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Individual Instruction

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 min 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.

Fees and Scholarships:

Students may take lessons for credit or non-credit. Music lessons are not covered by tuition; they cost an additional $820 per semester in the 2021/22 academic year. If a student receives any amount of financial aid from Vassar, elects performance lessons for credit, and fills out the application, the student will be eligible for a music scholarship in one instrument per semester. Scholarship forms are available in the Student Financial Services Office. Forms must be submitted each semester of lessons. If lessons are dropped at any time, this scholarship 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 at the rate of $60 per lesson. The minimum charge will be $120. 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. Freshman and first-semester sophomores are especially encouraged to take MUSI 101, 105, 140, or 141.