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Interested in Ensembles or Taking 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 thirteen lessons per semester. There is also an opportunity to take 30-min lessons with 11 lessons per semester in piano and voice, which is 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.
Some studios require auditions in order to take lessons because of the large number of students who wish to study. Voice, piano, guitar, violin and saxophone studios hold scheduled auditions at the very beginning of the year. Where to sign up is listed below.

Select from the following to jump down the page:

Instrumental Ensembles

Orchestra & Chamber Music Auditions

Saturday, September 5, 2020, 4:30pm–8pm or Sunday, September 6, 2020, 6:30pm–9pm — Martel Recital Hall, Skinner Hall of Music   

The Vassar College Orchestra is a full symphony orchestra of about 60 students. The group meets twice a week and gives two or three concerts per semester, performing master works of the symphonic repertoire. Participation is open to all students by audition regardless of their chosen majors.

The Vassar College Chamber Music program offers students opportunities to participate in string quartets, piano trios, wind quintets, and other less traditional formations depending on the repertoire. The groups perform once each semester in the recital hall and several times in other venues on and off campus. Participation is open to all students by audition and may be taken for credit.

For the audition, you will be asked to play two short contrasting excerpts (fast/slow) of your choice, and there will be also some simple sight-reading.

If you have any questions please email our Orchestra Director, Eduardo Navega.

Please fill out this Google form to sign up for an audition.

Wind Ensemble and Jazz Ensemble & Combos Auditions

The Vassar College Wind Ensemble is a sixty-plus member ensemble of Vassar students, staff and community members. The Ensemble performs three concerts in the academic year, featuring wind band masterworks, contemporary pieces and student compositions.

The Vassar College Jazz Ensemble is a 20-piece group of student musicians playing saxophones, trumpets, trombones, piano, double bass, guitar, and drums; vocalists are often featured as well. It performs literature ranging from the Big Band Era to contemporary compositions and arrangements. The Jazz Combo program offers students the opportunity to play in smaller ensembles with a strong focus on jazz improvisation.

Please submit an audition video any time through Sunday, August 30, 2020 through one of the following Google Forms.

For any questions, please contact Jim Osborn.

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.

Fall 2020 Choral/Voice Lesson Information Sessions

Please watch the informational video above which is available for all students interested in singing in the choirs (Women’s Chorus, Mixed Chorus, Chamber Singers) or auditioning for voice lessons.

Choral Auditions

Fill out this Google form in advance to choose your audition time.

Sunday, August 30, 2020, 12:00 pm–4:00 pm — Zoom Live Audition. Link will be emailed in advance.

Students are encouraged to prepare one classical vocal piece in any language. Students who do not have a classical piece prepared may also present selections from musical theatre or other music genres. Audition songs may be performed with live or recorded accompaniment, or a cappella.

Voice Lesson Auditions & Interview

Extended Submission Date. Audition Video Submission by Thursday, August 27, 2020, & Follow-up Interview on Saturday, August 29, 2020, 1pm–3:30pm

Auditions for voice lessons will be held remotely this fall, and includes:

  • filling out an audition form where you will submit an audition video link
  • a short 5-minute live interview via Zoom.

Note: Google Form Must Be Submitted by Thursday, August 27, 2020

Your audition video will be sent through the voice audition form and this is where you will also choose your interview time. Videos will need to be converted to a YouTube or Vimeo file. Interviews will be held on Saturday, August 29, 2020 from 1pm–3:30pm.

Students are encouraged to prepare one classical vocal piece in any language. Students who do not have a classical piece prepared may also present selections from musical theatre or other music genres. Audition songs may be performed with live or recorded accompaniment, or a cappella.

We will contact you in advance of your live interview to share the Zoom link.

Piano at Vassar Info Session

Friday, July 31, 2020, 4 pm–5 pm — Zoom Meeting

Come and learn about the piano lesson program at Vassar. Zoom link

Piano Auditions & Interviews

Audition Video Submission by Sunday, August 23, 2020 & Follow-up Interview on Saturday, August 29, 2020

Info Session: Anyone interested in taking piano lessons at Vassar is strongly encouraged to attend the info session via Zoom on Friday, July 31, 2020, 4:00–5:00 EDTPlease use your Vassar email to sign into this Zoom link.

At this meeting, you will meet the piano instructors, hear about the audition process, and have an opportunity to ask any questions you might have about studying the Piano at Vassar.

Auditions: For this semester’s auditions, we request that you make a short video, up to 5 minutes in length, in which you introduce yourself, tell us the piece that you would like to play, and record yourself playing that piece. Note that your video need not be perfect: its purpose is to demonstrate your level of proficiency. We will offer more guidance at the info session on July 31st.

Once you have submitted your audition video, you will be emailed a Google Form where you will be able to choose your interview time on Saturday, August 29, 2020 from 3pm–5:30pm, also via Zoom.

Audition video files will likely be too large to email, so you will need to share your file. Please submit an audition video any time through Sunday, August 23, 2020. Videos should be converted to a YouTube or Vimeo file and the link emailed to Thomas Sauer.

If you would rather create a Google drive to give access to your video, please follow the directions below.

  1. In your Google Drive, create your audition folder and place your video into it.
  2. Please share your audition folder with Thomas Sauer.
  3. Please do not delete this folder until after August 30th.

We welcome beginners; if you are not in a position to record a piece, please submit a video stating your name and your reasons for wishing to take up the piano.

Questions: Any questions about the audition process, how to make the video, etc., may be directed at any time to Thomas Sauer. We look forward to meeting you soon.

Pipe Dreams - Organ Info Session

Sunday, August 30, 2020, 3pm–4pm — Zoom
Learn about the organ lesson program at Vassar. For questions about organ or harpsichord lessons, please contact Gail Archer.

Violin Auditions

Saturday, August 29, 2020, 12pm–3pm — Zoom

Sign-up for an audition in advance by filling out this Google form.

For questions about violin auditions or lessons, please contact Amy Schroeder.

Guitar Info Session & Auditions

Info Session on Tuesday, July 28, 2020, 4pm–5pm – Zoom Link

Audition on Saturday, August 29, 2020, 10am–12pm

Info Session: Anyone interested in taking guitar lessons at Vassar is strongly encouraged to attend the info session via Zoom on Tuesday, July 28, 2020, 4:00-5:00 EDT. Please use this Zoom link.

Audition: Sign up for an audition on Saturday, August 29, 2020, 10am–12pm in advance by filling out this Google form.

Flute Auditions

Saturday, August 29, 2020 or Sunday, August 30, 2020

Please email Susan Rotholz for more information and to sign up for your audition.

Saxophone Auditions

Sunday, August 30, 2020, submit video by 3pm

Students interested in taking saxophone lessons with Dr. Christopher Brellochs should submit a 2–3-minute video of themselves playing the music of their choice Sunday, August 30, 2020 by 3pm.

Please submit an audition video any time through Sunday, August 30, 2020 by 3pm. Audition video sizes will most likely be too large to email, so videos should be converted to a YouTube or Vimeo file and the link emailed to Christopher Brellochs.

Other Instruments

Bass, Bassoon, Cello, Jazz Guitar, Clarinet, French Horn, Harp, Harpsichord, Jazz Piano, Oboe, Organ, Percussion, Trombone, Trumpet, Tuba, and Viola.
Students interested in lessons for the following instruments or requests for more information should contact:

Fees and Scholarships

Students may take lessons for credit or non-credit. Music lessons are not covered by tuition; they cost an additional $790 per semester (2020/21). If a student receives any amount of financial aid from Vassar, elects performance lessons for credit, and fills out the application form, the student will be eligible for a music scholarship in one instrument per semester. Scholarship forms are available through the Student Financial Services office. If a student drops the music lessons, the scholarship must be paid back. Forms must be submitted each semester of lessons.