Information for non-majors

Are you a singer, musician, or music enthusiast who wants to take a VCU class about music theory, take private lessons with our esteemed faculty, or participate in a musical ensemble for college credit? We’d love to have you join us! There are many opportunities for VCU students who are not music majors to enjoy what the music department has to offer. Here are some ways you can be involved in music at VCU:

  • Private Lessons: Students who are not music majors can take APPL 200 private lessons at VCU. These are 1-credit, 30-minute lessons that take place once a week. Students who register for these lessons will be charged tuition and fees for one credit, plus a $307 private lesson fee if they are in a major outside of the School of the Arts. This fee will be added to the rest of the tuition and fees billed by Student Accounting. To sign up for APPL 200 lessons, students should request an override using this online form
  • Topics and Lecture Classes: VCU offers a variety of lecture-style classes on music history, music theory, and other aspects of music that are open to non-majors. Some examples include:
    • MHIS 115: Musicianship Fundamentals 
    • MHIS 243: Music Appreciation
    • MHIS 244: Experiencing Music
    • MHIS 251: American Popular Music
    • MHIS 252: Soundscapes: World Music
    • MHIS 380: Survey of the Music Industry
    • MHIS 491 Topics Courses: an umbrella designation that includes topics such as Women in Music and History of Hip-Hop. Students may take up to nine credits of MHIS 491 topics courses.

(Please note: not every class will be offered every semester.)

Commonly Asked Questions

  • How can I gain access to the practice rooms at VCU?
    • VCU’s practice facilities are reserved for students who are: music majors, music minors, or enrolled in APPL 200 lessons. If a student falls into any of these categories, they can fill out the online practice room access form to request access via their VCU card. 
  • Can I take lessons to learn a new instrument, and do I need to be able to read music?
    • Students should already be familiar with the instrument on which they want to take lessons, and should be able to read music well enough to practice and learn their music independently outside of weekly lessons. Students who want to take voice lessons must be able to read simple lines of music by playing them on the piano, and must be able to match pitch. A quick audition may be required after students submit their override request, in which case the department will reach out with details about what is expected and how to schedule this audition. 
  • I have a musical background and want to take a music class that is restricted to music majors. Is this possible?
    • Students who want to take a music class that is otherwise restricted to music majors (example: MHIS 145 Music Theory & Aural Skills I) should fill out an override request form and indicate their relevant experience or knowledge in the ‘reason for request’ section. This request will be reviewed by the faculty and approved or denied based on appropriateness and available space in the course. 
  • I have more questions about music classes or minoring in music. Who should I contact?
    • You can reach out to the academic advisor for music with any of your questions: Christine Hoffman,