How many credits do I need to complete my degree?

Below is a chart that shows the number of chamber music credits needed to complete all degrees at Peabody.

1 credit = 1 semester of chamber music

Instrument Bachelors Masters GPD DMA Artist Diploma
Strings and Piano 4 2 0 0 0
Winds and Brass 2 1 0 0 0
Guitar 2 1 0 0 0
Percussion 2 1 0 0 0
Harp 2 1 0 0 0

How do I register for chamber music?

The first thing to know: don’t register for chamber music! You sign up for chamber music at the beginning of each semester through the Director of Chamber Music (see FAQ #3 for procedures). Once you have been assigned to a group or your pre-formed group has been assigned to a coach, the Director of Chamber Music will get you properly registered for chamber music with the Registrar.

How do I sign up for chamber music?

At the beginning of each semester, chamber music sign-up materials can be found on the board outside the Director of Chamber Music’s studio- Room 302LH. On the board you will find the following:

  • A sign-up sheet for students who want to participate in chamber music but who don’t have a pre-formed group. (A pre-formed group is a group that is formed by the students themselves- people who want to play together in a chamber music group)
  • Pre-formed Group Forms for groups that have formed themselves. (These forms should be filled out completely and returned to the Director’s door by the deadline.)
  • A sign-up sheet for pianists who would like to play in a Piano Ensemble (i.e. two pianists—either piano four hands or two pianos) but who don’t have a partner.
  • Pre-formed Piano Ensemble forms for two pianists who have formed a duo. (These forms should be filled out completely and returned to the Director’s door by the deadline.)

If you would like to participate in chamber music, you must sign up by either putting your name on a sign-up sheet for individuals or by filling out a pre-formed group form. This is the only way to be placed in the chamber music program.

If I put my name on the sign-up sheet for chamber music, am I guaranteed to be placed in a group?

We try our best to place as many people as possible in appropriate chamber music groups and each semester most of the people who sign up as individuals are placed. Unfortunately, it is not possible to find an appropriate group for everyone. Some people do not get groups. This is only because we couldn’t find an appropriate group for them—i.e. a group with people of similar playing ability, age, schedule, etc..

So, no- it is not a guarantee.

Making your own pre-formed group with people you know and like and who share your enthusiasm is still the best way to get a chamber music group.

I’ve signed up for chamber music and have been placed in a group, but now I think I won’t have time for chamber music. What should I do?

Please don’t ever do this! When you put your name on the sign-up list for chamber music, that indicates that you definitely want to placed in a group for that semester. This is taken very seriously and a lot of time and effort is put into trying to place you in a serious group. Furthermore, if you drop out of a group, chances are that group will collapse and all the other people in the group will not be able to play chamber music that semester. Everyone is depending on you. It is a big responsibility to be placed in a chamber music group. Take it seriously!

I have most of the people for a pre-formed group, but I am missing a player (or two). What should I do?

You should fill out a Pre-Formed Group Form with the players that you have and be clear about which instruments you need to complete your group. We will try to fill in your group with appropriate players from the Individual Sign-up Sheet.

Can I play a sonata with piano or other kind of duo for chamber music?

No. We cannot accommodate duos in the chamber music program. This is not because duos are not chamber music- they are! It has to do with the fact that there are a limited number of coaching hours available each semester and we cannot assign a coach to just two people. Also, in the case of sonatas, we want instrumentalists to be exploring repertoire that is not dealt with in private lessons. There are so many pieces and styles to know about- the chamber music literature is vast!

If you would like to study sonatas in a context larger than your lesson, you should register for Instrumental Chamber Music, two sections of which are taught by Marian Hahn and Ellen Mack. These are sonata classes.

Can I play in two groups?

If you would like to play in two groups, you MUST get the permission of the Director of Chamber Music first. Since there are a limited number of spaces available in the chamber music program each semester, we must be fair to the greatest number of people.

Because of the large number of pianists at Peabody, we can rarely allow a pianist to play in two groups.

Freshman are generally not permitted to play in two groups. Any exceptions to this require the permission of the private teacher.

I’m new at Peabody and I don’t know anyone to play chamber music with. Is it better to sign up as an individual or make a group with people I don’t know?

It is never a great idea to commit to a group with people who you know nothing about. If someone asks you to be in a group but you don’t know anything about them, it is a good idea to read some chamber music with them before deciding to join the group. You can also email the Director of Chamber Music for advice. He can tell you if that would be an appropriate group for you.

If you are new, it is sometimes best to sign up as an individual and let the Director of Chamber Music help connect you with people who you will enjoy playing with.

I’ve been assigned to a group and a coach, but I don’t see my chamber music registration on SIS? What should I do?

It takes 4-6 weeks after the beginning of the semester for chamber music registration to appear on SIS. Don’t do anything. Check again towards the end of the semester and if you still don’t see chamber music listed on your roster, then email the Director of Chamber Music to let him know. He will be able to help you at that time.

I am a pianist—can I play in a chamber group AND a piano ensemble?

Generally speaking, this is not permitted. This is due to the large number of pianists at Peabody. We have to be fair to the largest number of pianists each semester. It never hurts to ask the Director of Chamber Music, but most often we are not able to allow pianists to play in a chamber group and a piano ensemble.

I am a pianist and I have a pre-formed group. Do I still have to take an audition at the beginning of the year?

If you are new to Peabody or have never played chamber music at Peabody, then we prefer that you take an audition at the beginning of the year. This is not an entrance audition—it is just a way for the Director of Chamber Music to get to know you so that, in the future, he will be able to match you with appropriate people if you don’t have a pre-formed group or keep you in mind for special projects. It is the only way that the Director of Chamber Music can get to know you.

If you have been at Peabody, have done chamber music, and are known to the Director of Chamber Music, then it is not necessary for you to play an audition. Just be sure that your current contact information is clear and accurate on any form or sign-up sheet that you submit.

I am a pianist—I didn’t play an audition at the beginning of the year. Are there Spring Semester auditions?

No. There are no Spring Semester auditions. Even if you don’t plan to play chamber music in the Fall Semester, you should play an audition so that the Director of Chamber Music knows who you are.

Will my group perform in a concert?

Every group that is registered for chamber music is required to perform in a concert. If a group has learned all the movements of their piece at a very high level, they can perform the entire piece. Otherwise, groups can play 1-2 movements of their piece—approximately 10 minutes worth of music.

There are 5-6 chamber music concerts at the end of each semester and also a mid-semester play-through opportunity for groups who have done good work in the first part of the semester.

Groups are recommended for the Mid-Semester Concert by their coach and groups must also have the permission of their coach to play entire pieces at the end of the semester.

What is the chamber music attendance requirement?

Every student who is registered for chamber music is required to attend the following over the course of the semester:

1 Faculty Concert or other professional chamber music concert.

2 End-of-the-semester student chamber music concerts.

You must save your programs from these concerts and submit them at the end of the semester to the Director of Chamber Music.

The chamber music concerts can be very long. Do I have to stay for the whole thing?

Some of the end-of-semester concerts run four or five hours. You do not have to stay for the entire concert! You are expected to stay for at least one hour.

What concerts count as chamber music concerts?

A chamber music concert, as defined for the purposes of the chamber music attendance requirement, is a concert by a small ensemble that has one person on a part and no conductor. If there is a conductor, it’s not chamber music! Chamber orchestra and chamber opera performances do not count.

Why is there a chamber music attendance requirement?

There are three main reasons that there is a chamber music attendance requirement:

1. The boring administrative reason is that, since you receive ten hours of coaching in a semester, attending three concerts brings the number of hours for this course more in line with that of other one-credit courses.

2. A much more important reason is this: students are very, very busy. Sometimes they are so busy that it is easy to decide not to attend an interesting concert when there are so many other pressing things to do (practice, write papers, study, etc.). However, hearing concerts is a hugely important part of every music student’s education. By attending chamber music concerts, you will be exposed to the vast chamber music repertoire and you will begin to be able to understand what makes good chamber music playing. Hearing and seeing other people play is always instructional and very often inspiring. It is exteremely important to your development.

3. Possibly the most important reason is so that you have an audience to play for. No one likes to play to an empty hall. It is so important to be there in the audience to support your friends and colleagues, to give them feedback and to be a part of the chamber music community.

Are there other ways that I can receive chamber music credit, besides being assigned to a chamber music group.

There are two activities for which chamber music credit can be given:

1. Doing a chamber piece in the Early Music Department. The Early Music folks offer small ensembles on period instruments. They are happy to have students come and try out baroque or renaissance instruments and play in a trio sonata or similar piece. One need only get in touch with them—cellist John Moran or violinist Risa Browder or the Director of the Early Music program Mark Cudek.

2. You can get chamber music credit for playing in Now Hear This, Peabody’s new music ensemble. Participation in Now Hear This is by audition. For more information you can contact the Now Hear This director.

What is the Honors Ensemble program?

The Peabody Honors Ensembles are chamber music ensembles that represent the highest level of chamber music achievement at Peabody. Chosen by audition, any type of chamber ensemble can become an Honors Ensemble—string quartet, piano trio, wind or brass ensemble, guitar, sax, or percussion ensembles and any mixed ensemble with a substantial repertoire can be eligible.

Groups who are chosen to be Honors Ensembles will enjoy the some of these benefits:

  • Performance opportunities in and outside of Peabody.
  • The composition of a new piece by a Peabody student composer to be premiered by the Ensemble.
  • Opportunities to perform in master classes.
  • Opportunity to make a demo recording.
  • Outreach activities.
  • and more…

I am a Hopkins student. Can I participate in the chamber music program at Peabody?

Unfortunately, it is only in rare cases that non-Peabody students can be worked into the chamber music program at Peabody. This is due to the high number of Peabody students who need chamber music, and the relatively limited number of coaches and coaching hours available. It is almost never possible for students who play the more popular instruments—violin, cello, piano, flute. However, it is sometimes possible to find a spot for players of instruments like viola, oboe or french horn. It is always worth emailing the Director of Chamber Music to enquire. If he thinks there might be a possibility, he will arrange for you to come and audition.

HOWEVER- if you form a group of players from Hopkins and would like some coaching, you can get in touch with the Director of Chamber Music and he will arrange for a coach to work with you (most often a Peabody graduate student).

I am a DMA student. Do I need to register in the chamber music program for my required chamber music recital?

No. You are not required to register for chamber music for your DMA chamber music recital. Most often DMA chamber music recitals are arranged outside the chamber music by the DMA candidate and are coached on an ad-hoc basis by the candidate’s teacher or other faculty who are asked to do so. If you have a group and you want to be in the chamber music program and have the group play on your recital, that is fine, of course. But it is not required.