Parent Handbook 2019-20


 2019-2020 Handbook


“Tuning hearts through music.”  

Utah Piano Conservatory offers piano education in a Christ-centered environment. Our mission is to provide excellent piano instruction through the simultaneous development of Talent and Testimony, the dual pillars of instruction at Utah Piano Conservatory.

Quick Facts: 

  • Piano instruction from beginning to advanced in a variety of methods and styles
  • Variety of performance opportunities
  • Lessons available for ages 0-99+
  • Opportunities for scholarships, financial aid and trade


  • 23,500 SF facility with award-winning pianos and on-site technicians
  • Several large group classroom areas
  • 4+ studio lesson rooms with grand pianos for private instruction
  • Free use of available practice rooms for conservatory students
  • Recital area with two grand pianos
  • State-of-the-art music theory/computer lab
  • Highly accomplished faculty with degrees from top universities


The Utah Piano Conservatory is fortunate to share a building with Brigham Larson Pianos. The Conservatory’s classes are held on the east end and upper floors of the building. The address is 1497 South State Street, Orem, UT 84097. Parking is available in the lots surrounding the building, on the adjacent streets and, after 5:00 p.m., at the Taylor building located northeast of the Conservatory.

A Letter From The Director

Dear Conservatory Families (and prospective families)-

As defined by Webster in 1828, a conservatory is a place for the preservation of a desired state, and the assurance that something of great value is not lost, does not experience decay or injury, and is not wasted. Applied to our efforts with music education, this title for our piano school helps to encapsulate the vision of Utah Piano Conservatory. We are not only in the business of providing “lessons”–rather we are devoting the entire mission of our family, our business, our whole lives and daily efforts to preserving the art of complete musicianship, and then sharing that gift abundantly.

This all-out effort to elevate the state of music in individuals, families and our community is founded upon a desire to glorify God and to give thanks to Him for the talents, blessings and opportunities he has abundantly given to each of us. The Utah Piano Conservatory is devoted to building pianists who are raised up in both TALENT and TESTIMONY, the two pillars of instruction for each of our conservatory programs.  

I encourage our faculty and our entire community of conservatory families to take heed from the Book of Mormon passage in Nephi 32:9 

“But behold, I say unto you that ye must pray always… that ye must not perform any thing unto the Lord save in the first place ye shall pray unto the Father in the name of Christ, that he will consecrate thy performance unto thee, that thy performance may be for the welfare of thy soul.

Performance opportunities–when combined with prayer and the guidance of the spirit–can refine an individual in unique ways, whether in the practice room or the performance hall. Our family has selected music as the specific tool for helping our children develop not only their talents, but also the interwoven qualities that come from exercising that daily habit, including: self-discipline, respect, refinement, work ethic, service, time-management, self-government, gratitude, sensitivity, spirituality and obedience. Hence our conservatory tagline, “Tuning hearts through music”, which builds upon the roots of our family business. It all began with a single piano tuning hammer in 1995 and has become what you now see today housed in our beautiful 23,500 SF building, home to Brigham Larson Pianos and Utah Piano Conservatory.

As we partner with faculty and parents alike to shape musicians in both talent and testimony, my hope is that we all can draw nearer to Christ by remembering to place Him at the foundation of all we do through practice, performance and service through music.  May we each become instruments in the hands of God and in gratitude praise Him as Bach did, as he penned on every blank page prior to composing, “Soli Deo Gloria” (Glory to God alone).

Praying and cheering for each of our pianists,

Karmel Larson

Director at Utah Piano Conservatory

801-427-9293, [email protected]


Welcome to the Utah Piano Conservatory!

The Utah Piano Conservatory welcomes you to a unique and challenging program designed to guide and assist you and your child(ren) to reach your musical goals.

The mission of the Conservatory is “Tuning hearts through music,” emphasizing the parallel development of talent and testimony. The Conservatory offers music education in a Christ-centered environment, grounded in the truths and principles of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.

The Conservatory is designed to provide each student with a solid foundation in music performance, theory, aural skills, music history, self-discipline, leadership, and refinement. The Conservatory maintains high standards and accountability, strives for excellence, and emphasizes the dual training that music provides of both heart and mind. Faculty and parents are trained, encouraged, and continually reminded to discuss and promote faith-centered, disciplined musicianship in addition to the more traditional focus on talent development.

Conservatory Benefits

As a member of the Utah Piano Conservatory, you will enjoy:

  • A community of like-minded families who strive to use music as a method of developing hearts, minds and character
  • Comprehensive and well-rounded piano curriculum designed for long-term development
  • Quality individual and ensemble piano instruction by experienced faculty
  • Regular and ongoing assessment of student progress
  • Opportunities to perform in recitals, concerts and masterclasses
  • Opportunities and discounts to attend outside concerts, recitals and other performances
  • Community-outreach service performance experiences
  • Priority registration to attend Conservatory master classes, camps and other events 

Programs and Classes

The Piano Academy is the Conservatory’s premier piano program and offers lessons for ages 4-99+ and for all levels. Piano Academy lessons are held year-round. Other programs and classes may include duet programs, summer camps, and special masterclasses. Please contact us for more information about these offerings. 


Prospective Conservatory parents and students are encouraged to visit the Conservatory, meet with the Director or program director for a private tour and interview, observe classes/lessons, and attend recitals and concerts to gain an understanding of the program expectations and requirements. All prospective students are given a placement evaluation.

Placement Evaluations

The Conservatory requires a placement evaluation and interview from each student and his or her parent(s). This process is designed to identify students best suited for the Conservatory curriculum. The musical portion of an evaluation assesses a student’s aptitude for pitch perception, rhythm, and physical coordination, all of which are intrinsic to musical success and key to identifying those with musical giftedness.

While aptitude is an important component of the evaluation process, decisions to admit students to the Conservatory go beyond assessing musical talent. The evaluation process also weighs other factors, including the student’s attitude, motivation, willingness to practice and desire to enroll in the Conservatory, as well as the parent or guardian’s ability to provide adequate supervision and support for the student’s musical growth.

The Conservatory evaluation is an interactive assessment with the Director, Program Director or faculty member(s), during which students are evaluated for their ability to perform musical tasks. 

New students are evaluated for their ability to:

  • Sustain an even beat and steady tempo
  • Accurately replicate rhythmic patterns
  • Perceive differences in pitch
  • Vocally match pitches and replicate melodic phrases
  • Demonstrate coordination between the hands

Transfer students may be asked to demonstrate any or all of the following:

  • Repertoire previously learned
  • Sight-reading ability
  • Technique 
  • Knowledge of theory concepts

The interactive evaluation also provides an indication of the degree to which the student is able to focus on given tasks and follow directions. At the end of the evaluation, the student is engaged in a brief interview that yields a sense of the student’s interest, attitude, eagerness, and ability to participate in the Conservatory curriculum.

Participation in the Conservatory requires commitment not only from the student but also from the parents and the entire family. After the student evaluation is complete, parents may also be interviewed.

The student is considered accepted once the parent(s) or guardian of each prospective student meet with the Director or faculty member, have discussed the Conservatory policies, and register the student.

Parent and/or Tutor Support

Parents are encouraged to be active participants in their child(ren)’s progress. Questions for faculty are welcomed and best handled through email or through a separately scheduled meeting, not during the student’s lesson time. Parents or another practice tutor should practice with beginning students daily and gradually move to a supervising role as students progress. Piano Tutor Training is offered monthly at the Academy to assist parents in establishing quality practice habits. 

Parents agree to ensure student’s regular and punctual attendance throughout the year by providing the transportation, parental guidance, time management, practice supervision and other support necessary for successful participation. They agree to provide the encouragement, structure, and environment necessary for the student to develop the habit of regular practice at home. In addition, they agree to supervise and document the student’s practice time in the practice binder provided by the Conservatory as part of the lesson notebook.

Progress Reports & Parent/Faculty Conferences

Following the completion of each semester, members of the Conservatory Faculty meet to create and discuss progress reports. The completed evaluations are then sent to parents and are discussed as needed in Parent/Faculty conferences. If, at the end of a semester, a student’s progress is not satisfactory, the faculty may choose to place that student on “probation,” at which point the student has three months to show improved progress and commitment. If progress does not improve, the Conservatory may recommend different placement for the student. 

Membership in Utah Piano Conservatory is a privilege and ongoing opportunity for those devoted to the mission and purposes of UPC. Placement renewals are not guaranteed and UPC reserves the right to offer referral recommendations to any students who are not abiding by conservatory standards, continually arriving unprepared or in any way not succeeding with conservatory programs. Not abiding by standards outlined by “For the Strength of Youth” guidelines or being disrespectful to faculty are grounds for immediate termination.

Conservatory Office

The management and staff of the Conservatory are always available to help students and their families. Questions about auditions, admission, scheduling, rescheduling, makeups, etc. should be addressed directly to the Conservatory’s office. It is the responsibility of the student and/or parent to notify the office when problems arise, whether instructional or personal. Every effort will be made to respond to individual needs.

Conservatory Administration & Faculty

Director of Operations

Mrs. Karmel Larson – [email protected]  801-427-9293

Assistant Director

Ms. Lindsay Bastian – [email protected] 

Piano Academy Program Coordinator, Solo Teacher and & Honors Division

Ms. Kadee Henderson – [email protected] 


Our faculty are well-qualified and participate in regular, ongoing training. For a complete list of current UPC faculty, visit and click on the “Faculty” link.

Concert/Event Attendance

Exposure to professional musical performances is an essential part of a complete music education. Such exposure provides inspiration, promotes familiarity with repertoire, and gives students examples to model. Accordingly, the Conservatory encourages each Conservatory student to attend concerts and recitals in addition to regular classes and lessons. We recommend students attend at least 6 performances each year.

To increase attendance at these events, our students and families can receive discount tickets by request through Conservatory partner organizations such as:

  • Utah Symphony Orchestra
  • Timpanogos Symphony Orchestra
  • BYU Fine Arts, and others. 

Parents are encouraged to post additional concert opportunities to our Facebook community group page.

Throughout the year, the Conservatory may inform parents of additional opportunities to attend outside and in-house concerts that do not presently appear on the Calendar of Events, such as the in-house master classes, guest speakers, and other educational programs, all of which are open to our families and to the general public to attend. These events will be added to the Calendar of Events on an on-going basis and posted to our UPC Facebook community page.

Conservatory Listening Program

Musical listening skills should be nurtured from a young age. The conservatory provides a recommended listening program which focuses on a new composer each month.  Students who are engaged in active listening programs outside of lessons perform much better, learn more quickly and have a higher rate of success learning, memorizing and performing intermediate and advanced repertoire.  Having a familiarity with excellent musical repertoire helps the student to have greater musicality, refined tastes in music and more overall enjoyment while practicing which results in longer practice times and more rapid talent development.  It is vital that each of our Conservatory students make listening a part of their musical education.


Performance in recitals is by faculty nomination for students who are performance ready. This includes preparation in performance etiquette (entrance, introduction, performance, bow & exit) and a fully memorized piece. All students play from memory at formal recitals. 

Beginning students are encouraged to perform their solo pieces 5 times prior to their concert recital performance. Mid-level to advanced students are encouraged to find 10 performance opportunities prior to performing on the concert stage to refine their piece and presentation.

Adult students may also participate in recitals, but are not required to do so.

Community Outreach – Service Performances

The mission of the Utah Piano Conservatory is “Tuning hearts through music.” Sharing our beautiful music and talents is one method of tuning the hearts of our students. To that end, regular community outreach performances are held once per quarter, usually the week prior to the formal recital to prepare students further for stage performance. All students at any level of preparation are invited to share their talents at the Community Outreach performances (i.e., students may use sheet music, play only part of a piece, etc.). These performances focus on using the gift of music to serve others, not necessarily on a perfect performance. 

Parents and faculty are encouraged to watch for opportunities to set up outreach performances to engage conservatory students in service-oriented performances.  Locations might include nursing homes and retirement centers, churches, private and public schools, and other community venues. 

Recital Etiquette  

Proper concert etiquette ensures the best experience for all present.  Proper concert etiquette requires that audience members

(1) Refrain from talking, walking, texting & cell phone use;

(2) Hold applause until each performance (including all movements) is completed;

(3) Take small children outside the recital area in the event they become disruptive;

(4) Display general respect and appreciation for the hard work that each student has done to prepare his or her piece for performance.

In addition, please remember that arriving early helps a child to mentally prepare for a professional performance and to not feel rushed or uncertain.  It is the responsibility of the parents to please arrive early to ensure the best overall experience for your child.  Recitals will begin on time regardless of late arrivals.

Dress Code for Recitals and Lessons

Attire at all Conservatory lessons and events should meet the following modesty standards adapted from the LDS guide “For the Strength of Youth:”

Students should be generally neat and clean and avoid being extreme or inappropriately casual (i.e. pajamas, swimwear, etc.)

Shorts, skirts, and dresses should reach the knee when standing and sitting

Students should avoid clothing that is tight, sheer, low cut, does not cover the stomach or shoulders, or is revealing in any other way

Casual dress is appropriate for all regular Conservatory lessons and classes.

The dress code for Community Outreach recitals, as well as UPC masterclasses, is “dressy casual.” Avoid jeans, t-shirts, sweatshirts, tennis shoes, and flip-flops; Sunday dress is not required for these events.

Students should wear “Sunday Best” for formal Piano Academy recitals. Absolutely NO jeans, t-shirts, tennis shoes, or casual sandals. Boys should wear a button-down shirt and tie (jacket optional), and girls should wear a nice dress or skirt and top. Please ensure that skirts and dresses are modest even when students bend over to adjust the piano bench. All students should wear dressy shoes that are comfortable to perform in. Students should avoid excessive or distracting jewelry or accessories.

In addition to appropriate attire, students will be instructed in proper performance etiquette and should practice this at home. This includes speaking clearly when announcing a piece, maintaining good posture at the piano, and being respectful of other performers during the recital. No gum, food, or drink is allowed in the recital areas. Good stage presence, like music itself, is an art, a clear expression of the disciplined musician’s respect for the music, the audience, for other musicians, and for him or herself.

Piano Academy Policies

Lesson Scheduling and Missed Lessons

Lessons are taught year-round and on all holidays, except for the following weeks: the week of July 4th, the week of Thanksgiving, and the last two weeks of December. It may be necessary to cancel lessons due to extreme weather; lessons canceled due to weather will not be made up. 

Parents are expected to ensure that students arrive on time and with all lesson materials.  Tardiness will result in reduced lesson time. Parents are invited to discuss student progress via email, phone, or by making a separate appointment, but not at the end of a lesson to respect the lesson time of the next student. 

If a student needs to leave lessons early for any reason, the parent or guardian must notify a teacher or administrator in advance or come in to pick up their child. 

Missed Lesson Policy

We know that our students are involved in many wonderful activities and that sometimes outside circumstances make it impossible to attend every lesson. We offer make-up lessons according to the following policies:  

  • Students may make up lessons missed for any reason other than “I forgot” or “I didn’t feel like attending.” 
  • With the exception of illness (severe enough to keep a student home from school), the student/parent must notify UPC 24 hours prior to the missed lesson to be eligible for a make-up. Earlier notice is preferred so that we can make your child’s regular time available for other students. 
  • Parents/students are responsible to register for a make-up lesson through MyMusicStaff.
  • Students may make up as many as 2 lessons per month. 
  • Scheduled UPC breaks (such as the week of Thanksgiving and the 2-week Christmas break) are built into the tuition schedule and are not eligible for make-up lessons. 

The process of scheduling a make-up lesson will be as follows: 

  • To notify us of a missed lesson, log in to MyMusicStaff here. You can cancel attendance for the student’s next lesson from the home page, or click on the calendar to cancel a later lesson.
  • From the home page, scroll down to the bottom to find available make-up slots. You can choose one of the first few options, or click “view all” to see them in a calendar view. 
  • When canceling and scheduling lessons, make sure to include BOTH the “lesson” and the “theory lab” portions

Tuition and Fees

Piano Academy tuition is $134.50 per month and stays the same year-round, regardless of the number of lessons in a month. A $35 registration fee is also assessed once per year per family. Additional fees may apply for optional Honors lessons, competitions, and local piano events. 

Additional lessons and materials costs may include binders, method books, technique/theory books, etc. When students begin a new level in method or theory books, the cost of the new books will be added to the next month’s invoice. Solo music is loaned from our library and will only incur a fee if music is lost or damaged. Students who withdraw without returning loaned music will be charged for the cost of the music plus a $3.00 replacement fee.

Billing and payment are processed through MyMusicStaff. Tuition is posted to student accounts on the 1st and auto-pay takes place on the 10th of each month. Families not enrolled in auto-pay are responsible to submit payment on or before the 10th; a $5 late fee will be added to accounts unpaid on the 15th.  Students who withdraw after the 10th of a month will not be given a tuition refund for that month and will need to pay an additional $35 registration fee to re-join.

Parent Communication and Involvement

Student and parent information will be stored in MyMusicStaff, an online studio management system. Each parent and student may set up their own login and can access the calendar, studio announcements, and their personal information at any time.

Email is the main communication method used by the Conservatory. Parents should maintain a current email address on file and consistently check for email updates. The Conservatory also runs a private Facebook group (Piano Academy at Utah Piano Conservatory) for the purpose of building community among administrators, faculty, and Conservatory families. Please check the group regularly for information about Conservatory events and current discussions. 

Parents are encouraged to reach out to Conservatory faculty or staff via phone or email at any time during the week with questions or concerns. Regular communication between parents and teachers allows teachers to customize lessons for each student. 

Parents are welcome to attend or visit lessons at any time. Faculty members may suggest or require that a parent attend lessons with a student for reasons including improving practicing at home or ensuring good behavior during the lesson.  Parents are to provide for uninterrupted practice time at least 5 days per week. Piano tutor training is provided to teach parents or other practice partners how to practice at home with a student. 

Parents whose children are taking piano lessons should own or rent an adequate, working instrument. Parents may consult with the director to ensure that the student has the proper instrument at home to provide the best opportunity for ear training, touch, tone and dynamic range. Proper technique and ear development is best learned on an acoustic piano.

Facility Etiquette

Students and family members should show respect for the Conservatory building, instruments, and other equipment at all times. Students are not to eat, drink, or have gum in the building (water bottles filled with water are okay). Currently enrolled conservatory students may use unoccupied rooms to practice when available. 

Parents and students may wait on the couches just inside the Conservatory doors and/or the balcony area above the piano gallery. Students waiting for their parents to pick them up should wait inside until they see their parent’s vehicle in the parking lot. Students are not to leave the building without a parent or other guardian. 

Events and Social Media

We hold 4 Piano Academy recitals per year in February, May, July, and November. Solo teachers work with and encourage students to prepare memorized, polished solos for recital performance. In addition, we host four Community Outreach recitals, which are focused on service and sharing talents with others. Other events may include guest recitals, masterclasses, and competitions or festivals. Students may participate in any or all of these events with teacher and parent permission. 

We often share student successes and stories on social media and/or our blog. By signing the registration form, students/parents give permission to the Conservatory to use photo and audio/video materials for documentation, publicity, and marketing purposes.

Student Expectations

Piano Academy lessons last 90 minutes and include 4 stations: Performance, Technique/Hymn, Pass-Off, and Computer Lab. Students will be expected to practice diligently and do their best. Music Store, Grab Bag, and Golden Bench are incentives teachers use to help motivate and excite students about lessons. Students are expected to come to weekly lessons prepared by bringing all books and materials, recording practice days in their binder before the lesson begins, and showing improvement on all assignments.

Our Piano Academy standards are given to each student with their lesson binder. We reserve the right to invite students to find a teacher outside the Conservatory if the culture and standards of the Piano Academy no longer seem to be a good fit.

Each student’s success in the Conservatory is dependent on hard work as well as consistent parental support and supervision, especially with regard to practicing.  Students are expected to practice all assignments at least 5 days a week. Faculty may recommend increasing practice time as it becomes necessary for each student’s progress.