Music lessons allow me to engage and stimulate my mind in ways that are different than all of my academic courses. Preparation for music lessons and the lessons themselves create space for me to take breaks and relax, focus on something beautiful, imaginative and creative. — Student #162

As a non-music major, I have been able to further develop my talents as well as learn completely new instruments during my semesters of music lesson scholarships. I feel that I would not have received the encouragement, close relationship with instructors, or financial support to do so almost anywhere else. – Student #67

Through music lessons at Grinnell, I have vastly improved my singing ability and experienced a new kind of joy that, previously, I hadn't had in my life. — Student #141

The Grinnell Music Department offers private music lessons for credit at every level—from total beginner to pre-professional—in voice and more than two dozen instruments. Our faculty teach all styles and genres of music, tailoring lessons to individual student interests and abilities. Our applied music instructors are fulltime Grinnell faculty and professional musicians from around the state, including members of the Des Moines Symphony and many other regional groups. What’s more, if you don’t have an instrument, we will lend you one free of charge.

Music Lesson Fees

Most Grinnell students are entitled to some sort of scholarship towards the cost of music lesson fees.

Music lesson fees cover:

You are entitled to all these benefits regardless of whether you receive a scholarship or pay the full fee.

30-minute lessons (MUS 120, MUS 220): $390/semester

60-minute lessons (MUS 221, MUS 320, MUS 420): $655/semester

Music Lesson Scholarships

See also Important Information about Music Lesson Scholarships.

Music majors

You are eligible for unlimited free music lessons at any level. You must declare the major by the end of the add/drop period to receive the benefit for that semester. The scholarship is applied automatically upon registration in lessons; no application or audition is necessary.

Non-majors receiving need-based financial aid from the College

You are eligible for one $290 scholarship per semester (either a Grinnell College Music Scholarship or a Haglund Music Scholarship) to assist with lesson costs. The scholarship is applied automatically upon registration in lessons; no application or audition is necessary.

Non-majors NOT receiving need-based financial aid from the College, but who still need financial help covering music lesson fees

A limited number of Curd Music Lesson Scholarships are available, worth $150 per semester. Funds for the Curd Music Lesson Scholarships are limited and awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. You must apply for this award; applications will be accepted until September 5 for 2016–17.

Experienced musicians

You may audition for a competitive award that covers 100% of the music lesson fees. Auditions are held in the first week of the fall semester for Hill Ensemble Scholarships and the spring for the Hill Solo Awards, the James Outstanding Vocalist Award, and the Curd Outstanding Instrumentalist Award.

Registration in Music Lessons

For beginning lessons (MUS 120), no audition is required and you do not need to read music notation; however, you will make faster progress if you also take MUS 109 Music Fundamentals, a 2-credit course that teaches the basics of music notation.

For registration at the intermediate or advanced level (MUS 220, MUS 221, MUS 320, or MUS 420), you will need the permission of the instructor.

For more information about the different levels of lessons offered, consult the music section of the Catalog.

Grading and Expectations

Grading for music lessons is based primarily on the evidence of consistent effort and commitment to improvement that the student exhibits over the course of the semester.

Students are expected to practice regularly for their lessons:

  • a minimum of 30 minutes/day for MUS 120 and MUS 122 and
  • 60 minutes/day for MUS 220, MUS 221, and MUS 420.

The Grinnell Music Department does not hold juries; however, students in MUS 220 and MUS 221 are expected to perform one or two pieces in public on a department-sponsored recital during the semester. MUS 320 and MUS 420 are for students presenting a recital.

Applied Music Faculty

Private lessons are available in the following areas:


Piano Eugene Gaub (MUS 120 not available)
Piano Melinda Westphalen
Piano Barbara Rivadeneira
Jazz piano Gabriel Espinosa
Organ Linda Bryant
Jazz organ Tony Monaco (Skype lessons through TEAGLE grant)
Harpsichord Jennifer Williams Brown


Voice Lisa Henderson
Voice Nicholas Miguel
Voice John Rommereim
Jazz voice Gabriel Espinosa



Nancy McFarland Gaub


Charles Miranda

Cello Yoo-Jung Chang
Double bass Ashley Eidbo
Harp Kristin Maahs
Guitar Bob Dunn
Guitar Pat Smith
Jazz bass Bob Dunn
Banjo Fred Buck


Flute Claudia Anderson
Oboe Jennifer Wohlenhaus
Bassoon Jennifer Wohlenhaus
Clarinet Colin Young
Saxophone Colin Young
Jazz saxophone Colin Young
Bagpipes Rob Clower

Brass & Percussion

Trumpet Craig Swartz
French horn Guinevere McIntyre
Trombone Casey Maday
Baritone horn Casey Maday
Tuba Casey Maday
Percussion Stacey Ramirez