Applied Lessons


Private Lessons — or as we refer to them at Kalamazoo College, Applied Music Study — facilitate technical command, interpretive insight, and understanding of pedagogical procedures. The courses stress the development of the ability to perform with competence and musical understanding while providing a comprehensive background of music of various periods, styles, and composers. 

The music department seeks to cultivate an understanding of the language and history of music and to nurture artistic skill and musicianship. Professional musicians and teachers from across the state join with our resident faculty to offer individual, instrumental, vocal, and composition lessons for all College students. A complete list of faculty appears on the Faculty page.

Applied Music (Private Lessons)

Private lessons are available for voice, composition, recording technology, and all standard instruments. Please consult the Classroom Music Courses page for a complete listing of Applied Music Courses.

Each lesson is credit-bearing (worth 1/5 of a unit per quarter).  You may also take lessons in more than one area and/or combine ensembles with lessons in any quarter. Up to five full total units of these courses may be applied toward graduation.

No auditions are necessary. Simply register for lessons online, and then contact the professor of that course to set up a time for your private lesson.  A full list of instructors and their contact information is maintained on the Faculty page.

Students will be billed $324 for each set of ten half-hour lessons at the end of the quarter. A student may also register for hour-long lessons and will be billed $648 (and receive 2/5 of a unit of credit). Each student in a group lesson is charged $213 per quarter.

If this cost presents a financial concern for you or your family, you may audition for a Clark/Miller/Rackley/Burdick-Thorne Applied Music Scholarship, which can help reduce the cost of applied lessons. Scholarship recipients are chosen primarily on the basis of financial need, rather than existing musical advancement.  These will take place Friday, Week 1 of the FALL term in the Recital Hall. Please consult with Dr. Andrew Koehler if you have questions.  To Sign-up for an audition, please email Susan to obtain the link.

Registering for Applied Music Lessons

A regular set of lessons consists of 10 weekly half-hour sessions per quarter. Students register for applied music in addition to their regular academic classes each quarter. Please observe the following registration guidelines:

  • During Week 1 you may add/drop Applied Music lessons via your WebAdvisor account.
  • During Week 2 add/drop must be done in person at the Registrar’s Office.
  • Applied Music lessons that remain on a student’s schedule after Week 2 will be charged to the student’s account, whether or not lessons are attended.
  • Applied Music lessons may be withdrawn until the end of Week 8, but without any refund of fees.

If you have trouble contacting your instructor before the drop/add deadline – SECOND WEEK, let one or all of the following people know: the Registrar’s Office, the Andrew Koehler, Department Chair, Marissa Klee-Peregon, Fine Arts Coordinator or Susan Lawrence, Event Coordinator.

Academic Credit

Applied music is credited in the same manner as the ensembles: 1/5 unit is earned for each quarter of participation. Upon the recommendation of the instructor, very advanced students may complete a full unit in the third or fourth quarter of study by presenting a recital. A student may earn up to 5 units in Music Ensembles and Applied Music combined.

Course Expectations

It is the student’s responsibility to notify his or her music instructor 24 hours in advance, preferably in person, if s/he must miss or reschedule a lesson. Failure to do so will result in an unexcused absence and will result in a lowering of the student’s grade for the quarter. Lessons the student missed should be made up if s/he has given the teacher 24 hours in advance notice. Lessons a student misses without giving advance notice need not be made up but will be paid for.

Students are expected to attend all lessons, two area classes, the applied music recital, and play a hearing each quarter (see below for more details on the requirements). Any student’s grade will be lowered by half a letter for each lesson, area class, or hearing missed.

For example, although a student may be doing “A” level work, the final grade will be dropped to

A- for 1 missed lesson, area class, or hearing
B for 2 missed of the above
B- for 3 missed of the above
C for 4 missed of the above
C- for 5 missed of the above
D for 6 missed of the above

Voice students may substitute one Area Class by participating in either the State or Regional NATS Student Auditions.

Area Classes

Faculty in each of the 4 applied areas (Keyboard, Voice, Strings, and Winds-Brass-Percussion) will hold two Area Performance Classes each quarter. Attendance at these classes is mandatory.

Classes are designed to provide students the opportunity to:

  1. perform works in progress, regardless of level, in an informal atmosphere and receive constructive comments from their peers and from faculty,
  2. present performances of finished pieces, regardless of level, to be considered for the Applied Music Recital.

Area Classes are also ideal opportunities for constructive exchanges between students and faculty who ordinarily would not see each other in lessons or Studio Classes.

Faculty in each area will select student performers for the Applied Music Recital based on performances in Area Classes.

Applied Music Recital

Students are selected by faculty for this end-of-quarter recital based on performances in Area Classes. The Recital is intended to reflect the best student performances for that quarter, regardless of repertoire level.  The Applied Music Recital generally occurs on Wednesday at 4:10 iof 10th week each quarter.


During Finals Week of each quarter, all applied music students perform in an informal setting and receive feedback from faculty. Students should consult with their teachers in deciding what to present at hearings. Finished works, pieces “in progress,” technical studies, and occasionally even scales are acceptable. By ninth week of the quarter, an email will be sent to students to reserve Hearing times during Finals week online. Students receive written comments from faculty at the conclusion of their hearings via email.

Hearings are convened in each of four applied areas (Keyboard/Composition, Voice, Strings, and Winds/Brass/Percussion).

Student Recitals

Some particularly advanced students may be interested in presenting their own recital.  This decision should be discussed and approved by the instructor initially, then communicated to the full-time faculty area head.

Recital dates for students should be set by the Applied Teacher as early as possible, preferably in the preceding quarter, so they can appear in the College Calendar. This must be done by the Applied Instructor in consultation with the Event Coordinator, Susan Lawrence,

The entire recital program must be performed and approved at least three weeks prior to the concert date by the Applied Teacher and the full-time faculty area head. In addition, student performers are strongly encouraged to present their program at local community venues prior to the concert date. These community performances are intended to provide valuable experience for students as well as outreach to wider audiences.