Music FAQ

What ensembles do you offer?

  • Vocal Ensembles:  Harpur Chorale, Treble Chorus, Chamber Singers, Opera Workshop
  • Instrumental Ensembles: Symphony Orchestra, Wind Symphony, Jazz Ensemble, Jazz Studio Band, Nukporfe African Drum and Dancing Ensemble
  • Small Ensembles:  Jazz Combos, Percussion Ensemble, Steel Drum Band, Flute Ensemble, Low Brass Ensemble, Collegium Musicum, Laptop Orchestra, and other chamber ensembles

What classes do you offer?

  • Music theory and musicianship
  • Music history, musicology, and ethnomusicology
  • Vocal Performance classes: studio voice class, vocal repertoire classes, diction classes, vocal pedagogy
  • Composition, songwriting, and production
  • Conducting
  • Jazz in American Music; US Popular Music
  • Music cultures:  Far East and Asia; Africa, Caribbean, and Latin America; Western Classical
  • Other topics that vary by semester

What do you offer lessons in?

  • Voice
  • Piano, organ and harpsichord
  • All orchestral instruments
  • All wind symphony instruments
  • Most standard jazz ensemble instruments

Can I take music lessons, join ensembles, and join classes if I'm not a music major or minor?

Yes! Music lessons on a variety of instruments and voice, as well as all ensembles and many of our class offerings, are available to you even if you’re not a music student.  

Can I take lessons if I am a beginner?

Sometimes. We offer a voice class and a keyboard class for beginners. We’re not always able to accommodate beginners with other instruments. It is best to email to get more information.

How do I take lessons if I'm a non-music major and not a beginner?

Participating in a Music Department ensemble is what makes you eligible to take studio lessons; in other words, each studio lessons course comes with an ensemble co-requisite requirement.  Below are the steps to follow if you are interested in taking lessons:

  1. Audition for a Music Department ensemble intended for your instrument/voice type at the start of a semester.
  2. Get accepted into the ensemble (or be granted one semester of lesson preparation by the ensemble director at the audition).
  3. Once accepted, register yourself for the ensemble you are accepted into (unless you are granted one semester of lesson preparation by the ensemble director, or you are granted an ensemble co-requisite waiver--see below, in which cases there is no need to register for the ensemble). 
  4. Once you have registered yourself for an ensemble, your instructor and the Music Department office will enroll you for your lessons course.

Keep in mind….

  • You register yourself for the ensemble course; the Music Department registers you for your lessons course. Without first being registered by yourself for the ensemble course, you won’t be able to be registered by the Music Department for your lessons course.  Lessons course registration is solely done by the Music Department, while ensemble registration is done by yourself.
  • Credit allowance: Make sure you’ll still have enough credit allowance left to be registered for your lessons course.
  • Extra course fees: In addition to the regular credit course fees, all instrumental lessons incur an extra $75 fee per semester per course; all voice lessons incur an extra $125 fee per semester per course.
  • About Ensemble Co-Requisite Waiver: If you have intractable class schedule conflict with the weekly ensemble rehearsal, a one-time, one-semester Ensemble Co-Requisite Waiver may be petitioned and granted upon approval.  If the waiver petition is approved, you’ll be able to take lessons without meeting the ensemble co-requisite requirement for that semester.

What if I need an instrument?

Students are generally expected to provide their own instruments, but we do own a small number of instruments to be borrowed for those accepted into ensemble programs on specialized instruments, or to those taking instrumental methods courses. Email for more information and solutions. 

Are there practice rooms for non-music majors to use?

There are practice rooms available in the basement (roughly FA 51-79) and the ground floor (inside FA115) of the Fine Arts building.  They are open to the university community, regardless of majors.  Most practice rooms do not require key or card access.  They are open whenever the Fine Arts building is open (generally 7AM till 11PM).  The majority of our practice rooms are equipped with upright pianos, with a small number of grand pianos and electric pianos also available. 

Do you have practice rooms for percussionists?

Our percussion practice room (FA 115A) is open to all percussion students enrolled in Wind Symphony, University Orchestra, and Percussion Ensemble.  Others can use the room on a case by case basis.  Please email Prof. Joel Smales at to inquire.