Frequently Asked Questions

If you or your child are considering applying to Columbia College, the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science, Barnard College, or the School of General Studies, and have questions about undergraduate musical opportunities, please read the FAQ below.

For further information about applying to Columbia, please contact the Office of Undergraduate Admissions at [email protected] or 212-854-2522.

Columbia University's Music Department offers a major, minor & concentration in Music which includes a wide variety of music theory, ear-training, music history, composition, jazz and ethnomusicology courses. These courses are also open to non-music majors/minors concentrators. Visit the Music Department Bulletin to find a class you may be interested in. 

If you play an instrument and are interested in performance, you can participate in lessons and various ensembles through the Music Performance Program. Please note that trial lessons are available upon request for a fee, based on the instructor's availability. You can arrange these directly with the instructor via email (address available on the instructor's profile page). The fee is at the individual instructor's discretion and your responsibility.

An audition is not required for admission. Prospective students may wish to submit artistic portfolios through the Admissions Office, but they are not required. Once admitted into Columbia, students wishing to participate in the MPP must audition for lessons and ensembles at the start of each academic year (during the first week of classes).

No. Ensembles and lessons are open to any Columbia/Barnard/TC undergraduate or graduate student. Admittance to both ensembles and lessons are by audition only. 

The Office of Undergraduate Admissions uses a holistic review process when evaluating applicants for admission - admission is not based on a simple formula of grades and test scores. Instead, admissions officers consider a variety of factors: the student’s academic record, extracurricular interests, intellectual achievements and personal background. All components of the application, including a music supplement if one is submitted, are considered in the review process.

Take as much music theory as possible in high school, but it is also important to be a well-rounded student in other courses and subjects.

All ensembles require some past experience. The level in ensembles ranges from intermediate to professional. We do not offer beginner lessons in any instrument except piano. 

Students who are attending Columbia University and receiving need based institutional grants will have their music lesson fees offset by their financial aid package.

Thanks to the generosity of Columbia College alumnus Richard Rapaport, students can receive funding to study at a summer music festival of their choice from the Richard & Brooke Kamin Rapaport Summer Music Performance Fellowship.

Auditions are open only to Columbia College (Barnard, GS, and SEAS not eligible) instrumentalists, vocalists, composers, and conductors in their first, second, or third year of study (graduating seniors are ineligible). PRIORITY GIVEN to those who have played an active role in the Music Performance Program. Students registered in the Undergraduate Composition class in the Fall or Spring semester of the current academic year are also eligible. Both jazz and classical musicians are encouraged to audition.

Yes. The fee for individual lessons is $300 per semester. Each student will receive six (6) hours of lessons each semester.

You are welcome to visit during business hours on days Columbia is in-session (see the academic calendar). It is unlikely that you will be able to meet with a faculty member, but you may drop by the office (621 Dodge Hall) with questions or to pick up brochures, or visit the Music Performance Program (618 Dodge Hall) with specific questions about our performance offerings.

The EXCHANGE program gives Columbia College students the opportunity to cross-register for weekly instrumental, jazz, composition or voice instruction with the Juilliard faculty after successfully applying to the Exchange via Juilliard. The program is designed for up to three years of study. Juniors have the option to apply for the joint program or petition for a fourth year of study in the Exchange.

The JOINT program gives Columbia College students the opportunity to earn a Bachelor of Arts from Columbia College and Masters of Music from Juilliard in five years. After being admitted to Juilliard, students admitted to the Joint Program enter Juilliard for their fourth and fifth years of study.

No. Participation in the Music Performance Program is limited to current Columbia University students.  If you need a private teacher recommendation, we are happy to assist.

No. The Music Performance Program is a part of Columbia University's Department of Music. We have no connection to Miller Theatre, which operates as a professional concert presenter and is overseen by the School of the Arts.