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The Music Department offers courses for credit in Performance Study for students who wish to improve their singing or instrumental skills.


Some level of proficiency must be demonstrated in an audition in order to obtain permission to register for a performance course for the first time. Students are accepted on the basis of musicianship, competence and potential. Auditions take place prior to or during the first week of classes for the Fall semester, and by appointment for the Spring semester. Students should sign up at Sage Hall for an audition time slot as soon as they arrive on campus. They should prepare a 3-5 minute piece of their choice for the audition. For more information: 2014-2015 Audition Schedule.


The music department has faculty and adjunct faculty instructors who teach voice and many instruments.

When no instructor for a particular instrument is available at Smith College, every effort is made to provide students with qualified instructors from the Five College community. Such arrangements may require Smith students to travel to other campuses within the Five College system. Students wishing to study performance with Five College faculty must obtain prior approval from the Smith College music department.


Courses in performance consist of weekly private lessons with a faculty member. Specific course expectations are determined by the instructor. Two performance courses may not be taken concurrently without permission of the department. This restriction does not apply to chamber music or conducting.


All performance students are required to do at least one evaluative performance each year.

All performance students are encouraged to study music in the classroom. Non-majors and nonminors wishing to take performance beyond the second year must be taking or have already taken two 4-credit classroom courses in music (MUS 100 Fundamentals of Music does not count).

Performance courses require an additional fee, which is waived for music majors and minors. The fee is currently $690 per semester, but subject to change yearly. There is financial aid
available to defray the cost of performance for non-Music majors and minors. For students on Smith grant financial aid, the College contributes $200 per semester towards the fee. The Music Department also has a limited source of funds to provide
scholarships specifically for performance fees. Students may apply each semester at the Music Dept. office for these scholarships. Applications are available at the office and on the Music Dept. web site.

There is no on-line registration for performance courses. Each student must fill out a performance registration form and bring it to her first lesson. The teacher, after verifying the accuracy and completeness of the form and whether requirements have been met, signs the form. The student then submits the signed form to the Music Office in Sage Hall. Performance registration forms are available at the Registrar's and Music Offices and the Music Dept. web site.


Performance study requires a year-long commitment. First- and second-year students normally take lessons in addition to a regular course load. With permission of the instructor, a student in the third or fourth year may register for 8 credits within or above a regular program. No more than 24 credits in performance courses may be counted toward graduation.

Courses carry the following numbering sequence, credits and section letters. Regardless of their level of skill, all students begin with the MUS914Y, First Year Performance.

Smith College reserves the right to make changes to all announcements and course listings online, including changes in its course offerings, instructors, requirements for the majors and minors, and degree requirements.

MUS 914Y First Year Performance

Full-year course
{A} Credits: 2 per semester, 4 for yearlong course

MUS 924Y Second Year Performance

Full-year course
{A} Credits: 2 per semester, 4 for yearlong course

MUS 930Y Advanced Performance

Advanced level. Can be repeated once. Prerequisites: MUS 924Y and two classroom music courses (not Fundamentals 100). This is a full-year course.
{A} Credits: 2 per semester, 4 for yearlong course.

MUS 940Y Performance for the Concentration

Intensive preparation for a senior recital for those admitted to the Concentration in Performance. Two-hour lessons per week. Prerequisites: four semesters of performance for credit or the equivalent; audition and permission of the department. 8 credits.

{A} Credits: 4 per semester, 8 for yearlong course



In addition to private lessons in Performance the Music Dept. offers the following courses:

MUS 901 Chamber Music Ensemble

Open on a limited basis to qualified students who are studying their instruments. This course requires a one-hour lesson and two hours of practice per week. May be repeated. Permission of the instructor required.

{A} Credits: 1
Judith Gordon, Joel Pitchon
Offered every semester.

MUS 903 Conducting

Introduction to the art of conducting. The class will examine philosophical and practical aspects of the modern conductor's role. Topics include a musical gestural vocabulary, baton technique, and score study/internalization of the printed page. Prior music performance experience and study of Western music theory is highly recommended; admission by permission of the instructor. May be repeated for credit.

{A} Credits: 2
Joseph Baldwin
Offered Fall 2014