Student Academic Affairs
Welcome to Oberlin! We are very much looking forward to seeing you in August and are busy preparing for your arrival. Among our many tasks, the Office of the Conservatory Associate Deans assists students with advising and is a good resource for help with a variety of issues. Students can make appointments or come in during walk-in hours, which are held several times per week.
On this web site you will find important information for conservatory majors, and for college students interested in conservatory courses, lessons and ensembles. You can also access the orientation schedule here.
Some things to pay particular attention to:
Advanced placement (AP Credit)
Aural Skills Placement & Testing.
Big Book of Forms
Classes & Course grids for new students. What classes should I take?
Conservatory Computer Information
Course Catalog information which includes specific requirements for your major.
Dress Code Ensembles & Recitals
Error Message - Can't Open?
Final Exams vs travel
First Year Seminars for Conservatory & Double Degree students.
Graduates (MMs/ADIPs) - Are we required to attend orientation?
Group Advising & Departmental Meetings
History (Music) Placement & Testing.
Individual Advising Appointments
Large and Small ensemble auditions/information.
Piano Auditions (New Secondary Students)
Private teacher and advisor assignments.
Practice Room, Key, & Locker Assignments
Registration - Classes. See also Classes & Course grids.
Residence Hall & Dining Questions.
Secondary Study - Private Lessons information for non-majors.
T-Number - Student ID
Theory (Music) Placement & Testing.
Transportation from Cleveland Airport
Transfer of Credit.
Tuition & billing Questions?
Testing and placement for Aural Skills courses will take place during orientation week. (See placement tests & audition schedule or Blackboard.)
*Students will attend an Aural Skills orientation session followed by individual testing during orientation week. Usually Wednesday 1:30-2:00pm WCH (Informational session/sign-ups) followed by individual testing between 2:00-4:30pm Bibbins Hall.
*Placement will be based on sight singing rhythms and melodies. (Solfege is not required.)
*Based on this test score, incoming students will be placed and registered for their assigned aural skills courses and sections. Final aural skills placements should be posted outside Kohl Building 309 (3rd floor) the day after testing. (Aural Skills Testing & Consent Information). New students will not register for Aural Skils until the last two days of Orientation.
*Arts and Sciences students interested in taking Aural Skills courses may also take the test, however bachelor of music students will be given preference regarding class limit and section assignment. The Aural Skills test is NOT required of Arts and Sciences students wishing to take secondary lessons, ensembles, and most other Conservatory courses.
*Performance Diploma students are not eligible to take theory, aural skills, and music history until they have transferred into the Bachelor of Music degree. Please contact our office if you have questions or concerns regarding this restriction.
*Testing Conflict: If you must attend another exam during the Aural Skills placement test, please stop in the Kohl Building 309 (440) 775-8297 or contact the theory department prior to test date/time to schedule an alternate testing appointment.
Theory Placement & Testing:
*The Music Theory placement test is required for all Bachelor of Music and Double Degree students. Most students submit this test during the admissions process.
*This initial test will be requested again for incoming Bachelor of Music/Double Degree students who did not take the test during the admissions process. (This course is not required of Masters, Artist or Performance Diploma students.)
*Based on this test score, incoming Conservatory/Double Degree students will be placed into and consented for their assigned theory courses and sections if they place into the first level of Music Theory. New students will not register for Theory until the last two days of Orientation.
*Most students will be notified of their placement via US Mail or E-Mail prior to their arrival on campus. Final theory test placements and section assignments (Class day/time/CRN) will also be posted outside Kohl 309 during orientation week just prior to registration. (Students must register prior to the add/drop period.)
*Some students will have the opportunity to take an additional test, which may or may not place them into a more advanced theory course. Selected students will receive instructions and advanced placement test via E-Mail or US Mail during the month of June. The exemption test deadline is usually July 15th. (Final Results)
*Arts and Science students (or incoming Bachelor of Music students) interested in taking theory courses who have not yet taken the theory test, but who wish to do so may take the online theory test. Bachelor of Music students, however, will be given preference regarding class limit and section assignment. The Music Theory placement exam/course is NOT required of Arts and Sciences students wishing to take secondary lessons, ensembles, and most other Conservatory courses.
*Jazz Theory & Jazz Aural Skills - Jazz students are required to take additional Jazz Theory & Jazz Aural Skills. Placement in these courses is based on testing which usually occurs during orientation on Wednesday from 2:30-3:30pm. Please see an updated Orientation Schedule for specific time, date, location. Jazz students will be required to attend an Honor Code session immediately following testing at 3:30pm in WCH. For Jazz Theory & Jazz Aural Skills questions, please contact Julie.Baker@oberlin.edu.
*Students who wish to prepare for the placement exam can consult "Scales, Intervals, Keys, Triads, Rhythm, and Meter" by John Clough (pub. Norton) or "The Complete Musician" by Steven G. Laitz (pub. Oxford University Press.)
For Theory & Aural Skills questions please stop in the Kohl Building, Room 309, or contact the theory department telephone (440) 775-8297, or via e-mail Jeanne.Rosecrans@oberlin.edu.
Music History Placement & Testing:
*All Conservatory students are required to take MHST 101, Introduction to Music History and Literature. However, transfer students who have successfully passed two or more semesters of music history at another institution and students who have taken music history courses (particularly through the IB program) may wish to take the placement exam. The exam includes listening identification, definitions of terms from all eras of music history, and essays. One must pass every component of the exam and successfully demonstrate knowledge of all eras of music history in order to pass the exam. Contact Professor Charles McGuire via email (Jeanne.Rosecrans@oberlin.edu) by August 20 should you wish to take this exam. The exam is also offered as group testing during orientation week usually on Wednesday from 3:30-5:30pm. Please check your Orientation Schedule for updated time, date, and location.
*(This course is not required of Masters, Artist or Performance Diploma students.)
*Arts and Science students: Bachelor of music students will be given preference regarding class limit and section assignment. The Music History test/course is NOT required of Arts and Sciences students wishing to take secondary lessons, ensembles, and most other Conservatory courses.
Advanced Placement (AP Credit) information can also be found in the course catalog. You will need to search under "AP credit" for each department and their requirements. Students with a score of 5 will normally receive 4 AP credits in that area of study.
"What computer should I use as an Oberlin Conservatory Student?"
*Students can visit http://www.oberlin.edu/cit/ for more information regarding computer selection.
*Students planning to purchase a new computer are strongly encouraged to purchase from the Oberlin College Computer store.
*Using a wireless laptop is the best way to take advantage of Oberlin's wireless network.
*The students in the Oberlin Conservatory of Music generally use Macintosh.
*Students should have software like Word for writing papers, a browser like Safari or Firefox to access Blackboard, Eres, and PRESTO; along with Quicktime to play streamed audio from those sites.
*Beginning students generally use handwritten notation for theory and aural skills courses. Notational software like Sibelius, is useful, but not really necessary until the sophomore year.
Class & Course Schedules/Requirements are called "Grids" or "Course Distribution Tables." A pdf of suggested & required courses for each semester/year for Conservatory majors can be found on the Conservatory of Music section of the course catalog.
Fall 2014 Incoming students can click on 2014 Grids for a direct link to their suggested fall registration and 4/5-year projected course requirements:
Search Instructions are listed below.
1. Scroll to the desired division.
2. Click on "Display Programs for this Department."
3. Click on the desired "Area of Study."
4. At the top of the page, "Click here for PDF of Course Distribution Table."
5. From here, browsers like Safari & Firefox will automatically open the pdf or allow you to save it to your disk and open from your desktop. You may need to attempt this from various browsers, as some, like Firefox & Explorer may not be yet able to open the PHP format. Please contact our office and specify your major if you experience difficulty and wish to obtain your grid of classes.
E-Mail - Obie Mail
To log in to Obie Mail, the student needs the Username and Password sent in the gold colored letter from the Registrar. During initial use of this account, username is usually your first initial and last name; the student's password is preset to the mmddyyyy of the student's birthdate; it will be immediately disabled when the student logs in and the student will be required to assign a new password. If you have problems with your username or password, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Error Message - Won't Open - Can't Download?:
Please note: Remember to click on your "Refresh" or "Reload" button for the most up-to-date information each time you log on to our websites. If you notice any errors, this could be the problem. Most document links are supported by Firefox and some by Safari, if you are unable to download, please contact the appropriate department for assistance.
Dress Code: Ensemble & Recital Performances
Most Conservatory orchestras and ensembles request casual dress black attire for concert and recital performances. For men - a long sleeve black shirt, black pants, black socks, and black shoes; for women a long sleeve black blouse, long black skirt, dress, or slacks, black shoes, and black or natural stockings.
Some Orchestras require a more formal attire which include for men - a black tuxedo jacket and pants, white tuxedo shirt, black bow tie, and black cummerbund with black socks and shoes. For women all-black dress, skirt, or slacks (just above ankle); black blouse with at least 3/4 length sleeves; conservative neck lines; with black hose or tights and black shoes, and simple or no jewelry.
Students should confirm Orchestra or Ensemble placement during the registration process, and verify dress code with Conductor prior to purchase of any performance attire. Please contact Michael.Roest@oberlin.edu for specific dress code details.
Final Exams vs Travel
The final exam schedule is determined by the Registrar and is posted on the Registrar's Office website at the beginning of each semester. Travel schedules are NOT considered a legitimate reason to change exam times. Many parents & students plan for the busy holiday season by making advance travel arrangements for December flights. Because final exam schedules are not posted until September, we suggest using the last exam day of exam week as your reference. Exam weeks are posted on Oberlin's Academic Calendar.
"Should I take a First Year Seminar?" + Registration & Classes
First year seminar courses are not required, but are strongly suggested for Arts and Science students. Conservatory students are asked to wait until they have come to campus and met with their advisor before registering for any courses. Most Conservatory students will not have room in their schedule for an FYSP course in the first semester. Double Degree students may register, but should discuss course load with their advisor during orientation.
Group Advising & Departmental Meetings (Conservatory & Double Degree Students) Conservatory & Double Degree students are required to attend a group advising and departmental meeting during orientation week. Upon arrival, incoming students will receive an orientation schedule and *packet that will provide more detailed information. Group advising & departmental locations are listed below
Advising Schedule Updated 8/6/14
(Fall 2014 Sections & Room Assignments)
Piano/Organ - Bibbins 223
Winds, Brass Percussion - Bibbins 237
Strings & Classical Guitar - Stull Recital Hall
Jazz Studies - Kohl Building, Skybar (Revised)
Voice - Central (Kulas Recital Hall)
Composition & TIMARA - Bibbins 233
*Students with 2 Conservatory majors should consult their packet for designated location.
Individual Advising Appointments (Conservatory & Double Degree Students)
Conservatory & Double Degree students are required to meet individually with their Conservatory advisors. Students should sign up for a time outside their advisor's studio. These appointments will take place during orientation week. Upon arrival, incoming students will receive an orientation schedule and packet that will provide more detailed information.
Piano Auditions (New Secondary Students) Updated 8/6/14
Secondary Piano Auditions for New Conservatory Non-Piano Majors:
Please look outside Conservatory Bibbins 326 for audition information and for sign-up sheets for audition times. Be sure to have your consent form ready to submit at the audition.
- New students who are Non-Piano Conservatory Majors may audition during orientation week usually on Wednesday & Thursday, 1:30-4:30pm. Sign up for audition times outside of Bibbins room 326.
- Conservatory students without prior piano experience do not need to take a placement audition. Please sign up for a piano class (APST 110, sections 01-06). Sign-up sheets will be posted outside Bibbins 326 during orientation or the first week of classes. Further instructions will be listed on the sign-up sheet. Please contact Professor Andrea McAlister for more information.
- New & returning Arts and Sciences students interested in secondary piano lessons may audition during the first week of classes. Students may be placed into private lessons with student-teachers or faculty for credit-bearing lessons. Sign-up sheets will be posted outside Bibbins 326. Further instructions will be listed on the sign-up sheet. Space is limited. Please contact Professor Andrea McAlister for more information.
- Repertoire: Students will be asked
to sight read, harmonize, and play a few scales and chords. One solo may
be prepared that represents your highest level of playing but is not
Pease contact Andrea.McAlister@oberlin.edu if you have questions about secondary piano instruction.
Private teacher and advisor assignments for your primary lessons will be sent to your home address and/or e-mailed to your Oberlin E-mail account - usually by August 1st. Incoming students should not submit a request form for Conservatory advisors as they will be automatically assigned (usually) based on student teacher preference and faculty availability. You may contact The Office of the Associate Deans if you have not received your placement by August 10th. Thank you for your patience.
Practice Rooms, Keys, & Lockers
Please consult your Student Handbook or revised online version at http://www2.oberlin.edu/students/handbook/ under the section titled "Regulations and Procedures of the Conservatory of Music" regarding practice room assignments. For specific questions regarding practice room assignments and keys please contact Irene.Harris@oberlin.edu. For questions regarding locker assignments, please contact Heather.Martin@oberlin.edu. Bachelor of Music students will be given preference regarding locker and/or practice room assignments. We cannot provide storage for Conservatory/non-major students.
Please Note: The Office of the Associate Deans requests non-major students make the appropriate arrangements as listed above prior to bringing instruments to campus. Storage is very limited this year and most non-majors will find it necessary to store their instruments in their dorm room.
Secondary students assigned to some of the larger instruments (i.e. drums) will be assigned to a room and use of instrument provided by the Conservatory. The student will share the room and schedule practice times and use of space with other students. All Oberlin students may utilize the Robertson practice rooms as they are available on a first come, first served basis.
Students will use PRESTO when they arrive but, during the summer, the student can see only the following information in PRESTO:
-The student's email address (e.g., email@example.com)
-The student's OCMR (usually available by August 1st.)
-Holds (e.g., Student Health)
-(Arts & Science students only) The results of the summer registration process.
(usually available by August 15)
It is important for students to log on and check this information. To log in, the student needs the T-number and PIN sent in the gold-colored letter from the Registrar. Follow the instructions in that letter. (The student's PIN is preset to the mmddyy of the student's birthdate; it will be immediately disabled when the student logs in and the student will be required to assign a new PIN.)
What is my "T-Number" or "Student ID Number?"
During orientation and throughout their study at Oberlin College, students will be asked for their "T-Number" also referred to as "Student ID Number?" New student "T-Numbers" will be sent in the gold-colored letter from the Registrar. Students having problems with their log-in should contact firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
"How can I get transportation from the airport to Oberlin"
To get to Oberlin from Hopkins Intl' airport, you can contact Hopkins Transportation Services at 1-800-543-9912 or the Lorain County Transit service at 440-329-5545.
Note: Transportation is available to Oberlin, however we would like to alert you to the fact that Lorain County Transit has cancelled Route 33 from Oberlin to Cleveland Hopkins International Airport.
Transfer of Credit
* For questions about transfer of credit, please schedule an appointment with the Office of Associate Deans usually scheduled the 3rd or 4th week of school. Note: You will have one calendar year from your entry in to Oberlin to make your transfer credit request.
*New BM students who have transfer credits in theory and aural skills are still required to take the requested placement tests prior to and/or during orientation.
*Transcripts must be sent in a sealed envelope from your previous school/institution to the Oberlin Office of the Registrar.
About the Office of Associate Deans
The Office of the Associate Deans provides information about academic requirements, regulations, and procedures for Oberlin students pursuing course work in the Conservatory of Music. The office also processes request paperwork related to many of these academic requirements and regulations.
For Conservatory and Double Degree Students
The Office of Associate Deans coordinates academic advising; makes advisor/teacher assignments; provides information sessions for new and returning advisors; oversees students' academic standing by monitoring grade reports and communicating with students, their advisors, and the Academic Standing Committee; and offers information and advice about academic policy issues, and general academic requirements including:
Change of Status & Change of Major or Minor
Course Overload & Part-time status
Transfer of Credit
Exception to Graduation (Waivers)
Emergency Incompletes & Exam Changes
Private Study Change Hour Credit
Blackboard Instructions: Click here to begin...
1. By late July or early August, you should be able to sign on using your Obie ID sent to you in the gold-colored letter from the Registrar.
2. Click on the tab labeled "Academics" where you will find that you are enrolled in a course entitled "Placement/Readiness Exams" once Blackboard is prepped for the school-year.
3. Click this link, and you will find information and instructions for taking placement test before and once on campus [on the "What to do" page].
Click here to go back to Conservatory information on Theory and/or Aural Skills.