Student Handbook

Welcome

I would like to warmly welcome you to the Maritime Conservatory of Performing Arts.

 

By choosing to study with us you have joined a large and diverse family, many members of which have gone on to dance and play professionally in Canada and around the world.

 

Whether you choose to dance or play as a personal hobby, for therapeutic benefits, exercise or to pursue a professional career, we welcome you with equal enthusiasm and we wish you joy and success in your performing arts journey.

 

It is our sincere hope that here at the Conservatory you will feel entirely at home, and with our support, feel comfortable and confident in pursuing and reaching your desired goals whatever they may be and wherever they may take you.

 

So welcome, and have fun!

Simon Robinson, Director

Whenever you have a question, problem, or suggestion you are warmly invited to bring it to any Maritime Conservatory staff member. If we do not know the answer, we will find it for you.


CONTACTS
Simon Robinson
Director
director@maritimeconservatory.com
Phone: 902-423-1577

 

Sibylle Marquardt
Dean of Music
music.dean@maritimeconservatory.com
Phone: 902-423-7600

 

Janet Bradbury
Dean of Dance
dance.dean@maritimeconservatory.com​
Phone: 902-423-1785

 

Lynn Steeves
Registrar
academic@maritimeconservatory.com
Phone: 902-423-1926

 

Jeffrey Hale
Administration
admin@maritimeconservatory.com
Phone: 902-423-0561

 

Weekend and Evening Staff
TBA
Staff

 

Custodians
John Richards
Florestine Bird

Your Year at the Maritime Conservatory

Students who begin dance classes at the Maritime Conservatory of Performing Arts at the start of the school year enroll for 36 teaching weeks. Students who join after the start of the academic year enroll for the remaining weeks in the year. For added flexibility, adult dance students may choose to purchase a ten class dance card, which can be used at the student’s convenience during the year. Dance class cards are valid for one year from the date of purchase.

Music students who begin private classes at the Maritime Conservatory of Performing Arts at the start of the school year enroll for 18 teaching weeks for the fall term and then re-enroll for an additional 18 weeks for the winter term. Students who join after the start of the term enroll for the remaining weeks in the term. Some of our orchestra and theory students register for a full year of classes.

 

The Maritime Conservatory of Performing Arts operates year-round. Students are encouraged to join group classes or ensembles to enhance their experience and gain motivation through peer support. Students can also continue with private lessons or participate in classes and camps over the summer.

 

Opening hours for the Campus September to June:
Monday to Friday: 8:30am – 9:00pm
Saturday: 8:30am – 6:00pm
Sunday: 12:00pm – 5:00pm

 

Summer Hours:
Monday, Wednesday, Friday: 8:30am – 5:30pm
Tuesdays and Thursdays: 8:30am – 9:00pm
Sunday: 12:00pm – 5:00pm

 

View our School Calendar here.

All students (or parents) should visit our website to fill out the registration form and waiver found here.

Private Lessons
Private instruction is our most popular offer. Regardless of your age, level, or instrument, we can find you a teacher that will inspire you to unleash your creativity. With more than 70 faculty members, the MCPA will have you playing and dancing your best in no time!

 

Tuition and other fees must be paid before a student is admitted to a lesson. Instructors are directly dependent upon timely student payments. If payment is not received, the instructor is not paid. Your cooperation is appreciated.


If a student cancels a private lesson with reasonable notice, the instructor may wish to arrange a make-up lesson, pending the instructor’s schedule and the availability of studio space. The instructor is, however, under no obligation to make up the lesson, particularly if insufficient notice (under 24 hours) is given. Students are expected to be present for all scheduled lessons and classes. This includes cancellation due to travel, school/sport events, or illness. If an instructor cancels, they are obliged to make up the lesson.


In the event of a faculty absence or Conservatory closure, your instructor will work with you to find a mutually agreeable solution by either offering two dates to reschedule the lesson or, for extended leaves of absence, arranging for a substitute instructor during a mutually agreed upon lesson time (your normal lesson time might not be workable for a substitute instructor). If you are absent from an agreed upon rescheduled lesson, that lesson will be considered a student absence and will not be refunded. If you are unable to attend either of the two reschedule dates, the lesson will be forfeited and will not be refunded.

Group classes and Ensembles
Tuition and other fees must be paid before a student is admitted to a class or ensemble, except in cases of free trial classes.
There will be no refund for classes missed by students for any reason. An alternate class may be available upon request. A make-up class will be offered for classes canceled by the instructor.


The MCPA reserves the right to cancel, postpone, or combine classes, or to substitute or change instructors.

Registration may be limited. Should insufficient registration cause the cancellation of a class, students will be offered an alternative class or fees will be refunded.

In the event of inclement weather, the Conservatory makes decisions on delayed opening or closing of its campus independently of local school districts.


Weekday Closings

An announcement concerning delayed opening or closing of the Conservatory campus will be placed on the Conservatory’s main voicemail greeting at (902) 423-6995 and on our homepage by 7:30 AM for morning lessons and classes, and by 1:00 PM for afternoon and evening lessons and classes. If inclement weather conditions occur later in the day, the Conservatory will make that announcement on the voicemail and website at the appropriate time.


Weekend Closings

Closing updates for Saturday lessons and classes will be placed on the Conservatory’s main voicemail greeting and on the website by 8:00 AM. For Sunday events and classes, an announcement will be placed on the Conservatory’s main voicemail greeting and website by 10:00 AM.


Please note that in cases of power outages these notices may be slightly delayed.

To ensure your child’s safety, please be sure to pick them up promptly. Faculty and staff are not responsible for supervising children outside of designated teaching time.


All of our teachers and staff members have undergone official vulnerable sector checks allowing them to work with children.


The Maritime Conservatory of Performing Arts takes no responsibility for any stolen or misplaced property on the studio premises and we encourage our families to avoid bringing valuable items into the studio where possible.

The Maritime Conservatory reserves the right, and may give permission to appropriate staff or outside personnel and representatives of the media, to photograph and record (video, audio, or other technologies) classes, programs, performances, and participants at our campus and property, and as part of online instruction. Please be aware that these photos or recordings are solely for promotional and/or educational purposes for the Conservatory and may be used in future Conservatory and other print or electronic publications and media communications. By enrolling at the Maritime Conservatory of Performing Arts, you consent to the video or audio recording or taking of photographs of you and/or your child at public events for these purposes.

The Maritime Conservatory of Performing Arts is a welcoming and safe space for music-making and dancing that values all forms and expressions of diversity. As such, the Conservatory complies with all applicable laws prohibiting discrimination in the conduct of its operations and programs.

Due Dates
Tuition is due by September 15th for Term 1 and January 31st for Term 2.
Mid-term registrations require immediate payment.

 

Payment Plans
All students enrolling on a payment plan with the Conservatory must have a valid credit card on file. For families wishing to make payments by cheque, they must coordinate this with the administrative staff at the front desk. Cheque payments may be submitted either by mailing to 6199 Chebucto Road, Halifax/NS, B3L 1K7, or handed directly to a Conservatory staff member. Please note: families submitting a cheque via mail are responsible for their payment arriving by its due date. The Conservatory is not responsible for cheques lost in the mail.

If a scheduled payment is missed, a student’s/family’s account will become delinquent. Students/families then must contact staff immediately with payment information or to communicate when payment will be available. If staff is not contacted, payment must be received within 14 days after the delinquent date, or lessons will be discontinued until payment is made. Please note: future scheduled payments will not be modified to accommodate late payments. The Conservatory reserves the right to suspend or discontinue instruction of any student who is delinquent in their financial obligations during a semester.

 

Tuition Assistance
The Maritime Conservatory of Performing Arts is dedicated to providing quality education for all students, opening our doors to anyone who wants to learn dance or music, no matter their ability or financial circumstances. Through our Bursary Program we are able to make this education an accessible option to our community.
The program aims to provide financial assistance for those who qualify and is entirely need-based. Award decisions are based on a family’s demonstrated financial need and the Conservatory’s ability to support a percentage of that need. Bursaries are awarded in June for returning students and need-based throughout the year. Please talk to your teacher or our administrative team for more information and eligibility criteria.
Music Therapy support is awarded throughout the year depending on availability; inquiries should be made directly to the Music Therapy Department Head, Anna Plaskett, music.therapy@maritimeconservatory.com.

Within the School of Music there are NO refunds for group classes or ensembles since their viability is based on minimum enrolments, except a) where withdrawal is warranted in cases of illness/injury accompanied by a doctor’s note, and b) for full year classes with both instructor permission and 4-weeks’ notice. These programs are based on a sequential curriculum that does not allow for continuous intake; therefore the space cannot be refilled if a student withdraws mid-term.


Refunds for studio instruction (private lessons) are permitted where withdrawal is warranted in cases of illness/injury accompanied by a doctor’s note or in exceptional circumstances such as an unexpected family relocation.


All withdrawal requests must be submitted in writing or by email to the Registrar’s Office. Withdrawal requests must be made in a timely fashion and within the term to which they apply. Requests for retroactive refunds received more than one month after the cessation of attendance at lessons will not be considered.

 
Within the School of Dance students may opt to withdraw from full year classes at mid term (after 18 weeks). Refunds for private lessons are permitted where withdrawal is warranted in cases of illness/injury accompanied by a doctor’s note or in exceptional circumstances such as an unexpected family relocation.


Please send an email to staff, admin@maritimeconservatory.com, as another way to request a refund or withdrawal. A $20 administrative fee plus any non-refundable fees will be deducted from the refund amount. Processing and payment plan fees are non-refundable.

School of Music: Getting the Most from Lessons

The Maritime Conservatory of Performing Arts strives to support all students, regardless of age or level, to succeed in accomplishing their goals. It is essential to prepare for lessons appropriately following the guidance of your teacher.

 

Here are some top tips to get the most out of your lessons:

  • Arrive on time and be prepared.
  • Be sure to have your music, instrument, and other recommended educational tools at your lesson.
  • Take notes during your lesson to retain valuable information.
  • If you have a question between lessons, ask your teacher.
  • Consistent daily practice for music students is essential to ensure progress!
  • Follow your teacher’s practice guidelines between lessons.
  • Set-up an adequate practice space at your home, free of distractions.
  • Listen to professionally recorded performances of your repertoire and attend concerts, when you can.
  • Participate in the Conservatory’s performance opportunities, masterclasses and general free offers to our community!
  • Practice performing! Sharing your music and dance with family and friends is a wonderful way to prepare for performances.
  • Perform! The Conservatory offers recitals throughout the year. Recitals are a great way to challenge yourself and solidify your musical and dance education.
 

Recitals, performances and examinations are a valued aspect of your musical education. The Conservatory encourages all students to participate in performance opportunities as they arise. Participation in Campus Recitals is initiated by your teacher. If you will be performing with a pianist, it is expected that you will schedule a rehearsal prior to the event.

Parents are among the most important influences in a student’s musical journey at the Conservatory. For younger students in particular, the right support from parents is essential to musical progress. A young student learns best when the student, parent, and teacher work together as a team.

 

We ask that parents follow these guidelines for the School of Music:

  • Provide an adequate instrument, with the guidance of the student’s teacher.
  • Provide any additional equipment the teacher may recommend, such as a metronome and tuner.
  • Help the student set aside a time each day for practice.
  • Provide the student with an adequate space to practice, free from distractions.
  • Use praise to encourage the student to follow their teacher’s guidelines.
  • Arrange for the student to begin each lesson on time, with all materials in hand.
  • Allow the teacher to take the lead in your child’s education, and act as a supportive and encouraging figure between student/teacher sessions.
  • For online lessons, follow the advice below “Getting the Most Online.”
  • Encourage your child to perform.
  • When the student is unable to attend a lesson, please give the teacher ample advance notice.
  • Parents and/or guardians are responsible for the behaviour of all family members on the Conservatory campus.
  • Communicate respectfully with Conservatory instructors and staff as concerns or questions arise.
 

The Conservatory reserves the right to dismiss any student due to frequent absences, inappropriate behaviour, delinquent payments, overdue tuition payments, and/or parental or guardian noncompliance with Conservatory policies. This includes any physical, mental, emotional or cyber bullying by parents, staff or students.

School of Dance: Getting the Most from Lessons

The Maritime Conservatory of Performing Arts School of Dance is a place where children of all ages and abilities learn to dance. This is a place where creativity, individuality and self-expression is encouraged and has a community of teachers, students and families who are passionate about performing arts. Our goal is to create a positive and happy experience for all of our students. We strive to nurture and develop talent, celebrate the achievements of all students and inspire a love and appreciation of all styles of dance and the arts. We are committed to providing a safe and positive environment in which all students can feel empowered, comfortable and free to express themselves.

The Maritime Conservatory of Performing Arts strives to support all students, regardless of age or level, to succeed in accomplishing their goals. It is essential to prepare for lessons appropriately following the guidance of your teacher..

 

Here are some top tips to get the most out of your classes:

  • Arrive on time and be prepared.
  • Be sure to have your dance uniform and any other recommended items at your lesson.
  • Dancers with long hair should keep it styled appropriately and secured away from the face to not obscure vision.
  • Dangling jewellery and other loose items should not be worn.
  • Older students should take notes after your lesson to retain valuable information.
  • If you have a question, please ask your teacher.
  • Consistent attendance is essential to ensure progress.
  • Participate in the Conservatory’s performance opportunities, dance examinations, masterclasses, and workshops. .
  • Perform! The Conservatory offers recitals throughout the year. Recitals are a great way to challenge yourself and solidify your musical and dance education.
 

Recitals, exams and other performances are a valued aspect of your dance education. The Conservatory encourages all students to participate in performance opportunities as they arise.

Parents are among the most important influences in a student’s journey at the Conservatory. For younger students in particular, the right support from parents is essential to progress. A young student learns best when the student, parent, and teacher work together as a team.

 

We ask that parents follow these guidelines for the School of Dance:

  • Provide the appropriate dance uniform, with the guidance of the student’s teacher.
  • Provide any additional equipment the teacher may recommend, such as a notebook, a resistance band or yoga mat.
  • Use praise to encourage the student to follow their teacher’s guidelines.
  • Arrange for the student to begin each lesson on time, with all materials in hand.
  • Allow the teacher to take the lead in your child’s education, and act as a supportive and encouraging figure between student/teacher sessions.
  • Encourage your child to perform.
  • When the student is unable to attend a private lesson, please give the teacher ample advance notice.
  • Parents and/or guardians are responsible for the behaviour of all family members on the Conservatory campus.
  • Communicate respectfully with Conservatory instructors and staff as concerns or questions arise.
 

The Conservatory reserves the right to dismiss any student due to inappropriate behaviour, delinquent payments, overdue tuition payments, and/or parental or guardian noncompliance with Conservatory policies. This includes any physical, mental, emotional or cyber bullying by parents, staff or students.

Music Therapy

The Maritime Conservatory Music Therapy Program believes in the transformative power of music and that through our love of music, combined with therapeutic training and creativity, we are able to make a positive difference in the mental, physical and spiritual health of individuals, families and communities. We regard each human being as unique; thus, our approach will be tailored to their strengths and needs. Our mission is to provide access to the healthy and joyful outcomes of a musical life.

 

Music therapy sessions are offered both on-site at the MCPA, as well as in the community via home and facility visits. Participants can register for music therapy sessions throughout the calendar year subject to our music therapy faculty’s availability. Individual sessions and facility groups are scheduled on a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly basis. There is no minimum of individual sessions a participant or facility is required to register for. Music therapy sessions are billed at the end of each month for the sessions that took place within that month and invoices are due upon receipt. Onsite group sessions require a term commitment and are billed at the beginning of each term.

 

As music therapists, we hope to work in partnership with you and your family or facility to optimize your music therapy experience. To ensure our services offer the most benefit, it is important both you and your music therapist each play an essential partnership role.

If you have any questions about out Music Therapy Program, please contact the Music Therapy Department Head, Anna Plaskett, music.therapy@maritimeconservatory.com.

  • Protect your family/facility’s privacy by adhering to strict confidentiality guidelines.
  • Work together with you to problem solve, model activities and discuss strategies to support you/your participant’s development.
  • Make necessary cancellations by phone and/or email as far in advance as possible.
  • Actively participate during sessions when needed.
  • Make suggestions or ask questions about activities and resources.
  • Schedule sessions when it is most convenient for your family/facility and your participant is well rested.
  • For home/facility visitors, limit outside visitors during music therapy, as well as the use of phones, radios, televisions, and general background noise.
  • Make necessary cancellations by phone and/or email as far in advance as possible.
  • Please arrange to be present for the entire visit or appoint a responsible adult to represent you.
  • Home visits may be canceled if road conditions are poor due to inclement weather.
  • Please call your music therapist if road conditions near your house are not safe or if you are unable to clear your walkway/driveway.
  • Please ensure pets are safely restrained outside or enclosed in another room during home visits.
  • Please refrain from smoking or drinking alcohol during home visits.
  • Please cancel home visits if anyone in the home is ill or has had a contagious illness in the past 24 hours.

The Maritime Conservatory supports performance:

Examinations are performances by students for an examiner offering written feedback. Usually these do not involve an audience. The Conservatory offers music exams twice a year, in January and May. Dance Exams are offered in the spring (March/April), and occasionally in the fall (November/December).

Our frequent Recitals feature many students of varying musical & dance levels performing for an audience of peers, families, and friends.

Large scale, fully staged School of Dance Productions allow students of varying ages and levels to work together as a team. This teaches discipline while allowing students to experience and engage in the creative process including choreography, costume design, and stagecraft including lighting and set design.

Other kinds of recitals include public performances by our many ensembles. An ensemble class, whether based on written music (chamber, orchestra, band, musical theatre) or improvisation (jazz, rock band), is a powerful motivating and formative experience for a student. It teaches one to “think outside the box”- to see one’s performing skills as part of a group experience. It strengthens the student’s perspective on rhythm, musical imagination (mentally envisioning multiple scenarios in real time), and coordination with others.

Studio recitals and classes are organized by a student’s teacher and create an occasion to perform among students with the same instructor, building community within the studio.

The Maritime Conservatory of Performing Arts offers many additional opportunities including workshops, masterclasses, and clinics, to further the learning of all Conservatory students. In workshops, students meet intensively for an afternoon or a weekend to study and practice a specific topic. A music masterclass is a one-on-one lesson before an audience, featuring a world-class teacher publicly working with a student. A dance masterclass is a group class with a world-class teacher. In other kinds of short-term group classes, a student may learn a wide variety of important skills. Long-term music and dance theory classes are available to students.
Ensemble classes offer the chance to train as a group, and to learn to play together. The Conservatory’s small class sizes allow faculty to offer highly personalized instruction and feedback.

In addition to the certificates offered by some departments based on jury performances, the Maritime Conservatory of Performing Arts offers several substantial awards and scholarships to its students.

 

Scholarships and bursaries are built upon the MCPA vision of ensuring that music is accessible to all. Scholarships are awarded based on merit and selected Conservatory students are awarded scholarships in recognition of their achievements at the end of each school year at our Convocation ceremony in June. There are many auditioned and non-auditioned scholarships available, please talk to your teacher or our administrative team for more information and eligibility criteria. 

 

The MCPA thanks all donors past and present who have created and contributed to the various scholarships and bursaries, especially Bravura Nova Scotia. These awards assist hundreds of students every year.

The Conservatory faculty, in addition to being wonderful teachers, are consummate performers. Faculty participate in many performances both at the Conservatory and throughout our province, country and internationally.

 

We invite you to discuss the many opportunities available with your teacher, or visit our diverse offerings for Music & Dance. If you have any questions about a group class for the School of Music, please contact Sibylle Marquardt, music.dean@maritimeconservatory.com and for classes for the School of Dance, please contact Janet Bradbury, dance.dean@maritimeconservatory.com

 

Getting the Most Online

Online lessons are a great option for music students allowing them to connect with their teachers when they cannot meet in person. Online lessons empower students to continue growing and learning while finding fulfillment in music-making or dance.

Equipment
All you need is a strong internet connection and a device with a working camera and microphone – ideally a computer or tablet, but a phone will work as well. The internet connection is most important. A hardwire (ethernet) connection is ideal, but if not, make sure you are close to your router. Optional equipment may include a USB microphone, webcam, or an audio interface.


Setup
Proper placement of the device helps your teacher see your technique and give you helpful feedback. Your teacher may ask you to place your device at a specific angle to better see your hands.


A great way to start is to:

  • Place your device directly in front of you (or from the side for piano)
  • Ensure your face and both hands are visible
  • Distance your device about an arm’s length away (certain instruments may need to be farther away from the microphone to avoid distortion)

 

Preparation
Before your lesson starts, we recommend that you do the following to get the most out of your lesson:

  • Choose and set up your lesson space. Choose a quiet space in your house free of distractions with a great WiFi connection if you plan to use WiFi (to test this, check both download and upload speeds here (https://www.speedtest.net/). Because of the settings required to best hear your instrument, minimize background noises, including the presence of other family members. Ask other family members to avoid using the internet during your lesson, if possible.
  • Charge/plug in your device. Video calls drain the battery very quickly, so make sure you have adequate battery before your lesson starts.

 

For the School of Music:

  • Test your camera and microphone. Make sure that you are well-lit from the front (ideally position yourself so you are facing bright windows).
  • Prepare your music, note-taking materials, instrument, and other equipment you will need for your lesson. Make sure everything is within reach. If applicable, tune your instrument before your lesson starts.

 

Software and Logging In
The Conservatory uses all kinds of online platforms for lessons, according to the arrangements your teacher is making with you. If zoom is the chosen online platform, please download the free app onto your device. Follow the prompts to make sure Zoom can access your device’s camera and microphone. Prior to your lesson you will receive your teacher’s Zoom link. If you log on ahead of time, you will see a screen saying that the host has not started yet, or to wait until the host lets you in.


Zoom allows music teachers and students to adjust the audio settings in order to better hear one another. Please make the adjustments outlined below.

On the Zoom meeting screen, enable your microphone’s original sound by doing the following:

  • Click the upward arrow next to the microphone icon and select “Audio Settings”
  • Uncheck the box that says “Automatically adjust microphone volume”
  • Click the “Advanced” button on the lower right
  • Check the box that says, “Show in-meeting option to ‘Enable Original Sound’ from microphone”
  • Disable “Suppress persistent background noise” and “Suppress intermittent background noise”
  • When you return to the meeting screen, you should see a button in the upper left that says, “Turn Off Original Sound”
  • You have successfully enabled original sound, and your teacher will be able to hear your instrument’s true sound. To turn it off, click this button once, and it should say “Turn on Original Sound”
  • Your teacher can help you adjust your microphone level so that your loudest sounds do not come across distorted

Online lessons are extremely effective and work very much like in-person lessons with just a few adjustments. The Conservatory’s online music lessons are active and synchronous – meaning that both the student and teacher are live at the same time, actively working through material. They have proven a valid and useful tool to use for situations where the student won’t be able to attend in person due to sickness or Covid related isolation issues.

Online lessons are extremely effective and work very much like in-person lessons with just a few adjustments to focus on skills that can be done in a smaller space. Emphasis will be on strengthening technique and fine tuning skills. The Conservatory’s online dance lessons are active and synchronous – meaning that both the student and teacher are live at the same time, actively working through material. They have proven a valid and useful tool to use for situations where the student won’t be able to attend in person due to sickness or Covid related isolation issues.