Tuition for a Music Major: What’s Included, What’s Not

If you’re a music major and your focus is performance or a performance-related area, you will be taking what are called “applied lessons” on your primary instrument (including voice).

We’ve polled some of the participating schools on, and find that when private lessons are required as part of your program, those lessons are taken for credit. And the cost of those credit hours are usually included in your overall tuition. Schools often set a maximum number of credit hours that can be taken at the normal rate of tuition each semester or quarter. Above that number, you can anticipate additional charges.

The Extras

Most schools require a music major to pay fees in addition to tuition. The amount varies from school to school, and what’s covered by those fees also differs. For instance, at Northwestern’s Bienen School of Music, accompanist fees are included, while this may not be the case at other schools.

The use of practice rooms is typically included in tuition, however policies vary at different schools and some may charge to reserve a specific practice room throughout the year.

Students who decide to take lessons on a second instrument can anticipate additional fees at many schools. Those who take lessons from faculty other than their primary teacher, from an visiting artist-in-residence, or from a non-faculty instructor can expect to be charged extra for those lessons.

What to Find Out

Prospective music majors are encouraged to visit the tuition page of schools they’re serious about to find out:

  • Are private lessons included in the basic tuition?
  • What are the additional required fees and will scholarships from the schools themselves cover these?

If the answers aren’t apparent, contact the schools directly. In fact, you can use the forms on the participating school pages to learn about policies at these schools.



    • It totally depends on what program you’re applying for and at which school you’re applying. Music business and music industry applicants don’t necessarily need to play an instrument, depending on what school they apply to. Therefore, read carefully each school’s application and audition requirements.

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