FAQ Performance

Do I have to be a music major or music minor to participate in the performance program?
No. Membership in the Performance Ensembles is open to all University of Chicago students, both undergraduate and graduate, regardless of major or academic concentration.

Do I earn degree credit for my participation in the performance program?
Musicians in the Performance Program are able to register their participation on a zero-credit, pass-fail basis. Music majors and minors may apply for retroactive credit toward their degree requirements. More information is available on the Registration & Credit for Performance page. 

How do I get into a performance ensemble?
Most of the ensembles hold auditions at the beginning of the academic year, once students have arrived on campus. Several of the special repertory ensembles do not require a formal audition for membership, since most students do not have prior experience with the particular instruments and/or performing traditions. Visit the auditions page for more information.

Are the auditions highly competitive?
The degree of competitiveness varies depending on the ensemble and on the particular pool of auditionees. Students may express their preference for a particular ensemble, but they are placed in an ensemble in accordance with audition results and ensemble needs. In the case of limited seating within an ensemble or section, preference for membership is given to registered University of Chicago students, both undergraduate and graduate. The majority of students who audition are placed in the Performance Program.

How often do the ensembles rehearse?
Most ensembles rehearse once a week. Several ensembles have periodic sectional rehearsals as well, plus an additional rehearsal the week before a concert. Browse each ensemble and program page for more information, including rehearsal dates and times.

May I participate in more than one ensemble?
Yes. Rehearsal schedules and concert dates are all arranged to allow instrumentalists and singers to participate in more than one ensemble. The Department of Music encourages students to explore the full range of performance opportunities on campus during the course of their College or graduate school career.

Do I have to participate in a performance ensemble all year long?
Musicians are both encouraged and expected to participate in the performance ensemble(s) all year long. If a student is studying abroad for a quarter, or has other extenuating circumstances, then he or she can take a leave of absence from the ensemble and re-join later in the year.

Does the Music Department have a marching band?
No, and at present there are no plans for one.