About the Conservatory

How big is 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. We have a student/teacher ratio of 16:1.

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How can I make arrangements to visit the conservatory?

Register for a Performing Arts tour with the Office of Admissions. These tours 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 via our faculty page.

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

The Music Building is open 24 hours a day and music students are issued practice room keys.

Read more about our facilities

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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 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?
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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What 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, 15 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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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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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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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 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?

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. 9-credits is considered full-time status for graduate studies.

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

Graduate students must submit a pre-screening application as well as transcripts. Please refer to our Application Instructions for details.

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

Yes–undergraduate students need to apply to Purchase College using these application instructions, and audition for the Conservatory of Music using these audition guidelines.

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Do undergraduates take general education courses?

Yes, in addition to their music courses, students also complete the core curriculum/general education courses.

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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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Minors/Double Majors/ Non-music Majors

 
Can somebody minor in music if they are not a music major?

Yes, more information on minoring in music may be found here. Please note that you must be a matriculating undergraduate student to be eligible for the music minor.

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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 and be admitted for both.

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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, however there is an Applied Music Fee for all student enrolled in private lessons. Permission to register for MPE 4350/Private Study is required. Contact the Conservatory of Music Office for more information at music@purchase.edu.

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Application Questions

 
What are the application requirements?

Application to Purchase College is handled through our Office of Admissions. Please refer to their Application Instructions and direct any questions about this portion of the application to admissions@purchase.edu.

The Conservatory of Music only manages the audition process; you can view all the audition guidelines here.

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Can I apply to start in 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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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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Prescreening Audition

 
What are the audition requirements?

All prospective music majors and minors must audition into the program. The first step is to submit a pre-screening audition. If you pass this pre-screening, you will be invited to a live audition/interview. All audition requirements can be found here.

This page also has the exact dates for live auditions, which take place in February during the week of President’s Day, as well as information regarding placement tests and other guidelines.

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

Yes. It is also possible to major in one music program and minor in another. However, in each of these scenarios, you would need to submit two separate pre-screening applications.

Additionally, please note that different programs hold auditions on different days, so if you are invited to both live auditions, you might need to audition on two different days.

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 Live Auditions/Interviews

 
What are the audition requirements?

All prospective music majors and minors must audition into the program. The first step is to submit a pre-screening audition. If you pass this pre-screening, you will be invited to a live audition/interview. All audition requirements can be found here.

This page also has the exact dates for live auditions, which take place in February during the week of President’s Day, as well as information regarding placement tests and other guidelines.

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

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

If you are truly 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.

Please note that we do not conduct regional auditions.

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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.

Unfortunately, audition feedback is not available.

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

Most programs have a wait list, which means that we think you meet the criteria for admission, but space in the program is limited. 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, admissions@purchase.edu.

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Scholarships and Financial Aid

What is the annual tuition cost for my program? When are payments due?

Tuition costs may be found here. Please note that there are some additional fees for music students.

Payment deadlines and information on applying for financial aid can be found through the Office of Student Financial Services.

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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.

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

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

Additionally, New York Residents may be eligible for the Excelsior Scholarship.

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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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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 by emailing us at music@purchase.edu.

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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?

Please refer to the Admissions website. This includes information about the TOEFL and other application materials required for international students.

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

International students 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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