Elective Piano, Strings & Voice


Important Note for Elective Piano, Strings and Voice offerings for Fall 2021

In response to the changing COVID-19 regulations, the Thornton School is in the process of planning how our facilities can be utilized in the fall. Some individual instruction could still take place online, but we do anticipate that some will begin taking place in-person again. Due to these uncertainties, it is important that students have access to an instrument and a place to play that instrument during the lesson time since some lessons may still take place online. In most cases, access to Gateway will be limited to music majors and minors. To request D-clearance to enroll in Individual Instruction, please click here.

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 must obtain D-Clearance. To request D-clearance to enroll in Individual Instruction, please click here. All students who would like to sign up for group instruction (piano or voice only: MPKS 150A/150B, MPVA141) 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 the Group Voice Class (MPVA 141) can register for a letter grade or as Pass/No Pass. Group Piano Classes (MPKS 150A/150B) or the Group Voice Class (MPVA 141) 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.

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, MPST 300.

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