Preparatory Program Policies, Procedures & Protocols


Because of limited space in the music building, preparatory students are not permitted use of the practice rooms or all facilities other than at registered lessons. The Shepherd School of Music and Rice University also do not allow Rice students to use our facility for private teaching except those registered through the Preparatory Program. In the beginning of every semester, students registered for private lessons through the our program are issued Preparatory ID cards. During the weekly lessons that are in the Shepherd School of Music practice rooms, Preparatory Program student must display his/her valid Prep ID together with his/her Preparatory Program Instructor’s valid IDs at the window. The Shepherd School of Music hall monitors have the authority to remove unauthorized private teaching without proper displays of IDs from our practice rooms.


The student must demonstrate through attitude and performance both a willingness to work hard and a determination to achieve full potential. Students who fail to display such attitude or exhibit poor behavior towards either his/her teacher, fellow students, or administrators, either during lessons, classes, coaching sessions, or while inside or around the building, can be expelled without further notice. Parents and chaperones are expected to set examples of good behavior to their children and follow our policies and procedures while on campus. Parents with poor attitude and behavior towards either teachers, other students, administrators, or any members of the Rice community, can cause their child and family to lose membership in our program without further notice.

Supervision of children

The safety of children attending the Michael P. Hammond Preparatory Program is important to all of us. Knowing that the world we live in is not always a safe place for children, and that our facility was designed for adult students, not with children in mind, the Rice Office of General Council prepared the following policy for the Preparatory Program, which is our official policy.

Children should never be left unsupervised in the music building. It is a very busy public place, and other visitors to the campus frequently pass through the building. A parent or caregiver should always accompany any child to his or her classroom. After the lesson the parent or caregiver should promptly pick up his or her child. Please work out a specific routine with your child from parent to teacher and the reverse. Neither the Shepherd School of Music nor the Michael P. Hammond Preparatory Program is responsible for children left unattended within Alice Pratt Brown Hall.

“Children should never be left unsupervised” means that parents are to remain in the building and close at hand while their children are taking lessons, classes, or coaching sessions. Many parents remain in the lesson observing the child’s lessons. Sometimes it is preferable for the parent to wait outside the room during the session. Some children do better this way, and the teacher and parent should decide what is best. It is the parent’s responsibility to meet the child after the lesson. If a parent leaves the building, the teacher is not responsible for the child after the lesson, class, or coaching is over. Most of the time teachers have scheduled back-to-back activities, and they cannot wait for a parent who is running late to pick up a child. If you must leave the building during a child’s lesson, please make arrangements with another responsible adult, other than the teacher or coach, to care for your child should you not be able to return as expected. Your cooperation in this matter will help to insure a safe and happy experience for all.

Parking at Alice Pratt Brown Hall

All visitors, faculty, staff, and students pay for parking on campus. There are machines at all entrances to the parking, which ask a driver to insert a credit card (American Express, Discover, Master Card, or VISA). This opens the gate. Upon leaving, the visitor inserts the same credit card, and the gate will open again. The computer calculates the time, and the charge is billed to the owner of the card. The first 15 minutes of parking at the lot in front of the Shepherd School of Music is free (West Lot 1) although you still must have a credit card to use it. Parking costs $1 for each additional 30 minutes after the initial 15 minutes. For more information please visit our website on Parking.


Regular attendance is expected. Make-up lessons are not guaranteed if the student incurs absence. In case of teacher absence, the teacher will arrange make-ups. In case of excessive absences or rescheduling of lesson times, the administrator should be informed. In the case of excessive teacher absences, the teacher’s employment may be terminated. There should be no more than two rescheduled absences per semester. The student’s private teacher determines whether or not an absence is valid and should be rescheduled. Non-valid absences result in forfeit of the lesson.


Students who have been in the program for a full school year of two semesters are expected to play a jury. Some exceptions to this may be made for students who are studying with a Shepherd School Faculty member, or students who will not be returning the following fall.


At the end of the school year, in late April or early May, preparatory teachers will be asked to evaluate each student they have taught. If the teacher decides a student should not continue with the Preparatory Program, the teacher will complete an evaluation form stating the reasons, and the prep office will notify the student. Failure to adhere to the standards mentioned above is cause for a student to be dropped from the preparatory program.

Tardiness and make-up lessons

Two rescheduled lessons (for valid reasons only) will be allowed per semester, if notice is given to the teacher at least twenty-four hours prior to the originally scheduled lesson. For all scheduling and absence issues, please call the teacher and not the preparatory office.

Students should be on time for lessons. The clock in the lounge area of the Shepherd School is the standard of time that is used. Please do not expect the teacher to extend the lesson time to make up for your tardiness. In most cases there are other prep students or activities scheduled for the next hour. It is not fair to those students to postpone the beginning of their scheduled lessons because someone coming earlier was tardy.

Teachers have been instructed to wait 15 minutes for a student to arrive before proceeding to the next scheduled activity. If the student does not arrive within this time period, then the lesson may be forfeited depending upon the judgment and schedule of the instructor.

Teachers are also expected to be on time for lessons. If the teacher is late, the time will be made up. If you are experiencing frequent teacher tardiness, please let the administrator know about this.

Tuition and fees

Students must pay tuition in full in advance for the semester. A registration fee of $25 is charged for each semester of registration. Families with more than one child in the program are charged only one registration fee per semester. A $50 late registration fee will be charged for each students registering after the registration date listed on the registration form. There is a $10 replacement fee to replace lost ID cards.


Tuition and fees must be paid in full at the time of registration. A check is the only method of payment accepted. Checks must be made out to RICE UNIVERSITY. Payments and accompanying forms should be mailed to:

Rice University
Michael P. Hammond Preparatory Program
The Shepherd School of Music - MS 532
P.O. Box 1892 Houston, TX 77251-1892
Do not send cash in the mail.

Checks for an incorrect amount (not the full payment) will be returned to the sender, and the student will not be registered until the correct amount has been received. Checks received after the deadline (date given on the registration form) will be charged a $50 late fee. Students registering late may lose their place in the preparatory program, and will have to reapply in a subsequent semester. Nonnegotiable checks, for whatever reason, families will be assessed a $50 fine. The school reserves the right to refuse personal checks from families who have previously paid with nonnegotiable items.

Refund policy

The following steps should be taken if a refund has been granted: The refund request must be made in writing (mail or email) and mailed to the Preparatory Administrator. The request should contain the reasons that the refund is being sought. The cost for any lessons that have taken place, along with the registration fee, which is not refundable, and the penalty fee will be deducted from the refund. Students will be held responsible for lessons they have missed, if they have not notified the teacher in advance of the lesson. These lessons will not be refunded.


Through the generosity of the Olshan Foundation, limited funds are available for preparatory scholarships. Scholarships are need-based and must be accompanied by recommendations from the student’s teacher and the Preparatory Administrator. Each applicant will be expected to supply a copy of the families’ most recent 1040 form. Application forms may be requested by contacting the Preparatory Program Administrator or obtain online.

Returning Students

An individualized invoice is sent, via email, to each student/family 3-4 weeks prior to each registration deadline by the Preparatory Program Administrator. It is the family's responsibility to check his/her email to print out this one-page invoice and return the signed invoice to the preparatory office along with the tuition payment by the deadline specified on the invoice. Failure to do so may cause the student to loose their place in the program.

New Students

Students new to the program must have already completed an Interest Form online, been invited and passed an audition to be accepted into a specific studio before they can register. Once a student is accepted into a particular studio, the Preparatory Program teacher will inform the Preparatory Program Administrator, who then will issue an invoice based on the information provided in the Interest Form and send to the family with instructions for registration. If you have additional questions, please contact the Preparatory Program Administrator at 713-348-5753. Adult students are no longer admitted to the program.

Late Registration

Registration must be completed before the first class or lesson. Attending classes or informing Instructors of the intent to register does not constitute registering. The preparatory office will accept post-marked date on the deadline date as on-time payment. After that date, a late fee will be charged and the student will be in danger of losing their place in the program.

Please supply the office with full, complete, accurate, and legible information as requested on the invoice. Due to budget constraints, the office will communicate mostly via email. It is each family’s responsibility to give the office a working email (not in the spam folder) where they prefer the information to be sent. Failure to do so could result in error in registration, registration being returned, and the student not being registered until the completed information is received. Places will not be reserved for students who fail to adhere to this enrollment policy.

New invoices are sent for each semester. Never try to use (modified or not) an out of dated invoice. Out of date invoices will not be accepted.

Students and their parents are responsible for adhering to the registration deadlines and policies as stated on the academic calendar and in the invoice. Students who have questions about registration should not rely on their instructors or other students for information regarding official policies. Misinformation or failure to read these guidelines does not exempt students from the printed registration policies and deadlines.

All students will receive a receipt and an ID card after registration has been received in the office. These items will be sent by regular mail. The ID card should be kept with the student when he or she comes to the building to verify that the student is a preparatory student in good standing. Building monitors have the authority to ask for ID at any time. Students not prepared to present ID when asked will be asked to leave the building. There is a $10 fee to replace lost ID cards.


If a student plans to discontinue lessons, he must give notice to the teacher at least one month before the end of the current semester. Because each teacher’s enrollment is limited, and teachers must refuse other students when their studios are full, students are expected to complete the semester with that teacher. Both the teacher and the student must agree upon any exceptions to this. Students will be charged a processing fee equal in cost to two lessons for early withdrawal. Registration fees are not refundable.

If the teacher is unable to complete the semester, then other arrangements will be made with a substitute teacher, or a refund for the remaining lessons will be given.

Occasionally a graduate-student teacher cannot provide a mutually satisfactory day and time for the lessons to take place. When this is the case, and the student wishes to withdraw from the program rather than be placed with another teacher, a refund will be processed after deducting all lessons taught and other applicable charges.

Changing Teachers

The only appropriate time to make a change in teachers or in length of lesson is at the time of registration. Teacher changes or changes in length of lesson must first be discussed with the teacher and the office. Changes will not be honored without pre-approval.

If a student becomes dissatisfied with a teacher, and wants to make a change, he must wait for the end of the semester to do so. Should the student fail to complete the semester with the original teacher, no refunds will be given.