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Applied Music

Individual instruction in music is an indispensable experience for a student musician. Enrollment in private lessons in voice, keyboard, or orchestral instruments, as appropriate to the student’s degree program, is required each semester for music majors.

The student may enroll for one hour’s credit or two hours’ credit in applied music, as required by the total degree program. Those enrolled for one hour’s credit will receive one twenty-five minute lesson each week during the regular fall or spring semesters. Those enrolled for two hours’ credit will receive two twenty-five minute lessons each week or one fifty-minute lesson. Undergraduates may not earn more than two hours credit for each separate applied music enrollment. With special permission graduate students may enroll in three hours credit in their principal area.

During one semester no student should enroll in more than two separate applied music courses without special permission.

Each instructor sets attendance and grading policies in applied music. The student should request a written copy of each instructor’s policies.

No student may study the same applied music area simultaneously with two different instructors without their knowledge and mutual agreement. Students may not study with a faculty member and another teacher outside the university without the specific consent of the Southwestern faculty member. This policy includes interim summer terms.


Students must notify their teachers in advance of any absence. If a student misses a lesson for what the instructor considers to be a good reason, and notifies the instructor in advance, the instructor may schedule a substitute lesson for a mutually convenient time. If the student misses the substitute lesson it will not be scheduled for another time. Students should not assume all teachers know the touring schedules of the various organizations and should warn each teacher in advance of his/her absence. If the student misses a lesson without previous arrangement the lesson is lost.

Grades in applied music (individual instruction) lower than “C” may not be counted toward degree work for a music major or minor.


Applied lessons grades and the requirements to earn certain grades are determined by the applied teacher. Each teacher sets repertoire, performance, and attendance requirements.

Individual study in an applied lesson setting is a central importance to developing the individual musician. As such, passing applied lessons is a critical component. Any student failing a semester of applied lessons in his or her major area will be placed on probation as a music major. A second consecutive semester of failing an applied lesson in one’s major area will result in the student being counseled to choose another major. The student that has failed two consecutive applied lessons in his or her major area can form an appeals committee of music faculty members to reconsider being required to choose a different major. The ruling of the appeals committee, in consultation with the Chair of the department, is final.


Each student enrolled in individual instruction must present a short performance for the appropriate faculty division at the end of each semester of study. Requirements for this performance are set by each division and may vary from semester to semester. Those who fail to appear for this final jury exam must receive the grade of I until it is complete or the grade of F if the instructor feels the exam was missed without good reason.


Each student must successfully pass proficiency examinations in applied music as required by their degree emphasis. All proficiency requirements in applied music are both course and degree requirements. Substitution or waiver may not satisfy them.

Proficiency requirements are linked to the stated degree program. Persons changing from one degree program to another must begin the proficiency procedure anew for each degree program change unless proficiencies are waived by the music faculty. (Example: A BME candidate in Vocal/General who has successfully passed the first level voice proficiency requirement must begin again at the lowest proficiency level if he/she changes to BM in Performance [voice] or wishes to receive both degrees unless the music faculty vote otherwise.)

Exact proficiency requirements are listed later in the handbook. Each student attempting a proficiency must enroll in the appropriate proficiency section by the 6th week of the semester. Proficiency enrollments will be graded as “pass” or “fail.” Incomplete grades will not be given. Withdrawals will only be allowed due to medical issues. The grade earned is independent of the applied lesson grade. Three attempts can be made at each proficiency level. If a student fails the third attempt at the same proficiency level, the student must choose a different degree program.