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Undergraduate Advising

Chief Undergraduate Advisor & CHFA Associate Dean:
Nikki Stoia

E-202 South College

Track-Specific Advising

Jazz & African American Music Studies: Prof. Jeffrey W. Holmes
FAC 252, 413-545-6046,

Music Education: Prof. Lisa Lehmberg
FAC 261, 413-545-0612,

Music History: Prof. Ernest May
FAC 170, 413-545-0624,

Music Theory: Chair & Prof. Roberta M. Marvin
FAC 273, 413-545-0311

Collaborative Piano: Prof. Nadine Shank
FAC 276, 413-545-0053,

Composition: Prof. Salvatore Macchia
FAC 281, 413-545-6053,

Prof. Matthew Westgate (Wind), FAC 257, 413-545-6056,
Prof. Morihiko Nakahara (Orch), FAC 054, 413-545-9901
Prof. Tony Thornton (Choral), FAC 253, 413-545-0437,


Dance: Faculty

Thomas Vacanti, (also designated Honors Advisor)

Paul Dennis,

Leslie Frye Maietta,

Erica Wilson-Perkins,

Marilyn Sylla (Five College Dance Faculty)

11 Totman Building, north campus

All Immediate (“Routine”) Advising: Applied Faculty

Link to Music Faculty list


Graduate Advising (Music)

The Department has a number of support systems for helping students navigate the path towards a graduate degree.  The faculty and staff of the music department make all attempts to be proactive, often reaching out to students that are in danger of missing a degree requirement or a deadline; however it is ultimately the student’s own responsibility to make sure s/he is making adequate progress. That means frequent checking in with their studio / major area professor and staying in touch with the department’s two Graduate Program representatives listed below. Students should also make a habit, once per semester, of checking their earned credits on SPIRE against the requirements listed for their concentration (see pp. 18-31 of Graduate Handbook).

Additional advising resources:

1. Studio Professor / Major Area Professor: The studio / academic professors are directly invested in the success of their students, and as such serve as primary mentors and coaches within the program. They should frequently be consulted about any and all questions about fulfilling degree requirements, for example:

  • “What would be a good course to take that fulfills my History/Theory seminar requirement?”
    (“What, if any, electives should I think about for this semester?”)
  • “In what semester should I schedule my graduate recital?”
                      (“How do I reserve a room and arrange for an accompanist?”)
  • “When in my second year should I schedule my oral comprehensive exams?”
                      (“Who should I ask to be on the committee?”)
                      (“What kind of questions do you and the other members typically ask?)
  • If writing a thesis: “What is the timeline for crafting a proposal? Submitting the full thesis?”
                      (“What should I prepare for the thesis defense?”)
                      (“How do I submit the final document to the Graduate School?”)
  • “What else should I be doing to make sure I graduate on time?”

2. Graduate Program Representatives in Music:

Prof. Brent Auerbach                                                                                      
Graduate Program Director                                  , Rm 265                  

Denise Cuddeback     
Graduate Administrative Assistant    , Music Office, 273

Among other duties, the Graduate Program Representatives work together to ensure that students are progressing smoothly toward their degrees. The following advising services are offered:

1. Advising Sessions: The Graduate Program Director meets briefly with all M.M. and PH.D. on at least two occasions. The first advising session occurs in Year One on or before the first week of classes. This is a scheduling “check-up” to make sure the student’s plan for classes will fit the degree timeframe. It is expected that students will come to this meeting with their fall schedules prepared and with ideas for what they will take in subsequent semesters. The second advising session happens in early spring of the graduating semester to double check that all requirements are on track to be completed on time (review of the Graduation Eligibility Form that must be signed and submitted to the UMass Graduate School).

2. Records: The Graduate Administrative Assistant, Denise Cuddeback, is responsible for maintaining a file for each graduate student. She processes paperwork for teaching assistantships, course add/drops, recital scheduling, oral examination and thesis committees, and Grad Eligibility Form submission.

3. Communication: The Graduate staff maintains an email list of all active graduate students. Throughout each semester, emails will be sent your university account about upcoming deadlines and advising events as well as extra information about support services like training seminars and graduate travel grants. Please read these carefully.

***From time to time, we will need to reach out to individual students who have not signed their yearly TA contracts or not fulfilled some specific school requirement. If you receive such an email and do not respond, you may lose your funding and/or not graduate on time.

4. Aiding Special Circumstances: Any students with questions about a particular requirement, a concern with their TA-ship, or who are having any sorts of unexpected difficulties with faculty or colleagues should ask the Graduate Program staff for help either in person or by email. Often, this will result in a confidential one-to-one meeting with the Graduate Program Director where grievances may be aired and a plan for a solution can be drafted.

HFA Advising Center