Applied music lessons are available to all students at the College, regardless of major.
Click here for the list of Applied Music Faculty.
Music Lesson Information
Students at Occidental College have the benefit of the best professional teachers in the Los Angeles area. Private lessons are offered in voice and instruments. Class lessons are also offered in piano, voice, guitar, electronic music, and jazz improvisation. Lessons receive one course unit each term, and serve as partial fulfillment of the College's fine arts requirement. Scholarship opportunities for lessons are described here.
Applied Lessons and Practice
Registration: A substantial part of a music student's work will be in applied study: private or class lessons in voice or an instrument. Students enroll for applied lessons through the regular online registration process or with an ADD form. The fees for private and class lessons are listed in the Music Department section of the College Catalog.
Practice: An extremely important element of applied music study is regular practice time between lessons. You should consult with your applied teacher and develop a practice schedule that you can maintain with the same consistency as class attendance. You also should work with your applied teacher on methods of using your practice time most effectively.
Instructor evaluations: Each semester, you will be asked to evaluate your instructor using the Music Department's evaluation tool. Please be sure to take care of this important responsibility -- it helps your teacher to know your opinion of his/her strengths and areas for improvement.
Private and Class Lessons
Private lessons in instruments and voice are offered for one unit of credit, and can be taken for either one half-hour a week, or one hour a week. While music majors and scholarship recipients must enroll in applied study for a letter grade, all others are welcome to elect CR/NC grading if their instructor approves. Please be sure to acquire the necessary form from the Registrar by the deadline if you are interested in this option. Music majors are strongly encouraged to enroll in hour-long lessons.
Class lessons are also offered in Electronic Music, Piano, Voice, Guitar, Jazz Improvisation, and Alexander Technique if a minimum of 4 students register for the class.
Students must enroll for applied lessons (courses designated MUSA) through the regular online registration process or with an ADD form each term. All music majors, and all students receiving a scholarship for applied study, will perform a jury at the end of each semester of study (excluding semesters in which a student is performing a junior or senior recital).
Please be aware that some instructors require all their students, regardless of their major or scholarship status, to perform a jury. Check your syllabus, given to you each semester by your applied music instructor, to see if you will be required to perform an end-of-semester jury.
Please note: the Registrar will not accept late or retroactive adds for applied study. Therefore, you must be sure to register on time for your applied music class.
The practice rooms in Booth Hall, each of which contains a piano, are available to all Occidental College students at no charge. These rooms are not scheduled in advance. Students may use the rooms as they are available. Unlocking a combination lock on the door accesses all practice rooms. The combination is changed from time to time, and may be obtained from the Music Department office. (The same is true of the combination locks on the doors of the restrooms located in the Music Quad.) Please note that the locks are not intended to keep Occidental students from using the practice rooms, but are there for your protection while you are using the room.
Applied Lesson Fees
Please consult the current College Catalog or inquire at the Music Department office.
Setting Up Lessons
You are responsible for contacting your teacher to set up your lesson schedule at the beginning of each semester. If your teacher has been unavailable for the first two weeks of the semester, you must inform the Music Department office of this problem so that you can be given an extension of one week to set up your lesson time. Your teacher is required to provide you with a written syllabus indicating his/her expectations for your performance, methods and standards of evaluation, and contact information.
Attendance and Makeup Lessons
Students are expected to attend every lesson throughout the semester (up to 14 lessons). The only acceptable reasons for missing a lesson are:
- Illness or injury that prohibits you from singing or playing
- A family emergency that takes you away from campus
If you enroll for private applied study after the first week but before the Music Department's deadline, you are entitled to one makeup lesson, which must take place before end-of-term juries. Your lesson schedule has the same academic status and priority as any college class. Citing a conflict with another class or a meeting with a professor is an unacceptable reason for missing a lesson. If you are unable to attend a lesson for any reason, you must notify your teacher at least 24 hours in advance of your scheduled lesson. Except in cases of sudden illness, injury, or family emergency, if you do not notify the teacher 24 hours in advance of missing a lesson, you will forfeit the lesson for which you have paid. Therefore, at your first lesson each semester, you must discuss with your teacher the procedure by which you can notify her/him of an urgent need to miss a lesson.
Your teacher is required to make up a lesson if:
- The teacher is unable to attend a lesson
- Illness, injury, or a family emergency prohibits your attendance (see reasons listed above), and you inform the teacher 24 hours in advance of the lesson time except in cases of sudden illness, injury, or family emergency
- A faculty member schedules a field trip that conflicts with your lesson, and refuses to permit you to make up the field trip, and you inform your teacher at least 24 hours in advance of the lesson time
Both you and your teacher are responsible for making time to reschedule or make up a lesson. A lesson is to be made up no later than the end-of-term juries, during the semester in which the lesson is missed.
When you enroll in the Music Department office for applied lessons, the teacher to whom you are assigned commits to you a space in his/her schedule. An applied teacher is not salaried by the College, but rather is paid directly by the lesson fee you pay the institution. The teacher is committed to giving you your money's worth for that time every week of the semester, and for that semester the teacher may not use that time for another income-producing student.
Refunds for class and private applied music lessons will not be given after the published drop date each semester. If a student drops class or private applied music lessons before the published drop date, he/she will be billed only for the number of lessons taken up to that time, provided that the student has informed the Music Department IN WRITING of the intent to drop lessons. Any student who drops class or private applied lessons after these dates will be billed the FULL lesson fee for that semester.
Jury and MOFA (Music on a Friday Afternoon) Requirements
All music majors, and all students receiving a 1/2-hour or greater music department scholarship, must perform on at least one MOFA (Music on a Friday Afternoon) informal student recital, AND must perform an applied music jury at the end of each semester. Students who don't comply with these requirements will receive a grade reduction for either (or both) a missing MOFA or a missed jury. Please be aware that some applied music teachers require all their students to perform an end-of-semester jury whether or not they are music majors or scholarship recipients. Students performing a junior or senior recital are exempt from the jury requirement during the semester in which they perform their recital.
The jury is a chance for you to demonstrate progress made during the semester. Normally, the jury will be performed for your instructor and at least one member of the full-time Music faculty.
The Fall 2016 juries will take place on Wednesday, December 7, 2016. The Spring 2017 juries will take place on Wednesday, May 3, 2017.
Regardless of a student’s major or lesson duration, all students must do the following for their jury:
- Bring to the jury their accompanist's jury music, in good condition and in order.
- Come to the jury knowing the composer and the historic-stylistic context of their repertoire (date of composition, stylistic period, formal context -- part of a song cycle, an aria from an opera or oratorio, a sonata, a concerto, etc.). If their repertoire is part of a larger work, they are expected to have listened to that larger work.
- Treat the jury as a performance, dressing and behaving accordingly.
Additionally, all voice students must do the following:
- Explain the character’s position or role in the larger work their repertoire represents.
- Be thoroughly familiar with a word-for-word translation of texts sung in a foreign language.
- Half-hour students must have at least one of their pieces thoroughly memorized.
- One-hour students must have prepared at least three works each semester, all of them memorized.
Roughly a week before the scheduled jury, you will be assigned a specific time. In consultation with your applied teacher, you will fill out a repertoire form which you must bring to your jury. On the form, you will be asked to list the titles and composers of the musical selections you have studied with your teacher during the semester.
When you arrive at your jury, you will be given an opportunity to choose which item you want to perform first. After that piece, members of the jury panel will request other works from your list. In consultation with your applied teacher, the jury panel will evaluate your progress during the semester, as well as your level of achievement, and the result of your jury will be factored into the grade given by your applied teacher.
- Friends of Oxy Music:
- Jacquelyn Moon:
Senior Administrative Assistant
- Calvin Lesko:
Concert and Events Manager
- David Kasunic: