. For online lessons and online group classes, you will receive a link from your instructor on the first day, shortly before class begins.

General Private Lesson Registration Information

New students can register for private lessons at any time during the year! Students who register in the middle of the term will be scheduled until the end of the current term. Continuing students must re-register each term (Fall, Spring or Summer) for a new series of private lessons. We will usually contact you to see if you would like to continue. The private lesson registration process starts 6-8 weeks ahead of the start of the next term via email.

Every Week lessons
The most popular option for our students - taking lessons every week of the term. Weekly students are allowed to reschedule up to one lesson per term, as long as 24-hour notice is given to both, and ideally your instructor directly.

Every-Other-Week (EOW) lessons
Based on instructor availability, EOW students choose from a schedule of every other week. These EOW schedules are set by CIM around breaks, etc., to most fairly split the lessons between two students who share a lesson time. Once the lesson dates are finalized, you are expected to attend those lessons. EOW students are allowed to reschedule one lesson per term, as long as 24-hour notice is given to both, and ideally, your instructor directly.

Every Week vs. Every-Other-Week (EOW): Why Weekly Lessons are Better Value
Our instructors recommend weekly lessons over EOW lessons for most students. Over 14 years of offering private lessons and group lessons, we have consistently seen better progress, happier and more satisfied students with more regular lessons, particularly in the first 5-8 years of learning Irish music, and in younger students.

Here's why: The regular, weekly activity creates a space in your life and mind for your music. If you commit to weekly lessons, your instructor is also able to dedicate more of his or her non-active teaching time to thinking about you and your musical development. For students who are new to the genre, or to an instrument, weekly lessons also means that you don't go too far down a "rabbit hole" with a bad habit that could cause you to have to go back and rework a tune, song or exercise. If finances are an issue, we recommend taking lessons every week for one term over taking EOW lessons over two terms. For adults in particular, you are the best judge about how you learn. We certainly have students who thrive with an every-other-week lesson schedule. If you are organized and a dedicated practicer/player, EOW lessons could work well for you. Most of our instructors prefer not to teach EOW lessons to young students.

How long should my lessons be?
We recommend:

  • 30 minutes for beginning to intermediate students learning one instrument
  • 45 minutes for intermediate-advanced students OR students working on two instruments
  • 60 minutes for advanced students working on more than one instrument

What if I only want to take one lesson?
Our instructors' busiest times, from 5:00-8:00pm, Monday-Thursday are reserved for regular students (weekly or EOW); however, we love meeting people from out of town, and are happy to take special requests! Private lessons on an irregular schedule are available depending on instructor availability.  Contact us at to inquire and to set up a lesson with one of our amazing instructors!

Attendance & Cancellation

Students and the instructors agree to the number and length of private lessons per trimester. (See information above "General Private Lesson Information")

If a lesson must be missed for medical or emergency reasons, a 24-hour notice is required* or the student will be charged for the lesson. Call or email the Center for Irish Music at 651-815-0083 or to give your 24-hour notice.

*Please note that out of respect for instructors' schedules, a maximum of one rescheduled lesson (lessons cancelled with 24-hour notice) is allowed per term for all private and semi-private lessons. Make-up lessons (rescheduled lessons) must take place within that term or the student forfeits the lessons. When an instructor cancels a lesson, he or she will take responsibility for rescheduling a make-up lesson with the student during make-up week (at the end of the term), or at another time.

How do I reschedule a private lesson?

To reschedule a private lesson, please contact, call 651-815-0083 or talk to your instructor. 24-hour notice is needed for rescheduling. If you reschedule with less than 24 hours notice, you must pay for your lesson and you forfeit the opportunity to reschedule.

How do I contact my instructor?
Email your instructor directly and please be sure to “cc” (see above). Admin needs to be notified of cancellations and advance reschedules. CIM instructors all have a CIM email address. It is the first initial of his or her first name followed by the surname. For example, Norah Rendell's email address is If you would like to contact your instructor, use that email address and/or discuss with them an alternative email address during your lesson.

This is only a partial list of policies. Please read through our full policies on the policies page.