Illinois Wesleyan
School of Music

Preparatory Programs

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 2021-2022 Schedule


Image of Erin Mulliken
Erin Mulliken

Director of Preparatory Program

Room 30

Contact: (309)

Image of Olivia Hoff
Olivia Hoff

Assistant Director of Preparatory Program

Room 37

Contact: (309)

Image of Lu Witzig
Lu Witzig


Room 257

Contact: (309)


String Preparatory Department

The String Preparatory Department at Illinois Wesleyan University is currently enrolling students for private lessons on violin, viola, cello, double bass, and guitar.  Fall semester lessons begin on August 17, 2020. The IWU String Prep Program offers weekly private lessons to students of all ages, chamber music, and recitals. For registration information, please contact Lisa Nelson at (309) 556-3547 or

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

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 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 214 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.

String Preparatory Program Informational Letter & Calendar


Registration Form


Woodwind Preparatory Program

The Preparatory Program at Illinois Wesleyan University is offering a limited number of full-tuition scholarships for weekly private lessons.  Flute, clarinet, oboe, and French horn players in the Bloomington-Normal area, grades 4-12, are eligible.  Recipients will be selected by musical potential and financial need.

Scholarship recipients are expected to attend lessons held weekly at Illinois Wesleyan University and perform twice a year in Prep Program recitals. Students must practice and be prepared for every lesson.  

Scholarship applications can be downloaded from the link below or can be sent to you by e-mail or mail.  Contact Lisa Nelson at or (309) 556-3547.

Please return completed applications by August 1, 2021 via e-mail ( or by mail to the following address:

IWU Preparatory Program
Attn: Lisa Nelson
P.O. Box 2900
Bloomington, IL 61702-2900


Scholarship Application



Image of Lisa Nelson
Lisa Nelson

Director, Assistant Professor of Viola and Violin

Room 154

Contact: (309)

Image of Katherine Roy
Katherine Roy

Violin and Viola


Image of Rachel Sompong
Rachel Sompong

Violin and Viola


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Maria Arrua
Maria Arrua

Violin and Viola


Image of 
 Daria Dodonova
Daria Dodonova

Violin (Student)


Image of 
Ethan Schuller 
Ethan Schuller 

Violin (Student) 


Image of Ivette Enriquez
Ivette Enriquez

Flute (Student)


Image of Braylee Parry
Braylee Parry

Clarinet (Student)


Ralla Klepak Community Music Scholars at the Preparatory Programs

The Ralla Klepak Community Music Scholars provides access to preparatory music lessons and other programming to students who have been traditionally underserved throughout the Bloomington-Normal community. Students receive individualized instruction with IWU instructors. Instruments and lesson materials are free to those qualifying to the program and are fully funded by the Ralla Klepak Foundation for Education in the Performing Arts. The calendar of the program coincides with the academic calendar. Students will also have the opportunity to participate in several performance opportunities throughout the year at Illinois Wesleyan University's campus.

The Klepak music faculty are professionally trained and passionate about music education and serving our community.

Interested individuals are encouraged to apply. Acceptance to the program is based on financial need (i.e. free and reduced lunch). Lessons are held at Bloomington Junior High School, Illinois Wesleyan University and other locations. Read our press release to learn more about the start of this program. 

For more information:
Or to apply online: Klepak Application 

Dr. Ingrid Kammin, Director of The Ralla Klepak Community Music Scholars

Olivia Hoff, Assistant Director of Preparatory Program

Dr. William Hudson, Administrative Assistant

For further Information about the Ralla Klepak Foundation for Education in the Performing Arts, please visit:

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