Elective Piano, Strings & Voice

Beginning or continuing your music studies at USC can be a highly rewarding experience. All USC students are eligible to enroll in one-on-one private piano, string, and/or voice lessons, or a group piano/voice class within the Thornton School of Music. Students who are beginners in piano or voice are encouraged to take the group piano and/or group voice classes before taking individual instruction.

Links for more specific information regarding:

Piano Instruction (PDF)
String Instruction (PDF)
Voice Instruction (PDF)

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I sign up?
All students who would like to sign up for elective individual instruction change to must visit the Office of Student Affairs in TMC 200 to obtain D-Clearance. The office will instruct you from here how to finish the registration process. All students who would like to sign up for group instruction (piano or voice only: MPKS 150A/150B, MPVA 141/241) can register online.

For how many units can I register?
Students can register for 1 or 2 units of individual instruction. Weekly 25-minute lessons are given for one unit, and 50-minute lessons for two units. All group classes (piano and voice only) are 2 units.

Students taking the MPKS/MPST/MPVA 300 level course, Group Piano Classes (MPKS 150A/150B), or Group Voice Classes (MPVA 141/241) can register for a letter grade or as Pass/No Pass. Group Piano Classes (MPKS 150A/150B) or Group Voice Classes (MPVA 141/241) can also be taken for audit, according to USC’s course audit policy.

How many lessons do I receive per semester for individual instruction?
A total of 12-15 lessons will be administered throughout the semester to students who sign up prior to week 1 (the number may be affected due to university holidays). The total number of lessons for students who register during weeks 1-3 of the semester will be determined by their sign-up date.

Where do the lessons and group classes take place?
Individual lessons are administered in either the University Gateway Building on the northwest corner of Figueroa and Jefferson streets, or within the Ramo Hall of Music (RHM).

Group piano classes are taught in the Keyboard Lab, which is located in the Raubenheimer Music Faculty Building, Room 213. Class Voice, MPVA 141 is taught in the basement of the United University Church, Room B3, while Intermediate Class Voice, MPVA 241 is taught in the Raubenheimer Music Faculty Building, Room 204.

Where can I practice?
Practice rooms are available in the University Gateway Building; students must request access through Music Operations (located in Booth Music Hall, Room 101). It will take approximately 3-5 days to obtain card access to the Gateway practice rooms. In addition, all keyboard students may also practice in the Keyboard Lab (located in the Raubenheimer Music Faculty Building, Room 213) when group piano classes are not in session (M-F 7-11pm, and Sat/Sun 10am-6pm).

Is there a fee to enroll in individual instruction courses?
To help offset the cost of private instruction, a $350 private instruction fee will be added to students’ University ebill for every 1 unit of lessons.

Can I register for these courses as a first-time beginner?

Absolutely. Previous musical education is not a prerequisite for the beginner group courses and individual instruction. All students are welcome to register for these courses, though we encourage beginners to register for the group courses before taking individual instruction. For more information about whether a group class or elective individual instruction is best for you, please visit the following links:

Piano Instruction (PDF)
Voice Instruction (PDF)

Can I register for a class with a Pass/No Pass grading option?
Students taking the courses in the 300 level and/or the first two beginner level group classes may register for a letter grade or as Pass/No Pass. The following courses can be taken without a letter grade: MPKS 300, MPKS 150A, MPKS 150B, MPVA 300, MPVA 141, MPVA 241, MPST 300.

Are there any ensemble courses I can take?
Yes. For strings, please view the String Instruction (PDF).