Carnegie Mellon University

School of Music

Where artistry and innovation share center stage


The Carnegie Mellon School of Music firmly believes that service to the university student in a field of study outside of the school is critical to meeting its larger mission. Extending high-quality training to those who will be future arts consumers and amateur practitioners is crucial to the growth and health of the art of music. In addition, sharing the intrinsic value of music training to students in other fields enriches their undergraduate education.

The Music Extension Division serves Carnegie Mellon students who are not music majors but who are seeking to start or further their musical training. Studio lessons from practicing professionals are available at all levels from beginner to advanced. For beginning students, the focus is on building a strong technical foundation with attention to reading, basic theory, and technique. Intermediate and advanced students will encounter a curriculum tailored to their specific skill level and goals. The Music Extension Division is also a way of preparing non-music majors for auditions into the music minor or music major programs, or to prepare for external competitions.

Students are expected to participate and prepare for each lesson according to guidelines designated by each instructor. Instructors discuss grading criteria based on skill level and experience at the outset of every semester. Students are invited to participate in an end of the semester recital. At the discretion of the studio teacher, this performance may be required of a more advanced student.


The emphasis of this course is to develop a practical keyboard facility, which includes keyboard theory and technique, sight reading, solo and ensemble repertoire, transposition, and a variety of creative activities such as harmonization and improvisation.  (Owning a personal piano is not necessary)

Jazz Piano I is a small, hands-on class for students wishing to learn or improve their jazz piano improvisation skills. Students must be proficient on the piano. A working knowledge of music theory is preferable. Class size is limited to 6 students. Must have instructor approval.

Jazz Piano II is a small, hands-on class for advanced jazz piano students. Students must have taken and or placed out of Jazz Piano I. Class size is limited to 6 students. Must have instructor approval.

Using classical and jazz guitar methods, this course is designed to provide a basic set of techniques that will allow students to pursue the avenue of guitar playing that most interests them. While emphasis will be on developing skills in playing the guitar, a basic understanding of the principles of music theory as applied to the guitar will also be acquired. While few students will find it possible to master all of the materials presented, an exposure to the many possibilities of musical expression available on the guitar and an understanding of basic music theory will help to broaden the students’ perspective and make future musical experiences, such as listening and performing, more rewarding. Students are expected to have their own instrument. A guitar in good working condition is essential. An acoustic classical or steel string is preferred, an electric with a small battery operated amp is acceptable. Students having no previous training on the guitar will find this class most valuable.

The Alexander Technique is a dynamic and powerful process of education that gives us a practical knowledge of simple yet profound principles which govern human coordination. This process teaches us to observe and experience how we approach our lives, both physically and mentally. The technique enables us to recognize and release patterns of tension by redirecting excessive effort into useful energy, resulting in improved balance, flexibility and coordination. We learn how to transform tension into attention, fatigue into kinesthetic lightness. Through observation, discussion, functional anatomy, and gentle hands-on guidance, we regain deep structural support and experience a sense of freedom and the sheer pleasure of movement. This is a studio mini-course. One section meets during the first half of the semester; the other section meets during the second half of the semester. Each section can have 3-4 students.

(2 mini-courses offered per semester)

Private lessons offered in the following areas: Bagpipes, Bass, Cello, Clarinet, Composition, Euphonium, Flute, Guitar, Jazz Trumpet, Oboe, Percussion, Piano, Saxophone, Trombone, Trumpet, Tuba, Viola, Violin, Voice.