Performance Studies

Performance study is a popular and important part of the offerings of the music department. At our liberal arts college, performance study goes beyond learning to use your voice or your instrument and becomes the opportunity to assimilate all the information you know and are learning about the historical context and harmonic construction of the music. When you visit the Mount Holyoke College Art Museum, you learn about and see the elements that differentiate art in one period from art in another period; at Mount Holyoke College you will learn and use the tools that differentiate musical periods, styles, and national characteristics.

Individual Performance Studies

All students are eligible for lessons and there are many students enrolled in performance study who are not majors or minors. All students, including majors or minors, must audition for placement and registration in Individual Performance Studies. Because the Department of Music believes students, whether enrolled at Mount Holyoke or another Five College institution, should have a thorough knowledge of the rudiments of music, registration will be contingent on concurrent enrollment in, successful completion of, or exemption from MUSIC-100 (Rudiments of Music). The MUSIC-100 Exemption Exam is given at the beginning of each semester and during advising weeks and the exam schedule, topics and skills are posted for your review.

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.

Shared Student Recitals

Students enrolled in 200-level performance studies are required to participate in a public performance during that semester. Unless a student has a significant solo performance in another concert, students generally perform at one of the multiple shared student recitals that are scheduled at the end of each semester. Students enrolled in 100-level performance studies may also choose to perform at the discretion of the instructor and as space allows. In order to request a spot on a recital, students must consult with their performance instructor and fill out a recital request form.

Course Fees for Individual Lessons

No fees are charged for declared music majors and minors who have declared by the 10th day of the semester. You may declare the music major or minor after successful completion of either MUSIC-100 or MUSIC-131 (Basic Musicianship).

  • $675 for twelve 50-minute lessons; $408 for twelve 30-minute lessons. Please note: Students who choose to withdraw from a private performance study class must do so 10 class days after the first day of classes to avoid the additional lesson fee.


Grant-in-Aid is available through the Music department for students who receive financial aid to the College. We ask you to remember that the available funds cannot fully fund every request.

  • An application must be filled out for every semester that you need aid; there are no automatic renewals. 
  • Deadlines to apply are generally the first Friday of the first week of classes in each semester. 
  • Only students who receive financial aid from the College are eligible to apply. 
  • Only one instrument or voice will be funded. 
  • Late applications cannot be accepted. 

Please complete the grant-in-aid application and contact the department if you have any questions or concerns.

Lessons and Makeup Policies

  • All students registered for individual performance studies will receive 12 lessons a semester.
  • A lesson canceled by your teacher will be rescheduled.
  • A lesson canceled by you with advance notice and due to illness will be rescheduled.
  • A lesson canceled for any reason other than illness will not be rescheduled.
  • In accordance with College policy, there are no lessons on Mountain Day.
  • Makeup lessons will be scheduled as soon as possible after the missed lesson; it is hoped that by the ninth week of each semester, no student will be more than one lesson behind.

Instrument storage and practice rooms

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 Lynn Barszcz in the Music Office. Students must supply their own padlock.

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.