Undergraduate Handbook

Welcome to the Hofstra University Department of Music. We have prepared this guide to present some of the policies, guidelines, and procedures of the Department and to help you learn more about our program, our facilities, our faculty, and our musical organizations.

It is important for you to become familiar with the information and policies in this document and with those of the University at large. Students who are well-informed are invariably the most successful. If you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact your faculty advisor or the department chair. We are here to help you make your musical and educational experience at Hofstra as pleasant and as productive as possible.

Please note that both the New Academic Building and Monroe Hall are nonsmoking buildings. Smoking is not allowed anywhere in the building, including the restrooms, practice rooms, and offices.

All music majors are assigned to an advisor. Advisement lists are distributed and posted each semester. Students are expected to see their advisors at least once during pre-registration times each semester. Advisement must be scheduled in advance. Your advisor is not there just to assist with registration but to assure your progress toward your degree by reviewing both proposed coursework and past history in light of your chosen major or concentration. While the online registration system can be used without advisement, you are ultimately responsible for your choices and for completion of all requirements. Thus, it is strongly recommended that you take advantage of this assistance to ensure you have chosen the correct courses and program.

Class attendance policies, in both the University at large and the Music Department, are established by the individual faculty members. Each professor may have a slightly different policy, so if it is not printed in the class syllabus, always inquire about it.

Ensemble attendance is different from class attendance. Members of ensembles are expected to be present at ALL rehearsals and performances. Absences from ensemble rehearsals, even for apparently serious reasons, MUST be excused by the ensemble director.

Shapiro Family Hall and Monroe Hall are normally open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. Library hours are 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday to Friday, and afternoons on Saturday and Sunday, as posted. Practice Rooms are open during regular library hours. After-hours use of any rooms in either building requires a Security Pass.

There are several types of bulletin boards in the building. They are labeled as to content (Concerts, General Information, Composition, Music Merchandising, etc.). Please post material on the appropriate boards only. Do not tape notices on windows or walls. Important department notices will be placed on a board outside the Music Office. Weekly and monthly concerts and events will be posted as well. 

The Piano and Music Technology Lab (Room 018 Monroe) is available for students who wish to use computers for MIDI and for music printing projects by students who have completed or are in the process of completing courses in MIDI, Recording Technology, Jazz Improvisation or Orchestration, and have been approved by their instructor to use the lab equipment. Computers are also available in the Music Library for internet research and computer assisted instruction for theory and ear-training. 

EMARS, the Electronic Music and Recording Studios, includes Rooms 017 and 018 in Monroe. Room 017 is the main Electronic Music and Recording Studio. Room 018 is the keyboard/computer lab. EMARS facilities are available by scheduling with professors Tompkins or Filadelfo and may only be used by current or past students of MUS. 157, 158, 173 or 174. Schedules are posted on the door of Room 017. Additional time to qualified students is available through a weekly sign-up schedule kept with the department secretary in the Music Office, Room 101 Shapiro Family Hall.

The letter grades A, B, C, D, and F are employed to designate excellent, good, average, poor, and failing work (+ and - grades are also used). University policy states that no grade below C- may be applied to a course in a student’s major area, therefore all Music courses in which a D+ or below is earned MUST BE RETAKEN. An Incomplete (I) grade may be given at the discretion of the professor, when, in the professor's judgement, a student is prevented from completing the course because of an unavoidable circumstance, such as family hardship, illness, accident, or verified disability, but is still considered capable of passing the course. To be eligible for an Incomplete, a student must be passing the course. Incompletes cannot be used as a way of avoiding an F grade.

Students who have received a grade below C- for any Music course cannot retake the course as an Independent Study, but must do so as a regularly scheduled class, unless written approval is given by both the program administrator and department chair.

As a general rule, students will not be permitted to substitute Independent Study (MUS. 151 or 152) for a regularly scheduled course. Students wishing to substitute Independent Study for such a course must demonstrate extenuating circumstances: specifically (1) that the course is not offered during the semester when needed and cannot be taken during a regularly scheduled semester because of exceptional hardship, and (2) that the student's grade history demonstrates the student can accomplish the required work as an Independent Study. Independent Study courses intended to substitute for regular classes must be taken with a faculty member who normally would teach the course for which it is intended to substitute.

Most stringed and wind instruments are available on a semester-by-semester rental basis, subject to the following basic conditions:

  1. Students requiring the use of an instrument must be registered for the appropriate course in which the instrument is to be used during the semester.
  2. Students must receive written approval from the teacher of the course in question. This approval should be in the form of an attendance list submitted by the instructor to the librarian.
  3. Only the department secretary can give out instruments.
  4. Students MUST pay the $10 rental fee and sign and accept the provisions of the rental contract kept by the secretary.
  5. Instruments must be returned promptly and in good condition when due or final course grade may be withheld.
  6. Students requesting instrument rentals for any other reasons must get approval from an instructor and the department chair.

Music Department lockers are located near the practice rooms on the lower level of Monroe Hall. LOCKERS ARE TO BE SIGNED OUT IN SEPTEMBER THROUGH THE DEPARTMENT SECRETARY. Only students who have completed a MUSIC MAJOR CARD will be issued a locker.

Lockers are intended for the storage of musical instruments, therefore first priority for signing out lockers is to be given to instrumental majors, not voice or piano majors. Please do not use lockers for the storage of books and other personal effects.

Instrumental majors are responsible for their instruments or any school-owned instruments. Therefore instruments must be locked up and never left sitting on tables or in offices or classrooms.

101 Shapiro Family Hall

Normal office hours are Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The outer office room holds the student mail folders and faculty mail boxes and is normally staffed by a student aide. Messages may be left for teachers or fellow students, and students are urged to check their mail folders daily. Mail folders for all Music majors will be maintained only when the Departmental Registration Cards are completed at the start of each academic year that the student is in residence.

The Department File Room and the Chair's Office are "off-limits" for students unless making an appointment with the chair or requesting specific course or scheduling materials.

The Music Office is NOT a lounge, nor can it be used as a student mailing address.

All Hofstra Music students must achieve elementary piano proficiency. Students entering with limited keyboard skills must complete MUS. 35 and 35A. Fundamental keyboard proficiency is required before taking MUS 71.

All Music Education majors must pass a Piano Proficiency Examination taken no later than the second semester of the sophomore year. Passing the examination is a requirement for graduation for the Music Education degree. Requirements for the Piano Proficiency Exam are as follows:

  1. All major scales, hands together, two octaves.
  2. Minor scales of c, d, e, f, g, a, hands separately, harmonic and melodic forms.
  3. Two prepared pieces chosen by the student, as follows:
    1. One Baroque or Classical piece at the level of J.S. Bach Little Preludes and Fugues or a Clementi Sonatina first movement (excluding op. 36 #1)
    2. One Romantic or Modern piece at the level of a Schubert waltz or a selection from Bartok Mikrokosmos, vol. II.
  4. Sight reading, to be selected by the examiner from pieces at the level of Easy Classics to Moderns (Music for Millions, Vol. 17, Consolidated Music Publishers) or a J.S. Bach Chorale.
  5. The Star Spangled Banner (Ab) and Happy Birthday (F) harmonized and played from memory.

Practice rooms are located on the lower level of Monroe Hall (Rooms 012A-L, 019A-D22, 23, and 24). Two piano practice rooms are equipped with grand pianos and one with two grand pianos. Piano majors may also practice on the grand pianos in rooms 129 and 134 only when those rooms are not used for instruction and upon securing permission from the Music Department secretary or librarian. Practice rooms are available for use during regular library hours. Keys are given out by the librarian and a valid Hofstra ID must be surrendered to obtain a key.

All students are required to take P level private instruction for, at least, their first four semesters. Beginning in the second semester, jury exams must be passed as a requirement for a grade. BS in Performance majors must take C and D level private instruction. BS in Jazz students must take C level private instruction. Other students may take C or D level private instruction, as an elective, only with the approval of both their teacher and advisor.

When registering for private instruction, please note that section numbers are used to identify specific teachers wherever more than one teacher is used to teach a particular instrument. Students and teachers must be aware of this procedure and no student may take lessons without being properly registered for the correct teacher. Teachers are not allowed to instruct students whose names do not appear on the class roster under any circumstances and questions regarding correct registration for private instruction must be reviewed with the department chair within the first two weeks of any semester.

Students wishing to change Private Instruction Studios must meet with both their Music Advisor and the Music Department Chair to secure approval. All changes must occur before the first day of classes and are strongly discouraged in the first two semesters of the student’s degree program. To change studios, download and complete the procedures outlined in the Private Instruction Studio Change Policy.

There is a fee for all levels of private instruction, which is charged in addition to the course tuition. Please review the University Bulletin's Music listings for details.

Unless specifically assigned as part of an instructional program, no students may use Monroe Hall, the New Academic Building or any other University building for their own private teaching.

Individuals who pursue the Music Education program, which leads to recommendation for provisional certification, must meet the following entrance requirements. Enrollment is open to individuals showing qualities that indicate both an interest in the field and potential as a teacher candidate. Screening will entail the following procedures:

  1. Students must audition on their principal instruments and complete placement examinations in music theory and ear-training.
  2. Students enroll in the Department of Music, declaring their intentions to pursue a Music Education program and a Bachelor of Science in Education degree.
  3. The candidate is assigned a faculty advisor from the Music Department for ongoing academic and professional counseling and guidance. Judgments concerning the candidate's academic performance and abilities are accumulated in reports and made available to the Music Department and the Department of Curriculum and Teaching indicating the student's ability to successfully complete the planned program.
  4. All persons enrolled in teaching programs at Hofstra University must demonstrate competency in speech by securing evaluation from the Department of Speech Communication and Rhetorical Studies, usually by completing SPCM 1, Oral Communication. Any speech deficiency must be corrected prior to student teaching.
  5. At the end of the sophomore year, Music Education students must complete a PIANO PROFICIENCY EXAM and apply to the School of Education. The following grade point averages are required: music coursework 2.50, education coursework 2.75, and overall average 2.75. Students will then be assigned to one of the following categories:
    1. Accepted to continue.
    2. Accepted provisionally, meaning that the applicant may continue in the program although specific deficiencies must be eliminated.
    3. Rejected, meaning the applicant is not entitled to further courses in the School of Education and is no longer considered a candidate in the teaching program.
  1. Chamber Ensemble Program (MUS 20) presents recitals during the last three weeks of each semester. In addition, MUS 20 presentations offering outstanding professional players and other musical figures are held monthly. These presentations take place on Fridays at 2:55 p.m. in the Concert Hall, 142 Monroe, or in Room 010 Shapiro Family Hall. Students may enroll in MUS 20 either for credit or without. In some degree programs, enrollment without credit for a specified number of semesters is required. Students wishing to enroll without credit to fulfill a degree requirement must complete an Unregistered Participation Form in the Music Office before they will be permitted to participate in any ensembles. All students, whether registered for credit or not, must complete the same requirements (i.e., attendance at meetings, lectures, concerts, etc.) as those expected of students enrolled for credit.

*Attendance at MUS 20 recitals is mandatory for all Music majors.

  1. Junior and Senior Recitals are required for all Performance majors. Students must go to "Scheduling a Recital" to download the recital packet. The general sequence of events for scheduling your recital are as follows:
    1. The student and instructor will determine an approximate date during the semester prior to the recital.
    2. The student and instructor will both set up the date and desired venue with the associate chair at least two months in advance of the date.
    3. Material for posters must be completed and given to the department secretary or coordinator of Music PR no later than four weeks before the program. Programs, program notes, and all program materials must be completed and typed with all spellings carefully researched and submitted to the department secretary and associate chair no later than two weeks prior to the program.
  2. Honors and Endowed Recitals feature students who have been selected by the music faculty for special honors as performers. These annual concerts are:
    • The Dorothy Hoag Concert
    • The William Lawrence Concert
    • The Rhoda Pinsley Levin Award Recital
    • The William Rosencrans Endowed Award Recital
    1. The Music Department will schedule Honors and Endowed concerts prior to each academic year. Students will have received notice of their awards at the Annual Awards Dinner and will be notified of the concert dates at the start of the fall semester.
    2. Honors students and their teachers will prepare program materials as needed following the procedures, as in B.3 above.
  3. Professional Accompanists will be hired by the Music Department as needed for Honors and Awards Recitals. Accompanists for Junior and Senior Recitals will be chosen by the performing students. If professional accompanists are used for Junior or Senior Recitals, their payment may be partially funded by the Music Department, but the fee must be approved by the department chair and is dependent upon budget availability

Students who must use Practice Rooms or labs after regular hours must obtain security passes. A security pass must be requested by the teacher of the course requiring additional hours and obtained through the department secretary and approved by the department chair. The student using a security pass will call Public Safety (x3-6606) and inform them. Public Safety will dispatch an officer who will unlock the room at that time. NOTE: Security passes will not be given for using the Music Library, which is only open when staffed.