Preparatory Department

A limited number of pre-college students are accepted in piano and stringed instruments for instruction in music performance and musicianship skills. The work is normally carried on in a combination of group and private lessons.

Our teaching process is tailored to the needs of the individual student. Since no two students are alike, we plan the instruction precisely and thoroughly to develop and enhance the unique qualities of each student. Above all, we nurture in our students a lifelong appreciation and love for music. 

The calendar of the department coincides with the academic year. Additional information concerning opportunities and fees may be obtained by writing or calling the preparatory department.

Piano Preparatory Department

The Piano Preparatory Department, with its one hundred and fifty years of service to Bloomington-Normal and its surrounding communities, shares in the reputation of excellence enjoyed by Illinois Wesleyan University's academic traditions.  Presser Hall is home to School of Music undergraduates as well as to our preparatory students; this gives our young scholars access to superior facilities in an atmosphere of vibrant and inspiring academic and musical activity.

Our Piano Preparatory Department prides itself on its high standards of teaching.  We strive to develop in students not only pianistic skills but also a broad knowledge and appreciation for the world's great musical traditions. To these ends, we offer:

  • highly qualified, experienced, and committed piano teachers;
  • 45-minute private lessons focused on classical repertoire for the piano, piano technique, music theory, and the development of critical listening skills;
  • opportunities to perform in student recitals throughout the year;
  • skills testing, and evaluations of student progress each semester; and
  • opportunities to attend free recitals presented by the IWU's School of Music professors, students, and guest artists.

Join with IWU's Piano Preparatory Department faculty as we look forward to developing new and better ways to serve our community's young musicians.

Office:  556-3337 - Room 264B

Piano Preparatory Program 2015 - 2016 Schedule


Erin Mulliken
Director, Adjunct Instructor
Room 30-- 556-3441,

Olivia Hoff
Adjunct Instructor
Room 159-- 556-3895,

Lu Witzig
Adjunct Instructor
Room 257-- 556-2443,



String Preparatory Department

The String Preparatory Department offers private instruction to students at all levels, in violin, viola, cello, and double bass. Chamber music and studio classes are offered to dedicated students at the intermediate and advanced levels.

Philosophy: In the IWU String Preparatory Program, each student is treated as a unique individual with unlimited potential; lessons conform to the age, abilities, musical experience, and goals of each student, aiming to challenge, discipline, stimulate critical and creative thinking, and most importantly, nurture an appreciation and enjoyment of music.

Lessons: Students have the options of 30-, 45-, or 60-minute private lessons, which are given weekly at Presser Hall, IWU. All teachers have significant teaching experience and have degrees in performance and/or music education.

Recitals: All students are expected to perform in at least one of the many solo recitals held throughout the year (please see calendar for recital dates). Students and their families are highly encouraged to attend concerts and recitals at IWU and in the community. We will post announcements of faculty recitals during the year. There is a series of free concerts at IWU each summer-- concert times are listed at

Chamber Music: The String Prep Dept. offers a chamber music program for strings, winds, and piano in the fall semester. Students are placed in groups according to their age, level, and experience and are coached by IWU and Prep faculty once a week. The chamber groups present a final concert in December and have additional opportunities to perform in the community.

Theory Classes: Theory classes are offered every other spring semester.

Summer Activities: Summer lessons are coordinated directly with your teacher. IWU holds a Chamber Music Festival and Camp and a Cello Camp for high school students— please visit and for more information.

Information: The calendar and updated recital information will be posted on the bulletin board outside room 253 throughout the year, as well as on our Facebook page, “IWU String Preparatory Program.”

For information about registration or questions, please call (309) 556-3547.

Chamber Music Instructors

Lisa Nelson
Violin and Viola Visiting Assistant Professor Instructor
Room 154-- 556-3547,

Sharon Chung, Violin and Viola

Katherine Roy, Violin and Viola

Rachel Sompong, Violin and Viola

Alicia Gummess, Violin

Amanda Mendez, Cello

Mark Anderson, Guitar

Joe Plazak, Guitar


String Preparatory Program Informational Letter 15-16 (.doc)

String Preparatory Program 15-16 Calendar of Events (.doc)