Piano at Westminster Choir College has multiple dimensions at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. It fosters the development of students who perform on a high level as soloists, as artistteachers and as collaborators with other performing artists. A strong foundation of technique and knowledge of piano literature and style are essential to all the foregoing. The department also provides instruction for undergraduate students who need keyboard skills in order to function effectively throughout their professional careers.
Undergraduate Piano Primary
Piano primary students majoring in Sacred Music, Bachelor of Arts in Music, Music Education, Theory/Composition, or Music Theater are expected to play once each semester in performance class. Seniors give a full or half recital, as determined by the instructor and the department following the jury examination at the end of the junior year. Freshmen have required juries at the end of each semester; sophomores and juniors, at the end of each year. Piano primary students study with the same faculty and are offered the same performance opportunities as Piano Majors.
Undergraduate Piano Secondary
All undergraduate voice primary students must enroll for piano secondary study until the Piano Proficiency Test is passed. Instruction is in the form of piano classes. Placement in the classes by level is determined at the beginning of each semester. Instruction entails study and performance of piano literature from the Baroque through the 20th Century as well as development of proficiency in areas of functional keyboard skills. Students who have not passed the test within four semesters are required to continue study until they have done so. If the test is passed in fewer than four semesters, further study is not required.
Piano as an Elective
Students may elect private instruction in piano for credit. There are no audition requirements, but an extra fee is charged. The number of students accepted is limited, however, by the time available for teaching within the department.
Piano Pedagogy Lab
This is a required graduate Piano Pedagogy course for the purpose of problem–solving related to piano teaching. The class format includes open discussion of observation, supervised and independent teaching, questions relating to repertoire, materials, and technique, comparative philosophies and psychologies and their applications, group and private teaching, business issues (e.g. studio policies), use of technology, professional organizations and publications, recital and audition preparation, and parental education.
Piano Performance Class
This is a weekly recital and lecture hour during which programs are given by students, faculty members, and guest performers. Attendance and participation at weekly studio and performance classes is required for all undergraduate and graduate piano primary students. All Westminster students are invited to attend.