Piano for Proficiency Requirements

Requirements for Majors and Minors

  • Music majors and music minors are offered four semesters of reduced-fee lessons in piano for proficiency in order to develop basic keyboard skills, which are indispensable to the study of music. 
  • Students are encouraged to begin the four-semester sequence as early as possible, typically upon their enrollment in Theory II.
  • Registration begins the first day of classes.
  • Registration hours are Monday – Friday, 9:00 AM - 4:30 PM in the Music Department Office (M201).
  • At the end of each semester, students will be tested on their progress, and a passing grade on the final semester’s exam is required for all students graduating with a major or minor in music. 
  • Review the list of Piano for Proficiency Exam requirements for First Semester Exam, Second Semester Exam, Third Semester Exam, Final Semester Exam, including an Exam Summary
  • This final exam, shown as Music 99, is a requirement for graduates with a major or minor in music.

First Semester Piano for Proficiency Exam Requirements

Item

Details

SCHEDULE

  • End of 1st semester, on Study Days 
  • Sign-up sheets outside of M201 one week prior. 
  • Exams are held in M227.

SCALES

3 Major keys of your choice; 3 Minor keys (either the relative or parallel of the Major scales chosen) in all forms: Melodic, Harmonic and Natural

  • 2 Octaves, Hands Together, Ascending and Descending
  • Minimum tempo: quarter note = 76, played in quarter notes

    TRIADS

    In the keys above. For minor keys, use the harmonic form

    • Root Position and Inversions of the Primary Chords
    • 1 Octave, Ascending and Descending, LH and RH separately
    • Solid and Broken, LH and RH separately

      CHORD PROGRESSION
      I–IV–I–V–V7–I

      • In the minor keys, the harmonic minor is used.
      • Hands together, in Root Position, in the keys above
      • RH chords, LH Bass line only

        SIGHT READING

        • Equivalent to Book 3 Boris Berlin

          REPERTOIRE

          • 2 pieces of contrasting style

          AT THE EXAM

          • 3 Major and 3 minor scales;
          • 4 Sets of Triads and Inversions (2 Major/2 minor)
          • 4 chord progressions
          • 2 sight reading examples
          • both pieces you have prepared
          ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
          • Scales, Triads and Chord Progressions tested at the end of a semester will not be tested in future semesters’ exams.
          • At the exam, you will be allowed ONE “do over” for each example asked (scales, triads, progression, sight reading). 3rd or 4th “tries” will not be allowed.
          • The grading format on this exam will be point based, not Pass/Fail.
          • A minimum of 75% of the total points is needed to pass the 1st semester. If student does not pass, he/she can retake this exam in the middle of the 2nd semester of study. However, if the student also fails the 2nd semester exam, he/she cannot continue receiving lessons.

          Second Semester Piano for Proficiency Exam Requirements

          Item

          Details

          SCHEDULE

          • End of 2nd semester, on Study Days 
          • Sign-up sheets outside of M201 one week prior. 
          • Exams are held in M227.

          SCALES

          3 Major keys of your choice; 3 Minor keys (either the relative or parallel of the Major scales chosen) in all forms: Melodic, Harmonic and Natural

            • 2 Octaves, Hands Together, Ascending and Descending
            • Minimum tempo: quarter note = 76, played in quarter notes

                TRIADS

                In the keys above. For minor keys, use the harmonic form

                  • Root Position and Inversions of the Primary Chords
                  • 1 Octave, Ascending and Descending
                  • Solid and Broken, LH and RH separately

                      CHORD PROGRESSION
                      I–IV–I–V–V7–I

                      • In the minor keys, the harmonic minor is used.
                      • Beginning in Root Position and First Inversion, in the keys above
                      • RH chords, LH bass line

                        SIGHT READING

                        • Equivalent to Book 4 Boris Berlin

                          REPERTOIRE

                          • 2 pieces of contrasting style

                          AT THE EXAM

                            • 3 Major and 3 minor scales;
                            • 4 Sets of Triads and Inversions (2 Major/2 minor)
                            • 4 chord progressions
                            • 2 sight reading examplesb
                            • both pieces you have prepared

                            ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

                            • Scales, Triads and Chord Progressions tested at the end of a semester will not be tested in future semesters’ exams.
                            • At the exam, you will be allowed ONE “do over” for each example asked (scales, triads, progression, sight reading). 3rd or 4th “tries” will not be allowed.
                            • The grading format on this exam will be point based, not Pass/Fail.
                            • A minimum of 70% of the total points is needed to pass the 2nd, 3rd and 4th semester.

                            Third Semester Piano for Proficiency Exam Requirements

                            Item

                            Details

                            SCHEDULE

                            • End of 3rd semester, on Study Days
                            • Sign-up sheets outside of M201 one week prior. 
                            • Exams are held in M227.

                            SCALES

                            3 Major keys of your choice; 3 Minor keys (either the relative or parallel of the Major scales chosen) in all forms: Melodic, Harmonic and Natural

                              • 2 Octaves, Hands Together, Ascending and Descending
                              • Minimum tempo: quarter note = 76, played in quarter notes

                                  TRIADS

                                  In the keys above. For minor keys, use the harmonic form

                                    • Root Position and Inversions of the Primary Chords
                                    • 1 Octave, Ascending and Descending, LH and RH separately
                                    • Solid and Broken, LH and RH separately

                                        CHORD PROGRESSION
                                        I–IV–I–V–V7–I

                                          • In the minor keys, the harmonic minor is used.
                                          • Beginning in Root Position, 1st or 2nd Inversion, in the keys above
                                          • RH chords, LH bass line

                                              SIGHT READING

                                              • Equivalent to Book 5 Boris Berlin

                                                REPERTOIRE

                                                • 2 pieces of contrasting style

                                                AT THE EXAM

                                                • 3 Major and 3 minor scales
                                                • 4 Sets of Triads and Inversions (2 Major/2 minor)
                                                • 4 chord progressions
                                                • 3 sight reading examples
                                                • both pieces you have prepared
                                                  ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
                                                  • Scales, Triads and Chord Progressions tested at the end of a semester will not be tested in future semesters’ exams.
                                                  • At the exam, you will be allowed ONE “do over” for each example asked (scales, triads, progression, sight reading). 3rd or 4th “tries” will not be allowed.
                                                  • The grading format on this exam will be point based, not Pass/Fail.
                                                  • A minimum of 70% of the total points is needed to pass the 2nd, 3rd and 4th semester.

                                                  Final Piano for Proficiency Exam Requirements

                                                  Item

                                                  Details

                                                  SCHEDULE

                                                  • End of 4th semester, on Study Days 
                                                  • Sign-up sheets outside of M201 one week prior. 
                                                  • Exams are held in M227.

                                                  SCALES

                                                  3 Major keys of your choice; 3 Minor keys (either the relative or parallel of the Major scales chosen) in all forms: Melodic, Harmonic and Natural

                                                    • 2 Octaves, Hands Together, Ascending and Descending
                                                    • Minimum tempo: quarter note = 76, played in quarter notes

                                                        TRIADS

                                                        In the keys above. For minor keys, use the harmonic form

                                                          • Root Position and Inversions of the Primary Chords
                                                          • 1 Octave, Ascending and Descending, LH and RH separately
                                                          • Solid and Broken, LH and RH separately

                                                              CHORD PROGRESSION
                                                              I–IV–I–V–V7–I

                                                                • In the minor keys, the harmonic minor is used.
                                                                • Beginning in Root Position and 1st or 2nd inversion, in the keys above
                                                                • RH chords, LH bass line

                                                                    SIGHT READING

                                                                    • Equivalent to Book 6 Boris Berlin

                                                                      REPERTOIRE

                                                                      • 2 pieces of contrasting style

                                                                      AT THE EXAM

                                                                        • 3 Major and 3 minor scales
                                                                        • 4 Sets of Triads and Inversions (2 Major/2 minor)
                                                                        • 4 chord progressions
                                                                        • 3 sight reading examples
                                                                        • both pieces you have prepared
                                                                            ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
                                                                            • At the exam, you will be allowed ONE “do over” for each example asked (scales, triads, progression, sight reading). 3rd or 4th “tries” will not be allowed.
                                                                            • The grading format on this exam will be point based, not Pass/Fail.
                                                                            • A minimum of 70% of the total points is needed to pass the 2nd, 3rd and 4th semester.

                                                                            Piano for Proficiency Exam Summary

                                                                            Item

                                                                            Details

                                                                            SCALES

                                                                            • Fluency of all Major and Minor keys (in all three forms: natural, harmonic and melodic)
                                                                            • 2 octaves, hands together, ascending and descending
                                                                            • Minimum tempo: quarter note = 76, played in quarter notes

                                                                              TRIADS

                                                                              • Fluency of all Major and Minor keys (harmonic minor) Root position and inversions of the Primary Chords I, IV, V
                                                                              • 1 octave, ascending and descending, LH and RH separately
                                                                              • Solid and broken (in triplets)

                                                                                CHORD PROGRESSION
                                                                                I–IV–I–V–V7–I

                                                                                • In all Major or Minor keys, harmonic minor
                                                                                • Beginning in Root Position, 1st or 2nd inversion
                                                                                • RH chords, LH bass line only

                                                                                  SIGHT READING

                                                                                  • Equivalent to Book 6 Boris Berlin
                                                                                  • 3 Contrasting styles similar to: examples in parentheses: Chorale (p.13, 33, 50); imitation (p.20, 29); RH melody and LH accompanying (p.36, 53); 6/8 meter (p.24); Chordal LH (p.37, 52)

                                                                                    REPERTOIRE

                                                                                    • 2 Pieces in contrasting style

                                                                                    ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

                                                                                    • Students can test a maximum of 5 pairs of scales per semester. This provision can be overruled with special permission from Claudia Chen or Mark Mazullo.
                                                                                    • If a student wants to test out in 3 semesters, we might recommend a schedule of 4 pairs of scales in each semester, for example.
                                                                                    • At the exam, you will be allowed ONE “do over” for each example asked (scales, triads, progression, sight reading). 3rd or 4th “tries” will not be allowed.
                                                                                    • The grading format on this exam will be point based, not Pass/Fail.
                                                                                    • A minimum of 75% of the total points is needed to pass the 1st semester. A minimum of 70% of the total points is needed to pass the 2nd, 3rd and 4th semesters.