FAQ's

Lessons and Practice Rooms FAQ's

Below are answers to the most common questions asked about music at USF including questions about taking private lessons, participating in a performance ensemble, fulfilling Music Minor requirements, declaring a Major in Performing Arts & Social Justice, and spaces on campus where students can rehearse or use pianos. If you don't find your question answered here, contact music program coordinator Francesca Rivera (fmrivera@usfca.edu) 415-422-4368. Click here to go back to the music program page.

Taking Private Lessons

Who can take lessons? Am I eligible to take private lessons?

Lessons are offered through two-unit classes in the MUS 120-series. Students can enroll in MUS 120-series if they are a declared PASJ-music major or Music minor who completed a foundational music theory class (Music 100, MUS 300, or scored 4 or 5 on the Music AP test).
After all PASJ-majors/Music minors with the pre-req have enrolled in these classes, open slots in MUS 120 can be filled, with permission of the music program coordinator, by the following students:
  1. Declared PASJ-majors and Music minors who have not yet fulfilled their foundational theory requirement
  2. Students currently enrolled in MUS 100 or MUS 300
  3. Members of a Music Program's ensemble who are enrolled in the ensemble this semester for course credit.

    Priority enrollment in MUS 120-series is for declared PASJ-music majors and music minors, who need these classes to complete their graduation requirements.  If there are spaces left over in sections after they have enrolled, enrolled members of MUS 110 or 111 series classes may request to be added to an open section.
    If you are neither a current music student nor a member of a MUS 110 or 111 class, then you cannot enroll in a MUS 120 class this semester.

What individual private instruction/lessons are offered at USF?

We currently offer: voice, guitar, piano, violin/viola, cello and saxophone. Vocal studios are specialized by type (Lieder, Opera, Broadway, Cabaret, and Pop styles). Taking lessons for academic credit in other instruments may be possible but require consultation and approval from a music program advisor.

How much do lessons cost?

Lessons taught by USF faculty as part of the two-unit music course MUS 120-series class are already paid for by your tuition dollars, and there are no extra fees associated with enrollment in a MUS 120 class.

I have 4 units free, and lessons are only 2-units each, so can I take two different kinds of lessons this semester?

Maybe. For graduation requirements, you must complete two semesters of one type of lesson before exploring other lesson types. Once you have completed that part of the lesson requirement, you may enroll in other 120-series classes, and occasionally students are able to enroll in two different MUS 120 class in a single semester. However, you should consult with your music advisor before adding extra units worth of sections, since there may be other options to use the 4-units this semester to complete your music program requirements.

I have two units free, but the system won't let me enroll in private lessons saying there is a "field of study/prereq" error. What can I do?

Enrollment in MUS 120-series is only possible for declared PASJ-music majors and music minors who have completed the prerequisite theory class. These students need MUS 120 lessons to complete their graduation requirements.
If there are spaces left over in sections after those students have enrolled, the only other students who are eligible to take lessons as a class are current members of the department's music ensembles (MUS 110 or 111 series classes). Students enrolled in a MUS 110 or 111 class can request to be added to an open section of lessons by contacting the music program coordinator. If you are neither a current music student nor a member of a MUS 110 or 111 class, then you cannot enroll in a MUS 120 class this semester. Music program advisors are happy to consult with you for other ways to use those 2-units to get music as part of your studies here at USF.

I'm currently enrolled in the required MUS 100 and I still can't enroll in lessons. What do I do?

Email Music Program coordinator Francesca Rivera with your student id# and confirmation that you have 2 spare units, who will add you to the class after confirming your enrollment in MUS 100.

What if I am an accomplished musician? Can't I just take lessons without becoming a Music Minor or joining a performance ensemble?

No. To enroll in a MUS 120-series class, you must be a declared PASJ-music major or Music minor who has taken (or is taking) a foundational music theory class, or be enrolled in a performance ensemble this semester. You are welcome to contact one of our lessons faculty and arrange to take extra-curricular private paid lessons with them (their rates are reasonable) but can't enroll for units without being part of our program and having the pre-reqs done.

Can I take lessons for one unit?

No, these are private individual lessons and their cost demands that lessons be taken for the full two units.

Can I continue working with an instructor I have off campus who is not on staff at USF or do I have to study with one of your instructors?

You have two options:
  1. continue taking your lessons with your instructor but not receive academic credit, or
  2. meet with your Music Program advisor and request approval to pursue this off campus class as a Directed Study. In some cases some of these class do fit within the Music Program's mission.

Will USF waive the unit charge if I pay for my own lessons but still want to apply these studies to my major or minor?

No. Unfortunately, you will have to pay for both the USF credit you receive AND the private instructor's fees by electing not to use any of the instructors the university offers.

Participating in Ensembles and Music Concerts

Can I participate in more than one performance ensemble during the same semester?

Yes, as long as the rehearsal and performance schedules do not conflict.

I'm singing in two different choirs this semester, but when I went to enroll in the second one, I got a "duplicate class section" error message and the system wouldn't let me enroll.

Although each ensemble "section" within MUS 110 and 111 series is actually a different class, the system is not set up to enroll you in both sections automatically, so you need a manual add for the second choir or band. Email the music program coordinator with your student id and the CRN of the ensemble section you want to add, and it will be done manually for you.

I'm acting in a play this semester. I want to sing in a choir but both have called rehearsals for the same time slot. Can I still sing with a choir?

Unfortunately, participating in the weekly rehearsals is a mandatory component of any performing arts ensemble here at USF. If you have two performance groups that you want to be part of and they meet at the same time, you have to choose one.

Do I enroll in MUS 110 or MUS 111 for 0, 1 or 2 units?
or
The system is prompting me to tell it how many units I want this class for, how do I know whether to register for 0, 1, or 2 units?

We have created the variable unit enrollment ability for MUS 110 and MUS 111 to honor all of the different majors and minors of the students represented, and to allow students to participate in as many ensembles as they want without worrying aout exceeding the 18-unit registration max.  Some students only have "1 unit free" after enrolling in all of their Nursing or Management classes, and we still want students to participate.  Some students participate in so many activities in THTR, DANC, MUS, ESS, and/or CS that have 1 or 2 units as well, that they are already full at 18 units by the time that they audition for an ensemble. 
We leave it to individual students to choose how many units to enroll in an ensemble. 

What does it mean to enroll in a [MUS 110/111] course for 0 units?
It means the class will appear on your transcript, and you will receive a letter grade for your attendance and participation.  However, it will have no quality points impact on your GPA.  You still need to attend every rehearsal and participate in the mandatory concerts as part of the ensemble class, even if you've enrolled for zero units.
All performers participating in an ensemble are required to enroll in in the ensemble classes--even if for zero units--because they will also then have access to class materials and communication put on the Canvas site.

I'm a performer. Can I be part of the Music Student Showcase this semester?

The Student Showcase is open to any student who is part of the Music Program--major or minor. You can sign up for an audition slot during the mid-semester performance review week (typically during week 7 of each semester). Please note that preference for performance slots will be given to people enrolled in a music program class this semester.

Do I have to be part of the Student Showcase if I am taking lessons?

Attendance and participation in the end-of-semester music festival is mandatory for anyone enrolled in private lessons this semester. If you're taking lessons this semester, you will perform in a final lessons recital. You don't also have to perform in the solo Showcase if you don't want to. You are required to attend at least one other show during the festival that you're not performing in, as a technical assistant or usher.

 

Transferring Credits From Other Colleges/Departments

Are there any classes offered outside your department at USF that I can apply towards the Music Minor?

Yes, when other departments and programs at USF offer a class that is substantially about music or sound design. Departments like Media Studies and Sociology occasionally offer seminars that are all about music, and some departments allow senior capstone research projects to be all about music. We would need to review the class syllabus to ensure that you are studying the equivalent of a course that would be offered in our program. If the class is accepted, the music advisors would initiate the waiver-substitution form. Contact your music advisor (Alexandra for last names A-K; Francesca for last names L-Z) for eligibility information.

I'm a transfer student. I already took some of the courses you say are required to fulfill the Music Minor or PASJ Major. Can I opt out of any music classes here at USF?

Yes, if those credits transferred in and they are equivalent to our classes. We are committed to applying as many transfer units as we can to our programs to ensure that students graduate in a timely way.

We would need to review the class syllabus to ensure that you had studied the equivalent of a course that would be offered in our program. If the class is accepted, the music advisors would initiate the waiver-substitution form. Contact Francesca Rivera (fmrivera@usfca.edu) for eligibility information.

Do I have to take Music 100-Musicianship and Principles of Tonal Theory class if I already know how to read music? ...took another theory class outside of USF?

Music minors need at least 4 units of theory-comp classes, and PASJ-music majors need 8 units of theory-comp classes to complete the program requirements.  These units may be fulfilled in other ways besides taking MUS 100, such as MUS 300-level classes or having an AP Music test score of 4 or 5. 
If you believe that you already possess the requisite musicianship skills to place out of MUS 100, you can take a placement test during the first week of classes to see which theory class would help you fulfill the music program requirements. 

Please note: our MUS 100 class covers more than just learning to read music in Western notation there is also basic analysis in Tonal Theory and Ear-Training/Sight-Singing.

I took the AP Music exam. Does it count for anything at USF?
For declared Music Minors: If you scored 4 or 5 on your AP Music, we will apply those four units to your music theory requirement, and you don't have to take MUS 100.

For declared PASJ Majors with a music concentration: an AP Music score of 4 or 5 will give you 4 units of general electives, but not have any effect on the requirements for the PASJ major.

For students who are not PASJ majors or Music minors: an AP score or 4 or 5 will give you 4 general elective units, but will not count towards any core requirement. An AP score of less than 4 in the Music exam will not transfer in as extra units here at USF.

Practice Rooms

Why can't I get into the practice rooms in Masonic? My id doesn't work.

The practice rooms in Masonic are available for reservations and use by PASJ majors, Music Minors, and members of department-sponsored ensembles. You must sign a room-use contract and apply to get your id card activated. Come to the performing arts office on Fridays, and you can submit a contract and reserve up to 4-hours a week.

Where are the rooms with pianos to practice on campus?

The department has two dedicated practice rooms to rehearse music in Masonic, but there are also a few spaces on campus that do have pianos that students can use. Below is a list of all of the spaces that we know of on campus NOTE: this list is maintained to the best of our knowledge, please help us update it if you see anything missing.

LOCATION DESCRIPTION HOURS OF USE AMENITIES FOR MORE INFO
Masonic practice rooms (MA 111 & 112) small, single room, fits 4-5 people. M-F 8am-10pm weekends 9-5 Access only by swipe-card keylock. Music students can schedule up to 4 hours each week by coming to the PA office (MA 201) on Fridays between 10am-3pm. Any unbooked time may be used but is not guaranteed nor secure. Reservations must be made in person with Ellen. acoustic upright piano, 5 chairs, music stands, table, mirror. Come to the PA offices (281 Masonic, suite 201) on Friday and speak to Ellen, Performing Arts Department Program Assistant to sign the room use contract and get your id activated
UC's 4th floor "Music Room" small, glass-encased single room, Fits 4-5 people. Some sound bleed. Access only by swipe-card keylock [space controlled by SLE]; same hours of use as all other meeting times in UC electric weighted keyboard and chair and music stand. Contact Voices Choir President (voices@usfca.edu) to schedule an orientation and get your id activated
ED 040 Large open area with sprung floors (good for dancing) and can be used to rehearse ensembles as well as individual practice. Can fit up to 30 people. You can schedule up to 4 hours each week by coming to the PA office (MA 201) on Fridays between 10am-3pm. Reservations must be made in person with Ellen. The reservation calendar is posted on the bulletin board near ED040, and any unbooked time may be used but is not guaranteed nor secure. acoustic upright piano. 35 movable chairs and a few tables; music stand; also has white boards. Come to the PA offices (281 masonic, suite 201) on Friday and speak to Ellen, Performing Arts Department Program Assistant
MA 122 A classroom on the first floor of the Masonic building. dead hour, weekends, or evenings - whenever a class is not in session in the room. Acoustic upright piano; 20 movable chairs and tables; white board with staff lines; transparency projector and screen N/A: users take over the room whenever it is empty, first-come, first-served basis
LM 151 A classroom on first floor of Lone Mountain building.  dead hour, weekends, or evenings--whenever a class is not in session in the room. Acoustic upright piano; 30 movable chairs; white board with staff lines N/A: users take over the room whenever it is empty, first-come, first-served basis
LM 100 Large open room with a grand piano in the back. Has a Schubertiad-parlour feel to the space. Varies--this room is often reserved for special events for lunch, dinner, and evening services.  Usually limited to prearranged events/concerts and the associated rehearsals for those concerts grand piano Contact Events Scheduling to reserve the room
MA 202 small, single room, fits up to 4 people M-F 8:30-5pm. Access only by reservation for PASJ majors or Music minors. Any unbooked time may be used but is not guaranteed electric weighted keyboard and chairs/music stands
Come to the PA offices (281 masonic, suite 201) on Friday and speak to Ellen, Performing Arts Department Program Assistant
Fromm Hall Residence Piano in lounge (they may have since moved it to a small room near the washing machines)   upright piano Check in the dorm's front desk area for details
Fromm Hall's Xavier Chapel 100-movable seats and a small stage in front of room with a piano. Usually limited to prearranged events/concerts and the associated rehearsals for those concerts grand piano Events Scheduling - may need to get permission from University Ministries, since they control the use of this space.
Gillson Hall Piano in lounge   upright piano Check in the dorm's front desk area for details
Lone Mountain residence hall Piano in lounge   upright piano Check in the dorm's front desk area for details
Presentation Theater 400-seat proscenium stage theater Limited to pre-arranged events/concerts and the associated rehearsals for those concerts

1) Electric piano [may be used by student groups in their productions]

2) Concert Grand Piano [can only be used for USF's Music Program Concerts]

David Pangaro, Presentation Theater Director [his office is in the basement of School of Ed building]
Studio Theater on Lone Mountain 100-seat black-box theater Limited to pre-arranged event/concerts and the associated rehearsals for those concerts. Priority for space use limited to PASJ and Music Program student and faculty performances upright piano. Theater has monitors, mics and amps, as well as a screen for projecting and choral risers Gabe Maxson, Performing Arts Production Manager. MA201.
Harney Plaza Outdoor space in the middle of main campus Dead hour, and evenings after classes/study hours have ended. Campus Security won't permit any activity there past 11:00pm a small elevated space serves as a "stage"; terrible acoustics [may need to amplify sound] but central location and high visibility Contact Events Scheduling to reserve the space
Kalmanovitz Amphitheater Outdoor space located right in front of K-Hall's main entrance Dead hour, and evenings after classes/study hours have ended. Campus Security won't permit any activity there past 11:00 pm small stage at the bottom of the amphitheater can hold a small combo or solo performers; capable of carrying acoustic sound quite a long distance with clarity Contact Events Scheduling to reserve the space