Individual Instruction (Music Lessons)

The Department of Music at Vassar College offers lessons for both music majors and for non-music majors in many areas: piano, organ, voice, guitar, harp, percussion, all strings, woodwinds, and brass. All lessons are private and the student meets with the instructor once a week for 50 minutes. There are normally 13 lessons per semester. We are also now offering 30–minute lessons (11 per semester) in piano and voice with a full year commitment. Most studios have a performance class at the end of each semester. Music lessons at the college level require self-motivation and daily practice and are to be considered an academic pursuit.

Most studios require auditions in order to take lessons. Because of the large number of students who wish to study voice, piano, and guitar, the department holds scheduled auditions for these at the very beginning of the year.

Voice Auditions

Voice lessons involve the study of the bel canto tradition in singing, with a focus predominantly on classical vocal repertoire and technique. Auditions are competitive.


Students may take lessons for credit or non-credit. Private music lessons are not covered by tuition; they cost an additional fee per semester, as listed in the Vassar College Catalogue. If a student receives Vassar Scholarship during the semester and elects private music lessons for credit, the student will be eligible to receive a Vassar Music Scholarship to help cover the fee. The student is eligible for one Vassar Music Scholarship per semester. If lessons are dropped at any time, the additional fee will have to be paid back in full.

If the course is dropped before the day classes begin in each semester, the fee will be canceled. In the case of withdrawal within seven weeks, with the dean of studies’ approval, charges will be made on a prorated basis for lessons, with a minimum of two lessons. The balance will be refunded. No part of the fee is refunded after the sixth week.

For more information about the Music Department and its offerings please contact the department at

Co-Requisite Courses

The music department strongly believes that music performance in a liberal arts environment should be studied in the context of some knowledge of music history or theory. Therefore, co-requisite courses (courses taken in conjunction with music lessons) are encouraged in the first year of lessons and are required by the second year of lessons. Students are normally not allowed to continue into a fifth semester of credited lessons without having met a minimum requirement of two co-requisite courses. First- year students and first-semester sophomores are especially encouraged to take MUSI 101, 105, 140, or 141.