Areas of Study

Choose your path: Earn a degree. Study. Perform.

At Harper, you can pursue your music your way. Take lessons and study privately with a member of our artist faculty, or enroll in a degree program, take classes and perform. Harper's Associate in Fine Arts degree will prepare you to transfer to some of the nation's finest four-year colleges and universities where you can complete your bachelor's degree.

Perhaps you want to teach music theory, conduct a school orchestra or just learn more about music therapy or history. Maybe performing in musical theater or a jazz quartet is your ultimate goal. At Harper, you have choices.

Find your area of study below, or visit and meet faculty to learn more.

The Associate in Fine Arts Music degree provides students with essential knowledge and skills for individuals desiring a musical career in areas such as performance, music theater, theory/composition, music history, music therapy, music business, music education or jazz.

While students may only wish to pursue an Associate degree, this degree will also prepare students who wish to transfer to a four-year college or university to complete a Bachelor of Music, Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science in Music. View our A.F.A. recommended course of study or view the complete A.F.A. curriculum in the Catalog.

The Music emphasis at Harper is designed to provide the student with a program equivalent to the first two years of most four-year college programs, with a broad focus on musicology, composition, applied music, theory and literature. (Transfer institution requirements may vary.)

Per the Illinois Community College Board rules, courses in which students participate in lecture/discussion-oriented instruction are assigned one semester credit hour for each 15 classroom contact hours of instruction per semester. It is assumed that two hours of outside study will be invested for each classroom contact hour. 

The Community Music Center (CMC) is open to all ages and skill levels and offers non-credit lessons and classes in music and sound recording throughout the year. No matter your experience, interest or instrument, CMC's accomplished instructors, some of Chicago's finest professional musicians, are ready to help you pursue your music, learn about the history and theory behind it or explore new genres. Many classes for children are available.

Study an instrument (including percussion, strings, keyboards, brass and woodwinds and more) or voice with one of our distinguished artist faculty members.

Lesson Options: Lessons are offered each semester, for 16 weeks, with two options:

  • One 60-minute lesson for 200 level music majors and advanced level students
  • One 30-minute lesson 

Academic Credit: Private lessons carry two semester hours of academic credit at the 200 level and one hour of academic credit at the 100 level. A successful audition is required for private lesson enrollment carrying academic credit.

Fees (in addition to the tuition): $200 at the 200 level and $100 at the 100 level (subject to change; some additional fees may be associated with credit enrollment). 

For more information about private study with artist faculty, contact Dr. Thomas Stauch, Department of Music, at 847.925.6566 or tstauch@harpercollege.edu.

Harper College is an accredited community college member of the The National Association of Schools of Music (NASM). The NASM, together with the Performing Arts Medicine Association (PAMA), has developed a comprehensive set of jointly authored advisory documents on neuromusculoskeletal, hearing and vocal health for musicians and music schools. Our music students are encouraged to browse the following NASM information sheets and further resources on the NASM website.