Utah Piano Conservatory Lessons Handbook

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UPC Handbook 2017-18

To download a PDF version of the 2017-18 handbook, click here: UPC Handbook 2017-18.

“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.

The Utah Piano Conservatory offers classes, ensembles, concerts, group and private piano instruction for all ages.

Quick Facts:

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


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


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 tag line, “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, Karmel.larson@gmail.com


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 from experienced faculty
  • Comprehensive, ongoing assessment of student progress
  • Opportunities to perform in recitals, concerts and masterclasses
  • Opportunities and discounts to attend concerts, recitals & performances
  • Community-outreach service performance experiences
  • Priority registration to attend Conservatory master classes, camps and other seasonal events


Brigham Larson Pianos

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 at the Taylor building located northeast of the Conservatory after 5pm.

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) as you reach your musical goals.

The mission of the Conservatory is “Tuning hearts through music” by emphasizing the simultaneous 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 prepare 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 nature of training that music provides (both of 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.

The Conservatory is open year round. Most classes run during the school year and summertime, with short breaks at July 4th, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Additional private instruction, summer camps, master classes and unique musical opportunities are provided during the summer.  

Conservatory faculty follow students’ progress through practice notebooks, theory lab notebooks and assessments. Faculty members keep detailed notes on student performance and achievement. Student progress is carefully monitored in all areas of instruction.

Parent and/or Tutor Support

Parents are encouraged to be active participants in their student(s)’ progress. Questions for faculty are welcomed and best handled through email or through a separately scheduled meeting, not during the student’s scheduled lesson time.  Parents and/or a Piano Tutor are required to practice with beginning students daily and piano tutor training is provided to assist in the quality of this important daily habit.

Parents are also required to attend the yearly conservatory parent meeting held each August in preparation for a new academic year. 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 journal provided by the Conservatory as part of the lesson notebook.


Prospective Conservatory parents and students are encouraged to visit the Conservatory, meet with the Director or one of our program directors for a private tour and interview, request observations of classes/ lessons, and attend rehearsals and concerts to gain an understanding of the program expectations and requirements. All prospective transfer students are invited to audition and new students are given a placement evaluation.


The Conservatory requires an entrance audition (transfer students) or evaluation (new students) and interview from each student and his or her parent(s). The audition process for admission to the Conservatory is designed to identify students best suited for the Conservatory curriculum. Evaluations for beginner students are designed to identify students with innate aptitudes in pitch perception, rhythm, and physical coordination, all of which are intrinsic to musical success and key to identifying those with musical giftedness.

While musical aptitude is an extremely important component of the audition process, decisions to admit students to the Conservatory go beyond the simple assessment of musical giftedness. The audition/evaluation process also weighs other factors, including the student’s overall 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 moral support for the student’s musical growth.

The Conservatory Audition 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 audition 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 audition, 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 audition 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 lead faculty over the desired program, have discussed the Conservatory policies, and register the student.


Parents of all entering first-year Conservatory students participate in the Orientation Session, led by the Conservatory Director, program directors and faculty members prior to the start of classes in September.  Parents of returning students are required to attend as well for ongoing support and training on achieving a successful Conservatory experience and home music and practice environment.

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 – Karmel.Larson@gmail.com  801-427-9293

Assistant Director

Ms. McKenna Rammell – utahpianoconservatory@gmail.com 385-219-0774

Program Directors

Piano Academy Program Coordinator, Orange Solo Teacher and & Honors Division

Ms. Lindsay Bastian – PianoAcademy.upc@gmail.com 385-219-0774

Piano Academy Yellow Solo Teacher

Mr. Chris Morrison PianoAcademy.Chris@gmail.com 385-219-0774

Piano Academy Purple/Adult Solo Teacher

Ms. Kadee Henderson – PianoAcademy.adult@gmail.com 385-219-0774

Jazz Piano Academy Solo Teacher

Mr. Ammon Doman – PianoAcademy.jazz@gmail.com 385-219-0774


Our faculty are well-qualified and participate in regular, ongoing training. For a complete list of current UPC faculty, click here.

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 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.

Additional Events: 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. The Honors Concert performance is a recommended concert for all Conservatory students regardless of whether or not the student is performing.

Conservatory Listening Program

From the first date of the student’s enrollment, listening skills should be improved and nurtured.  The conservatory provides a recommended family listening schedule 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.

Recital Performances

Performance in recitals is by nomination from UPC faculty 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 to participate in recitals, but are not required to do so.

Community Outreach – Service Performances

The mission of Utah Piano Conservatory is one of “Tuning hearts through music.” Sharing our beautiful music and talents is one method of tuning the hearts of our students.  Parents and faculty are encouraged to watch for opportunities to set up outreach performances to engage conservatory students in service-oriented performances.  

Conservatory students are often invited to perform for community organizations and venues outside the Conservatory. Engagements may include nursing homes and retirement centers, churches, private and public schools, and other community venues. 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.

Recital Etiquette  

Proper concert etiquette must be observed in order to ensure the best experience for all.  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.

Progress Reports & Parent/Faculty Conferences

Following the completion of each semester, members of the Conservatory Faculty meet to complete and discuss progress reports. The completed evaluations are then sent to parents and are discussed, as necessary, during 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.

Utah Piano Conservatory Policies

Parent Support and Practice Time

Each student’s success in the Conservatory is absolutely dependent upon consistent parental support, interest, guidance and supervision. The parent, the child and the faculty member must work together to achieve success. Students are required to practice all assignments at least 5 days a week.  Practice 7 days a week is encouraged with repertoire review and hymns emphasized for Sabbath playing.

Faculty may recommend increasing practice time as it becomes necessary for each student’s progress. Any missed practice time should be made up the following day or week.

Missed Lessons

Regular attendance at lessons, daily practice, and parental support are the essential elements necessary for educational progress and skill development. Therefore, students are expected to attend all lessons/classes as scheduled. Lessons missed by the Conservatory will be rescheduled during summer lesson weeks upon request. Policies on making up lessons missed by the student will be determined by individual programs

Parents must ensure that students bring all necessary musical materials to the lessons, including music books, lesson binder, handouts and any other necessary materials.


Lessons/Classes will start on time. It is recommended that you arrive 10 minutes prior to the lesson so that the student can warm up (if a room is available) or simply get mentally prepared for the lesson/classes. Parents are expected to guarantee the punctual arrival, transition and departure of their child(ren), especially for those young students who may not be able to understand the necessity of being on time.

Please be aware that there are various classes and lessons both preceding and following your child’s lesson. Punctuality is a necessary prerequisite for smooth operation of the Conservatory. Your failure to appear on time will result in reduced lesson time for your child(ren).  Parents are invited to discuss student progress at the beginning of a lesson with the faculty instructor or by making a separate appointment, but not at the end of a lesson to respect the lesson time of the next student.

Photo/Video Permission

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.


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

Email Communication & Facebook Community

Email is the main communication method used by the Conservatory. It is imperative that you maintain an updated email address on file and consistently check your email for updated information. Additionally, the Conservatory maintains a private community Facebook Group for the purpose of building community among administrators, faculty and Conservatory families. Please check the group regularly for information concerning Conservatory events and current discussions.

Practice Rooms

Currently enrolled conservatory students may use unoccupied rooms to practice when available. Please check with the front desk conservatory administrator to inquire about availability of a certain practice room. Students are required to treat the room and equipment with care. Students are not to eat, drink or have gum in the building.

Parent Lounge & Student Study Area

The conservatory reception area & balcony area (above the main piano gallery) are available for parents waiting for students in lessons or classes.  Students may also study on the balcony if waiting for a class. Noise should be minimal and conducive to study and quiet reading.

Inclement Weather & Holidays

In the instance of inclement weather it may be necessary to cancel lessons and classes. Closings due to inclement weather will be announced by email or text. Classes that are cancelled due to inclement weather will not be made up. Lessons will be taught through all holidays and school breaks excluding the week of Thanksgiving, Christmas break and the week of July 4th.

Piano Academy Policy

Piano Academy Standards

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.

Tuition and Costs

Tuition is $134.50 per month for a weekly 90-minute lesson. Additional lessons and materials costs may include:

  1. Master Musicianship Curriculum (MMC) + Computer Binder
  2. Piano Lesson Binder + Music Buck Bag
  3. Pass-Off Materials: 3-4 Level books and 1 Hanon book + Flashcard Set
  4. Solo music is loaned from our library and will only incur a fee if music is lost or damaged.
  5. Yearly registration fee of $35/family each August.
  6. Honors additional lessons $60.
  7. Additional fees for competitions and local honors piano events.

When students pass off method and theory books, the cost of new books will be added to the invoice for the next month. Automatic withdrawal takes place on the 10th.  Tuition remains the same for each month throughout the year. Families are not held to any enrollment contract; however, students who withdraw after the 10th of a given month will not be given a tuition refund for that month and will need to pay an additional $35 registration fee to re-join.

Weekly Lessons and Incentives

Piano Academy lasts 90 minutes and includes 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, Golden Bench, and weekly grades are incentives teachers use to help motivate and excited students about lessons. Students are expected to come to weekly lessons prepared by:

  1.     Bringing all books and materials
  2.     Recording practice days/time on practice chart before the lesson begins
  3.     Showing improvement and progress on all given assignments

Makeup Lessons and Holidays

There are no makeup lessons during the school year. During the summer, students may make up as many as 5 lessons missed during the school year, as well as any lessons missed during the summer. Makeups must be complete while currently enrolled in lessons. Lessons are not held during the week of July 4th, Thanksgiving week, and over the 2 weeks of Christmas Break. Lessons are held on all other holidays.


We host 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 per year where any repertoire can be performed.

Parent Involvement

The first Piano Academy lesson is mandatory for parents of beginners to attend. All parents are welcome to come and visit any lesson anytime.  Parents are to provide and ensure uninterrupted practice time at least 5 days per week. If a student receives an overall grade of “Unprepared” for three weeks in a row, a piano tutor will be required. Piano tutor training is held monthly for new parents and for any other parents who would like to review the material.

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