Prospective Undergraduate FAQ

Q. Where do I start? 

A. Just starting your college search? Request information by submitting the Prospective Undergraduate Student Inquiry. Get an early start! We encourage students in their junior year of high school to schedule a program visit during our open house programs. Attend a Music Overview or contact the Office of Undergraduate Admission to schedule a campus visit.

Q. How many music students are enrolled in the College of Arts and Sciences?

A. The number of undergraduate music majors varies from 85 to 100 students and the number of music minors is around 25 students. We typically have an incoming class size of 25 majors. The number of graduate/professional students is around 50 students. We also teach CIM students and have many non-majors participating in lessons or ensembles.

Q. What is the Joint Music Program?

A. Since 1968, Case Western Reserve University and the Cleveland Institute of Music have participated in an integrated music program at the undergraduate and graduate levels. The Joint Music Program (JMP) allows students at both institutions to take advantage of the resources of a major research university in the context of a liberal arts education as well as those of a leading conservatory. Students enrolled at CWRU take music lessons and music theory courses taught by CIM faculty, while students enrolled at CIM take music history, music education, and general education courses taught by CWRU faculty.

Q. What undergraduate programs are available?

A. The two undergraduate degree programs offered by the Department of Music are a Bachelor of Arts in Music (BA) and a Bachelor of Science in Music Education (BS). We also offer a minor in music.

Q. Why is the Music Education major a BS rather than a BA?

A. Generally, a BS degree offers students a more specialized curriculum in their specific major and requires more credits than a BA degree. Because the state of Ohio and the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM) mandate the curriculum in Music Education, the degree is a BS, rather than a BA. 

The Bachelor of Science in Music Education (BS) is a professional degree that ultimately leads to teacher licensure. Small classes, personalized attention and faculty mentoring are at the forefront of the program. This intensive degree prepares students to become professional music educators. Students develop skills, concepts, and methodologies in music theory, composition, general musicianship, music history, arranging/orchestrating, improvising, conducting, and music performance. Requires the Arts Supplement (audition) and a live interview for acceptance into the major.

Q. What are the music theory requirements for incoming majors?

A. A student’s first music theory course assignment is determined by a music theory diagnostic exam that is administered both online prior to orientation and during orientation. Students who demonstrate proficiency on this exam will be placed into MUTH 101 (Theory and Aural Skills I) or higher. Those who do not will be placed into MUTH 101i, (Intensified Theory and Aural Skills I).

Q. Is it possible to do a double major with Music and another subject?

A. Yes. The Bachelor of Arts in Music (BA) can be combined with any other degree program that CWRU offers: double major/dual degree/secondary major. This degree is intended for students who wish to emphasize general competence in music within the framework of a liberal arts education. Many CWRU undergraduate music majors combine music with another area of study. The Music (BA) degree can be completed in 6 semesters, giving students the flexibility to study abroad or take a co-op, while completing a dual degree or double major within 4 years. 

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

A: The Department of Music offers a wide variety of academic Ensembles that are open to all CWRU students regardless of major. There are also several performance-based student organizations on campus, including Footlighters (musical theater), and Pep Band (sub-group of marching band).

Q: Do ensembles require an audition?

A: Most ensembles require an audition and permission from the director. Auditions take place in the fall during orientation or the first week of class. Students should review the Ensembles page and contact the ensemble director by email with any questions.

Q. How are lessons handled for minors/non-majors?

A. Applied music lessons are available to all CWRU students (minors/non-majors) for academic credit through the Joint Music Program and are taught by CIM faculty members. Beginning students must have a basic foundation for reading music or complete MUTH 103/MUTH 104 prior to taking lessons, and start at the recommended 30-minute lessons for 1.00 credit unit. Advanced students have the option of 60-minute lessons for 2.00 credit units. Students can request permission to enroll by completing the Registration for Applied Music Lessons. There are a limited number of private lesson spaces available each semester, so lesson approval is not guaranteed for students who are minors/non-majors.

Q. Is there a cost for lessons?

A. CWRU students (minors/non-majors) taking secondary music lessons (MUAP 131) pay an Applied Music Fee, which is added to the term bill each semester. These fees, per semester, are $750 for 1.00 credit unit (30-min weekly lessons) or $1,500 for 2.00 credit units (60-min weekly lessons).

Q. What about popular music?

A. The Center for Popular Music Studies 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. Our course offerings include topics in popular music, digital music, applied instruction in popular music, and a Popular Music Ensemble. We have had several undergraduate music majors over many years who have gone on to careers in popular music (Jim Brickman, for example), and many who have taken advantage of the outstanding local opportunities in jazz music.

Q. Are there any music theater opportunities at CWRU?

A. The Department of Music currently offers no formal program in music theater, although we do have faculty with expertise as performers, teachers, and scholars. Students generally participate in Footlighters, a student-run campus organization that mounts a musical production each semester. Student with a strong interest in musical theater should explore opportunities provided by the Department of Theater.

Q. What is the Historical Performance Practice?

A. Historical Performance Practice (HPP) refers to the study of how music was performed in earlier centuries (mostly, the Medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque periods1). It is based on two key aspects: the application of the stylistic and technical aspects of performance, known as performance practice (articulation, ornamentation, tempo, tuning); and the use of period instruments which may be reproductions of historical instruments that were in use at the time of the original composition, and which usually have different timbre and temperament from their modern equivalents. Undergraduate students with an interest in this area are welcome to audition on a period instrument/voice, and incorporate applied study, early music ensembles, and targeted HPP courses into their curriculum. 

1) Our expanded coverage of music studied in this way includes the Classical and Early Romantic periods.

Q. What is the “Kulas” name on so many things?

A. Elroy John Kulas and his wife, Fynette H. Kulas, were Cleveland philanthropists who focused their giving on college and university music programs in northeast Ohio. Mr. Kulas, who died in 1952, was an executive in the steel industry. He and his wife had no children, so in 1937 they established the Kulas Foundation as a means to organize their charitable giving. Most area music schools and departments (including Oberlin, Baldwin-Wallace, CWRU and CIM) have Kulas halls, libraries, and professorships, and the Foundation is still a vital benefactor for music in our region. 

The department maintains an impressive collection of modern reproductions of early instruments. The Historical Performance Practice program offers a wide range of ensembles from Medieval toRomantic, and the Kulas Collection of historical instruments (renaissance, medieval and baroque string, wind, and brass instruments) is available to all students. The program also owns a wide range of historical keyboard instruments: French, Italian, and German Harpsichords, a continuo organ, and two fortepianos.

The Kulas Music Collection is located on the first floor of the Kelvin Smith Library. The Kulas research collections contain 45,000 items, including books, scores, media, microforms, and music periodicals. Users can borrow books and scores; we provide listening and reading areas to use media and reference collections. In addition to print resources, we provide access to online databases. 

Q. Do CWRU students have any relationship with the Cleveland Orchestra?

A: The Cleveland Orchestra performs in Severance Hall, which is in the middle of the CWRU campus and, in fact, the land on which it sits is leased to the Orchestra by the University. Several members of the Orchestra are currently on the faculty at CIM and, thus, are sometimes among faculty available to teach lessons to CWRU students. All CWRU music majors are eligible to receive a season pass (at no cost) to attend all Cleveland Orchestra concerts. All other CWRU students are given reduced tickets rates through the Severance Hall Box Office. Lastly, music students in the JMP are eligible to attend selected rehearsals and master classes offered by the Orchestra. 

Q. What opportunities exist for students who want to major in something other than Music?

A. The minor in music does not require an audition and our many music ensembles are open to all students regardless of major. Applied music lessons are available to all CWRU students (minors/non-majors) for academic credit through the Joint Music Program and are taught by CIM faculty members.

Q. Where do students practice?

A. There are six acoustically isolated practice rooms and a percussion studio in Denison Hall, and four practice rooms with grand pianos on the 2nd floor of Haydn Hall. These spaces are available to music majors and CWRU students enrolled in academic ensembles or applied music lessons. Students are given 24-hour key card access. Some of our larger rehearsal spaces are available by reservation. There are also music spaces in many of the residential buildings on campus.

Q. What is the “The Core” in Haydn Hall?

A. The Core (Haydn Hall, 16) is a Macintosh computer classroom and lab dedicated to mind, sound, and vision. The Core isa collaborative space for all CWRU students, faculty and staff, as well as the University Circle community, to gather and collaborate, designing visual and aural mediums, and create masterpieces. It not only offers computers and software, but also video and digital cameras and microphones for checkout, one-on-one tutorial time, classes, and meeting space. The Core is actively involved in bringing technology to the community, particularly younger children, and it works closely with faculty in providing support facilities for the department’s technology-related courses.

Q. What is the Maltz Performing Arts Center?

A. The Milton and Tamar Maltz Performing Arts Center at The Temple–Tifereth Israel (MPAC) opened in 2015 after extensive restoration and renovation of the structure, which first served as a synagogue in 1924. Today, the center is an active venue for performances and events, including lectures and music concerts, including the Silver Hall Concert Series  (during which our department ensembles perform). Phase One included Silver Hall, a 1,000-seat concert hall for large ensemble performances, and Koch Hall, a 90-seat recital hall for smaller performances. Phase Two includes a proscenium theater, a blackbox studio theater, rehearsal studios, practice rooms, and costume and scene shops, and is currently under construction.

For general information about undergraduate programs in music at CWRU, please contact:

Jennifer Wright
Coordinator, Department Operations & Undergraduate Recruitment
Case Western Reserve University | Department of Music