FAQs for Prospective Students

Welcome to Lewis & Clark College’s Department of Music! There are many opportunities for students interested in music, and you do not need to be a major in order to enroll. Majors are advised to visit the Music Major Requirements page.


Can I be in an ensemble even if I’m not a music major? How do I sign up?

Yes! Everyone is welcome! Please visit our Ensembles page for more information about how to sign up.

What ensembles are there and how do I enroll?

Please visit the Ensembles Page to see the complete list of ensembles. To enroll in Orchestra, Choir, or Wind Symphony, please e-mail the director to learn about the (absolutely painless) audition procedure. 

How much experience do I need in order to be in one of Lewis & Clark’s choirs?

You can learn all about our choirs, requirements, and rehearsal schedules here!

Do you have instruments available to check out?

Yes! Please email Brett EE Paschal to discuss what we have.

Do I need to be a music major or minor to participate in Percussion Ensemble?

No! Percussion Ensemble is open to all Lewis & Clark students, alum, and the community. Please set up a meeting with Brett EE Paschal to discuss your previous experience and how you will fit into the group.

Do I have to be an advanced player to sign up for chamber music?

To play chamber music, your skills on your instrument have to be strong enough to allow you to listen to and interact with other musicians, but if you have played in band or orchestra you can do chamber music! If you are a pianist and have taken lessons at Lewis & Clark, your teacher could tell you if chamber music would be a good fit for you. Please be aware that participation in the class is contingent on finding other musicians with compatible skills and instruments, but we will always try to find a group for every interested musician.

Can I sign up for chamber music even though I don’t have a group already formed?

Yes! There is no guarantee, but we can usually put together a group of musicians with compatible skill levels who play instruments for which there is good quality music available. Contact Nancy Ives for more information.


What voice and instrumental teachers are available for private lessons?

The department offers lessons for every voice type, Western instrument, and non-Western instruments from northern India, Indonesia, Ghana, and South Africa. Please see the complete list of Applied Lessons and Performance Classes

Can I take private lessons even if I’m not a music major? 

Yes! Everyone is welcome! Please visit our Lessons page for more information about how to sign up. Please note that there’s a fee for non-music majors, unless you have a music scholarship. The fee is $550 per semester (the going rate in Portland) for ten 1-hour lessons or thirteen 45-minute lessons. But if you have a music scholarship or become a music major, lessons are free! Click here for information about the music scholarship, and here for information about the music major. 


Do I have to be a music student to get a scholarship?

No! Some scholarships are available to all Lewis & Clark students, regardless of major, and others are available only to declared music majors. See here for more information regarding music scholarships.

Non-Performance Classes

Which MUS classes (academic music courses) are available to first-year students?

A number of courses are open to first-year students (see list below.) If you have already had college-level study in these areas, please contact the instructor to ask for permission to enroll in a 200- or 300-level course. However, please note that Music Theory courses require a placement exam (see next question) in order to place students at the appropriate level.

MUS 100 Fundamentals of Music

MUS 102 Jazz Appreciation

MUS 104 Sound and Sense: Understanding Music

MUS 106 Workshops in World Music

MUS 107 Music in the United States

MUS 122 The Broadway Musical

MUS 123 Chamber Music

MUS 124 The Symphony

MUS 142 Music and Social Justice

MUS 151 Contemporary Trends in Music

MUS 162 History of Western Music I

MUS 163 History of Western Music II

I’m thinking of being a music major. Are there classes I should be sure to take as a first-year student?

Yes, first-year students are advised to register for Music Theory in order to get started on the multi-year music theory sequence. In order to place into a theory course, you will need to take the Music Theory Placement Exam.  First-year students should also consider beginning their music history sequence by taking History of Western Music and fulfilling their world music requirement by taking Workshops in World Music.

Organ Study

What are the prerequisites for organ study at Lewis & Clark?

It is essential that organ students be able to play at the level of a pianist who is comfortable with the Bach Anna Magdalena collection. Organ students must also purchase organ shoes through www.organmastershoes.com as well as a handful of textbooks, assigned by the teacher.

Tell me about the pipe organs at Lewis & Clark.

The College is the home to two excellent pipe organs by world-famous Canadian organ-building firms Casavant and Karl Wilhelm. The Casavant organ finds its home in the College’s Agnes Flanagan Chapel, where it hangs from the ceiling.  The Wilhelm organ, a tracker with very sensitive key action, is housed in a practice room in the Evans Music Center.

What are the organ performance opportunities at the College and in the city?

Organ students at Lewis & Clark have the opportunity to play for occasional services and concerts in the chapel, and, in addition, they may elect to seek employment in a wide range of churches in the Portland metro region. 

Have a question, but you don’t see it listed here? Feel free to ask!
You can reach us by phone at (503) 768-7460 or by emailing music@lclark.edu.