Lessons and Ensemble FAQ

Q: How do I make the most out of my first-year experience?
A: Please be sure to visit CWRU | First Year for additional resources, to get involved, and to discover why you’ll love it here! They'll be plenty of opportunities for you to talk/meet with student organizations. Remember, the department hosts an Ensembles Information Session during orientation and auditions take place the first week of class!

Q: How do I register for ensembles? Do ensembles require an audition?
A: Most ensembles require a placement audition and permission from the director. Auditions take place in the fall during orientation or the first week of class. The Ensembles page will give more specific information. Interested students should contact the ensemble director by email with any questions.

Reminder: Spartan Marching Band meets for pre-season rehearsals prior to orientation week! 

Q: Do pianists have ensemble requirements?
A: Yes. Pianists take Keyboard Ensemble as their primary ensemble, but they are welcome to participate in chamber music, bands, orchestras, or choirs as secondary ensembles. 

Q: What about popular music?
A: Since 1998, the Department of Music has collaborated with The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and more recently, its Library & Archives, which opened at Cuyahoga Community College in 2012. The Center for Popular Music Studies (CPMS) exists to promote scholarship and teaching about the history and significance of popular music, which includes collaborations and partnerships with institutions in Cleveland and around the world. The goals and objectives of the CPMS include: supporting collaboration between researchers and historians of popular music, investigating and creating new approaches to teaching popular music (including performance), providing opportunities for graduate students to learn about popular music in an active, critically robust program, and advancing emerging research in popular music through sponsorship of visiting scholars.

We offer specialized topics courses, applied lessons (pop vocals, drum set, guitar/bass) and a Popular Music Ensemble. 

Q: Are there any music theater opportunities at CWRU?
A: The Department of Music offers no formal program in music theater. We do have faculty with expertise as performers, instructors/coaches, and scholars. Students interested in theater generally join or take part in the Department of Theater or participate in Footlighters, a student-run campus organization that presents a musical production each semester.

Q: Who teaches lessons?
A: Lessons are provided through our Joint Music Program and taught by faculty members of the Cleveland Institute of Music (CIM).

Q: How do I register for lessons?
A: Incoming music majors are assigned a primary studio by CIM based on availability and assessment of skill development. Music majors can also take secondary lessons at no additional cost (we recommend starting in the second semester). Returning music majors will be asked to hold regular applied lessons registration appointments. Learn more about registering as a minors/non-major.

Music minors/non-majors should review the information on the resources page for current students and pre-register by August 15.

Graduate/professional students can request permission to enroll in applied lessons during orientation. 

Q: Is there a cost for lessons?
A: Lessons are provided to music majors at no additional cost. All music minors/non-majors pay an “Applied Music Fee,” which is added to the term bill each semester (immediately following drop/add). Learn more about registering as a minors/non-major.

Q: Is there storage for instruments?
A: Students performing in instrumental ensembles are eligible to sign out a locker in Denison Hall for the purpose of storing their instrument. HPP students are provided lockers in Haydn Hall. More information is provided on the Instrument Locker Policies and Requests page.

Q: Does CWRU Music rent or loan instruments to students?
A: Students participating in our large ensembles, such as marching band, wind band, orchestra or jazz ensemble may borrow instruments from the department. Instrument are loaned by semester and issued with approval of the faculty member/ensemble director. Students participating in HPP Ensembles can loan instruments from our Kulas collection of period instruments. 

The process for loaning and returning instruments is managed by Summer Canter, Coordinator of Performance Facilities & Operations. To request an instrument, students should fill out the Instrument Loan Request or email Summer Canter.

Q: Where do students practice?
A: There are six acoustically isolated practice modules in the Denison Hall complex and four practice rooms in Haydn Hall. Studios and rehearsal rooms can be reserved in advance. Music majors and CWRU students enrolled in academic ensembles or lessons have 24/7 key card access to music buildings. There are also general music spaces provided in most residential buildings. Learn more about our facilities, building access, and practice rooms.