Choosing to take Applied Music Courses

It is very common for students to register for applied music lessons, music ensemble, and/or chamber music in addition to their three six-credit courses taken during a term. This additional credit (totaling 19­–21 credit hours) is not considered an overload, and with good time management skills, students can fully participate in everything Carleton Music has to offer. Students often find that the personal focus and familiar routine of applied music studies helps keep life centered and in balance.


There is a fee associated with taking private lessons. Learn more about fees and financial aid.

Music Lesson Registration

Private lessons provide students with individual instruction with one of Carleton’s applied faculty members and are geared towards the specific goals, needs and aspirations of each student regardless of previous experience.

There are four registration options for applied music lessons:

  • Half-hour non-juried: a one-credit applied lesson (MUSC 1xx) that is mandatory S/CR/NC.
  • Half-hour juried: a one-credit applied lesson (MUSC 1xxJ) that carries a “J” (jury) designation at the end of the course number (e.g. for piano, MUSC 150J). The Juried course will be graded.
  • One-hour non-juried: a two-credit applied lesson (MUSC 2xx) that is mandatory S/CR/NC.
  • One-hour juried: a two-credit applied lesson (MUSC 2xxJ) that carries a “J” (jury) designation at the end of the course number (e.g. for piano, MUSC 250J). The Juried course will be graded.

As with any other class, students may elect to S/CR/NC juried lessons, in which case, these S/CR/NC credits count toward the 30-credit maximum allowed during a student’s time at Carleton. All applied lesson credits count towards the Arts Practice (ARP) liberal arts requirement; students may continue with lessons even if they have satisfied the ARP requirement.

What is a Jury?

All “J” (Juried) courses will include a five to ten minute performance (Jury) at the end of the term, which provides a goal-directed and graded learning experience. The primary applied music instructor in consultation with the student will decide the choice of repertoire and learning goals for the Jury.

The student’s applied music instructor, working in partnership with at least one other faculty member, will assess the Jury. They will provide each student with feedback, which will normally include written comments, about their Jury performance.

Of primary importance in assessing the Jury performance will be the level of engagement with and quality of preparation of the music performed, rather than the difficulty of the repertoire. Students will not be judged in comparison with other students.

A recital, if presented in the second half of the term, may substitute for a Jury. The final course grade for Juried lessons is the decision of the primary instructor.

Which registration option?

Students are encouraged to discuss with the instructor which type of lesson to choose. The decision regarding one or two credit lessons will depend mostly on previous experience, and anticipated time commitment to practice; two-credit lessons are by permission of instructor.

Most beginners are advised to take a one-credit lesson, and might also first opt for the non-juried lessons, whereas more experienced performers will likely choose two credits. There is no special audition process for Juried lessons.

Choosing a Juried lesson at either the one or two credit level provides the goal of a small end-of-term performance, and a chance for feedback from other members of the performing faculty. Students considering majoring in music should strongly consider registering for juried lessons at either the one- or two-credit level.