Music Department Frequently Asked Questions for New Students


What performance opportunities will I have?

The Music Department’s many performance opportunities include student recitals, performance classes, large ensembles, chamber music, senior recitals, master classes and workshops, the PCO concerto competition, and the Glee Club’s annual concert tour. The Department’s curricular ensembles include Choir, Glee Club, Orchestra, Band, Jazz Ensemble, Balinese Gamelan, Afro-Cuban Music Ensemble and West African Music Ensemble.

Do I need to audition for the ensembles?

The Orchestra, Choir, Glee Club, and Jazz Ensemble have auditions at the beginning of each the semester. The other ensembles do not have auditions. Visit the courses webpage for additional information.

Can I take an ensemble or lessons in addition to a full four-course load?

Yes. Ensembles are half-credit courses; lessons are offered either for half- or quarter-credit. You can register (i.e., pre-enroll) for the equivalent of 4.75 course credits from full and partial-credit courses. If one or more of those courses is a half-credit course, you can increase your load to 5.25 credits during the Add/Drop period. (This applies to all students, including first-years.)

How do I sign up for lessons?

Registration for individual music lessons take place ONLINE and not through For registration schedule and the online link please visit the Private Lessons webpage.

Can I take lessons on two different instruments?

Sometimes. There is considerable demand for music lessons, so students normally may not take lessons on more than one instrument. However, students who can demonstrate a practical reason why studying on two instruments is a prudent choice given one’s individual circumstances may petition to take lessons on both instruments. Petitions are part of the lesson registration form.

How will I know who will be my teacher?

Most instruments have one instructor; piano, voice, violin and guitar have multiple teachers. The full-time faculty place students with a teacher.

Will I be able to play chamber music?

Chamber music may be taken for credit after students have completed their first semester at the College. Students form groups on their own and/or in consultation with faculty to find appropriate players. Students may also participate in chamber music on a non-credit basis.

Can I use the practice rooms?

Yes, students who take lessons or play in a department ensemble may use the practice rooms in the basement of Thatcher Music Building. Access is 24/7 with a validated student ID.

What are the practice facilities like?

We have a few unlocked practice rooms with upright pianos. Access to our finer pianos and larger practice spaces is restricted to those piano students who have permission from their teachers and chamber ensembles enrolled in MUS 040. Pomona is an all-Steinway school.

Will I be able to play a sport while participating in a music ensemble?

Our music ensembles are academic courses and attendance is considered mandatory. Some athletics coaches provide flexibility in order to accommodate students who want to do both. Check with your coach to identify conflicts.