At Eastman we foster a community of passionate and talented students who possess the self-discipline and intellectual curiosity to succeed in music. We develop not only students’ performance abilities, but also their academic and practical skills.
Degree Programs and Academic Opportunities
BACHELOR OF MUSIC DEGREE
Applied Music (Classical Performance)
This performance-intensive major is designed for students who are seriously considering futures as professional performers: soloists, opera and concert vocalists, orchestral and band musicians, conductors, chamber musicians, recording artists and studio musicians, church musicians, studio teachers, and other professions in the music business.
This major focuses on developing the craft of the manipulation of musical materials through a thorough understanding of contemporary harmonic, melodic, rhythmic, contrapuntal, and timbral elements. Over four years, composition majors study with members of the composition faculty on a rotating basis. Composition majors take required lessons on an instrument or voice in faculty studios and participate in student ensembles.
Jazz Studies & Contemporary Media (Performance or Writing)
This major is designed for students seeking careers in jazz performance or jazz writing and arranging. The Jazz department offers a major in performance skills on the following instruments: trumpet, saxophone, trombone, piano, guitar, double bass, drumset, and jazz voice. Writing skills applicants must audition on and maintain proficiency on one of the above instruments.
This major prepares students to become articulate leaders by developing a greater understanding of learning and teaching processes. Students who major in music education elect general, vocal, or instrumental music emphasis. Music education majors are provided with innovative music instruction opportunities at all levels. These include hands-on, pilot, or research programs in instrumental, choral, and pre-K music education in the Rochester City School District, performance and presentation opportunities in local schools, and nationally recognized programs offered through Eastman Community Music School. In recent years, the department has boasted a 100% placement rate of its graduates seeking employment in music. More than two-thirds of undergraduate music education majors complete a double major in Applied Music or Jazz Studies & Contemporary Media.
This major is intended for students who have achieved an advanced level with aural and written theory skills. First-year admission is rare; it is more common for a student with another major, such as applied music, to add the theory major after completing the core theory curriculum at an advanced level. Music theory majors take required lessons in faculty studios and participate in student ensembles.
Within the Bachelor of Music, students may elect to pursue more than one major. For example, a major in applied music or jazz studies may be combined with a major in music education. Students may apply to both majors as first-years or transfer students, or by petition to add or change a major during enrollment. Approval to add a second major for an enrolled student is given by the Dean of Academic Affairs on the recommendation of the chairs of the major departments. It is important to note that students may take courses or secondary lessons outside of their major without being enrolled in two majors. Applicants who wish to audition in two separate applied areas will ultimately be admitted to only one performance area. This is also true of applicants wishing to audition for both jazz and classical performance. Jazz bass applicants have the option of pursuing a ‘hybrid’ curriculum that allows for 3 semesters of classical study and orchestra participation and 5 semesters of jazz study and jazz ensemble participation.
Dual Degree Program
Some students wish to undertake the Bachelor of Music degree, but have such strong interests in another field that they also wish to complete the Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degree. The fact that Eastman is a school within the University of Rochester makes such combined degree programs possible.
Eastman is one of the professional schools of the University. In addition to Eastman, the University has a division known as the College, which offers the Bachelor of Arts degree and the Bachelor of Science degree. Applicants who wish to pursue both a Bachelor of Music degree from Eastman and a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degree from the College must complete two applications – both the Eastman application and an application to the College of Arts Sciences and Engineering.
This autonomy of admission processes gives each school the latitude to enroll its ideal students. At Eastman we define our ideal student as a passionate and talented musician with a high level of musical and academic achievement, and with the self-discipline and intellectual curiosity to become a successful professional in many diverse career paths.
Once applicants are successfully admitted to Eastman and to the College according to the individual criteria of each division, they are considered dual degree students of the University. More information about dual-degree study is available through Eastman’s Office of Academic Affairs and on the University website.
Minors and Electives
Eastman students are eligible to register for any courses offered at the University of Rochester for which they are qualified. No additional application is necessary. Eastman students also may pursue a minor field of study at the College of Arts & Sciences. In most cases, these courses count toward the humanities and science requirements for the BM degree at Eastman. Popular choices include psychology, foreign language, audio & music engineering, brain & cognitive science, business, international relations, political science, economics, and mathematics.
Arts Leadership Coursework
Eastman’s Institute for Music Leadership offers students the opportunity to complete courses in leadership, entrepreneurial thinking, career skills, performance, health for musicians, business skills, and more. As students, those who are interested can also apply to the Arts Leadership Program Certificate, which provides one-on-one advising and coordinated access to all ALP components, including paid academic year, summer, and post-graduate internships in Rochester and around the world. Eastman students must apply for, and be accepted to, the ALP Certificate program.
Musical Arts Major
The Musical Arts major (MUA) is an honors curriculum that enables students to craft an individualized program of study, undertaken in consultation with a faculty committee and an appointed MUA Mentor and MUA Advisor that leads to a senior project. These programs of study may be wide-ranging and possibly cross-disciplinary, and are generally not possible within the structured requirements of other majors at Eastman.
Take Five Scholars Program
The University of Rochester’s Take Five Scholars Program provides undergraduate students the opportunity to pursue a special academic interest outside of their major that might not otherwise be available to them. Qualified students will be granted either one or two tuition-free terms at the end of degree study to take courses that significantly broaden their programs of study, yet are connected to the student’s intellectual and educational goals. Eastman students apply to the Take Five Scholars Program in their junior year through the Center for Academic Support at the University of Rochester’s River Campus.
e5 Experiential Fifth Year
The University of Rochester defines entrepreneurship as “transforming an idea into an enterprise that generates value,” implying that the enterprise outlives the creator and that it positively affects others. Qualified students may propose to devote as much as an entire academic year to internships, special projects, relevant coursework, business plan development, research into various facets of entrepreneurship, or analysis of how culture and public policy influence entrepreneurial activity.
The FORTE program (four years plus teaching experience) program is a ninth semester of tuition-free enrollment for selected music education majors at the Eastman School. This semester is devoted exclusively to completion of the student teaching experience. The FORTE program is available to students enrolled in undergraduate music education programs who also are enrolled in a second major. Students must be in good standing in both majors to apply and must be recommended by their music education advisers as well as by their studio teachers. All requirements for both majors must be completed in eight semesters, with the exception of the student teaching. Applied study is not available to students as part of this tuition-free semester.
Study Abroad and Conservatory Exchange
The Conservatory Exchange Program expands opportunities for Eastman students by creating student exchanges with leading European conservatories. A semester or year abroad offers the chance to improve language skills, appreciate a different culture, find a unique educational experience, learn about national performing styles, complete important research, or seek career opportunities.
Eastman students also have the option of participating in programs offered by the University of Rochester’s Study Abroad Office, although these programs are not always directly relevant to a musical education. IES (the Institute for the International Education of Students) offers music-based study programs in London, Milan, Paris, and Vienna. The Milan program in particular offers instruction at several conservatories, including the Accademia Musical G. Marziale, the Civica Scuola di Musica, and the Conservatorio G. Verdi. IES also offers opportunities for non-musical study in additional locations. Application to IES programs is made directly to IES (an independent organization) or the University of Rochester’s Study Abroad office, with support from Eastman in securing the best possible teacher.
Chamber Music Certificate
The Certificate of Achievement in Chamber music offers a course of study for current Eastman students interested in gaining additional skills in chamber music performance, public speaking, engaging audiences of all ages, entrepreneurial thinking, grant writing, and concert production. The goal of this certificate program is for students to be able to successfully launch and self-run a chamber music ensemble upon graduation.
Arts Leadership Certificate
Eastman’s Arts Leadership Programs complement musical training with career and leadership training, helping musicians to envision, create, and lead meaningful lives in music.
Performance Practice Certificate
The Certificate of Achievement in Performance Practice offers foundational instruction in historical performance practices with practical training on a period instrument or voice.
World Music Certificate
Good musical citizenship requires knowledge of one’s own musical cultures as well as those of the others with whom we share our world. The Certificate of Achievement in World Music offers students the opportunity to expand their philosophical, political, and musical perspectives, while simultaneously developing practical, hands-on skills needed for today’s job market.
Undergraduate Application Process
The application deadline for Fall 2023 enrollment has now passed. Please contact the Office of Admissions if you have any questions.
First-Year and Transfer applicants
These instructions pertain to the application process for Spring 2023 and Fall 2023. If you are applying for the Bachelor of Music degree, this is the only application you need to complete. Eastman has a separate application from the University of Rochester’s College of Arts, Sciences & Engineering, and does not use the Common Application. If you are applying for a dual degree (BM plus a BA or BS), you will also need to submit an application to the College at the University of Rochester.
If you encounter questions or problems with your application, please contact the Eastman Office of Admissions at firstname.lastname@example.org
Applicants are responsible for submitting complete applications. Applications that are incomplete cannot be processed. Application fees are non-refundable, and application materials will not be returned. The Eastman School of Music reserves the right to rescind admission to any applicant whose file documentation is found to be insufficient and/or incomplete.
See below for complete information about each requirement.
Applicants who have earned college level credit while matriculated (enrolled as a degree candidate) at an accredited university, college, or community college are considered to be transfer applicants. Applicants who are taking college-level courses as a high school student (either toward dual enrollment requirements or for enrichment) are not considered to be transfer applicants (and these courses are generally not considered for transfer credit).
Transfer applicants are strongly encouraged to review Eastman’s transfer student policies and to contact Admissions with any questions: email@example.com
- October 1: Spring 2023 Application Deadline – $100 application fee. Applicants interested in being considered for Spring 2023 enrollment should apply by this date. Applications for Spring 2023 enrollment are only being considered for the following instruments: Violin, Viola, Double Bass, Harp, Guitar, Saxophone, and Organ.
- December 1: Final Application deadline for Fall 2023. $100 application fee. All required pre-screen materials must also be submitted by this date. There is no early decision deadline.
We strongly encourage early submission of your application and materials. Our processing times increases significantly as the deadline approaches.
|Application opens||Sep 1|
|Final application deadline||Dec 1 (Oct 1 for spring applicants)|
|Decisions||Mid-March to April 1|
|Response deadline||May 1|
The non-refundable application fee is payable by credit card at the end of the online application. Applications will not be processed without the application fee or an approved application fee waiver as described below.
Please note: While the Eastman School of Music is a school of the University of Rochester, the Eastman application process is separate. All applicants applying to degree programs at Eastman must pay the application fee to Eastman regardless of whether the applicant has paid an application fee to another school of the University of Rochester.
Application Fee Waivers
- U.S. Military application fee waiver:
Applicants who are veterans of the U.S. military or are actively serving are eligible for an application fee waiver. This waiver will be automatically applied for applicants who identify themselves as veterans or active military within the online application.
- Application fee waiver request due to financial hardship:
The School wishes to make application possible for all interested prospective students. Those applicants who are unable to pay the application fee may request a fee waiver on the basis of financial hardship. This request must be made using an official form, such as an SAT or College Board waiver or the NACAC fee waiver form completed by the high school guidance counselor. Note that we cannot accept a request to waive the fee from a relative or applicant directly. Transfer applicants must submit a letter detailing the financial need from their college’s Financial Aid Office. This letter should verify why payment of the application fee would constitute a hardship for the student and his/her family.
The fee waiver request should be sent via email to: firstname.lastname@example.org and must be received by the deadline to allow adequate time for processing before the application deadline, and the request must include the name and email address of the applicant. Late applications are not eligible for a fee waiver.
- Discount for Eastman Community Music School or UR students
An application fee discount of $50 is automatically applied for current and former students of the Eastman Community Music School (including summer programs), and the University of Rochester.
For the 2022-23 admissions cycle, applicants will have the option to audition either on campus or remotely. Applicants for Spring 2023 enrollment will audition remotely, and should submit their final audition requirements via recording within their application by October 1st. Please review repertoire requirements for information about audition repertoire requirements, prescreening requirements, and specific deadlines. Whenever a recording submission is required, applicants should refer to the following guidelines:
- Recordings must have been made within the past 12 months and must meet the repertoire requirements set by each department.
- Record each selection on a separate unedited track unless otherwise specified for your instrument in the repertoire requirements. With the exception of flute auditions, it is not necessary to record everything in a single file.
- Video format is required for final auditions.
- Accepted file formats (maximum size 2 GB per file)
- Video formats: .avi, .flv, .m1v, .m2v, .m4v, .mkv, .mov, .mpeg, .mpg, .mp4, .wmv
- Recordings can be uploaded within the “Portfolio” section of the online application. After the application has been submitted, you can upload recordings at the bottom of the “Applicant Status” page until the recording deadline specified for your instrument.
- Be sure to review your entire recording for quality before submitting!
Please upload a comprehensive listing of the significant repertoire you have studied in the last 5 years within the “Other Documents” section of the application. Jazz applicants: Please list both the jazz and classical repertoire you have studied on your repertoire list.
Scores & Documents
Applicants to majors in Composition, Jazz Studies, and Theory must submit the following preliminary materials for review by the faculty. These applicants must also upload a recording for their primary instrument (or voice) as noted above.
- Composition applicants must submit:
- Composition scores: PDF copies of three or four scores uploaded within the application for review by the composition faculty. Each score must be clearly marked with the applicant’s name. If you are submitting a large-ensemble score (full orchestra, etc.) then it is also recommended that you mail a hard-copy to:
Office of Admissions | Eastman School of Music
26 Gibbs Street Rochester, NY 14604
- Composition Recordings: Composition applicants are also required to upload recordings of your composed works. MIDI recordings only are acceptable if acoustic recordings are not available. Recordings should be uploaded along with your PDF scores on the “Portfolio” page of the application.
- Note: if pre-screen recordings are required for your primary instrument, then you must also upload those recordings as part of your application.
- Jazz Writing applicants must upload three or four scores of compositions and/or arrangements that display writing for large and small jazz group formats. Recordings of these works should also submitted. Recordings from reading sessions and rehearsals are acceptable. If live performers are not available, recordings of computer sequences of works may be submitted. Candidates with a background in classical composition are encouraged to submit one or two examples of original non-jazz works.
- Theory applicants must submit the following:
- Written paper with their application by the application deadline. This paper is reviewed for the purpose of evaluating the applicant’s writing and research skills; a musical subject is preferred, but not strictly required. Save this research paper on your computer and upload it within the application on the “Other Documents” page.
- Representative exercises in part-writing, counterpoint, musical analysis, and/or model composition as part of their application. Applicants are encouraged to scan these exercises if possible and upload them within the online application, but they will also be accepted by postal mail to the Office of Admissions.
The above materials will be evaluated in the admissions review process. Selected applicants will be scheduled for an online interview with faculty. Theory interviews will include testing of the applicant’s aural skills, keyboard proficiency, and analytical skills.
Applicants are required to submit academic transcripts from each secondary school and college/university attended. You may submit your transcript using one of the following methods:
- Upload a PDF or scanned copy of your transcripts, either unofficial or official, with the online application. This method is strongly preferred. Please upload the transcript on the “Academic” page of the application, on the same section where you enter the name of your school. Include any transcript key or guide that your school provides. Transcript must be clear and legible, and documentation for each institution should be saved in separate single file. After uploading your transcript, please preview the file to ensure readability.
- Send transcripts electronically to the Eastman Office of Admissions. Email address: email@example.com. We are also able to receive transcripts via systems including Parchment, Scoir, and Slate.org.
- Postal Mail: If neither of the submission options above are possible, transcripts can also be sent by postal mail. Mailing address: Office of Admissions | Eastman School of Music | 26 Gibbs St | Rochester, NY 14604.
Please note that all undergraduate programs in the School require a successful academic review and all application materials will be considered in the final admissions decision. The Eastman School of Music reserves the right to verify the accuracy of all transcripts, and to require submission of official documentation at any point in the admissions review process. Offers of admission are contingent on receipt of final official transcripts.
Completion of high school is required for enrollment at Eastman. Admitted applicants will be required to demonstrate successful completion of high school before the start of their studies at Eastman with an official final hard copy of their high school transcript including date of graduation. The Eastman School of Music reserves the right to rescind admission to any applicant whose file documentation is deemed insufficient or incomplete.
International applicants must submit transcripts in English, or accompanied by a certified English translation.
In some cases where it is unclear, International students will be asked to demonstrate that their high school/secondary education is equivalent to a US high school education. Documents will be reviewed in the month of January and you will be notified if a third party evaluation is needed. If you are notified that an evaluation is required your transcripts should be evaluated by an organization specializing in foreign credential evaluation, such as World Education Services (www.wes.org) or Educational Credential Evaluators, Inc. (www.ece.org). For either service we would be requesting a course-by-course evaluation.
Students in the British educational system should submit a transcript showing coursework for grades 9-12 and an official copy of the certificate for having passed secondary school exams
Home-schooled applicants should upload a detailed description of the curriculum studied, including texts, coursework, methods of examination, and experiential learning, in addition to any transcripts of secondary or college-level coursework. Home-schooled applicants are welcome, but not required, to submit standardized test scores (see below).
Transfer applicants (students currently or previously matriculated in a degree program at an accredited college) must submit both high school and college transcripts.
The Eastman School of Music no longer considers SAT and ACT scores as part of the admissions process, and therefore we do not ask applicants to submit these scores.
If English is not your first language, please see the English Proficiency Requirements for complete information about Duolingo English test requirements.
Eastman’s school codes are different from the University of Rochester codes. Our College Board code for TOEFL score submission is 2224.
All applicants must upload a personal statement within the application. There is no specific prompt for this personal statement, but it should give the Admissions Committee an opportunity to learn more about you as an individual and gain a sense of who you are beyond your application, resume, transcript, and other application materials.
The personal statement should be a minimum of one page and maximum of five pages in length, double-spaced, in 12-point font. The essay must be your own original writing, and must be written in English, not translated from another language.
Music Education applicants must also submit an additional essay describing your long-term goals and the personal qualities that make you a promising music educator. Describe your reasons for pursuing a degree in music education, including your sources of inspiration. At the top of the first page of this document, list your name, e-mail contact information, and instrument or voice. Save this essay on your computer and upload it within the application on the “Other Documents” page. See the supplemental Music Education instructions for more information.
See our Undergrad Resume Guidelines for tips on preparing your resume. This document should be uploaded within the application.
Undergraduate applicants should provide two (2) letters of recommendation from the following sources:
- A primary instructor on your instrument or voice, such as a private instructor, music teacher, conductor or coach. This recommendation should focus on your musical development, as well as your capabilities in areas including dedication, preparedness, collaboration and leadership.
- A high school academic teacher who can speak to your abilities in areas such as writing, critical thinking, class participation, and time management. Transfer applicants may use a college-level professor or a high school teacher for this recommendation. Home-schooled applicants should choose a recommender who is not their parent.
- An optional third letter of recommendation may be submitted by applicants who (a) are applying on more than one major or instrument or (b) who wish to have an additional recommender provide context on personal or academic circumstances that have impacted their academic or musical progress (such as a gap year, uncharacteristically low grades in a semester or year etc.)
Each recommender must be listed within the online application, and will be notified via email with instructions to submit their recommendation online. Please note that the application can be submitted before recommendations have been submitted.
Online Interview/Faculty Interaction: Some applicants will be scheduled for an online interview and/or faculty interaction. There will also be opportunities to attend virtual informational meetings. These will occur in late January and February, and will vary in format by program and instrument. More details will be sent out around that time.
Transfer Applicants will be prompted to schedule an online advising appointment with the dean of admissions during the month of February.
- Admission decision and financial aid: The Eastman application process includes a thorough review of each applicant’s file. The Admissions Committee makes decisions after all applications in each department have been evaluated. Undergraduate admissions notifications will be sent via email between March 1 and April 15. There is no early admission program at Eastman. Undergraduate applicants normally receive notification of financial aid and scholarships concurrent with their notification of admission.
- May 1 response date: We provide notification of our decision as soon as possible after the review process is complete. In return, we ask for the courtesy of a response by May 1. The Eastman School of Music maintains a wait list in most departments. A prompt response from accepted applicants allows us to proceed with final decisions for candidates on our wait list.
Forms & Special Instructions
- Recommendation Form (Online submission via email link is preferred. This pdf form should only be used if the recommender is unable to submit via email link.)
Statement on Equity and Inclusion
The Eastman School of Music is committed to:
- diversity, equity, and inclusion and strives for continuous improvement;
- fostering a community of musicians and scholars of diverse backgrounds and origins by creating an educational experience that is musically, socially, and intellectually diverse;
- assuring that every person in our community is unquestionably welcome, safe, respected, and appreciated; and
- creating and encouraging an inclusive community that enriches the lives of our students, our faculty, our immediate community, and the world of music at large.
Please also see www.esm.rochester.edu/equity/ and www.rochester.edu/diversity. The University complies with all applicable nondiscrimination laws in the administration of its policies, programs, and activities. Questions on compliance should be directed to the school or department and/or to the University’s Equal Opportunity Coordinator, University of Rochester, PO Box 270039, Rochester, New York 14627-0039. Phone 585.275.9125.
Admission Rescission Policy
The Eastman School of Music reserves the right to rescind an offer of admission at any time under certain circumstances, including but not limited to:
- failure to complete diploma or degree currently in progress where it is a prerequisite to enrollment;
- if there has been a misrepresentation in or a violation of any of the terms of the application process; or
- if the School learns that an applicant has engaged in behavior prior to the first day of class that indicates a serious lack of judgment, integrity, or alignment with University values, and/or violates School or University policies.
The School further reserves the right to require admitted students to provide additional information and/or authorization for the release of information about any such matter, and to place a hold on registration during the investigation into any such matter.