Individual Performance Studies are open to all Bowdoin students. Currently, lessons are offered in: classical piano, jazz piano, classical voice, pop/jazz voice, guitar, jazz guitar, cello, violin, viola, harp, jazz bass, clarinet, French horn, trombone, trumpet, flute, oboe, bassoon, saxophone, and percussion. Depending on faculty availability, the department also offers instruction on less common instruments such as oud, Celtic harp, banjo, harpsichord, sitar, and Renaissance instruments.

Private lessons are available at three levels for credit:

  1. Beginner - MUS 1811-1878 for beginners, which offers a half-credit per semester with no performance requirement.
  2. Intermediate - MUS 2811-2878, which also offers a half-credit per semester and requires a short performance of seven minutes of music at the end of the second semester (and each semester thereafter).
  3. Advanced - MUS 3805-3807, offers a full credit and requires a solo recital at the end of the semester as well as a writing component. One year of intermediate lessons for credit is a prerequisite.
Spring 2022 Instructor Availability (his information is posted as it becomes available)

Spring 2022 Lesson Fees and Important Dates

You may have noticed that music lessons are not listed on Classfinder. We are planning to hold lessons in-person, barring any COVID restrictions. If you intend to take private lessons in the spring, here's how it will work.

11/30-12/10 Registration Add/Drop I: Students who have previously taken lessons for credit at any point in their Bowdoin career may enroll in a lessons course in Polaris.

01/24-02/07 Registration Add/Drop II: All students will be able to register for lessons or drop their lessons in Polaris.

Permissions: please email Clare MacKenzie to request permission to register and specify which instrument, level of study, and instructor (if you have a preference). If you've taken lessons for credit before, please include the course number of the last lessons course that you took or are currently enrolled in. You may switch instruments, but please provide your last course anyway.
Once you are given permission to register, you will be sent a short survey that you will need to complete in addition to your Polaris request.

Instructor availability will be updated on our website as it becomes available. Some instructors will be able to provide their teaching hours sooner than others, but most availability will be posted before reading period. All applied music lesson times will be labeled as TBA in Polaris/Classfinder. Locations will be emailed to you before the first week of classes.

To schedule your lesson time, please email your instructor after you register and they will schedule you within their respective availability. If your schedule/availability changes you must update your instructor as well. This may take them some time as they will need to arrange all of their students within their availability.

Lessons must begin by the second week of classes. If you need to drop your lessons course, please do so by the end of the first week of classes. This will allow other students to register. You must notify your instructor immediately if you drop.

Other Important Lessons Policies Information

  • Students taking lessons for credit pay a $700 fee for twelve, one-hour lessons per semester. This fee is automatically waived for students who receive financial aid from the College. There is no need for aided students to inform the department of their aid status. All Music majors and minors receive two free semesters of study in either their junior or senior year.
  • Lessons are one hour, once per week. You will arrange your lesson time with your instructor and must commit to this time every week.
  • With the exception of advanced lessons (38xx), all lessons courses count for one-half credit per semester and are graded on a Credit/D/Fail basis.
  • If a student decides to drop their lessons after the Add/Drop II period (including students whose fees are waived), the student will be charged retroactive fees to cover the cost of the lessons that they received.
  • Beginning with your second semester of intermediate lessons, and each semester thereafter, each student is required to play (4-6 minutes) a piece or movement learned in lessons in a public venue (if COVID allows) approved by the Department.
  • If you are interested in taking lessons not-for-credit, please send Clare MacKenzie an email ASAP. Non-credit students will pay their instructor directly at the instructor’s private studio rate. The College cannot waive not-for-credit fees for aided students.
Please reach out to Clare MacKenzie with any questions or concerns. 

Applied Music Scholarships

Students who are on financial aid can take one lessons course per semester free of charge, thanks in part to the following funds:

  • Isaacson Family Applied Music Scholarship Fund
  • Judson Fund, given by Ron and Kathy Judson in Memory of Todd Judson, Class of 1998
  • Friends Fund, given by the Association of Bowdoin Friends

Students do not need to report their status to anyone in the Music department or the College. Students who receive financial aid will automatically have their fee waived. For more information, please email Clare MacKenzie.

If a student is required to purchase musical scores and needs financial assistance with that purchase, there are two options for financial assistance with those purchases. Students may ask their dean if the Office of the Dean of Students can provide funds to reimburse them, or they may contact Delmar Small (in the music department) who can purchase the score directly.

Funds may be available to ship instruments to students. Please email Clare MacKenzie with questions.

Kathryn and Jae Yeon


The following provisions govern applied music lessons for credit (please note that dates and some policies are subject to change due to COVID 19):

1. After two semesters of study, a student advances to intermediate performance courses (28xx).

2. One-half credit is granted for each semester of study. Grading is Credit/D/Fail.

3. To receive credit, students must register for lessons with the Music Academic Department Coordinator (ADC) during Round I or Round II in the semester preceding the semester of study. There is limited space available. Note: add/drop dates for lessons are earlier than add/drop dates for other courses. The absolute deadline to add lessons is the last day of Registration Round II, and the deadline to drop lessons is two weeks from the start of classes. Students will only be able to add an applied music course after Round II if there is space available –or– students may register after Round II in order to be put on the waitlist.

4. Students taking lessons for credit pay a fee for twelve one-hour lessons per semester. Students who receive financial aid from the College will have their lessons fee waived. Please see the Music ADC for details.

5. The Department of Music may establish a new preferencing system each semester, depending on each semester’s unique combination of requests. There will be a set number of spots held for beginner lessons, and that number may change depending on how many students would like to take beginner lessons versus how many would like to take intermediate lessons. For more information, please contact ADC.

To register for applied music lessons for credit: (1) Drop in or make an appointment to see Music Academic Department Coordinator (ADC) during Registration Round I or II. (2) Review lessons policies and guidelines with ADC. (3) Obtain permission to register for applied music lessons from ADC. (4) Register for applied music lessons in Polaris. Note: space is limited. After you have registered in Polaris, you will need to wait until after registration Round II to find out if your applied music course will be held for you. (5) After Round II, ADC will contact you to confirm if your spot will be held or if you will be waitlisted. For more information, please contact ADC.