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College issues: Credit (student and faculty) for Voice lessons

Some time ago I was graciously allowed by CHORALNET listserve to ask a question concerning the number of hours of teaching load received by voice teachers for private lessons, as well as the way their university gave students credit for the lessons and the lesson length. Because several asked for a compilation, I am enclosing it.

It order to respect the privacy of those who shared, I have removed all university names and any personal remarks.

Responses concerning voice hours required by different universities

At . . . . . . . non music majors can take a one hour lesson at two credits but they have to pay the extra fee that goes with applied lessons which is $540 per semester.

My students receive 2 semester credit hours for a 1 hour lesson per week. They also are required to log 48 documented hours of practice time ON CAMPUS, the record of which is maintained by computer. Studio/rep classes are at the instructor's discretion.


As you may already know, NASM makes no effort to balance and equate private lesson hours or ensemble directing hours with classroom hours. (At least if my memory of the last time I tried to look it up in the Handbook is correct.) It's as if they looked at the problem and just threw up their hands!
We are on semester hours (120 required for graduation). Our applied courses are variable credit, 1-3 SH. Normally non-majors or minors take one 30-minute lesson a week for 1 SH credit, majors take one 60-minute lesson a week for 3 SH credit. (I'm not sure who takes 2 SH!!) But individual teachers have rather wide latitude in what they do and what they require.
We do offer Class Applied Voice, if that's what you mean, meeting once a week for 1 SH credit. Students taking private lessons would not take this class. If you mean studio recitals or master classes, that's up to the individual private teacher and does not carry any extra credit.

One other thing that might or might not be relevant. We do not charge applied music fees, and we do not have adjuncts. Our department head has found ways around the latter, and I'm not sure what they are, perhaps hourly wages, but we cannot have a budget line for adjuncts.


1. We get 2/3 credit time for contact time. 3 students (a) 50 minute lessons each = 2 semester credits. The justification has to do with the less preparation time needed, on the prof's behalf, for individual lessons.
2. We get no credit time for the weekly 1/2 h studio, nor do the students. An interesting idea! I'm going to propose this next time I have an underload. :-)

I'd be interested in a compilation.

1 credit for 1/2 hour lesson per week for the students.

Eight 1/2 hours lessons are considered the equivalent of one 3-credit lecture course.
Sorry to tell you that my experience teaches me that your format is more common.  I had never heard of non-performance majors getting a full 45 minute lesson until coming to ****, where that is the norm.  Lessons are not technically, however, a full hour in length.  One-on-one instruction is defined for all at 45 minutes, even though voice teachers always seem to go longer.  It is not uncommon to put lessons back-to-back if necessary.

The credits you list are also consistent with my experience as an undergraduate and graduate student:  30 minute lessons were for 1 or 2 credit hours; "60" minute lessons were for 2 to 4 credit hours, for performance-majors only and depending on class level.  (We also had to learn many more songs than my current university requires.)

I believe the rationale has always been financial.  Full-time faculty got more FTE credit for performance majors, less for others.  It's a way to increase enrollment too, I guess.  Studio class was a requirement at one institution I attended, but not at all here, to my regret.   

Music Majors are required to take a 1 hour lesson at 2 credits for eight semesters to fulfill that requirement. For music minors who need 21 total credits in music they must take a minimum of 4 credits in applied lessons.

1. Could you please let me know what credit hours you give for how
> many clock hours?

18 clock hours = 12 credits = a full time faculty load

> 2. Does this include a separate studio class as well and for credit or
> 0 credit?

Yes, along with recital preparation and attendance, and possible committee assignments.


Our voice department offers 1 hour weekly lessons to all vocal performance and vocal music education majors. In addition to the one hour lesson, there is a weekly voice performance class in which all of the voice students and their instructor gather so that selected students can perform. Voice is only offered at 1 credit hour, and it required 1 hour for the lesson, 1 hour for the vocal performance studio class, and there is required practice time outside of class that students must keep up with. I will admit this is a lot of work for only 1 credit of work. I am in the process of getting voice to be worth 2 credits, since I have made it a requirement that all voice students attend weekly voice performance classes with their instructors.

I would love to know what others tell you on this subject.


The bad thing about our applied lessons is that our instructors are only paid for one credit hour even though there is an applied music classes where all of the voice students gather. I currently have 14 voice students that I will see Tuesday through Friday, Mondays is the applied music studio class where all of my voice students gather to sing and get comments from me as well as the other voice students. That session will run for an hour as well, but all 14 students will not sing in studio class every week so an hour is plenty of time. This time also gives me the time to chat with the students as a group to see how they are doing.

Our current problem is that we have many voice students and not enough voice instructors, so we also offer 30 minute lessons, but even still the students have to attend the applied voice studio class. So the instructor in that case gets paid for half a credit hour. Oh, another thing about our voice lessons, while our students are required to attend the applied studio class, the instructors sets the date and time that the class will meet. He or she tries to make it to where all students can meet at one time.

Now, one thing that I loved when I was director of choral activities at a private college was the fact that instead of weekly applied studio classes we had monthly applied recitals so that all students were able to perform one of the pieces they had been working on. We also opened this up to the public. The once a month situation worked out well. We had it on the last Sunday of each month and it lasted for 2 hours and we also had refreshments provided.

. . . . every six hours of studio time equals one unit of class time. Our one unit would be similar to 4 credit hours. All of our studio classes I believe are listed as a separate class, and therefore would not be included.


We offer 1/2 hour lessons for 1 credit hour, and hour lessons for 2 credit hours. A music "lab" on selected Fridays (where students perform for one another, occasionally with critiques) is automatically added to the schedule of each private student, but for no additional credit.

. . . . . University gives 1-2 credits for 1/2 hr lesson and one hour- long
masterclass; 3-4 credits for 1 hour lesson and hour-long masterclass.


1 hr cr = 1/2 hr lesson
2 hr cr = 1 hr lesson
studio class = 0 credit (listed as voice lesson lab in schedule, must register)


If I'm understanding your question correctly, we assign the studio teacher 2 credits for ever 3 1-hour lessons taught (3:2 ratio, 3 lessons = 2 credits). The students here receive 1 credit for the lesson.


I wanted to let you know that I completely relate to your situation of students only registering for half hour lessons. Unfortunately, our applied fee is $375 per credit hour, so students feel too much financial pressure to take an hour lesson until they are Upper Division. . . . . .
Our system here at . . . is a half hour lesson per week for 11 weeks and 3 group studio classes. The studio class is generally 2 hours long and is held once per month at night; the week they have a studio class performance, they do NOT have a private lesson.

Thanks again to all who participated.

Pat Lacey
Assistant Professor of Music
Missouri Baptist University
One College Park Drive
St, Louis, MO  63141-8698