About the Conservatory

How many students attend the Conservatory of Music at Purchase College?

We have about 380 students, 75% undergraduate students and 25% graduate students, in addition to 20 students minoring in music.

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What is the student/teacher ratio?
Where do most of your students come from?

We are the most diverse school in the SUNY system. In addition to New York state residents, we have students from all over the United States, such as Utah, Hawaii, Illinois, and Florida, and from countries as diverse as Korea, Mexico, Colombia, France, Japan, Australia, and Canada, to name a few.

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How can I make arrangements to visit the conservatory?

Register for a Wednesday campus tour with the Office of Admissions. Wednesday visits include a guided tour of the Conservatory of Music. After you have scheduled your visit, if you wish to meet the head of your intended program, please contact them directly:

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Can I attend rehearsals and/or classes when visiting, meet with faculty, or take a lesson before I apply?

Academic Programs

What types of degrees do you offer?

We offer professional degrees in music: the Bachelor of Music (MusB) and the Master of Music (MM). We also offer a postbaccalaureate Performers Certificate (PC) and post-master’s Artist Diploma (AD), which are programs reserved for accomplished students who are on the verge of major performance careers in solo, ensemble, or studio settings.

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What academic programs are available?

The Conservatory of Music is structured in three main divisions, each one offering a series of programs:

Classical

Jazz

Music Production and Technology

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What are the course requirements?

To view the course requirements, visit your intended major and select the degree from the sidebar to view the undergraduate 8-semester plans or the graduate, Artist Diploma, or Performers Certificate 4-semester plans. 

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What’s the difference between studio composition and studio production?

Both programs have a number of courses in common, especially in the first two years, and become much more specialized in the junior and senior years.  Studio composition students focus on the craft of composing. Studio production majors go into a more technical route, focusing on technology, capturing and manipulating sound, etc., with the expectation of working on the control room side of a recording studio setting. Both programs are offered at the undergraduate level, but only studio composition is offered at the graduate level.

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What’s the difference between studio composition and classical composition?

Generally speaking, classical composition refers to the type of music that is meant to be performed live, for an audience, in a recital hall. Studio composition students tend to work more within the industry, in a recording studio environment, writing more popular or commercial music. That said, there is a good amount of cross-over happening between the two programs.

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Do you have a music education program?
I want to write music for film and TV. What program can I apply to?

We would suggest applying to studio composition or classical composition. We have faculty members with film/TV experience teaching in both programs.

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Can I cross-register for courses in different programs?

Yes; for some courses, you might need to ask permission from the instructor or the head of the program.

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Can I apply to more than one concentration or instrument?

Yes, you have to submit separate audition materials for each concentration.

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Can I major in one program and minor in another, all within the conservatory?

Yes, as long as your major and minor are from different programs. You must audition for both, and have to be admitted for both.

The Conservatory of Music offers six programs:

Classical

Jazz Studies

Music Production and Technology

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How many ensembles do you have?

We have seven large ensembles/orchestras, including the Purchase Symphony Orchestra and the Purchase Jazz Orchestra, in addition to 25 chamber groups, 18 jazz combos, and a variety of other ensembles.

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Are there many performance opportunities for students?

Yes, many courses require a performance at the end of the semester. Additionally, we encourage our students to engage in additional performance opportunities throughout the year, so we expect our students to come ready and willing to perform.

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How are students matched with private teachers? Can I request to study with a specific teacher?

All assignments are done individually. Although we cannot guarantee specific assignments, you may certainly ask the head of your program to have you assigned to a specific teacher.

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Can I test out of some classes?

Yes, all undergraduate students (except those in jazz studies) will take placement tests the day of their live audition. Based on the results of those tests, they can test out of some basic skill courses, such as theory, ear training, and keyboard. The results of the test will not affect your chances for admission to the Conservatory of Music.

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Does Purchase provide career counseling?

Our faculty and staff are our best counselors because they are all working professionals in the area who can guide our students based on their own experience, expertise, and connections in the industry. In addition to this, Purchase College has a Career Development Center with services available to all students.

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Do you have any continuing education programs?
Will I have an academic advisor?

Yes, it will be a music faculty member.

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Graduate Studies

What types of graduate programs do you offer?

We offer a Master of Music (MM), a postbaccalaureate Performers Certificate (PC), and a post-master’s Artist Diploma (AD).

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What is the difference between the Artist Diploma (AD) and the Performers Certificate (PC)? How are they different from the MM?

They are both graduate-level programs. However, the PC is a postbacalaureate program, for students who only hold a bachelor’s degree, while the AD is a post-master’s program, for students who hold a master’s degree. However, the coursework is the same. Both are strictly oriented towards performance; therefore, they are only offered to students in performance tracks. In this, they differentiate from the MM degree, which has an additional academic component.

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What academic programs are available?

The Conservatory of Music is structured in three main divisions, each one offering a series of programs:

Classical

Jazz

Music Production and Technology

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What are the course requirements?

To view the course requirements, visit your intended major and select the degree from the sidebar to view the undergraduate 8-semester plans or the graduate, Artist Diploma, or Performers Certificate 4-semester plans. 

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How many students graduated in last year’s class?

69 undergraduate students and 34 graduate students.

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Can I study part-time?

Our graduate programs are conceived as full-time programs. However, on occasion, we might approve one semester of part-time study, after consultation with the program director and your academic advisor.

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How many credits do I need to take to have full-time status?

9 credits.

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What kinds of scholarship opportunities are available?

We have merit-based scholarships available. All students will be considered automatically based on their live audition. No separate application is necessary. We do not offer scholarships for spring applicants.

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Do you have graduate assistantships? How do I apply?

From time to time we are able to offer graduate assistantships of a teaching or administrative nature. These are subject to funding from the college. If you are interested in being considered for a graduate assistantship, please request a Graduate Assistantship Application from the Conservatory of Music office: call (914) 251-6700 or email us at music@purchase.edu .

The Graduate Assistantship Application can also be downloaded here.

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Is a thesis required?

No, but all graduate students are required to offer a full-length recital at the end of each year.

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How are students matched with private teachers? Can I request to study with a specific teacher?

All assignments are done individually. Although we cannot guarantee specific assignments, you may certainly ask the head of your program to have you assigned to a specific teacher.

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Do I need to take the GRE?
Are classes scheduled in the morning or evening?

Classes are scheduled throughout the day. We expect students to be available for a full-time program.

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Do I need to submit a separate application to Purchase and to the conservatory?

Yes. Please refer to our Application Instructions.

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How do I apply for admission?

Undergraduate Studies

What types of undergraduate degrees do you offer?

We offer a Bachelor of Music and a music minor.

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What academic programs are available?

The Conservatory of Music is structured in three main divisions, each one offering a series of programs:

Classical

Jazz

Music Production and Technology

keep reading »
What are the course requirements?

To view the course requirements, visit your intended major and select the degree from the sidebar to view the undergraduate 8-semester plans or the graduate, Artist Diploma, or Performers Certificate 4-semester plans. 

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Can I study part-time?

No, this is designed as a four-year, eight-semester, full-time program.

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Do I need to submit a separate application to Purchase and to the conservatory?
Do undergraduates have to take liberal arts courses?

Yes, students typically take one liberal arts course per semester. For BFA students, a minimum of 30 liberal arts credits is a requirement for graduation.

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Is a thesis required?

No, but we do require junior and senior recitals for performance majors, and junior and senior productions for production majors. 

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How many students graduated in last year’s class?

69 undergraduate students and 34 graduate students.

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If I transfer to Purchase, will I enter at the same level as my current school?

Most transfer students should be prepared to spend at least three years with us, but that may vary depending on each student’s preparation. Students will have an opportunity to meet with an academic advisor to finalize their transfer evaluations and be advised.

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What kinds of scholarship opportunities are available?

We have merit-based scholarships available. All students will be considered automatically based on their live audition. No separate application is necessary. We do not offer scholarships for spring applicants.

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Are there work-study opportunities for undergraduate students? How do I apply?

The Conservatory of Music sometimes hires music majors for work-study. If a position becomes available, it will be posted on the JobScore website of the college’s Career Development Center.

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How are students matched with private teachers? Can I request to study with a specific teacher?

All assignments are done individually. Although we cannot guarantee specific assignments, you may certainly ask the head of your program to have you assigned to a specific teacher.

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Are there study-abroad opportunities?

Yes, we have several options for students interested in study-abroad programs taking place during the summer and winter breaks. Opportunities to study abroad for a full semester are less likely for music majors. For more information please contact the college‘s Office of Study Abroad at (914) 251- 6032 or visit their website.

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Can I test out of some classes?

Yes, all undergraduate students (except those in jazz studies) will take placement tests the day of their live audition. Based on the results of those tests, they can test out of some basic skill courses, such as theory, ear training, and keyboard. The results of the test will not affect your chances for admission to the Conservatory of Music.

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How do I apply for admission?

Minors/Double Majors/ Non-music Majors

 
Can an undergraduate student from Purchase who is not majoring in music in the conservatory complete a minor in music?

Yes, more information may be found here.

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Can I major in one program and minor in another, all within the conservatory?

Yes, as long as your major and minor are from different programs. You must audition for both, and have to be admitted for both.

The Conservatory of Music offers six programs:

Classical

Jazz Studies

Music Production and Technology

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Can a music student complete a minor outside the conservatory?

Yes, the student should consult with his or her faculty advisor about the coursework and potential scheduling issues.

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Can I double major at Purchase College?

Yes, but it is not easy. As a conservatory program, we expect students to dedicate a good deal of time to their craft. However, we will work with the student to make sure his or her needs and interests are addressed.

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Can students who not majoring in music register for private music lessons?

Yes. The Applied Music Fee also applies to students in other disciplines at Purchase who are interested in taking private lessons through the Conservatory of Music. Permission to register for MPE 4350/Private Study is required. Contact the main office of the Conservatory of Music for more information: (914) 251-6700, music@purchase.edu.

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Can students who are not majoring in music register for music ensembles?

Most music ensembles require audition. Please contact the ensemble faculty director for more information. Students do not pay extra fees to register for ensembles.

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Application Questions

 
What are the application requirements?
How many letters of recommendation do you need?

Only one letter of recommendation is required.

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What are admissions decisions based on?

The admission process is a collaboration between the college’s Office of Admissions and the Conservatory of Music. Invitations for live auditions are based on the faculty’s evaluation of the student’s prescreening audition materials. The conservatory recommends a student for admission based on his or her live audition. Acceptance to the college is determined by the Office of Admissions based on the student’s academic records and live audition results.

For a detailed, step-by-step explanation of the application process, please refer to our Application Instructions.

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If admitted, may I defer acceptance?

You would need to contact the Office of Admissions at admissions@purchase.edu and formally request to defer.

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Can I apply to start on the spring semester?

Very few programs at the Conservatory of Music typically accept applications for spring admission. Please contact us in late September or early October to find out if your intended program is accepting spring applications. We can be reached at music@purchase.edu. Also, please note that we have no scholarships available for spring applicants.

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Do you accept the Common Application Form?
Am I eligible for a fee waiver? How can I request this?
I have some post-high school coursework. Should I apply as a first-year student or as a transfer student?

Please contact the Office of Admissions at (914) 251-6300 or visit their website.

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What are the deadlines for application?

Please refer to the deadlines posted on Audition Dates.

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Can students apply if they miss the deadline?

If you missed the deadline, contact the main office at the Conservatory of Music: (914) 251-6700, music@purchase.edu.        

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I missed the application deadline. When can I apply for next season?

If you missed a fall deadline, please know that very few programs at the Conservatory of Music typically accept applications for spring admission. Please contact us in late September or early October to find out if your intended program is accepting spring applications. We can be reached at music@purchase.edu. Also, please note that we do not have scholarships available for spring applicants.

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What if my recommendation is not completed by the deadline?

We are happy to process your application and collect letters of recommendation as they come in.

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How many applications do you receive on average each year?

The Conservatory of Music receives about 850 total applications for music auditions and has an acceptance rate of approximately 20%.

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Prescreening Audition

 
Do all majors require prescreening auditions as part of the application process?

Yes. Auditions requirements are available here.

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When will I know if I will be invited to a live audition?

You will be notified via email two to three weeks after the application deadline. 

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How will I know whether you have received my application and prescreening materials for a live audition?

You will receive a confirmation email from Slideroom confirming that your prescreening audition materials have been submitted. You can also verify that your credit card has been charged the conservatory application fee, which will further verify that the application has been processed successfully.

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 Live Auditions/Interviews

 
When do live auditions take place?

Live auditions typically take place in February during the week of President’s Day.

Please see our audition dates page for details on this year .

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Do all majors require a live audition/interview as part of the application process?
Do I need to audition for a minor?

Yes. Audition requirements are the same as for the major and can be found here.

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What can I expect on audition day?
Will there be a theory or placement test? Will it affect my chances for admission?

After the live audition, all undergraduate students (except those in jazz studies) will take a placement test for basic skills, such as keyboard, theory, and ear training. They do not affect your chances for admission.

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What if I can’t come to the live audition? Can I send a recording instead?

Yes, if you are unable to attend a live audition, please contact the Conservatory of Music main office at music@purchase.edu, and our staff will work with you to find a solution.

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Is there an advantage to performing a live audition?

Yes, whenever possible please come to the live audition. It is important for us to meet you and see you live, and it is important for you to meet the faculty and other students. Also, scholarships are awarded based on your live audition performance.

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Do you conduct regional auditions?
How can I change or cancel my audition?
When are admissions decisions disclosed?

Typically two to three weeks after the end of audition week, as long as your application for admission is complete. If your admissions application is not complete, you will not be notified of a decision. We encourage all applicants to check the status of their application online before their live audition.

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Do you have a wait list?

Yes, most programs do have a wait list.

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What does it mean if I am “wait-listed”? What if I wish to withdraw from this list?

If you are wait-listed, it means that we think you meet the criteria for admission, but we are not sure that we can accommodate more students in the program based on our resources. Wait-listed students will receive a letter from the Office of Admissions notifying them. They can choose to stay on or be removed from the list, and should notify the Office of Admissions directly about their decision: (914) 251-6300, purchaseadmissions@purchase.edu.

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Can I use the practice rooms if I arrive early for my audition?

Yes, a practice room will be made available to everyone 30 minutes before their live audition time.

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Are accompanists provided?

Accompanists are provided only for voice/opera applicants. They are not required for either the prescreening or live auditions. All applicants are encouraged to perform solo, or to provide their own accompanists if needed.

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Is it possible to audition on two different instruments or for two programs?

Yes; however, please note that different programs hold auditions on different days. If you are applying to two different programs, and are invited to two different live auditions, you might need to audition on two different days.

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Is audition feedback available?

Cost of Attendance

What is the annual tuition cost for my program?

Information may be found here.

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When are payments due?

 

Scholarships and Financial Aid

When will I be notified if I was awarded a scholarship?

Fall applicants will be notified between March/April. We do not have scholarships available for spring applicants.

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What percentage of students receives scholarships from the Conservatory of Music?

Last year, 30% of our students received scholarships directly from the Conservatory of Music.

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What kinds of scholarship opportunities are available?

We have merit-based scholarships available. All students will be considered automatically based on their live audition. No separate application is necessary. We do not offer scholarships for spring applicants.

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Are international students eligible for any type of scholarships, assistantships, or financial aid?

They are eligible for scholarships and assistantships within the conservatory. They are not, however, eligible for state or federal financial aid, loans, grants, or work-study programs.

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Do you have graduate assistantships? How do I apply?

From time to time we are able to offer graduate assistantships of a teaching or administrative nature. These are subject to funding from the college. If you are interested in being considered for a graduate assistantship, please request a Graduate Assistantship Application from the Conservatory of Music office: call (914) 251-6700 or email us at music@purchase.edu .

The Graduate Assistantship Application can also be downloaded here.

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Are there work-study opportunities for undergraduate students? How do I apply?

The Conservatory of Music sometimes hires music majors for work-study. If a position becomes available, it will be posted on the JobScore website of the college’s Career Development Center.

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How do I apply for financial aid?

Information may be found here.

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What are your deadlines for filing for financial aid?
When will students receive notification of their financial aid award?
What is Purchase’s FAFSA school code?
Do I need to be admitted before I can apply for financial aid and/or scholarships?

No. You may submit your FAFSA form before a notification of admission. In fact, you are encouraged to do so, because some types of financial aid are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

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International Students

 
How do international students apply to Purchase?
What additional application materials (tests, translations, certifications, etc.) are required for international students?
Who should take the TOEFL?
Do I need to take the SAT as an international student?

Please refer to the Admissions website.

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Are international students eligible for any type of scholarships, assistantships, or financial aid?

They are eligible for scholarships and assistantships within the conservatory. They are not, however, eligible for state or federal financial aid, loans, grants, or work-study programs.

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Will there be a special orientation day for international students?

Yes. Information will be emailed to international students at the time of admission.

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Student Living

 
Where would I, as a conservatory student, live?

For more information, and for all other housing options, please visit Office of Residence Life. Students are not required to live on campus.

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Can students leave on the weekends during their program?

Yes. However, please keep in mind that there are a number of performances taking place on campus over the weekends.

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Will I have access to the practice rooms/studios 24/7?

The building is open 19 hours a day, from 7 am to 2 am.

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