Lessons and Ensemble FAQ

Q: How are lessons handled?

A: Students are assigned a teacher at CIM based on availability and assessment of needed skill development. Some are members of the Cleveland Orchestra, which is down the block from us, but all are expert teachers of their respective performance media. Learn more and apply as a non-music major.

Q: Is there a cost for lessons?

A: Case Western Reserve University pays CIM for teaching lessons to all of our music majors. This includes lessons beyond the requirement for the various concentrations and also secondary lessons where applicable. All non-music majors, including music minors, pay an “Applied Music Fee,” which is added to the term bill each semester.

Q: What ensemble opportunities are offered through the Department of Music?

A: The Department of Music offers a wide variety of ensembles (vocal and instrumental) that are open to all CWRU affiliated students regardless of major. The Ensembles webpage will give more specific information about what groups are available and how to join.

Q: Do ensembles require an audition?

A: For those of you who are interested in performing in a Vocal Ensemble please see the webpage for the group that you are interested in joining and you will find the information that you need to join. If you require further information the ensemble director’s information is provided for direct communication.

In order to provide a high quality instrumental ensemble experience we want to place students in the group that best matches their musical level, interests, availability, as well as balance the number of performers to the repertoire. Therefore, ALL instrumental ensembles require an audition for placement. Please see the webpage for the group that you are interested in for more specific information. 

Q: Do pianists have ensemble requirements?

A: Yes. Pianists take Keyboard Ensemble, created specifically for them, but they are also welcome to participate in chamber music as well as bands, orchestras, or choirs if they have a secondary performance medium. Some pianists also play with the Jazz Ensembles.

Q: What about popular music?

A: Since 1998, the CWRU Music Department has had a relationship with Cleveland’s Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and, more recently, its Archive, which opened at Cuyahoga Community College in 2012. Along with our Center for Popular Music Studies, this gives a greater focus to those opportunities on our campus, including specialized courses, lessons, and the Popular Music Ensemble.

Q: Are there any music theater opportunities at CWRU?

A: The Music Department currently offers no formal program in music theater. We do have faculty with expertise as both performers, teachers, and scholars, but there is no undergraduate concentration. Students with interest in musical theater generally participate in the Footlighters, a student-run campus organization that mounts a Broadway show each semester.

Q: Is there storage for instruments?

A: Any student who performs in an instrumental ensemble is eligible to sign out a locker in Denison Hall for the purpose of storing their instrument. Sign out information is provided to students during auditions and on the Instrument Locker Policies and Requests page.

Q: Does CWRU Music rent or loan instruments to students?

A: Students that participate in our large ensembles, such as marching band, wind band, orchestra or jazz ensembles may borrow instruments from the department with the approval of an ensemble director. Instrument loans are done by semester, and with approval of the faculty member whose ensemble the student will be playing that instrument for.

To request to rent out an instrument, you may fill out the Instrument Loan Request form, or email Summer Canter.

Q: Where do students do individual practice?

A: There are several acoustically isolated practice rooms in Denison/Wade for anyone participating in department ensembles and three others in Haydn Hall that are available to students registered for lessons. All majors have 24-hour access to these buildings. Practice in individual dorm rooms is discouraged, though there are music rooms in the Village at 115 dorm complex, which is for upperclass undergraduates.