Lessons (Music 1811-1878, 2811-2878, 3811-3878)

music lesson at bowdoin college

Private lessons in voice, piano, organ, guitar and the major orchestral and jazz instruments are available at three levels for credit, Music 1811-1878 for beginners, which offers a half-credit per semester with no performance requirement;  Music 2811-2878 which also offers a half-credit per semester and requires an audition and a short performance of 10 minutes of music at the end of the semester; and advanced lessons (Music 3811-3878), which offers a full credit, requires a solo recital at the end of the semester, and has one year of lessons for credit as a prerequisite.  Lessons may also be taken for no credit, with no performance requirement.

There is an extra fee for lessons, which is waived for one year for majors and minors, and for which there are scholarships (see below). Depending on faculty availability, the Department also offers instruction on rarer instruments such as Celtic harp, harpsichord, sitar, and Renaissance instruments. To sign up for any of these levels of lessons, please see Clare MacKenzie in the Music Department Office (Gibson 103).  The deadline for adding lessons is one week from the start of classes; the deadline for dropping lessons is two weeks from the start of classes. 

Practice Rooms, Loaner Instruments and Lockers

Most practice rooms and teaching studios (nine in Studzinski Recital Hall, and five in Gibson Hall) are equipped with at least one Steinway grand piano. A wide range of loaner instruments and lockers of various sizes are available to students as well.  Please contact Delmar Small to request an instrument or a locker.

Applied Music Scholarships

music lesson at bowdoin college

For students who are on financial aid, a limited number of scholarships to cover fees for music lessons for credit (Individual Performance Studies) are available. They are supported by 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

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


Up to six credits of private lessons and ensemble courses together in any combination may be applied toward the 32.0 credits required for the Bowdoin degree.   Ensembles and lessons are graded on a Credit/D/Fail basis and may be taken for 0.5 credit per semester.  Lessons, large ensembles, and chamber ensembles may also be taken as non-credit courses.  A typically musically-inclined student at Bowdoin will take four academic courses, one half-credit ensemble, and one half-credit lesson for a total of 5.0 credits for the semester. This is not an overload requiring special permission, but should be considered thoughtfully with the academic advisor before registration. For additional information, please refer to the Academic Handbook.