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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, and violin 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

New Students: Saturday, August 28, 2021, starting at 4:30pm or Sunday, August 29, 2021, starting at 1:00pm — Martel Recital Hall, Skinner Hall of Music.  

Returning Students: Monday, August 30, 2021, 1:30pm-4pm or Tuesday, August 31, 2021, 6pm-8pm. — Skinner Hall, Room 17   

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 a Google form to sign up for an audition. The forms will open Monday, August 23, 2021.
New Students
Returning Students

Jazz & Wind Ensemble Information Meeting

Monday, August 30, 2021
7pm—Jazz Ensemble & Jazz Combo Students
8pm—Wind Ensemble Students
Martel Recital Hall, Skinner Hall of Music
(At this meeting you will sign up for an audition time.)

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.

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.

Wind Ensemble Auditions

Tuesday, August 31, 2021, starting at 7:00 pm
Martel Recital Hall, Skinner Hall of Music
Auditions are for new students only. New Wind Ensemble students can audition with an etude or solo piece excerpt. An audition piece will be provided to any student who does not have an etude or solo piece of their own. The audition sign-up sheet will be available at the August 30 meeting.

Jazz Ensemble/Combo Auditions

Thursday, September 2, 2021, starting at 4pm
Skinner Hall of Music, Room 403
Auditions are for new students only. New Jazz students can audition with a jazz etude or jazz ensemble piece (improvisation is optional). An audition piece will be provided to any student who does not have an etude or ensemble piece of their own. The audition sign-up sheet will be available at the August 30 meeting.

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 2021 Choral/Voice Lesson Information Sessions

Thursday, August 26, 2021 — Martel Recital Hall, Skinner Hall of Music
10:00 am – 11:00 am or 11:00 am – 12:00 pm (please choose one)

All students interested in singing in the choirs (Women’s Chorus, Mixed Chorus, Chamber Singers) or auditioning for voice lessons should attend one of these sessions. There will be a short presentation followed by Q&A.

Voice Lesson Auditions

Saturday, August 28, 2021, 1:00pm - 4:00 pm — Skinner, Room 400
Sign up for an audition in advance by filling out the Voice Lesson Audition Google Form. The form will open Monday, August 23, 2021.

Students are encouraged to prepare one classical vocal piece in any language, preferably memorized. Please bring a copy of the music with piano accompaniment, as an accompanist will be provided. Students who do not have a classical piece prepared may also present selections from musical theatre or other music genres.

Choral Auditions

Sunday, August 29, 2021, 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm — Skinner, Room 400
Please sign up in advance on the Choral Audition Google Form. The form will open on Monday, August 23, 2021.

Students are encouraged to prepare one classical vocal piece in any language, preferably memorized. Please bring a copy of the music with piano accompaniment, as an accompanist will be provided. Students who do not have a classical piece prepared may also present selections from musical theatre or other music genres.

Piano 

Piano at Vassar with Thomas Sauer

Sunday, August 29, 2021, 11:00 am - 11:45 am — Martel Recital Hall
Come and learn about the piano lesson program at Vassar.

Piano Auditions

Monday, August 30, 2021, 5:00 pm - 7:30 pm — Skinner, Room 400
Sign-up for an audition in advance by filling out the Piano Audition Google Form. The form will open Monday, August 23, 2021.

Please prepare two short, contrasting pieces. Beginners are welcome; if you are not in a position to prepare a piece, please sign up for an audition to come and state your reasons for wishing to take up the piano.

Any questions about the audition process may be directed at any time to Thomas Sauer. We look forward to meeting you soon.

Pipe Dreams - Organ Info Session

Sunday, August 29, 2021, 3pm–4pm — Chapel

Learn about the organ lesson program at Vassar. For questions about organ or harpsichord lessons, please contact Gail Archer.

Violin Auditions

Thursday, August 26, 2021, 10am–1pm — Zoom

Sign-up for an audition in advance by filling out the Violin Audition Google Form. The form will open on Monday, August 23, 2021.

For questions about violin auditions or lessons, please contact Anna Elashvili.

Guitar Auditions

Saturday, August 28, 2021, 10:30 am – 12:30 pm — Skinner, Room 325

Sign-up for an audition in advance by filling out the Guitar Audition Google Form. The form will open on Monday, August 23, 2021.

Other Instruments

Bass, Bassoon, Cello, Jazz Guitar, Clarinet, Flute, French Horn, Harp, Harpsichord, Jazz Piano, Oboe, Organ, Percussion, Saxophone, 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 in the 2020/21 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 music@vassar.edu.

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 or 105.  You may also consider out 200-level offerings.