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FAQs for Music Orientation

How do I audition? 

Students who have not auditioned may elect to audition for one of our concentrations in Classical Performance, Jazz Performance or Recording & Electronic Music. We will set up audition dates at the beginning of the Fall semester; information will be available on the Music website, in the Music Office in College Hall room 100 or by contacting the Music department administrative assistant Lee Degnan at 845-257-2700 or by email at degnanl@newpaltz.edu


Will I have a Music advisor?

Yes, as a Music major or Music minor you will be assigned an advisor at the very beginning of the semester. Your advisor is your first stop when you need information about your classes and what you need to graduate. You will meet with your advisor each semester to check in on your progress and go over the courses you need to register for to stay on track for graduation. Your Music advisor can also help you find information that you need and troubleshoot academic problems.


How do I join an ensemble?

Students can add ensembles of their choice to their schedule when registering for classes. General Music majors and students concentrating in Recording & Electronic Music are required to participate in a minimum of 4 ensembles to graduate; students in Classical Performance and Jazz Performance concentrations are required to participate in a minimum of 6 ensembles to graduate. Information on all ensembles can be found on the Music Department website. Contact the director of the ensemble for more information.


Can I join an ensemble if I’m not a Music major?

Absolutely! Students from all majors participate in our ensembles. If you are not a Music major and want to participate in one of our ensembles, you can register when you sign up for classes.

When can I start taking individual (applied) lessons on my instrument?

All Music majors should start taking applied lessons on their instrument right away. If you have not auditioned please reach out to your Music advisor right away to discuss your interests.


Can I take lessons on an instrument if I’m not a Music major?

Students who are not Music majors are welcome to take one semester of lessons. Contact the instructor of the instrument to inquire.  


Do I need an academic minor?

All new Music majors are required to declare a minor. Students should declare their minor by the beginning of the first semester of their junior year. If you are unsure about which minor is for you, you can find information about minors here; your advisor can also provide you with information and advice about minors that will help you pursue your interests and reach your goals. Students who are interested in eventually applying to our graduate program in music therapy should minor in psychology.


Can I double major?

Many Music students double major very successfully. It allows students to continue studying their instrument with their teacher beyond the single semester allowed to non-majors.  Music students who are interested in eventually applying to our graduate program in Music Therapy are encouraged to consider a double major in Psychology. If you are interested in pursuing a double major talk with your Music advisor as early as possible to map out the courses you will need in order to graduate on time.


I want to study Music Therapy. What do I need to do?

Although we do not have an undergraduate Music Therapy program SUNY New Paltz has an excellent graduate program in Music Therapy. Music students who are interested in becoming a Music Therapist should contact the director of the Music Therapy program, Dr. Kathleen Murphy, at murphyl@newpaltz.edu.


Can I practice and store my instrument at the college?

The Music Department has practice rooms in College Hall as well as in McKenna Theatre that are available to Music majors and students currently registered in ensembles. Each practice room in College Hall is equipped with a piano, and practice rooms in McKenna Theatre are equipped with percussion kits. Storage is available to students who are registered in an ensemble for some instruments. Please contact your advisor or ensemble director for specific information.


I don’t own my instrument; can I rent one?

The Music department has a limited number of rental instruments available  for students who are currently registered in ensembles. Please reach out to your the ensemble director for more information, or contact Assistant Professor Christiana Fortune-Reader  at readerc@newpaltz.edu.


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