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 Day and the first day of final exams
  • 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 Day and the first day of final exams.
  • 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 Day and the first day of final exams.
  • 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 Day and the first day of final exams.
  • 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.