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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Paying to Play

Anyone who wants to learn the guitar or improve their skills on the piano can choose to take private lessons from the music professionals of UMass Boston’s Music department. Anyone who wants to major with a Bachelor of Arts in Music, however, is required to take these private lessons for course credit-at an additional cost to their tuition.

Twelve lessons are available per semester in either hour or half hour increments, costing $365 and $730 per semester respectively. Each semester of private instruction, offered as MUSIC 185, counts as one credit, but Music majors need eight credits in MUSIC 185. That can add up to a total of $2,920 or $5,840 in music fees outside of UMass Boston tuition. These fees are not subject to fee waivers that may apply for some students, such as veterans or full-time state employees.

Orville Wright, Chair of the Department of Performing Arts, likens these costs to the laboratory fees paid by Science students. He noted that “getting a theoretical education” in the classroom can only be part of the musical education experience; students must also be able to apply learned concepts to their individual playing.

“Depending on the area a music student might specialize in, it is imperative for that student to focus and understand a particular instrument, especially from a performance perspective,” Wright said. “Such being the case, that focus cannot be gained in a classroom setting, and therefore the student has to have individualized attention-better known as private instruction.”

Private lessons are open to students outside of the UMass Boston Music major at the same cost and are available for a variety of instruments including guitar, piano, voice, stringed instruments, brass and reed instruments.

Lessons are available each semester based on student need, so not all instruments are available every semester. Interested students are encouraged to visit the department’s office in room 617 on the second floor of the McCormack building to discuss their preferences to, as Wright described, “provide a more efficient coupling of an instrumental teacher with a prospective student.”