Free Lessons at Eastman

One of the many reasons why I was so attracted to the University of Rochester was actually because of one of its schools, the Eastman School of Music.

As a music lover, living so close to the best music school in the country provides a world of unbelievable opportunities. Imagine all the concerts, shows, and festivals full of world-famous musicians happening all year around just fifteen minutes away! But what I was most excited about was an opportunity for myself at Eastman: free music lessons. I’ve been playing piano for almost thirteen years, and while I didn’t want to major in music, I definitely wanted to continue it and improve my skills. So when I heard that Rochester students can receive free music lessons at Eastman, I knew I had to take this opportunity.

Here’s how I did it.

First of all, you must sign up for an audition. The audition determines whether you are eligible for the lessons depending on your level. Auditions are held in the beginning of the school year, and there are some auditions in the spring as well. Requirements are different for each instrument. For piano, they ask for two pieces of music and one scale. Even though there is no memorization required, I still memorized the pieces; little things like that show that you are truly prepared!

After you sign up for the audition, you receive an email from the director telling you what time and day you are scheduled to audition. Auditions are usually held at Eastman, and there are buses that run directly from the River Campus to Eastman every day. Make sure to plan out the time in advance (bus schedules are not always reliable), so that you are not late for your audition!

Don’t be nervous!! If you prepared ahead, you should be perfectly fine. From personal experience, my audition was very relaxed and informal. The director listened to me play what I had prepared and asked me a few questions about my music career. He told me strengths and weaknesses about my performance; for example, I had very good technique, but I tended to rush the speed.

A few days after the audition, I received an email from the director assigning me to a music teacher. I was officially a piano student at Eastman!

For two credits a semester, I received thirty-minute piano lessons every week. The lesson instructors are graduate/doctorate students at Eastman. My piano teacher is a doctorate student at Eastman, and she was actually an undergraduate at Northwestern University. I was so excited to meet a fellow Chicagonian at Rochester!

There are many perks to taking lessons at Eastman: working closely with talented and brilliant teachers, improving musical skills, and having an opportunity to continue music while pursuing academics, all for free. However, my favorite part about taking lessons at Eastman is actually going to the campus! Unlike the River Campus, which is surrounded by beautiful and serene nature, the Eastman School is right in the center of the city. For a girl like me who grew up in one of the busiest cities in the world, I need a break from trees and lakes once in a while. Taking the bus into the city is so exciting and fun; there are many people to meet, places to visit, and sights to see! For example, check out this beautiful coffee shop right next to the school.

Java’s Coffee, with its quirky and artistic interior, has the best iced Americano, and I always stop by the shop while waiting for my bus to arrive.

So if you are a student at Rochester and play an instrument and enjoy music, I highly encourage you take advantage of this opportunity! And if you’re a high school student interested in Rochester, here is another reason to add to an already long list of reasons why Rochester is amazing!

If you want more information about the audition process and a different perspective, check out this blog by Florence Yip.

About the author

YooJung Chun

I'm a member of the Class of 2018, and I am majoring in art history. I was born in Seoul, South Korea, before moving to Chicago. I'm the Publicity Chair for the Korean American Students' Association, and I also take piano lessons at the Eastman School of Music.

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