Heather Buchman, Department Chair
315-859-4568 (fax)
Office: List 233


Private Music Instruction

The Music Department offers a variety of courses in solo performance - both vocal and instrumental - by a faculty of private instructors, many of whom are members of the Symphoria. A student receives either eleven half-hour lessons per term, which will earn one-quarter course credit, or eleven hour lessons, which will earn one-half course credit. Although a fee is charged for such instruction, students receiving financial aid are eligible for assistance in meeting the cost. Soloists are provided with a variety of performing opportunities, including departmental concerts, featured appearances with choral and instrumental ensembles, and half and full recitals for qualified juniors and seniors.  For complete and detailed information about the program in private music instruction at Hamilton College, students are urged to consult the Department Handbook.

Instruments | Fees | Registration | Placement | Financial Aid | Solo Performance | Applied Music | Performance Opportunities

The Music Department currently offers instruction in these instruments:

Classical Guitar
Jazz Guitar


A course in Applied Music, Solo Performance, or Advanced Solo Performance entails either eleven half-hour weekly lessons per term, which will earn one-quarter course credit (Mus 125, 225); or eleven one-hour weekly lessons, which will earn one-half course credit (Mus 126, 226, 326).  The fee for one term of half-hour lessons is $330.00; one term of hour lessons is $660.00. This amount is in addition to regular College fees and tuition, and a separate contract for the lesson fees is completed when the student registers for the course.  Financial assistance may be available to those on financial aid.

Students who receive a Music Department Stipend for private instruction in music will not be billed for eleven half-hour lessons ($330.00).  Stipends are only given to students who are receiving credit for their lessons.  Students who break their contract, who drop taking lessons for credit, or who otherwise do not ultimately receive credit for the course will forfeit their stipend(s) (and any financial aid that had been applied) and will be billed for the total amount of their lesson fees.

Instructors will make up any lessons they cause to be missed.  They will make up, at their discretion, those lessons you caused to be missed – usually only if missed due to illness or emergency.  In either case, the student will be billed the full amount of the lessons.
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Private lesson registration takes place the first week of each semester, coordinated by Kim Carroll, Academic Office Assistant for Music and Dance & Movement Studies.  An all-campus e-mail is sent out this week as a reminder.  Registration is for both new and continuing students.  Registration packets can be viewed below or picked up in the Music Department office, List 217.  The packet, which includes your class schedule, an add slip, a placement questionnaire for beginning students, and the contract, must be completed by the specified deadline. 

Lessons will not be scheduled until the student signs the Lesson Contract. Once this contract is signed there will not be any refunds given. Students in their first semester of study at Hamilton may drop lessons prior to the second scheduled lesson. If they sign and submit to the Music Department Office Assistant a “Drop Contract” form and “Course Drop” prior to the second scheduled lesson they will only be financially responsible for the first lesson taken rather than the full amount of the signed contract.

Seniors may begin lessons at the Applied Music level for a half hour, 1/4 credit, with the consent of the department chair.  Students who wish to audit lessons may do so with the consent of the instructor.

Music concentrators should be aware that credits in Applied Music do not count toward the concentration requirement of one credit in Solo or Group Performance.  Only those courses in Solo Performance and Group Performance that are graded A-F count toward the concentration performance requirement.

Completed lesson schedules will be sent through e-mail to the student.  Students are responsible for letting the Music Department Office Assistant know of any schedule changes as soon as possible. 

First time Hamilton students

Returning students

Materials needed for adding courses
Materials needed to drop lessons


New students who register for lessons for those instruments for which there is more than one teacher (piano, violin, and voice) are asked by the department to complete a questionnaire in which they describe the extent of their previous work on the instrument.  Based on this information (supplemented with audition reports, when available, from the choir, orchestra, and staff pianist auditions), a full-time member of the faculty assigns a rating from 1-3 (with a 1 assigned to the students who apparently are the most experienced).  To the extent that schedules permit, the department will then distribute students in each category evenly among the available instructors.

It is possible for returning students in piano, violin, or voice to express a preference for an instructor on the registration form.  If this represents a change from their previous instructor then it is important that, as a matter of courtesy at the least, they speak with both their previous instructor and their preferred new instructor.  To the extent that schedules permit, the department will honor the expressed preference for an instructor.
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Financial Aid and Stipends for Music Lessons

A student receiving a college scholarship as part of his or her financial aid package is eligible for assistance in meeting the cost of private music instruction. Please contact the Finanial Aid Office prior to enrolling. 

The department encourages music concentrators to study an instrument or voice.  Therefore, there is no charge to music concentrators for eleven one-half hour lessons ($330.00) taken each term for credit, provided that previous grades for these lessons have been satisfactory.  This is made possible, in part, with funds from the Ralph Upson Stone ’80 Memorial Fund, and two or three music concentrators each year are identified as the recipients of lessons covered by the proceeds of this fund.

The department also is able to offset the charges for eleven one-half hour lessons ($330.00) taken by designated students who participate in ensembles or who otherwise contribute to the program.  These students need not be music concentrators or minors.  Each term the department can waive the charges for eleven one-half hour lessons for as many as eighteen students who are members of the choir, twelve students who are members of the orchestra, six students who are members of the jazz ensemble, six students who participate in the chamber music program, and six students who participate in the staff pianist program.  Additional students may receive waivers if funding is available from the budgets for these programs.

At the beginning of the semester, directors of these programs will identify the students who are to receive these waivers and will also ensure that the students are informed, in writing, that they are to see Kim Carroll to register for the lessons no later than the end of the first week of the term.  To receive this benefit, students must enroll for credit, either in an Applied Music or a Solo Performance course.  It is possible that students may receive waivers from different sources to have full-hour lessons covered, although it is preferred that as many students as possible benefit from this program.

The financial aid status of the student is not necessarily a factor in determining who is selected by program directors to receive stipends.  For students who do receive financial aid from the College, as described above, the stipend is applied towards the balance of the lesson fee after financial aid has been applied.

Stipends are not automatically renewed from term to term.  If students are nominated by directors for a continued waiver the music department Academic Assistant will first check to ascertain that the grade awarded for the previous work in lessons is satisfactory.  If not, then the stipend will not be granted.

Stipends are only given to students who are receiving credit for their lessons.  Students who break their contract, who drop taking lessons for credit, or who otherwise do not ultimately receive credit for the course will forfeit their stipend(s) (and any financial aid that had been applied) and will be billed for the total amount of their lesson fees.
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Courses in Solo Performance

Like most music courses at Hamilton, courses in performance have as their primary goal the development of musicianship in the classical or jazz traditions. Their main purpose is to develop the skills appropriate to the instrument in an environment that includes awareness of what constitutes responsible performance. Matters such as performance practice, form and analysis will be considered in the preparation of any work to be studied. Students will explore repertory from various style periods, according to their instructor's advice and their own preferences. As an aid to gaining understanding, students are urged to take courses in theory or history during their first year of instruction, and they are required to do so during the second year of instruction. Music concentrators are encouraged to study Solo Performance for at least four semesters in addition to participation in department ensembles.  Students who are preparing recitals are required to register for Advanced Solo Performance.
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Courses in Applied Music

Instead of taking Solo Performance courses, which require the presentation of a public performance, you can take Applied Music courses, which do not have a public performance requirement.  Students are encouraged to move to Solo Performance when they are ready, in consultation with their instructor.  Students who wish to audit lessons may do so with the consent of the instructor as well. 
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Public Performance Opportunities:
Weekday Musicales, List Musicales, Student Concerts, and full or half recitals

One of the satisfactions that music can provide is the pleasure of sharing one's musical discoveries and accomplishments with others through public performance.  For student performers, public performance also holds the promise of increasing their understanding of the role of the performer in the musical process.  Recognizing the merits of both reasons, the Department of Music has instituted a variety of performance opportunities that are designed to accommodate student performers at all levels of accomplishment.  These opportunities are outlined briefly below; however, for detailed and full information on these opportunities, please consult the Department Handbook.

Each semester, there are a series of Weekday Musicales.  These informal performances, required for Solo Performance students and open, as time permits, to Applied Music students are intended to provide opportunities for experienced and inexperienced performers to present short works, or parts of works, and receive feedback from faculty and other students.

Student Concerts are held near the end of each semester, normally on Friday or Saturday evenings in Wellin Hall, and tend to draw an audience from a broader segment of the college community and from elsewhere. Auditions for these concerts are normally held at a publicized time two weeks before the event.

Solo Performance students who have taken lessons for at least three semesters and performed on at least one Weekday Musicale may seek to perform on a List Musicale at the recommendation of their teacher.  These are normally presented in List 106, usually on a weekend afternoon, and are shared with one, two, or even three other student performers, with each student performing 10-20 minutes; the entire Musicale should last no more than one hour.  List Musicales are particularly suitable for the presentation of lengthier works or sets of songs, complete sonatas, and the like.  These Musicales must be scheduled with the Performing Arts Administrator prior to June 15 for fall term events, or prior to December 1 for spring term events.  Appearance on a List Musicale may take the place of a the required performance on a Weekday Musicale for those students enrolled in Solo Performance. On rare occasions, it may be more appropriate for this Musicale to be held in Wellin Hall, if approved by the department chair. A Wellin Musicale is presented in an intimate setting with the audience seated on stage rather than in the Hall. For Wellin Musicales, students provide their own staff for stage setup, strike and their own staff and equipment for recording.

A full or half recital, which is presented in Wellin Hall, represents the culmination of years of musical study and maturation. The Department encourages such serious endeavors by students, whether or not they are music majors. Students who have appeared on at least a) two Student Concerts, b) one Student Concert and had a major soloist role with an ensemble, or c) one Student Concert and one List Musicale may present a full recital (approx. 40 minutes) or half recital (approx. 20 minutes). Under normal circumstances, only seniors present full recitals. Juniors and seniors may present half recitals. As an integral part of the full or half recital the student will prepare programs, program notes, and publicity material with the assistance of a full-time faculty member.
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