Music for All

The department's MUS 149, 199, 249, 299, 344 and 398 course offerings are made possible by the estate of Elsa Graefe Whitney, Class of 1918.


The Music department offers private Classical instruction in voice, piano, fortepiano, organ, harpsichord, harp, violin, Baroque violin, viola, violoncello, double bass, viola da gamba, guzheng, flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, trumpet, French horn, trombone, trumpet, recorder, lute, guitar, saxophone, percussion, and marimba.

The Music department offers private Jazz and World Music instruction in piano, violin, viola, guitar (electric and acoustic), bass (electric and acoustic), saxophone, clarinet, flute, trombone, trumpet, percussion (Caribbean and West African), drum set, vibraphone and voice.

We will make every attempt to accommodate students wishing private instruction in instruments not currently taught.

Information concerning auditions and course requirements for noncredit and credit study is given under listings for MUS 149, 199, 249, 299, 344 and 398. With the exception of MUS 344 and 398, auditions are ordinarily held at the start of fall semester. Please visit the Auditions information page for audition dates and times.

Arrangements for lessons are made at the department office during Orientation or the first week of fall semester. Please direct questions about music lessons to Eliko Akahori, Director of the Music Performance Program, at eakahori@wellesley.edu.


Music 149, 199, 249, 299, 344, 398: Private Music Instruction (For Credit)

Credit for Performing Music at the 149, 199, 249, 299, 344 and 398 levels is granted only for study with the department's Performance Faculty, not with outside instructors; the final decision for acceptance is based on the student's audition. One unit of credit is granted for a full year (2 semesters) of study in either MUS 149, 199, 249, 299, 344 or 398. One academic music course must be taken each year as a corequisite in order to receive one credit in performing music. If a student must take MUS 100 as a result of the Music Theory Placement Evaluation (MTPE), this course counts as the corequisite for the first year of lessons. Please note: lessons are a full-year (two semesters) commitment.

Unless a student receives special permission, both semesters of performing music must be satisfactorily completed before credit can be counted toward the degree.  While the performance music courses may be repeated without limit, no more than four units of credit in these courses may be counted toward the Wellesley degree. Students who wish to take two or more simultaneous courses in performing music for credit must obtain special permission from the department.

Each Performing Music course has the option for a 45 or 60 minute lesson per week, to be determined by faculty and student. The Music Course Numbering and Guidelines are as follows (1.0 credit/year):

  • MUS 149: Private Instruction 1 (to be taken in first year of study)
  • MUS 199: Private Instruction 2 (Prerequisite MUS 149)
  • MUS 249: Private Instruction 3 (Prerequisite MUS 199)
  • MUS 299: Private Instruction 4 (Prerequisite MUS 249)
  • MUS 344: Capstone of the Classical lesson program.
    • Promotion to this course will be determined by the jury panel. Description found below. 
  • MUS 398: Capstone of the Jazz and World Music lesson program.
    • Promotion to this course will be determined by the jury panel.

Advanced Performance Seminar (Music 344)

The Advanced Performance Seminar (MUS 344) is directed each year by two members of the Performance Faculty. It offers advanced students an opportunity to perform frequently in an informal setting before fellow students and faculty, to discuss repertoire and interpretation, and to receive constructive comments. The work in this class culminates with the student presenting a full recital at the end of the academic year.


Evaluations and Juries (Exams)

There are two performance exams over the course of the academic year: an evaluation in December, and a jury in May. These exams are required for students taking lessons for credit. The exam forms will include a list of the criteria for judging the student’s performance. Feedback from various members of the Performance Faculty will be provided to the student.


Group Instruction in Music

Weekly group lessons in voice (classical or jazz/popular), acoustic guitar, and classical violin are available. Groups meet once a week for 10 weeks each semester at a cost of $150.

Offered in Fall Semester:

MUS 99G*: Group Voice Class is a setting in which to learn and explore the basics of many styles of singing (classical, music theater, and pop) and can act as a stepping stone to private study. These classes are designed for beginning students who might prefer to not prepare an evaluation/jury at the end of the semester. While students explore technical exercises as a group, you are encouraged to sing repertoire on your own every class (either chosen by the professor or yourself). This class costs $150 for 10 sessions over the semester, and the class time is chosen based on combined student availability.



For students who register for performing music lessons for credit (MUS 149, 199, 249, 299, and 398), there is no lesson fee.

Students are expected to take private lessons on a yearly basis, although students must register each semester