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, fiddle, 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, banjo, harpsichord, sitar, and Renaissance instruments.

Registering for fall 2023 music lessons:  

Students at all levels of skill and experience may request music lessons (courses numbered MUS 28XX) in Polarisduring Rounds 1 and 2 of fall registration.  Music lessons are no longer separated by course numbers to distinguish between introductory and intermediate. 

  • Students who have never taken any level of lessons at Bowdoin should request the odd course number, g., MUS 2837, Individual Performance Studies: Piano, Initial Semester.

  • Students continuing music lessonsat any level at Bowdoin should request the even course number, e.g., MUS 2838, Individual Performance Studies: Piano, Continuing Semesters.

  • When the number of requests is greater than the number of available seats, Bowdoin’s course registration preferencing algorithm will be activated as follows:

    • Music majors/minors

    • Everyone else

  • Space is limited. Students interested in taking music lessons are strongly encouraged to submit a request in Polaris during Round 1.

    • Additional seats may be added during the Add/Drop registration periods for some instruments depending on instructor capacity. Waitlists will be determined by the order in which students were shut out during Rounds 1 and 2.


Bassoon: David Joseph 
Cello: Christina Chute 
Clarinet: Titus Abbott 
Guitar: John Johnstone and Gary Wittner 
Jazz Bass: Duane Edwards 
Classical Piano: Naydene Bowder, George Lopez, Joyce Moulton 
Jazz Piano: Matthew Fogg 
Classical Voice: Christina Astrachan 
Clarinet: Titus Abbott 
Pop/Jazz Voice: Stephanie Fogg 
Drums: R.J. Miller 
Fiddle: Christina Chute 
Flute: Krysia Tripp 
French Horn: John Boden 
Harp: Suki Flanagan 
Oboe: Kathleen O'Connor-McNerney 
Organ: Hentus van Rooyen
Saxophone: Titus Abbott 
Trombone: Anita Jerosch 
Trumpet: Scott Johnston
Viola: Kirsten Monke 
Violin: Dean Stein, Yasmin Vitalius 
Kathryn and Jae Yeon


The following provisions govern applied music lessons for credit. 

1. Registration
  1. To enroll in lessons, students must request their course in Polaris during registration rounds one or two. Space permitting, students may add a lessons course during the add/drop periods.  
  2. Lessons must begin by the second week of classes. Students should add or drop lessons in Polaris before the second week of classes.
  3. Space is limited. There is a round one and two registration priority in Polaris for those previously shut out. Please note the following course preferencing for rounds one and two in Polaris: 
1 - music majors/minors 
4 - everyone else 
  1. Each fall, there will be a set number of seats held for incoming first-year students. 
2. Credits and grading

One-half credit is granted for each semester of study up to six full credits (combined with ensembles) and are graded Credit/D/Fail only, except for advanced performance studies (38xx), which are worth one full credit per semester and are standard letter grade. 

Guidelines for assessment  

Cr (Credit/Pass):  

Learning Expectation: Technical and musical improvement consistent with 10 hours practice per week.  

Attendance: No unexcused absence (excused absences allowed: see info below).  


Learning Expectation: Barely perceptible progress (i.e. technical and musical improvement consistent with less than 5 hours practice per week  

Attendance: Two unexcused absences, and/or consistent tardiness to lessons. 


Learning Expectation/Attendance: More than one unexcused absence regardless of technical and musical progress, OR no improvement, OR did not perform their end-of-semester recital. 


3. End-of-semester recital requirement 

Students who begin their applied music studies at Bowdoin as a beginner on their instrument or voice: 

  • Must perform a 3-5 minute a piece or movement learned in lessons in a public venue (if public health and safety guidelines allows) in their fourth semester of study, and each semester thereafter. 

Students who begin their applied music studies at Bowdoin at an intermediate level on their instrument or voice: 

  • Must perform a 3-5 minute piece in their second semester of study, and each semester thereafter. 
  • The Music Department defines an intermediate student as having three years of experience on their instrument or a basic technical facility.  

 4. Time Commitment 

Lessons are one hour, once per week. Students must complete 12 one-hour lessons per semester, and must schedule a make-up lesson with their instructor if they are ill or have an emergency.  

Once a student’s registration for a lessons course is reflected in Polaris, students should email their instructor to schedule a lesson time. A lesson time must be scheduled before the second week of classes. Students must commit to this time every week. Room numbers for lessons will be assigned the first week of classes, and will be emailed to students and faculty by the second week of classes. Lessons begin the second week of classes to allow for 12 lessons per semester.  

The Department encourages teachers to present students with as wide a range of repertoire as is appropriate for their level, and to provide enough material for students to spend at least 10 useful hours per week at practice. 

Students may miss lessons only because of illness. Rehearsals, study time, athletic events, or meetings with professors are not acceptable reasons for missed lessons. If a student must miss one or two lessons because of illness, those lessons should be made up during the same semester.  

Any student with more than one unexcused absence will be dropped from Credit to D. Missing a lesson without letting the instructor know in advance will count as an unexcused absence.  


5. Cost

Students taking lessons for credit pay a $700 fee for twelve, one-hour lessons per semester. One fee per semester 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. For more information, please see the Music Department Coordinator. 

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. 


MUS 38xx

Music 38XX, Advanced Individual Performance Studies, allows serious, advanced students to earn one full credit through practice, scholarly study, and performance. The applied instructor works with a faculty advisor to assist students in preparing a mid-semester jury (30% of grade) and an end-of-semester recital 30-45 minutes in length (40% of grade).  The faculty advisor oversees the writing of program notes (10% of grade) and an 8-12 page essay (20% of grade). This course is graded on an A through F scale.

Prerequisites: Students must have successfully completed 2 semesters of intermediate lessons for credit (MUS 28xx) and have an advanced level of technical facility on their instrument.

Interested students should inquire with their instructor and find a faculty advisor the semester preceding study.

Contact: Clare MacKenzie, Department Coordinator -- cmacken2@bowdoin.edu