Individual Music Lessons

Instrument and voice lessons in classical music and jazz are available to students who are music majors, music minors, are enrolled in a performance ensemble or are committed to joining an ensemble following completion of the given semester.

Taking Individual Music Lessons

The purpose of the Individual Music Lessons is to provide training for qualified students who wish to develop their talent and more fully express themselves through musical performance in classical and jazz music. Students may enroll in Individual Music Lessons if they are music majors, music minors, or actively enrolled in one of our performance ensembles. Each student has to complete a graded jury at the end of each semester, and may also perform in recitals. Individual lessons require a free of $600 for lower division lessons and $650 for upper division lessons. The fee is waived for Music Majors and students eligible under the Music Department's Free Lesson Initiative. The music program provides accompanists for juries and one rehearsal; student must pay for additional times. Vocalists must pay additional accompanist fees as per request of instructor.  All Individual Music Lessons require the approval of a full-time music faculty member. 300-level Individual Music Lessons are for performance emphasis music majors and advanced performers only.

1. Enroll in one of the following performance ensembles

If you are a Music major/minor, you may skip to Step 2.

Table Outlining Music Ensemble Options At USD
Concert Choir MUSC 153 or 353 Emilie Amrein, DMA M 7 - 9 p.m. C153
Choral Scholars* MUSC 152 or 352 Emilie Amrein, DMA MTWTh 1:30 - 3:30 pm. C153
Chamber Music MUSC 150 or 350 Angela Yeung, PhD TBA C144
Jazz Ensemble MUSC 155 or 355 Justin Grinnell, MM W 7 - 9:50 p.m. Shiley Theatre
Gamelan Ensemble MUSC 157 or 357

Tyler Yamin, MFA and
Alex Khalil, PhD

M 7 - 9:50 p.m. C153
Mariachi Ensemble MUSC 158 or 358 Serafin Paredes Th 7 - 9:50 p.m. C153
USD Bands MUSC 156 or 356 Jeffrey Malecki, DMA M/W 5:30 - 6:50 p.m. Shiley Theatre
USD Strings MUSC 151 or 351 Angela Yeung, PhD Th 5:30 - 6:50 p.m. Shiley Theatre

*Entry into the Choral Scholars is determined by a rigorous audition and screening process which is usually completed in the year before admittance to the ensemble.

2. Fill out the appropriate application and scheduling forms

To apply for lessons for the first time, please fill out the "Application and Questionnaire" form.

All students who are enrolling in lesson need to fill out the "Contact Information and Scheduling" form.

Once determining that you are eligible for lessons, Dr. Eric Derr (Applied Music Coordinator, Camino 141D, will enroll you by contacting the Registrar's Office directly. Dr. Derr will also arrange an instructor and lesson time for you.

Minimum Requirements

For Voice: Students must have had some previous experience with performing as a singer, either with a choir or chorus, in a musical or private voice lessons. Students must be able to read music well enough to learn their vocal part on their own.

For Piano: Students must have had a few years of private instruction and must be able to read grand staff notation, hands together, at an elementary level. Students who have successfully completed Class Piano II (MUSC 205) may also enroll in private lessons with the consent of Kay Etheridge, DMA, the coordinator for the piano area.

For Guitar: Students must own their own instrument. They must also have experience with basic classical guitar technique, chord accompaniment and note reading in first position.

For Other Instruments: Students must be able to read music and own their own instrument and they must have a few years experience with their instrument

In lieu of private lessons, students might consider one of the following group instruction courses:

  • Class Piano I (MUSC 105)
  • Class Piano II (MUSC 205)
  • Class Voice (MUSC 107)
  • Class Guitar (MUSC 108)

Eric Derr, DMA

Operations Manager
(619) 260-2958
Camino Hall, Room 161