Music Lesson Registration

Choosing to take Applied Music Courses

It is very common for students to register for 19-21 credits – to take an applied lesson, and also to play in a music ensemble, and/or a chamber music group in addition to three 6-credit courses. This is not considered an overload, and with good time management skills, students can fully participate in everything Carleton Music has to offer. Students often find that the personal focus and familiar routine of applied music studies helps keep life centered and in balance.

Music Lesson Registration

Private lessons provide students with individual instruction with one of Carleton’s applied faculty members and are geared towards the specific goals, needs and aspirations of each student regardless of previous experience.

There are four registration options for applied music lessons:

  • Half-hour non-juried: a one-credit applied lesson (MUSC 1xx) that is mandatory S/CR/NC.
  • Half-hour juried: a one-credit applied lesson (MUSC 1xxJ) that carries a “J” (jury) designation at the end of the course number (e.g. for piano, MUSC 150J).  The Juried course will be graded.
  • One-hour non-juried: a two-credit applied lesson (MUSC 2xx) that is mandatory S/CR/NC.
  • One-hour juried: a two-credit applied lesson (MUSC 2xxJ) that carries a “J” (jury) designation at the end of the course number (e.g. for piano, MUSC 250J).  The Juried course will be graded.

As with any other class, students may elect to S/CR/NC juried lessons, in which case, these S/CR/NC credits count toward the 30-credit maximum allowed during a student's time at Carleton. All applied lesson credits count towards the Arts Practice (ARP) general education requirement; students may continue with lessons even if they have satisfied the ARP requirement.

What is a Jury?  

All "J" (Juried) courses will include a five to ten minute performance (Jury) at the end of the term, which provides a goal-directed and graded learning experience. The primary applied music instructor in consultation with the student will decide the choice of repertoire and learning goals for the Jury. The student’s applied music instructor, working in partnership with at least one other faculty member, will assess the Jury. They will provide each student with feedback, which will normally include written comments, about their Jury performance. Of primary importance in assessing the Jury performance will be the level of engagement with and quality of preparation of the music performed, rather than the difficulty of the repertoire. Students will not be judged in comparison with other students. A recital, if presented in the second half of the term, may substitute for a Jury. The final course grade for Juried lessons is the decision of the primary instructor. 

Which registration option?

Students are encouraged to discuss with the instructor which type of lesson to choose. The decision regarding one or two credit lessons will depend mostly on previous experience, and anticipated time commitment to practice; two-credit lessons are by permission of instructor. Most beginners are advised to take a one-credit lesson, and might also first opt for the non-juried lessons, whereas more experienced performers will likely choose two credits. There is no special audition process for Juried lessons. Choosing a Juried lesson at either the one or two credit level provides the goal of a small end-of-term performance, and a chance for feedback from other members of the performing faculty. Students considering majoring in music should strongly consider registering for juried lessons at either the one- or two-credit level.


After the Drop/Add deadline, a term fee of $304 is billed for 9 half-hour lessons (1 credit) per term, or $602 for 9 hour lessons (2 credits, with the approval of the instructor).  Class Guitar and Class African Drum are each $85 per term.

Please Note:  Fees are not refundable for late drops, except when a late drop is made for medical reasons or in similar emergency situations. Faculty loads are assigned and scheduled carefully according to final registrations at the drop-add deadline; students who are still registered for applied study after the drop-add deadline will be charged the full term fee.

Financial Request for Assistance with Music Lessons:  Requests must be submitted to the Office of Student Financial Services. Information about the “Request for Assistance with Music Lessons” can be found on their website at

Practice/Performance Expectations:  Learning expectations are determined individually for each student by his/her teacher; practice time should always be sufficient to enable students to meet those goals on a weekly basis. All students are expected to prepare for lessons in a directed and consistent manner throughout the term; students in hour (two credit) lessons are expected to practice more and prepare more material in order to fully engage with an hour lesson each week. Grades will reflect the quality of work and improvement, as well as the number of lessons attended.  Some instructors hold weekly or occasional classes for their students for performance and/or presentation of related material.  Students are encouraged to attend some of the many student, faculty, organizational, and guest artist concerts performed each term.  By observing and listening to other musicians, a student can gain insight into his or her own performance.  Practice rooms are available on the 2nd and 3rd floors of the Music Hall (primarily piano, voice and strings) and on the Lower Level of the Concert Hall (primarily other instruments).

Missed Lessons

Student Responsibility:  Students who need to miss lessons due to illness or necessary trips away from campus should inform the instructor at least 24 hours in advance and arrange a make-up lesson at the instructor's convenience, possibly.  Lessons missed because a student is too busy or hasn't practiced are not made up, but advance notice is a courtesy that permits the instructor to use the time more efficiently.  Some instructors prefer that unpre­pared students come at their scheduled time and use the lesson time for work on technique, theory, etc.; check with your instructor.  Obviously, there may be occasional exceptions (last-minute medical or family emergencies) to the advance notice policy; any other exceptions are at the discretion of the instructor.  Students who have more than three unexcused absences from lessons are advised to late drop or accept an F or NC grade. 

Faculty Responsibility:  Faculty should inform students and the Department Administrative Assistant in advance if they will be unable to teach at the scheduled hour, and should arrange for make-up lessons whenever possible. 


Instruments/Music:  Students are expected to attend their first lesson with their instrument, sheet music, and any other necessary items such as reeds, metronomes, mutes, rosin, strings, etc.  Students may elect to contact their instructor in advance of their first lesson to inquire about exactly what should be brought.  The Instrumental Library (I-libe), located in the basement of the Concert Hall, lends out a limited number of instruments on a first-come first-served basis.  The I-libe also has some music supplies for sale and an extensive free lending library of chamber music for students enrolled in MUSC 194 Chamber Music.  Students are encouraged to purchase their own solo sheet music.  The I-libe will be open beginning New Student Week.  Hours will be posted on its door along with contact numbers of people who will be able to help you find what you need.

Academic Credit for Recitals

Student musicians, both majors and non-majors, may enroll in MUSC 299 (Recital) in order to receive academic credit for presenting a public music recital. The recital must consist of a minimum of 30 minutes of solo music performance; some chamber music may be included in the recital. The Department will consider an exception in the case of a student who has chosen to specialize in collaborative piano, jazz, non-western, or folk instruments.  The recital must be held during the second half of the term. Students enrolling in MUSC 299 do so in lieu of registering for applied lessons at the two-credit (hour) level; MUSC 299 includes nine one-hour lessons, and does not require an end-of-term jury. Prerequisites for MUSC 299 include a completed recital form and permission of the Music Department the term prior to the recital. Fees and financial aid for MUSC 299 are the same as for 2-credit applied lessons. MUSC 299 satisfies 2 credits of the Arts Practice (ARP) requirement. Complete guidelines and application forms are available in the Music Hall lobby.


All students who are registered for applied music study have available to them a limited number of student and staff accompanists. These accompanists may be used for lessons, performance area recitals, juries, and master classes. There are no fees for accompanists for these department-mandated activities.

Students planning solo or shared Junior and/or Senior recitals may use departmental or student accompanists, subject to their availability. The Department will cover the cost of Carleton staff accompanists for music major recitals. Student accompanists are eligible to be paid through Accompanying Work Study. If a non-music major chooses to use a staff accompanist, the Department will cover the hourly rate of the accompanist, but the student will contribute the $100 extra performance premium that is paid to the staff pianists for all public performances. This $100 premium will be paid by the student directly to the accompanist; in the case of a shared recital, students may share this cost. If any student chooses to work with a pianist who is not a Carleton staff or student pianist, the student will pay the full cost of the accompanist. Rehearsals for recitals will be scheduled in consultation with and at the discretion of the collaborative pianists and the area coordinator. Recitals need to be approved by the Department; normally the Department will support only one Junior and one Senior recital per major. Arrangements for providing accompanists must be made the term prior to the performance.

Concert Attendance

Musical performance and concert attendance is of critical importance in both the artistic and intellectual development of the student. Exposure to music of diverse stylistic and historical periods, both by participation and listening, contributes to the development of the technical and analytical skills necessary to study music in depth.

Carleton offers a wide variety of concerts, which provides students with the opportunity to hear, study and perform music of diverse genres and historical periods. The concerts given by Carleton's performing organizations, as well as guest and faculty artists in solo and chamber music recitals and a wide variety of student recitals, are an integral part of the musical life of Carleton and provide exciting performance and listening opportunities.

Honors in Music Performance

The Department faculty, in recognition of excellence in performance and significant contributions as a performer, may select one or more Seniors (majors or non-majors) for the designation "Honors in Music Performance" at the end of each academic year. Based on the faculty's combined knowledge of the variety of ways in which student performers may excel, consideration will be given for their activities in solo and joint recitals, other solo performances, concertos, chamber music, accompanying, conducting and, as appropriate, participation in one or more performing organizations. Generally some combination of these performance opportunities will be considered. A certificate and designation in the Honors Convocation and Commencement programs will be awarded to those selected. No student applications are necessary.