FAQs for New 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. New students do not need to pre-register for Orchestra, Choir, or Wind Symphony; registration for those ensembles will occur following your audition during the add-drop period of your first semester. NOTE: All students enrolling in all ensembles other than Orchestra, Wind Symphony, and Choir should enroll as soon as possible, since a minimum enrollment is required for ensembles to be offered. Please note that ensembles are one-credit graded courses.

Where can I get more information about the large ensembles?

The Choir area, Percussion Ensemble, Wind Symphony, Orchestra, and World Music area host meet and greets at the beginning of every fall semester.  These informal sessions will answer questions, allow you to meet private lesson faculty in the area, and provide food!  Below are the 2023 Meet & Greet days and times. New students should plan on attending the meet and greet of each ensemble they plan to enroll in.


Percussion Ensemble: Tuesday, 9/3 at 4:00 in Evans 122

Choir: Tuesday, 9/3 at 5:00 in Evans 120

Wind Symphony: Tuesday, 9/3 at 6:00 in Evans 122

Orchestra: Tuesday, 9/3 at 7:30 in Evans 122

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

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 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 upon 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 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 instruments, 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 $700 per semester for ten one-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. 

How do I sign up for a private lesson instructor? Are private lessons for course credit?

To register for a private lesson instructor, you’ll e-mail the instructor of your choice*, who will let you know if permission is needed to register. Should you need to register during the add/drop period, you will need permission from your instructor, and this can be given through an electronic add slip. Private lessons are for course credit (one credit each).

For instruments with multiple instructors, please contact the appropriate Area Coordinator or instructor shown below, who will ensure that you are placed with the instructor best suited to your needs: Piano: Susan Smith; Voice: Susan McBerry; Violin: Lance Inouye; Guitar: Dan Balmer (Jazz); Julia Banzi (Flamenco and Folk); John Mery (Classical).

How much does it cost to take individual and group lessons?

Private lessons cost $700 per semester (though the fee is waived for music majors and students receiving music scholarships), and beginning group voice and instrument classes cost $150 per semester. 


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 Music Theory Fundamentals

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

MUS 233 Introduction to Electronic Music

MUS 361 Writing About Music

I’m thinking of becoming 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.


Who is allowed to use the practice rooms?

Our practice rooms are open to anyone who wants to use them.  They are accessible to students during our normal building hours, 7:00 AM - 11:00 PM.

How do I go about gaining access to percussion equipment or percussion practice rooms?

Lewis & Clark percussion equipment and practice room availability is restricted to students enrolled in private percussion lessons, Wind Symphony, Orchestra, Jazz Combos, and Percussion Ensemble, or with special permission by Brett EE Paschal.

Can I store my drum set in the music building?

Unfortunately, no. Our space is very limited in the Evans Music Center.

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.