Piano Proficiency Examination Requirements

All music majors must pass the piano proficiency exam as a requirement for graduation.

Music majors from all degree programs must pass the core requirements for piano proficiency. Music Education majors have additional requirements related to their area of specialization.

Students should take the Piano Proficiency no later than the end of Sophomore year. Music education majors may not enroll in MUS 332: Elementary Music Methods II or MUS 323: Secondary Music Methods until the piano proficiency examination is completed satisfactorily.

Piano Proficiency examinations are scheduled during finals week during the spring and fall semesters and are held in the Small Ensemble Rehearsal Room. The jury for the exam will include at least two piano faculty.

The Piano Proficiency must be completed in its entirety within a single jury to meet the requirements.

Permission of instructor must be obtained to take the Proficiency Exam.

Students may enroll in MUS 234: Class Piano I, MUS 235: Class Piano II, and MUS 335: Class Piano III in the appropriate sequence to build the skills necessary to complete the piano proficiency.

Memorization is required for scales and chord progressions only.

Core Piano Proficiency Requirements

All music majors will:
  1. Play all major and harmonic minor scales from memory, in two octaves, hands together, with correct fingering (See Scale Skills Level Four by Keith Snell).
  2. Play the chord progression I-IV6/4-I-V6/5-I (i-iv6/4-i-V6/5-i) in block chord style, from memory, hands together with correct fingerings, in all major keys and white key minors (See Scale Skills Level Four by Keith Snell).
  3. Sight read a new piece demonstrating proficiency at reading keyboard music. Level II as determined by instructor (similar to examples from class).
  4. Play a prepared four-part harmonization from J. S. Bach’s 101 Chorales, a standard hymn book, or a four-part selection from a standard songbook. Instructor’s approval required.
  5. Perform one prepared solo repertoire piece. Approval of instructor required.
  6. Improvise an accompaniment (other than block chords—such as arpeggiation, Alberti, waltz bass, etc.) to a given 8 measure diatonic melody.

Additional Requirements for Music Education Majors

In addition to the core requirements, music education majors will complete the following according to their area of specialization:
  • Instrumental emphasis:
    1. Play one prepared accompaniment from the repertoire of the student's main instrument. (Instructor’s approval required.)
    2. Improvise a simple 8 measure melody over a given left hand accompaniment. Transpose original left hand accompaniment to the keys of C, G, and/or F and improvise in that key.
  • Choral Emphasis:
    1. Play selected voices from an open SATB score (Examples provided by instructor).
    2. Play a prepared accompaniment from a selected aria, oratorio, or opera. (Instructor’s approval required.)
    3. Improvise a simple 8 measure melody over a given left hand accompaniment. Transpose original left hand accompaniment to the keys of C, G, and/or F and improvise in that key.