Prospective Undergraduate FAQ

Q. Where do I start? 
A. Just starting your college search? Request information by submitting the Prospective Undergraduate Student Inquiry.

Q. Can I plan a visit or attend an open house program?
A. We encourage students to schedule a preview/campus visit with the Office of Undergraduate Admission or attend a Music Overview during an open house program

Q. How many music students are enrolled in the Department of Music?
A. The number of undergraduate music majors varies from 65 to 85 students and the number of music minors is around 25 students. We typically have an incoming class size of 20 majors. The number of graduate/professional students is around 50 students. We also teach CIM students and have many non-majors (outside of music) participating in lessons or ensembles.

Q. What is the Joint Music Program?
A. Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) and the Cleveland Institute of Music (CIM) participate in an integrated music program at the undergraduate and graduate levels. This exceptional partnership provides students the resources of a major university in the context of a liberal arts education, with those of a leading conservatory. CWRU and CIM students interact with each other in the same music theory, music history or general elective courses, and often participate in ensembles together. Learn more about the Joint Music Program

Q. Where can I find the audition process and audition information?
A. Applicants must submit a Music Arts Supplement (portfolio in the area of music) with the Common Application via their applicant status portal during the application process. Please review the application procedures here and allow enough time to meet the establish deadlines. The Music Arts Supplement is evaluated for both for the music major and for music scholarship, and must be submitted in fulfillment of the audition requirements on the primary instrument/voice.

Q. Are music scholarships available? 
A.  CWRU offers two music scholarships (1st-year applicants):

  • Performing Arts Scholarship: A handful of these full-tuition scholarships are available to students who exhibit excellence in the performing arts and will major in either music, theater, or dance. Students who audition for the BA in Music or the BS in Music Education will be considered for these highly competitive scholarships. 
  • Arts Achievement Award: A small number of scholarships ($10,000 per year) are available to students who exhibit excellence in either music or studio art, regardless of whether they will major in those areas. Students who audition for the BA in Music or the BS in Music Education will be considered for these highly competitive scholarships. Students who do not intend to major in music can also be considered for an Arts Achievement Award by submitting the Music Arts Supplement

Q. What undergraduate programs are available?
A. We offer the following undergraduate degree programs:

  • Bachelor of Arts in Music (BA)
  • Bachelor of Science in Music Education (BS)
  • 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 (digital questionnaire/video audition) and a live interview for acceptance into the major.

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 as a 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. Do you need to pass an audition to declare the minor in music? 
A. The minor in music does not require an audition. Students can declare a minor in music or participate in ensembles/lessons as non-majors without passing an audition. However, all students applying for the Arts Achievement Award must submit a Music Arts Supplement. All submissions received by February 1 will be considered for music scholarship. 

Q. What are the music theory requirements for incoming majors?
A. The music theory course assignment for each 1st-year student 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: 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: Full auditions take place the first week of the fall semester. New members can also audition the first week of the spring semester. Audition and registration requirements are outlined on our Ensembles and Lessons page. Enrollment permissions are granted in SIS following a successful audition or after the first week of class.

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. Beginning students (no previous study) 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 should complete the Pre-Registration Form: Secondary Applied Music Lessons prior to August 15 (fall term) or December 15 (spring term). Students should make every effort to register for lessons in SIS and contact their CIM Instructor to schedule their weekly lessons time before the first week of class.There are a limited number of private lesson spaces available each semester, so lesson approval is not guaranteed for minors/non-majors.

Q. Is there a cost for lessons for minors/non-majors?
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 jazz skills, popular music, digital music, composition and arranging, applied instruction (pop vocals, guitar, drum set), and a Popular Music Ensemble. We have 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. Students will learn more about affiliated student groups during orientation and special student activities programs. Students with a strong interest in musical theater should explore opportunities provided by the Department of Theater.

Q. What is 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. Why 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. Students in the JMP are eligible to attend selected rehearsals and master classes offered by the Cleveland 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 the Denison Hall complex, and four practice rooms with grand pianos on the 2nd floor of Haydn Hall. There are two HPP studios in the lower level 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 rooms are available by reservation. There are also general 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. It is a collaborative space for all CWRU students, faculty and staff, as well as the University Circle community, to gather and collaborate, design 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, class instruction, and space for meetings/demonstrations. The Core is actively involved in bringing technology to the community and it works closely with faculty in providing support facilities for the department’s technology-related courses.

Q. What is Harkness Chapel and Classroom?
A. Harkness Chapel, built during 1902, features neo-Gothic architecture, antique oak and Georgia pine woodwork, and Tiffany windows. It is a warm, intimate, and acoustically resonant space for the performance of vocal and instrumental chamber music. The building provides space for concerts, music classes, and department recitals. Harkness Chapel was built to honor Florence Harkness Severance (Louis Henry Severance), the only daughter of Stephen V. Harkness and his second wife, Anna M. Richardson Harkness.

Harkness Classroom is located inside of Harkness Chapel and serves as an academic classroom, and a backstage area during performances. This room features a capacity of 45 desks on risers with Level 2 Technology, including video projection, stereo sound system, and a grand piano. Scheduling is controlled by the University Registrar and available for non-music classes with permission from the Department of Music.

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 includes 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, please contact Jennifer WrightCoordinator of Department Operations & Undergraduate Recruitment.