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Lessons and Performance Program

Lessons are available through the music department for all instruments and voice.
Music majors and non-majors are welcome to join a wide variety of vocal and instrumental ensembles.

Performance Program

The Performance Program consists of a series of courses offered by the music department in instrumental and vocal instruction at the intermediate and advanced levels. Instruction is provided by professional musicians selected by the music department. Eleven lessons are offered per semester.

Admission to a course in Performance is gained by a successful audition with members of the department following at least one semester of prior study with a Holy Cross faculty member. No student may enroll in more than one Performance course each semester. Students must register for the course as a fifth course in the first semester in which they participate in the program. At the end of the first semester of registration in Performance, they will be assigned an IP (In Progress). During the second semester they may register for Performance as a fourth or fifth course with a letter grade. Students may only claim a maximum of two units of Performance with letter grade toward graduation.

Students enrolled in the program for credit must:

  • present a letter of evaluation from their teacher at the end of the semester;
  • take a final jury examination given by members of the music department, at which time they will perform at least two pieces studied during the semester;
  • take a semester of theory or history (excluding Music 101 and Music 103) prior to or concurrently with Performance;
  • ​perform at least once each semester on recitals sponsored by the department.


Music majors are welcome to work with faculty advisors on original research as part of the Summer Research program. Visit the Summer Research in the Humanities, Social Sciences, and Fine Arts website to learn more.

Awards for Music Majors

Additionally, two prizes are awarded each year to a Holy Cross senior:

  • Beethoven Prize for the best essay or composition and
  • Walter Gordon Howe Prize for excellence in percussion performance.

Student Advisory Committee

Members of the Student Advisory Committee (SAC) are elected by all music majors in the spring of each year. The music department frequently consults with the SAC regarding issues of class offerings, programming, and events. The SAC administers course evaluation forms for every music course at the end of each semester. SAC officers also help in the evaluation of faculty in terms of appointment, tenure or promotion.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to be a music major to participate in ensembles and lessons?
Ensembles are open to all students, including non-majors, as are lessons. Music majors receive free lessons.

Are auditions for ensembles required, and when and where are they held?
The audition requirements depend on the ensemble. Ensemble directors typically hold meetings and auditions early in the semester. Check the bulletin boards in the music department, or contact Alice Resker, music department office coordinator at 508-793-2296.

Should I send a recording of my performances to the music department or to Admissions?
Students may include a supplementary recording with their admissions materials. It is important that these materials go directly to the Admissions office. Students interested in applying for the Brooks Music Scholarship or the Organ Scholarship should follow the guidelines for recordings. A live audition is not required for the Brooks Scholarship.

Is an interview with the music department recommended as part of the admission process?
An interview with the music department does not factor into the College’s admission selection process. We do, however, invite students interested in experiencing the department firsthand to visit us, sit in on a class, or observe a rehearsal. For additional information contact the Admissions office at 508-793-2443.

Can I store my instrument at Holy Cross?
The music administrative assistant coordinates the assignment of lockers that are located throughout the department. However, there is currently no space available on campus to store drum sets.