Conservatory of Music

The Millsaps Conservatory of Music: Serving the Community

Millsaps College Conservatory

The Millsaps Conservatory of Music, in conjunction with Millsaps College and the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra, offers the highest quality music education to aspiring musicians of all ages, regardless of skill level or economic background. It places students in a creative environment that inspires musical excellence and fosters discovery of their unique expressive voice.

Our primary and future goals are to:

  • Provide community engagement between Millsaps Conservatory of Music, Millsaps College, the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra, and the greater Jackson metropolitan area.
  • Serve all who would like to study and understand the art of music.
  • Develop a wide variety of educational programs for students of all ages and levels of study.
  • Offer the highest quality of music instruction available in the greater Jackson metropolitan area. Millsaps College students instructors are occasionally available for beginner-level lessons.


Private lessons and classes take place on the Millsaps College campus, in the Academic Complex building. Recitals and other musical presentations are held in the 400-seat Recital Hall. The music facilities at Millsaps are excellent, with Steinway and Boston grand pianos in most of the teaching studios and practice rooms, and two Steinway D concert grand pianos in the Recital Hall and a 9-station piano lab for musicianship and group piano study.

1. IN-PERSON INSTRUCTION—If an instructor and student is comfortable with in-person private lessons and would like for these lessons to take place at Millsaps College, the following preconditions must be followed. These procedures are mandatory and must be complied with as a precondition to entering Millsaps College Academic Complex music studios for private lessons.

  • Instructors will be asked to schedule lessons with a short gap between student appointments to reduce the number of persons in the studio at any one time, and to also allow the air to recirculate before the next student enters the space.
  • Studio space. Lessons will be taught in large spaces with ample room (at least 6 feet) for social distancing. If the student is being instructed on a wind instrument or in voice, these lessons will either take place in an outdoor space or an indoor space with room for at least 16 feet of social distancing.
  • Waiting Room. Millsaps Conservatory of Music will eliminate its waiting room (second-floor student lounge), and ask that students and parents remain in their cars until their lesson time. The instructors may also choose to text or call students when they are ready to begin the lesson. Parents and siblings will also be asked to not enter the building. If the student is uncomfortable with walking into the building alone, a parent or students can ask the teacher to meet them at their car and walk them to the studio. One parent is allowed to attend lessons for pedagogical reasons when younger students are involved.
  • Health Screening List. Music studios should instruct students not to come to the music studio if they have (or have had in the past 14 days) a cough, a fever, shortness of breath, difficulties breathing, flu-like symptoms, gastrointestinal upset, or experienced a loss of taste or smell. Until further notice the 24-hour lesson cancellation period will be waived due to an illness, and all missed lessons will be rescheduled at a later date.
  • Limit on Items. Students should only bring the following to their lessons—a cell phone, purse/wallet, their instrument (if applicable), and music.
  • Hand Sanitizer. Millsaps College has placed hand sanitizer stations at the entrance of the Music Department area, and ask students to use it prior to entering the studio and upon leaving the studio.
  • At the discretion of each instructor, our Millsaps Conservatory of Music instructors may have scanners for taking the temperature of students as they enter the music studio. If an elevated temperature is noted, the students should be instructed not to enter the music studio.

Registering for MCM

To register for studies at Millsaps Conservatory of Music, please see the registration information here. At the time of registration, you will have the option to either mail in a check or pay via credit/debit card online. Payment is due by the end of the first week of lessons to ensure your place for the semester.

If you would like to discontinue your private studies at Millsaps Conservatory of Music, you will need to let us know before September 20, 2021, to receive a partial refund for the fall semester, and February 7, 2022, to receive a partial refund for the spring semester. If you would like to discontinue your class or ensemble studies at Millsaps Conservatory of Music, you will need to let us know before September 20, 2021, to receive a partial refund for the fall semester, and February 7, 2022, to receive a partial refund for the spring semester.

Registration deadline for current and new students for 14-week semester of private instrumental or vocal studies is September 13, 2021, in the fall, and January 31, 2022, in the spring.

See a campus map.


Chamber Music Camp

Summer 2022 Chamber Music Camp Brochure and Registration (PDF)

Chamber Music Camp

The Millsaps College Summer Chamber Music Camp is a week-long camp for young artists, created to promote and encourage the development of string and piano Chamber music performance. Students who are rising 7th through 12th graders will have the opportunity to work with Millsaps faculty performing artists and members of the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra, in a supportive atmosphere of collaborative music-making. The daily schedule includes ensemble coaching, classes, rehearsals, master classes, and noonday performances by the artist faculty.

Chamber Music Coaching Sessions

Prior to camp, each student will be placed in two ensembles, according to his/her level of performance and study. Students will be sent their ensemble music for study and preparation with their private teachers. During the camp, the faculty will work on this special material with each ensemble and in master classes. Ensembles will also be given time to rehearse on their own and as a group during the week.

Admission Requirements

Student performers must have at least two years of experience in private lessons, or instrumentalists must have at least three years of experience in orchestra.


Courses of Study

Millsaps Conservatory of Music offers private and group musical instruction for students of all ages, kindergarten through high school and beyond.

Private instruction is available for most all instruments and voice. Theory and musicianship classes are also available. Please consult the course calendar each semester for class offerings and availability.

Private Lessons Schedule for the Academic Calendar Year 2021-2022 will include the following:

Composition, Piano, Violin, Viola, Cello, Flute, Clarinet, Saxophone, Guitar, Voice, and Percussion

  • Calendar includes 28-week lesson schedule from August through May.
  • Parent may request to observe their child’s lesson at any time during the semester. Please consult with your instructor before attending a lesson. Lesson observation allows for parents to discuss the progress and share future plans for their child’s course of study.
  • Student Recital opportunities are offered throughout the year. Teachers will encourage their students to participate in these recitals for goal setting and in preparation for other festivals organized by local and state music teacher organizations.
  • All students are encouraged to participate in local and state performance evaluations, and other group activities organized by the Millsaps Conservatory.
  • Student performance evaluations may be scheduled at the end of the spring semester.
  • Summer Private Lessons—Please consult with your teacher for availability. Students might like to try out a new instrument during the summertime, or to receive extra lessons or training in preparation for the coming year. Payment is based on per-lesson fee.

Class and Group Instruction Schedule for the Academic Calendar Year 2021–2022 will include the following:

Chamber Music Ensembles:
String Ensembles
Piano and String Ensembles
Piano Ensembles

Theory/Musicianship Classes

Calendar includes 20-week class schedule from September through May. Students may enroll for one semester at a time. A list of current theory classes to be offered for the 2021-2022 school year is forthcoming. Ensembles will be formed based on enrollment.


2021-22 Faculty*

Cheryl Coker, voice
BMEd, MM, University of Southern Mississippi; DMA, University of Minnesota
601.974.1425 | Email:

Alex Encinas, viola & violin
BM, Gnessin-Institut Moscow; MM, University of Southern Mississippi


Gayle Entrekin, flute
BM, MM; Rice University; additional studies with Geoffrey Gilbert, DeLand, Fla.


Taylis Fernandez, cello & bass
Conservatory Studies, Escuela Nacional de Arte (Havana, Cuba); Undergraduate Studies, Oklahoma State University; BM, MM, University of Southern Mississippi


Ken Graves, clarinet/saxophone
BM, University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music; MM, University of Southern California; Conservatory Studies, The Colburn School


Rachel Heard, piano
BM, The Juilliard School; MM, The Juilliard School; DMA, Rutgers University
601.942.8839 | Email:

Jason Mathena, marimba and percussion
BME, Auburn University; MM, University of Louisiana–Lafayette; DMA, University of Southern Mississippi

Lynn Raley, piano
BM, Southern Methodist University; MM, University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music; DMA, Rutgers University
601.974.1423 | Email:

Donna Reed, piano
BM, Belhaven University; MM, Mississippi College

Kazuaki Shiota, theory/composition/technology
BM — University of North Texas
MM, DMA – University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music

James Turner, guitar
BM, MM, University of Southern Mississippi


* Student teacher faculty list available upon request




July–August 31
Pre-Registration: All applicants should use the online registration form

August 23
Fall semester lessons begin

October 2
MCM Student Recital

November 13 
MCM Student Recital

November 20
Music Forum of Jackson
Sonatina-Sonata Festival

November 22–November 26
Thanksgiving Break

December 12
First semester ends

December 12–January 10
Christmas Holiday

January 10
Spring semester begins

January 29
All-Baroque Recital
3 p.m.
AC Recital Hall

March 7-12 
Spring break

March 26
Student Recital
3 p.m.
AC Recital Hall

April 15-17
Easter Weekend—No classes scheduled

April 23
Spring Recital
3 p.m.
AC Recital Hall

May 13
Second semester ends



Step 1

Fill out the online registration form completely. See Step 2 for payment options.

If you have questions regarding lessons or classes, please contact Rachel Heard before sending in registration form and payment, especially if using the online form of payment. Find further information about tuition.

Step 2

After submitting the registration form, please submit tuition payment, via one of two options:

  • Payment of full tuition amount by check*, sent to Millsaps Conservatory of Music, c/o Rachel Heard, Millsaps College, 1701 N. State St., Jackson, MS, 39210, or
  • Payment via credit card online on the registration form.

Step 3

After receiving the registration form and tuition payment, MCM will contact each student with information regarding registration and teacher placement. At this time, students will also receive teacher contact information for all classes or private lessons. Private lesson times will be arranged between students and teachers.

* If you have any questions about tuition payment and the possibility of making monthly payments, please contact Dr. Rachel Heard.



For Private Lessons, Musicianship Classes, and Chamber Ensembles

As part of the registration process, the tuition fee for private lessons can be paid in full at the beginning of each semester in August and January, in one of two ways:

1. By check

2. Online with a credit or debit card

Checks should be made out to Millsaps College and sent to: Millsaps Conservatory of Music, c/o Rachel Heard, Millsaps College, 1701 North State St, Jackson, MS 39210.

Please see the withdrawal policy below.

Semester Tuition for Private Lessons

Fall and Spring Semester 2021–2022*
Semester Tuition (14 lessons)
Master Teacher
Semester Tuition (10 lessons)
Student Teacher**
30-Minute $575 $310
45-Minute $720 $385
60-Minute $865

Semester Tuition for Musicianship Classes and Chamber Ensembles

Classes and Ensemble tuition must be paid in full at the beginning of the semester.

Fall and Spring Semester 2021–2022 Per Semester
Musicianship Class (10 weeks) $210
Small Group Ensembles (10 weeks) $260

Lessons missed by the student are made up at the discretion of the instructor. Please see Attendance Policies and Withdrawal Policy for Classes or Lessons for details.

* If you have any questions about tuition payment and the possibility of making monthly payments, please contact Dr. Rachel Heard.

** Student teachers are available for piano only. Please contact Dr. Rachel Heard for more information.


Attendance Policies

1. Students are expected to regularly attend all lessons, classes, and ensemble rehearsals, and must notify the teacher 24 hours in advance of any absences. Since the teacher has reserved a weekly lesson or class time for each student, the teacher is not required to make up a lesson missed by the student due to illness, vacation, schedule conflict, etc. If a teacher has time available during their regular teaching hours, a courtesy make-up lesson may be offered, but only at the discretion of the teacher.

2. If a teacher cancels a lesson/class or if MCM closes for any reason, a make-up lesson/class will be offered. In addition, a credit is not available for make-up lessons or classes that are agreed upon and then missed by the student.

3. When illness is involved, please be responsible. Students should not attend lessons, classes, or rehearsals if they are ill and/or contagious. If a teacher determines that the student is too ill to have a lesson, they have the right to send the student home.

4. Exceptions to these policies will certainly be considered in the rare case of serious illness or other emergency situations and will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

Withdrawal Policy for Classes or Lessons

Students and parents who register for lessons or classes at the Millsaps Conservatory of Music must commit to continuing their studies for the full semester.

Withdrawal by the student from lessons or a class can only be made before the conclusion of the fourth week of classes each semester to receive a partial refund (fall semester—Monday, September 20, 2021; spring semester—Monday, February 7, 2022). Students will be responsible for paying for the number of lessons received up until (and including) the fourth week of the semester. After the fourth week of classes, students will be responsible for the entire semester of tuition. If you would like to discontinue your class or ensemble studies at Millsaps Conservatory of Music, you will need to let us know before September 20, 2021, to receive a partial refund for the fall semester, and February 7, 2022, to receive a partial refund for the spring semester.

Millsaps Conservatory of Music will discontinue lessons under the following circumstances:

1. Nonpayment, or late/insufficient funds payment of tuition.

2. More than four lessons missed without a valid excuse.


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