Frequently Asked Questions

Are there any prerequisites for performance study?
Because the Department believes students enrolled in individual performance studies should have a thorough knowledge of the rudiments of music, enrollment for lessons is contingent on successful completion of, or exemption from, MUS100, regardless of whether a student's home institution is Mount Holyoke or one of the other colleges in our consortium.


All Mount Holyoke and Five College students must do the following in order to qualify for MUS151 Individual Performance Study:

1.  Take the MUS100 Exemption Exam.

The Department requires all performance students to have a thorough knowledge of the rudiments of music found in the syllabus for MUS100.

For the Exam schedule and a description of the contents of written and aural portions of the Exam, please see:

The following pages contain materials which may be useful for those wishing to refresh their understanding of written theory material:

And the following links can be used to practice identifying intervals and triads for the aural portion of the Exam:

In order to pass the Exam, students must achieve EITHER (1) minimum scores of 75% on both the written and aural portions, OR (2) a minimum score of 80% on the written and aural portions combined.

2.  Take an audition/interview with department faculty during the first week of classes. 

Students wishing to take private performance study on any instrument sign up for an audition on the appropriate online form. Auditions are held the first week of each semester.  Please check the schedule for the dates and times that your instrument will be heard.

What should I be prepared to do when I come for an audition?

Piano:  (1) play a prepared piece which represents your level of musicianship and ability; (2) sight-read some brief passages.

Voice and all other instruments:  perform a short prepared piece which represents your level of musicianship and ability.

3.  Based on the results of the audition/interviews, register for MUS151 Individual Performance Study and, if required, MUS100 Rudiments of Music or MUS131 Basic Musicianship.

Students who are accepted for lessons and evaluated in their audition as beginners on their instrument or voice must satisfy the music theory requirement in one of the following three ways:

Pass the MUS100 Exemption Exam prior to enrollment in performance study; OR 

Enroll concurrently with their first semester of performance study in the 2-credit MUS100 Rudiments of Music (Monday, Wednesday, Friday only, 9:00 – 9:50am) OR the 4-credit MUS131 Basic Musicianship (Monday through Friday, 9:00 – 9:50am); OR

Enroll concurrently with their first semester of performance study in a Five College course equivalent to MUS100 or MUS131.

Students who are accepted for lessons and evaluated in their audition as experienced players or singers (i.e., having had previous instrumental or vocal training) may, after taking the MUS100 Exemption Exam and obtaining permission of the instructor, enroll in MUS151 Individual Performance Study for one semester without satisfying the rudiments of music requirement.  Continued performance study beyond this single semester grace period requires satisfying the rudiments requirement either through exemption or concurrent enrollment in MUS100 or MUS131.

Do I need to be a music major or minor to take lessons?
No. All students are eligible for lessons and actually, there are many students enrolled in performance study who are not majors or minors.

Is there a fee for music lessons?
The College charges the following fees for performance study:

  • $675 per semester for weekly, individual 50-minute lessons
  • $408 per semester for weekly, individual 30-minute lessons

No refunds of fees are allowed for students who drop a performance course after the 10th academic day. Music lesson fees are waived for declared music majors and minors.

Are there any scholarships available?
Students who receive financial aid from the College are eligible to apply for a Grant-in-Aid to help pay for lessons. Applications are available in the Music Department Office or online and must be submitted at the beginning of each semester of study. There are no automatic renewals.

Where can I store my instrument?
There are a limited number of instrument storage lockers in Pratt. Students who are taking music lessons and/or playing in ensembles may store an instrument in a locker after registering with Carol Wrobleski in the Music Office. Students must supply their own padlock.

Where can I practice?
There are 12 practice rooms in Pratt which are open from 6 am - 11 pm. Use of the practice rooms is open to all Mount Holyoke students, but priority is given to students enrolled in performance studies.

Can I get credit for taking lessons?
YES, all performance study is for credit and the grade you receive is included in your GPA. Students enrolled in a 50-minute lesson receive 2 credits per semester; students enrolled in a 30-minute lesson receive 1 credit per semester. Students taking performance study at the 300 level receive 4 credits per semester.

What other performance opportunities are available besides music lessons?
There are a number of instrumental ensembles at the College including the Symphony Orchestra, Euridice Ensembles (17th/18th century period chamber ensembles), string/wind/mixed small ensembles, the Flute Choir, the Klezmer Band, the Jazz Ensembles (Big Band and Chamber Jazz) and the West African Music Ensembles. Choral ensembles include the Chorale, Glee Club and Chamber Singers, the Early Music Ensembles (Collegium and Voces Feminae) and Vocal Jazz. Auditions are required for participation; students receive 1 credit per semester.

Can I transfer credit from another institution?
Classroom courses in music theory or history may be eligible for transfer credit. Performance credits such as music lessons or ensemble participation are not eligible for transfer credit.

When can I declare a music major or minor?
Students can declare a music major or minor as early as the second semester of their first year provided they have completed one classroom course at Mount Holyoke that leads to the major or minor, i.e. Music 131 (Basic Musicianship), Music 281 (Music History I), given each semester, or Music 231 (Theory I), given in the spring semester. Students must make an appointment with the Department Chair to discuss courses they plan to take and to obtain necessary signature.