Department of Music

Piano Proficiency

All undergraduate degree candidates in music must successfully complete the Piano Proficiency examination as a part of their degree requirements. Keyboard skills are an essential part of any advanced music study. Such skills allow a student to have immediate access to the content of musical scores, which, in turn, benefits studies in music theory (especially analysis, composition, ear training, and counterpoint), music teaching methods, and conducting. Keyboard skills have also proven invaluable for students preparing for courses in student teaching. Past graduates have indicated that their keyboard skills have proven to be an important part of their professional skills.

The purpose of the piano proficiency program is to ensure that all music students, regardless of musical background, attain minimal proficiency in four keyboard skills: technique, harmonization/transposition, solo performance, and sight-reading. All parts of the piano proficiency jury examination should be completed by the end of the student's third semester in the program. Otherwise progress to completing of the degree will be seriously delayed. The complete description of the requirement is provided on link below and in the piano lab (Room 225)

MUS 153: Functional Piano is a one credit course which has been designed specifically to assist music majors in learning each of the skills described above. Students MUST take MUS 153 Functional Piano for at least three semesters. Should a student completes the entire Piano Proficiency Requirement within one or two semesters, he/she will NOT be required to enroll in the class fulfilling the requirement. It is NOT necessary to have had prior keyboard training to learn the skills described above; many students with no prior ability have completed the requirement within three semesters.

The piano proficiency jury examination is normally offered twice each semester, usually during the eighth or ninth week of the semester, and also at the end of each semester.  (However, this exam is NOT given during the summer months, so plan accordingly.)   Notices for these exams are posted about two weeks prior to the exam date. It is important that students begin their preparation for this course as soon as possible, since failure to complete the requirement on time could delay the presentation of degree solo recitals or delay the scheduling of student teaching courses.

Visit this link for specific information about the Piano Proficiency Requirement and Jury Examination

For students in degree programs requiring student teaching in music, all sections of the Piano Proficiency Requirement must be completed in the semester PRIOR to that in which student teaching in music is to be done.  Students desiring to student teach in the spring semester must have completed all parts of the Piano Proficiency Requirement by no later than the December of the previous fall semester.  Similiarly, students desiring to student teach in the fall semester must have completed all parts of the Piano Proficiency Requirement by no later than May of the previous spring semester. For students in degree programs requiring a senior recital, all sections of the requirement must be completed in the semester PRIOR to that in which senior recital is to be presented. To be allowed to present a junior recital, the student must complete the first three sections of the requirement during the semester PRIOR to that in which the recital is intended to be presented.

There are five mandatory songs that must be performed as part of the requirement.  Links to piano arrangements for each song are shown below.  Full harmonizations are shown on the left side  (for piano prformance majors);  "lite" versions (on the right) are acceptable for use by non-piano majors.  Music may be used during the performance of theses songs.

Alaska's Flag (full version)                             Alaska's Flag ("lite" version)

America (full version)                                      America ("lite" version)

America, the Beautiful (full version)             America, the Beautiful ("lite" version)

Happy Birthday (full version)                          Happy Birthday ("lite" version)

The Star-Spangled Banner  (full version)   The Star-Spangled Banner ("lite" version)

Recommended List of Tunes for Harmonization/Transposition