Department of Music

Frequently Asked Questions

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About Lessons

Can a River Campus student take lessons at Eastman?
Yes. Any student who performs at an intermediate level, reads music fluently, and qualifies by audition may study privately at the Eastman School. To access more information on the Eastman School lesson program for River Campus students, click here.

IMPORTANT: Students wishing to register for a lessons audition must fill out the simple web form located here. This should be done either during the summer or over winter break, at least several weeks before the start of the semester. Most lesson auditions are scheduled on the first Friday of either the fall or spring semester. After submitting the web form, students are placed in the audition schedule, and are contacted again in LATE AUGUST or EARLY JANUARY with the date, time, and location of their audition. The standard requirements for lesson (and ensemble) auditions are (a) one prepared solo of your choice, 2-3 minutes long and (b) sight-reading. Here are the exceptions:

- For specific requirements for studio percussion lessons, click here.

- Classical piano auditions consist of two standard works from the classical repertory (you choose; if in doubt, choose at least one piece by J. S. Bach). The audition does not need to be performed from memory, and will last about 10 minutes total.

- Jazz auditionees should prepare standard jazz works instead of classical solos, and should be prepared to demonstrate improvisatory ability on their instrument.

- Voice auditions are very brief-- 4 minutes long-- and consist of one prepared song from the classical or Broadway repertory (you choose).  Bring a piano part, since a piano accompanist will be provided.

- Brass lesson auditions include required etudes that must be obtained from Josef Hanson well in advance of the audition date. In addition, brass students should be prepared to play one major or natural minor scale at the audition.

** A separate copy of solo sheet music is not required by the audition judges.

Here is a link to the River Campus-Eastman bus shuttle schedule.

Must I audition before coming to the University?
Though an admission audition is not required, prospective music concentrators are strongly encouraged to submit a CD or tape recording in order to supplement the admission profile. All lesson and ensemble auditions are held during orientation and the first few weeks of classes each fall and spring, and are scheduled through the College Music Department.

How good do I have to be to get lessons?
In order to receive credit lessons, students should read music fluently and perform at an intermediate level. Each department at Eastman determines the level required.

College credit is not appropriate for instruction at the beginning level. However, beginning instruction is offered through Eastman's Community Music School, without credit and for a fee. For more information, please call 585-274-1400.

With whom will I study at Eastman?
Depending on teacher availability and the proficiency of the student, a few students may study with faculty members. The majority of River Campus students will study with graduate teaching assistants.

About Ensembles

Can I play (or sing) in Eastman ensembles?
Possibly. Eastman's four jazz ensembles are open by audition to Eastman and River Campus students alike. If vacancies remain in the larger ensembles after Eastman students have been placed, qualified River Campus students may audition. There is, however, an excellent ensemble program at the River Campus, which includes the University of Rochester Symphony Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra, Wind Symphony, Jazz Ensemble, Men's and Women's Choruses, Gospel Choir, and Chamber Singers, as well as an active chamber music program, all of which have the option of being taken for credit. In addition, several student-directed ensembles include the Pep Band, Stingers Trombone Choir, and several a cappella singing groups.

How do I join a River Campus ensemble?
Auditions for all ensembles take place during orientation and the first few weeks of classes in September. Students may sign up for audition times on the large bulletin board in Dewey Hall during orientation.

About Practice Rooms

Where are the practice rooms?
Practice rooms on the River Campus are located in the basement of the Spurrier building. The building is generally open between 8 a.m. and 12 a.m. Additional practice rooms with grand pianos are available in Strong Auditorium for music majors or those taking primary piano lessons with faculty at the Eastman School of Music. The rooms are kept locked; students may borrow keys from the Music Department with a $10 deposit. See Jimmy Warlick in Dewey 1-339.

About Storage Space

Do you have storage space for large instruments?
Yes. We have a limited number of rooms for both practice and storage of percussion equipment. These rooms are made available on a first-come, first-served basis to students participating in ensembles or taking lessons at Eastman.  Contact Jimmy Warlick for details.

Degree Options

Suppose I want to "major" in music. What are my choices?
Essentially two: (1) the Bachelor of Arts with Music Concentration, a liberal arts degree program offered by the College Music Department; or (2) the Bachelor of Music degree offered through Eastman.

What's the difference?
The Bachelor of Arts with a concentration in music is intended for those students who can meet both the intellectual and musical challenges of a program that emphasizes the broad experience of a liberally educated person. The concentration comprises a balanced program of academic study, private instruction, and ensemble experience, with 40-60% of the courses in a student's overall program taken in music. Visit our Academics page for more information.

Bachelor of Music students pursue a major in performance, composition, music education, jazz studies, or music theory. Music studies comprise 80-90% of the programs, the remainder being in the humanities and other academic areas of choice.

Application Info

How do I apply?
For the Bachelor of Arts, write to the Admissions Office, University of Rochester, Wallis Hall, RC Box 270251, Rochester, New York 14627-0251, or visit Admissions online.

For the Bachelor of Music, write to the Admissions Office, Eastman School of Music, 26 Gibbs Street, Rochester, New York 14604, or visit Eastman Admissions online.