Carnegie Mellon University

School of Music

Where artistry and innovation share center stage

Performance Policies

School of Music information for major ensembles and other performance activities can be found in the Current Students page. 

The relationship between you and your studio teacher is crucial. Music majors are carefully matched with studio teachers. Ordinarily the student and the teacher will work together throughout the student’s residence in the School of Music.

Change of Teacher
To change your studio teacher, you must receive the permission of your present studio teacher, your proposed new studio teacher, and the School Head. A space must be available on your proposed new studio teacher’s roster. Before formally requesting a change in studio, students must discuss their concerns with their present studio teacher. Failure to do so may jeopardize the student’s request for a studio change. The order of the procedure is as follows:

Each step below must be completed by a signature obtained above before the next step in the process.

a. Discuss your request with the School Head or the Director of Student Services, if the change will be between school years. Requests for change between the semesters of a school year, especially during the freshman school year, may only be approved on the basis of individual emergency circumstances.

b. Discuss your request with your present studio teacher.

c. Discuss your request with your proposed new studio teacher.

d. Submit this petition to the School Head. A request for a change of studio teacher for the following fall semester is finalized after the end of the preceding spring semester; it may not be possible to honor a request which is submitted later than May.

*Voice Majors: It is considered unethical to study voice with more than one teacher concurrently. For this reason, voice students wishing to change studios MUST NOT approach other teachers for sample lessons.

Missed Lessons
You are entitled to 14 private lessons per semester. The faculty are responsible for rescheduling any lessons they must cancel, for whatever reason. Whenever possible, they will also attempt to make up lessons missed by a student, but only when there are legitimate reasons for these absences. Lessons missed by a student without notifying the teacher prior to the scheduled time or without a legitimate excuse will not be made up.

Studio Performance/Composition Classes
Studio classes are scheduled in many of the performance areas and in composition. Most of these classes are open to any music majors who wish to observe. A list of the studio classes being offered during a specific semester can be found in the schedule of classes for that semester.

These studio classes are considered an integral part of the studio training. They are not offered for credit, but you are required to attend and participate fully in all applicable classes and you will receive a grade. Studio class requirements and grading procedures are established by the faculty in charge of the class.

All students registered for Major Studio or BXA Studio must perform a jury each semester at the time scheduled by the School of Music. (This includes composition majors, performance majors, and BXA majors with a concentration in music.) The only exception to this rule is the policy, applicable to many but not all studio areas, that a jury need not be performed at the end of a semester during which a required recital is performed.

Requirements for the jury performance (i.e., repertoire, memorization, collaborative pianist, etc.) are defined by the faculty in each studio area. If the faculty require a collaborative pianist, the collaborative pianist guidelines will apply. You are expected to dress appropriately: no jeans or t-shirts.

The jury committee members will write individual evaluations and, if applicable, grades on your jury sheets. The applicability of the jury evaluations and grades to your final grade in studio is determined by the faculty in your studio area and/or your studio teacher. The jury sheets are given to the Director of Student Services after the jury. Copies of the jury sheets are made for the student and can be kept by you. Copies can be made for the studio teacher upon request.

Voice Department Sophomore Review Policies

The BFA in Music Performance (Voice) undergraduate program requires a comprehensive review for all sophomores at the end of the academic year. This review replaces the second semester jury. The review committee consists of the members of the voice faculty, and it may include additional faculty from academic areas who have direct contact with the students during their first two years of study.

Meetings scheduled during the school year provide students with the opportunity to discuss the review policies and procedures in preparation for the review. After the review, the committee submits a review report to be filed in the student’s permanent record. A copy of this report is placed in the student’s School mail folder.

Review Description

All students will be in their fourth semester of private studio instruction. At this juncture, a strong sense of self-direction should be evident. They should be able to demonstrate a substantial level of musicality and a foundation of technical skills should be in place.

The Sophomore Review gives the students an opportunity to reflect upon their work and understand its patterns, strengths and deficiencies. It then provides the faculty an opportunity to assess the students’ body of work and academic progress, in order to make recommendations regarding the individual’s future course of study.

Each sophomore will prepare provide the review committee with the proper number of Sophomore Review evaluation forms, and a neatly arranged three-ring black binder, that includes the following materials:

  • List of six pieces to be performed from memory: emphasis on the German language, including one selection from an oratorio (any language), and an example of secco recitativo (this may be connected to an aria selection, or a stand-alone recitativo, i.e. excerpts from Bach’s Johannes-Passion)
  • Word for word, and poetic translations for each of the six pieces • One paragraph, structured as a program note, on one selection that discusses the piece stylistically, historically, and interpretively
  • A summary of vocal performance activities from the last two years, including summer activities
  •  A statement of goals for the next two years
  • Comprehensive repertoire list (including composers’ dates), studied during the freshmen and sophomore years 
  • Resume (optional)

Students will begin their review with a repertoire selection of their choice, and then may be asked to sing any or all, of the rest of the selections on their program. This singing presentation should reflect excellence in musical preparation, vocal technique, performance practice, and the vocal stamina required to present a 25-30 minute recital program in the following year. The remainder of the session is a discussion between the student and the review committee.

Review Evaluation

The singing and non-singing portions of the students’ presentation will be discussed and assessed upon the criteria above.

Review Decision

After the review, the committee will issue a written recommendation for one of the following courses of action:

  • Continue in the program as scheduled
  • Re-Review at the beginning of the next semester (you may not register for your junior recital until you are approved to continue in the program as scheduled)

Students who fail the Re-Review will be dismissed from the Voice Major Program at the College for Fine Arts.

It is the School’s very strong preference that student piano majors or graduate assistants accompany as many of their colleagues as possible.

For recitals, it is the student’s and the studio teacher’s responsibility to:

a. Find an available student, graduate assistant, or collaborative staff pianist (see guidelines for collaborative pianists below) before the recital request form can be processed.

b. If using a staff pianist, it is up to the student and the studio teacher to allow sufficient time to follow the guidelines for their use when scheduling. If the student misses the deadline for engaging a staff pianist, it is the responsibility of the student to find an accompanist and to assume the cost if a staff pianist is used.

c. Provide music for the collaborative pianist as soon as possible. It is expected that the pianist has agreed to the repertoire before committing to the recital.

d. Find available rehearsal space well before the rehearsals begin.

For juries, it is the student’s and the studio teacher’s responsibility to:

a. Secure a collaborative pianist, student or staff, as early as possible.

b. If using a staff pianist, it is up to the student and the studio teacher to allow sufficient time to follow the guidelines for their use when scheduling. If the student misses the deadline for engaging a staff pianist, it is the responsibility of the student to find an accompanist and to assume the cost if a staff pianist is used.

c. Provide music for the jury pianist by mid-semester break. (This is especially advisable when using students to allow sufficient time to learn, rehearse and schedule coaching sessions with the studio teacher. Early selection also allows the teachers in charge of collaborative playing classes to include jury selections in the curriculum of regularly scheduled class periods).

d. Secure rehearsal space and times.

e. Include participation by the studio teacher.

Staff pianists have been contracted by the School of Music to collaborate on only required recitals and juries, and only if students or graduate assistants are not available.

Students who are required to give a recital or jury and who cannot engage a student or graduate assistant may use one staff pianist without charge for the required recital or jury.

For full recitals, staff pianists, if needed, will play a maximum of 6 lesson hours and 2 rehearsal hours outside of lessons.

For half recitals, 3 lesson hours and 1 rehearsal hour outside of lessons.

The staff pianists will also play a dress rehearsal (for full recitals, 2 hours; for half recitals, 1 hour) and the recital for one set fee. Additional lesson or rehearsal time will not be provided by the School.

For juries, staff pianists, if needed, will play a maximum of 2 hours including the jury. Additional lesson or rehearsal time will not be provided by the School.

All staff pianists are free to say “No” when their schedules are full. It is the studio teacher’s responsibility to make certain their students have taken care of all recital arrangements within the first three weeks of the fall semester and all jury arrangements by mid-semester break. If a student misses the deadline for engaging a staff pianist, it is the responsibility of the student to find a pianist and to assume the cost if a staff pianist is used.

If the student is late or cancels a rehearsal at the last minute, the time will be lost. If the staff pianist has an emergency, the pianist will be expected to reschedule the rehearsal.

Mark Carver is the coordinator of all student and staff collaborative pianists for the School of Music. It is the responsibility of the coordinator to assure that the guidelines are followed and to assist students and faculty in securing collaborative pianists when required. Staff must present proper documentation and secure Mr. Carver’s signature on all time cards in order to be compensated. Only authorized staff pianists will be paid by the School of Music. If studio teachers or students wish to use non-staff pianists, they are free to do so, but the school cannot be responsible for compensation.

Please remember that the School can only support required recitals and juries. If the studio teacher wants a student to perform when the student is not required to do so (for example, for elective recitals, elective juries, competitions, or master classes), the student may compensate a staff pianist or student pianist directly.