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 

ugrad-ask [at] or 212-854-2522.

Columbia University's Music Department offers a wide variety of music theory, ear training, history, and music humanities classes. 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. 

Other opportunities may also interest you. We also have various scholarship, performance, and recording opportunities.

Auditions are not part of Columbia’s admissions process, but auditions for private lessons, selective ensembles, troupes and various productions are held for enrolled students at the start of each academic year. Prospective students may wish to submit artistic portfolios if they intend to bring their considerable talent in the arts to Columbia’s campus either through a major or through our robust extra-curricular opportunities. Please note that students are able to participate in the arts communities of Columbia regardless of supplement submissions or majors.

No. Ensembles and lessons are open to any Columbia or Barnard undergraduate or graduate student. Admittance to both ensembles and lessons are by-audition only. Please click below for more information.




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. 


No, there are no music-specific scholarships through Columbia. Financial aid for Columbia College undergraduates is need-based; admission to Columbia college is need-blind for domestic students. You can read more about Columbia's financial aid policy here.

There are, however, two scholarship opportunities to continue your musical studies once you are an undergraduate student at Columbia University and a participant of the Music Performance Program.  These are open to all MPP students in good standing by-audition only.  

Yes. Starting in Fall 2018, the lesson fee will be $300 per semester for all students. Each student will receive six (6) hours of lessons each semester.

More infoRMATION ON Lessons

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.

Columbia-Juilliard Programs

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 give you recommendations.