Private Lessons

Private lessons for children and adults are available throughout the year, including summer. Our distinctive faculty will help you achieve your goals whether you are a beginner or advanced student. Lessons are offered both at our main campus location at the University of Hartford’s Hartt School in West Hartford, Conn. and our Simsmore Square location in Simsbury, Conn.

Percussion faculty member Ben Toth working with a student.
Percussion faculty member Ben Toth working with a student.
  • Students take a private lesson once a week during our 34-week academic year (September–June).

  • Lessons are in 30-, 45-, or 60-minute blocks.

  • Merit and need-based scholarships are available.

  • Our faculty are highly qualified graduates of conservatories and schools of music from across the country and abroad.

  • Group musicianship classes and solo recitals are included in the cost of lessons.


Please note: Students must be placed with a teacher before they can register for lessons.

Registration

New Students

  • Step 1: Please fill out the lesson inquiry form.

  • Step 2: Our Private Lesson Coordinator Jessica Rost will be in contact with you to set up your initial lesson.

  • Step 3: After your initial lesson is complete, speak with the instructor to determine your weekly lesson length and number of lessons for the academic year.

  • Step 4: Contact the registrar at 860.768.4451 or hcdbills@hartford.edu to enroll. Please provide the instuctor's name, the lesson length, and number of lessons that you would like to sign up for.

  • Step 5: If you would like to change your private lesson length or number of lessons, please speak with your teacher and contact the staff once the teacher approves.

Students and their families cannot enroll themselves in private lessons online.

Current Students

Adding On Lessons

If you would like to add more on lessons, please contact the registrar at 860.768.4451 or hcdbills@hartford.edu

Adding a Second Instrument

If you would like to add on an additional instrument, please contact Private Lesson Coordinator Jessica Rost at 860.768.4451 or hcdlesson@hartford.edu.

Adding an Ensemble 

If you would like to add on an ensemble or chamber group, please contact Music Programs Coordinator Noa Michaud at 860.768.4451 or nomichaud@hartford.edu.

Lesson Types

Instrument Age Method/Notes
Piano 5 and up Traditional and Suzuki
Strings 4 and up Traditional and Suzuki
Winds and Brass 9 and up Suzuki flute available at a younger age
Percussion 9 and up Drum-set lessons available
Voice 11 and up Contact us regarding younger students
Guitar 4 and up Variety of styles and Suzuki
Harp 5 and up
Organ Please contact us Piano experience required
Composition Grades 7 and up* Small group format or private lessons
*Private composition lessons available for younger students.

Lesson Descriptions

Composition and Theory

COMPOSITION LESSONS

Composition study involves intensive instruction on techniques applicable to classical music and a wide variety of other musical styles. It is a highly individualized program designed for anyone with an interest in creating their own music regardless of past experience.

Lessons include guided assignments and independent work on original compositions with targeted feedback from the instructor. Practice in music theory, ear-training, and discussion of professional topics are included where relevant to the student’s background and goals.

MUSIC THEORY LESSONS

Music Theory private instruction involves a combination of written theory, ear-training, sight-singing, and/or keyboard skills. The course of study is tailored to each student, taking into account their current level and goals. These lessons are intended for students interested in deepening their understanding of musical structures and improving their practical musicianship skills.

Our theory instructors can help students prepare for college entrance exams, placement tests, and/or the AP Music Theory Exam.  Please note that for such tests, early preparation is key! Students interested in taking theory lessons to prepare for a test are encouraged to start lessons the fall before the test will be scheduled. Later starts are possible but not encouraged.

HONORS PROGRAM

The Hartt School Community Division (HCD) Composition Honors Program provides mentorship and performance opportunities to advanced composition students entering grades 9–12. Upon successful application to the program, each Honors Composer is paired with an HCD performer or ensemble to create a new work to be premiered in spring 2018. Additionally, students receive mentorship from the Creative Studies Chair and our Graduate Fellow. Students participating in the Honors Program must be enrolled in either private lessons or the Young Composers Project.

Collaborations are arranged by the Head of the Composition and Musicianship Department. These projects differ each year, and past Honors partnerships have been arranged with HCD soloists and chamber ensembles, Opus ’89 string orchestra, Philharmonia Winds, and the Dance Department. The exact nature and timeline for each Honors Composition project is decided no later than the first few weeks of the fall semester.

GROUP MUSICIANSHIP CLASSES

The Hartt Community Division’s Musicianship classes are designed to supplement weekly private instruction on an instrument or voice. This program allows students build skills and gain knowledge relating to music theory, ear training, and music history. These engaging classes are filled with opportunities for listening, discussion, and active participation. Classes are open to all HCD private-lesson students at no additional charge. Classes are also available to students who do not take private lessons at HCD. Tuition and fees apply.

Guitar and Harp

Whether you want to learn classical guitar, jazz, rock, playing accompaniments, or harp, there is a teacher for you at The Hartt School Community Division. Our Guitar and Harp department is led by experienced instructors where faculty strive to cultivate enjoyment through serious study and a commitment to excellence. Guitar students may study with a traditional-methods teacher or through the Suzuki guitar program.

Our lessons are based on:

  • individual student goals
  • each teacher's unique background and experience
  • musicianship
  • excellent technique

In addition to weekly lessons, students have access to

  • performance opportunities at solo and studio recitals
  • informal performances
  • Musicianship classes

GROUP MUSICIANSHIP CLASSES

HCD private lesson students may enrich their music education by enrolling in Musicianship classes at no additional charge. Classes are offered at varied levels to accommodate the age and training of each student.

Classes are also available to students who do not take private lessons at HCD. Tuition and fees apply.

GUITAR AND HARP HONORS PROGRAM

The Hartt Community Division takes great pride in the quality of its pre-college performers. One of the ways we recognize these performers is through departmental honors auditions and recitals held each spring. Students chosen to participate in the honors program are also eligible for the school scholarships described below. The Honors Program is by teacher recommendation only. Students will be notified by their private teacher if they qualify for this program.

HONORS SCHOLARSHIP OPPORTUNITIES

  • Beatrice Sewall Scholarship is awarded to the highest ranking student at the audition.
  • The Guitar and Harp Senior Award is given to the highest ranking senior at the audition.

Percussion

The Percussion Department offers lessons with experienced professional educators and performers. Students pursue interests in classical percussion, as well other genres, including rock and jazz. Percussion students of all ages and experience levels may study an array of instruments including

  • Drum-set
  • Mallet percussion
  • Timpani
  • Snare drum
  • World percussion

Percussion students have the opportunity to

  • Play in orchestras and wind ensembles
  • Join a Creative Studies ensemble
  • Attend Hartt School Percussion Department master classes and performances

GROUP MUSICIANSHIP CLASSES

HCD private lesson students may enrich their music education by enrolling in Musicianship classes at no additional charge. Classes are offered at varied levels to accommodate the age and training of each student.

Classes are also available to students who do not take private lessons at HCD. Tuition and fees apply.

PERCUSSION HONORS PROGRAM

The Hartt Community Division takes great pride in the quality of its pre-college performers. One of the ways we recognize these performers is through departmental honors auditions and recitals held each spring. Students chosen to participate in the honors program are also eligible for the school scholarships described below. The Honors Program is by teacher recommendation only. Students will be notified by their private teacher if they qualify for this program.

High school students are selected for the Senior Honors Recital by audition. Younger students may audition at the recommendation of their teacher. Honors scholarships and awards are presented at the recital.

HONORS SCHOLARSHIP OPPORTUNITIES

  • Beatrice Sewall Scholarship is awarded to the highest ranking student at the audition.
  • The Woodwinds, Brass and Percussion Senior Award is given to the highest ranking senior at the audition.

Piano, Organ, and Harpsichord

Students are required to own or have access to a piano to practice daily. If you do not own a piano, it is your responsibility to find one before lessons begin. Often schools, churches, or other community organizations allow students use their pianos.

TRADITIONAL STUDY

The piano program at The Hartt School Community Division offers a variety of opportunities for aspiring keyboardists. In addition to traditional piano training, students may pursue interests in organ, harpsichord, and jazz.

Our piano faculty are dedicated to the craft of musicianship. Many hold advanced degrees in education and performance. They have worked to build and maintain national and international reputations. Our recital instruments and are maintained by qualified technicians.

PIANO PERFORMANCE ACHIEVEMENT DAYS

The Hartt Piano Performance Achievement Days (HPPAD) is a distinctive graded program loosely based on the models of the long-standing British ABRSM exams and the Canadian RCM exams. All pre-college pianists (including those taking jazz or Suzuki method) participate in HPPAD. The HPPAD program allows our students and families to

  • mark progress through a structured and positive experience
  • receive useful suggestions and encouragement
  • motivate students in a supportive atmosphere

The HPPAD framework is allows our teachers to design individual courses of study for their students with clear benchmarking throughout the course of study. During this time, students will

  • present a program of prepared music and technique to a panel made up of members of our piano faculty
  • receive comments from the faculty and earn certificates of achievement

The certificates are graded according the levels of the Hartt piano curriculum: Elementary 1–4, Intermediate 1–4, Advanced 1–2, Pre-College 1–2, and a diploma for high-school seniors. Participation and completion of these levels allow students and their parents to monitor and track progress. Participation in Piano Achievement Days will take the place of one private lesson the week of the adjudication.

GROUP MUSICIANSHIP CLASSES

HCD private lesson students may enrich their music education by enrolling in Musicianship classes at no additional charge. Classes are offered at varied levels to accommodate the age and training of each student.

Classes are also available to students who do not take private lessons at HCD. Tuition and fees apply.

PIANO HONORS PROGRAM

The Hartt Community Division takes great pride in the quality of its pre-college performers. One of the ways we recognize these performers is through departmental honors auditions and recitals held each spring. Students chosen to participate in the honors program are also eligible for the school scholarships described below. The Honors Program is by teacher recommendation only. Students will be notified by their private teacher if they qualify for this program.

Honors students will be chosen to perform on Junior and Senior Piano Honors Recitals. Junior Piano students (grades 3–5) will be chosen by teacher recommendation.

HONORS SCHOLARSHIP OPPORTUNITIES

  • Musical Club of Hartford – Evelyn Bonar Storrs Scholarship I, will be awarded for the best performance by a pianist in grades 9-11 at the Piano Honors Auditions.
  • Musical Club of Hartford – Evelyn Bonar Storrs Scholarship II, will be awarded for the second best performance by a pianist in grades 9-11 at the Piano Honors Auditions.
  • Dr. Watson Morrison Scholarship, awarded for the best performance by a pianist in grades 6-8 at the Piano Honors Auditions.
  • Jeffrey Quinn Morrison Prize, is awarded for the best performance by a pianist in grade 12 at the Piano Honors Auditions

Strings

TRADITIONAL PRIVATE LESSONS

  • Traditional lessons are available in violin, viola, cello, and bass during the academic year and summer.
  • Students have the opportunity to audition for chamber ensembles and traditional orchestras.
  • All students may enrich their lesson experience with group Musicianship classes at no extra charge.

STRING HONORS PROGRAM

The Hartt Community Division takes great pride in the quality of its pre-college performers. One of the ways we recognize these performers is through departmental honors auditions and recitals held each spring. Students chosen to participate in the honors program are also eligible for the school scholarships described below. The Honors Program is by teacher recommendation only. Students will be notified by their private teacher if they qualify for this program.

HONORS SCHOLARSHIP OPPORTUNITIES

  • Senior String Honors: Abraham M. Huang Memorial Award, awarded for the best performance in the Senior String Honors Audition.
  • Junior String Honors:  John Jorgensen Memorial Award, awarded to a serious cello student.  In absence, the award may be given to a qualified string student.
  • String Honors Program: Abraham M. Huang Memorial Prize, a talent prize awarded to the best performer in the String Honors Audition process. The student may not be a graduating senior.
  • Abraham M. Huang Memorial Prize Senior Award, a non-monetary award given to the most-deserving graduating senior in the honors audition.

Voice

The Voice Department offers lessons with experienced professional educators and performers. We welcome students of all ages who want to develop healthy vocal technique and sing to the best of their ability. Our program offers training and performance opportunities for singers interested in exploring the vocal arts in a variety of styles from classical and musical theater to jazz. We support singers at all stages of their vocal development and offer education on vocal training, health, performance, vocal career paths, and preparation for college. Our faculty is diverse and welcoming.

VOCAL ACHIEVEMENT DAYS

Each year, students in the Voice Department of The Hartt School Community Division participate in Vocal Achievement Days (VAD). Courses of study are guided by the VAD framework, which allows for individualized technique focus and repertoire selection by our faculty. Adult students are encouraged but not required to participate. The VAD program allows our students to:

  • Mark progress through a structured and positive experience
  • Receive positive critique and encouragement
  • Motivate students in a supportive atmosphere

VAD takes place annually in May. During this time, students will:

  • Choose a proficiency and repertoire level with their teacher
  • Present memorized solo with piano accompaniment and technique to a panel made up of members of our vocal faculty.
  • Receive written feedback from the faculty and earn a certificate of achievement by level.

Students who participate in this event will receive invaluable feedback on their performance and path they are taking on their musical journey. We encourage students of all ages to participate. Participation in Vocal Achievement Days will take the place of one private lesson the week of the adjudication.

GROUP MUSICIANSHIP CLASSES

HCD private lesson students may enrich their music education by enrolling in Musicianship classes at no additional charge. Classes are offered at varied levels to accommodate the age and training of each student.

Classes are also available to students who do not take private lessons at HCD. Tuition and fees apply.

VOCAL HONORS PROGRAM

The Hartt Community Division takes great pride in the quality of its pre-college performers. One of the ways we recognize these performers is through departmental honors auditions and recitals held each spring. Students chosen to participate in the honors program are also eligible for the school scholarships described below. The Honors Program is by teacher recommendation only. Students will be notified by their private teacher if they qualify for this program.

Students may audition for the Senior (grades 9-12) or Junior Honors Concert (grades 6-9).

HONORS SCHOLARSHIP OPPORTUNITIES

  • Students chosen to participate in the honors program may be considered for the Bel canto Scholarship. This award is given to a talented vocalist with a special interest in opera and classical music.
  • Other awards may be available at the discretion of the department chair through the Nancy Andersen Vocal Activities Fund.

Winds and Brass

The Winds and Brass Department offers one-on-one music instruction on bassoon, clarinet, flute, horn, oboe, saxophone, trombone, trumpet, tuba and euphonium. Our faculty is comprised of leaders in their fields who bring extensive pedagogical and performance experience to their teaching. Wind and brass students consistently excel in Regional, All-State, All New England, and National auditions. Those students interested in pursuing studies in college are excellently prepared. In addition, our winds and brass students are encouraged to take advantage of our chamber music, large ensembles, and Group Musicianship classes to enhance their private lesson experience.

GROUP MUSICIANSHIP CLASSES

HCD private lesson students may enrich their music education by enrolling in Musicianship classes at no additional charge. Classes are offered at varied levels to accommodate the age and training of each student.

Classes are also available to students who do not take private lessons at HCD. Tuition and fees apply.

WINDS AND BRASS HONORS PROGRAM

The Hartt Community Division takes great pride in the quality of its pre-college performers. One of the ways we recognize these performers is through departmental honors auditions and recitals held each spring. Students chosen to participate in the honors program are also eligible for the school scholarships described below. The Honors Program is by teacher recommendation only. Students will be notified by their private teacher if they qualify for this program.

High school students are selected for the Senior Honors Recital by audition. Younger students may audition at the recommendation of their teacher. Honors scholarships and awards are presented at the recital.

HONORS SCHOLARSHIP OPPORTUNITIES

  • Beatrice Sewall Scholarship is awarded to the highest ranking student at the audition.
  • The Woodwinds, Brass and Percussion Senior Award is given to the highest ranking senior at the audition.

Prospective Suzuki Students

The Hartt Suzuki Program is one of the largest and most reputable Suzuki schools in the country. We offer Suzuki instruction in violin, viola, cello, guitar, flute, and piano for children as young as four.

As in traditional methods of instruction, students take weekly private lessons. Suzuki students also must attend group classes (weekly for string students and monthly for pianists). Students perform in monthly recitals, group concerts, and community presentations.

The Suzuki program requires the active participation of a guardian, including mandatory attendance at all lessons and group classes and a willingness to serve as the child's at-home practice partner.

In addition to weekly lessons and group classes, we offer Suzuki orchestras the annual summer Hartt Suzuki Institute, which attracts students from across the country, and a spring Suzuki workshop.

Being a part of the Hartt Suzuki program is a long-term commitment. In this fast-changing world, we stay constant. We plan to be there in 14 years for your child’s senior recitals. Our alumni have attended such schools as University of Connecticut, Dartmouth, Smith, Princeton, Columbia, Boston College, and NYU.

WHAT IS THE SUZUKI METHOD?

The Suzuki method of teaching music to young children is based on the way they acquire language. It is also called the "Mother Tongue method."

Young children are wired to process sound. From birth to age three, a child learns an incredibly complicated language, which includes all the rules and local nuance. How? By hearing the language spoken constantly around them—plus family encouragement. This is what violinist Shinichi Suzuki realized when he began to develop his method in Japan in the 1940s.

In the Suzuki method, the steps prior to playing an instrument are broken down into small increments similar to a child’s first vocalizations. Games and activities are used in the lessons to provide a fun, nurturing environment in addition to a strong element of family involvement.

WHAT HAPPENS IN SUZUKI LESSONS?

  • incremental instruction based on how children learn language
  • music-related games and activities
  • individual and group instruction

WHY DO FAMILIES JOIN SUZUKI CLASSES?

Families join our Suzuki program to

  • have fun making music
  • increase mutual respect and understanding between parent and child by using healthy communication
  • enrich the child's aesthetic sense
  • foster self-esteem and self-discipline
  • develop focus and concentration
  • teach commitment and responsibility
  • gain an appreciation and respect for the body and its proper use

HOW IS SUZUKI DIFFERENT FROM OTHER METHODS?

Early beginning

Students begin the Suzuki method between ages 4 and 6 (piano students begin between 5 and 7). The Suzuki method recognizes and encourages the quick development students can make at this age.

In addition, we expect our students to

  • practice and listen to their repertoire every day
  • participate in two recitals each year
  • perform in one ensemble concert per year (as appropriate)
  • perform in optional monthly school recitals

Family involvement

Guardians provide the vital element of encouragement. When a young child first says “ma-ma,” our reaction is one of pleasure. We never say, “Is that all you can say?” This basic truth is why family support is so important. Positive encouragement keeps the child aiming high and working hard.

Guardians are responsible for

  • attendance at all lessons and group classes
  • taking notes during lessons
  • supervising daily practice
  • attending four parent classes each year

After registration, the first six group classes are for adult practice partners only. These meetings form the creation of a nurturing home environment for successful practice. Parents are introduced to elementary skills, ensuring a common ground with their children.

  • Students listen to recordings of their Suzuki repertoire every day to facilitate the aural learning process.
  • Students learn small musical ideas, repeat them, and then reuse them in more sophisticated ways. Just like when we learn a language.
  • Students learn to play with other musicians and become motivated by their peers. They are encouraged to support each other’s efforts, develop generosity, and create a sense of community.
Children learn to read after their ability to talk has been well established. In the same way, Suzuki students develop basic technical competence on their instruments before notational literacy.

Tuition

Tuition rates vary depending upon length, method, and in some cases, teacher. Students also receive:

  • reduced rates on ensemble participation (by audition)
  • group Musicianship classes
  • free or discounted tickets to Hartt performances
  • additional performance opportunities
Type of Lesson 30 minutes 45 minutes 60 minutes
Traditional private lessons $41.25 $57.00 $75.75
Suzuki piano or flute $44.75 $60.50 $78.25
Suzuki strings or guitar $55.50 $71.75 $90.75
A registration fee may apply. Registration fees are non-refundable and assessed once per student each year. 

Additional Information

Performances

Solo performance is an important aspect of every musician's growth and development. In addition to studio recitals organized by your teacher, we encourage students to participate in Hartt Community Division solo recitals. These are open to all of our students by teacher recommendation.

Exceptionalities Statement

The Hartt School Community Division is committed to providing access to our programming for all populations, including children and adults with special learning needs. In order to best serve students with exceptionalities, we strive to maintain an open dialogue of clear communication with families and students about their specific needs.

Although we are unable to provide the same services as public schools, or other programs that specialize in this area, we will work with each family to identify resources and support structures to help the student to succeed. If requested, HCD is able to recommend options for school programming, and will offer guidance to educators concerning appropriate and beneficial instructional activities and/or materials.

To discuss unique needs, please contact Private Lesson Coordinator, Jessica Rost, at hcdlesson@hartford.edu or call 860.768.4451. Hartt Community Division Professional Staff will facilitate dialogue with the appropriate instructor, director, and/or administrator.

Questions?

Call us at 860.768.4451 or e-mail us at harttcomm@hartford.edu.

Together, we can ensure the gift of an unparalleled performing arts education is available to all.