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 wherestudentscanrehearse or use pianos.If you don't find your question answered here, contact music program coordinator and Performing Arts Department Chair Alexandra Amati-Camperi (camperia@usfca.edu) 415-422-2072. 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 can be taken by two types of students:
  1. declared music minors or PASJ majors who have taken (or are currently taking) Music 100-Musicianship or MUS 300-Western Theory I
  2. members of a Music Program's ensemble who are enrolled in the ensemble this semester for course credit.

What individual private instruction/lessons are offered at USF?

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

How much do lessons cost?

Lessons taught by USF faculty as part of a two-unit music course (MUS 120 series) already paid for by your tuition dollars, and do not have any extra fees associated with them. The pre-req for the MUS 120 series is MUS 100 or equivalent theory class. You can only enroll in lessons if you are a declared music minor, PASJ major studying music, or currently-registered member of a USF performance ensemble.

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

Prepare an Add-Drop form and contact your Music Program advisor for a signature.

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

Unfortunately, to take lessons through our department for course credit, you need to either be a declared major or minor who has taken (or is taking) Music 100--Musicianship and Principles of Tonal Theory, or be enrolled in a performance ensemble this semester. You are welcome to contact one of our lessons faculty and arrange to take 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?

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. It is your choice and you have to pay your instructor yourself, as well as your USF tuition commensurate with the credit you are getting.

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 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.

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 (auditions scheduled for Oct 27 in Fall 2012). 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 that I can apply towards the Music Minor?

Yes, when USF departments and similar programs (like Media Studies) offer a class that is substantially 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 to apply towards the minor, it would count as Music Minor electives. Contact Francesca Rivera (fmrivera@usfca.edu) for eligibility information.

I'm a transfer student. I already took some of the courses you say are required to fulfill the Music Minor requirements. Can I opt out of Music Minor classes if my music credits transferred?

Probably - especially if you've already taken a musicianship or music theory class. Contact one of the Music Program advisors (Alexandra Amati-Camperi or Francesca Rivera) to confirm the eligibility of your class(es).

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 outsid of USF?...did the AP Music exam?

Our musicianship classes cover more than just learning to read music in Western notation there is also basic analysis in Tonal Theory and Ear-Training/Sight-Singing. If you believe that you already possess the requisite musicianship skills, you can take a placement test during the first week of classes, to see if you can place out of the whole class or of portions of the class for this semester. 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. Contact Alexandra Amati-Camperi to arrange for a placement test, or come to the first day of class to MUS 100.

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. 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.
acoustic piano, 5 chairs, music stands, table, mirror. Come to the PA offices (281 Masonic, suite 201) 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) and speak to Ellen, Performing Arts Department Program Assistant
ED 307 A classroom in the School of Ed building. Noisebleed is an issue and neighboring classes complain if they hear you. 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.

Be prepared to be booted out if another group comes in having reserved it in advance or noise bleed is an issue
Grand piano Contact Events Scheduling to book the room, but users also take over the room whenever it is empty, first-come, first-served basis
Lone Mountain residence hall Piano in lounge   upright piano Check in the dorm's front desk area for details
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 pre-arranged 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
Parina Lounge (UC 3rd floor) Piano in small room off the main lounge   grand piano Get a key to access the room from the front desk area
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 book 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 book the space