Department of Music

Student Handbook

 

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Piano Proficiency

The piano proficiency examinations are required of all students in the B.M.E. and B.M. degrees.  Students in the B.M.E. degree must pass the examination prior to the semester of the directed teaching internship.  BM students must pass it prior to graduation.

Preparation

All entering freshmen will register for MUS 107 Class Piano unless they are piano majors.

All transfers who have completed four semesters of group piano with a grade of C or higher at a community college or other institution should register for MUS 300 Piano Proficiency. They will take all five areas of the piano proficiency examination during the first week of class for placement in the proper piano class or exemption due to passing all areas.

Students must be continuously be enrolled in piano until all piano proficiency examinations are passed.

General Guidelines

The Piano Proficiency exam will be offered three times each semester:

  1. Early in the Fall and Spring semesters.
  2. Mid-term
  3. Jury day (an alternative date during finals week may be offered.)

Students may take any one or all five sections at any of these times.  The five sections of the exam include:

  1. Scales and Arpeggios
  2. Five-note scales and Cadences
  3. Harmonization and Transposition
  4. Sight-reading
  5. Performance (except for piano majors)

Two or more faculty members will hear proficiency exams.  In the event that a student cannot enter an internship or graduate because of not passing the proficiency examination, a jury of three to five faculty members will hear all future attempts.

Results of the exams will be posted the day following the exam.

Students in private lessons may substitute the proficiency exam for jury repertoire.  This decision should be made between the student and teacher early in the semester.  For keyboard majors, the piano proficiency exam is in addition to the regular semester jury.

Passing grades in class piano indicate the chronological successful completion of sections of the Piano Proficiency examination.

Keyboard and instrumental students will normally pass all sections of the Piano Proficiency examination by the end of the sophomore year.  Voice students will normally pass off most of the requirements for the Piano Proficiency examination by the end of the sophomore year, however, additional skills are required which can be passed off during the junior or senior years.  Regardless of performance area all sections of this examination must be passed prior to the internship semester for B.M.E. students.

Piano Proficiency Exam

Instrumental Majors

  1. Five-note Scales and Cadences

    1. Five-note scales – all major and minor keys, hands together, minimum speed: 60= 2 notes per tick
    2. Cadences – I-IV-I-V7-I in all keys, hands together with appropriate inversions (I in root position), minimum speed: 60 = 2 ticks per note
  2. Scales and Arpeggios

    1. Scales – all major and harmonic minor keys, 2 octaves, hands apart with correct fingering, minimum speed: 60 = 2 notes per tick
    2. Arpeggios – all major and minor tonic triad, 2 octaves, hands apart with correct fingering, minimum speed: 60 = 1 note per tick
  3. Harmonization and Transposition

    1. Harmonize a folk tune with given chord symbols. Play the melody with the right hand and use a simple chordal accompaniment in the left hand. Use chord inversions as appropriate to show smooth voice leading. Minimum tempo will be determined for each tune.
    2. Transpose the above melody and accompaniment up and down a whole step. Minimum tempo will be determined for each tune.
  4. Sight Reading

    Simple piece from the piano repertoire showing some independence of hands, on the level of page 205, #3, Alfred’s Group Piano for Adults, Volume I, 2nd ed.  Minimum tempo will be determined for each example.

  1. Performance

    1. One piece from the piano repertoire of intermediate difficulty, on the level of page 334, Alfred’s Group Piano for Adults, Volume I, 2nd ed. Performed at an appropriate tempo, with correct fingerings and observance of musical markings, no repeats will be taken unless determined necessary to the structure of the piece.
    2. The piano part of one piece from the individual’s major instrumental repertoire or another solo piece from the piano repertoire of intermediate difficulty. Appropriate difficulty will be determined in consultation with the piano faculty. Student will be responsible for selecting the piece for the instrumental repertoire and providing an original copy of the score. Performed at appropriate tempo, with correct fingerings and observance of musical markings, no repeats will be taken unless determined necessary to the structure of the piece.

Voice Majors

  1. Five-note Scales and Cadences

    1. Five-note scales – all major and minor keys, hands together, minimum speed: 60= 2 notes per tick
    2. Cadences – I-IV-I-V7-I in all keys, hands together with appropriate inversions (I in root position), minimum speed: 60 = 2 ticks per note
  2. Scales and Arpeggios

    1. Scales – all major and harmonic minor keys, 2 octaves, hands apart with correct fingering, minimum speed: 60 = 2 notes per tick
    2. Arpeggios – all major and minor tonic triad, 2 octaves, hands apart with correct fingering, minimum speed: 60 = 1 note per tick
  3. Harmonization and Transposition

    1. A. Harmonize a folk tune with given chord symbols. Play the melody with the right hand and use a simple chordal accompaniment in the left hand. Use chord inversions as appropriate to show smooth voice leading. Minimum tempo will be determined for each tune.
    2. Transpose the above melody and accompaniment up and down a whole step. Minimum tempo will be determined for each tune.
  4. Sight Reading

    1. A simple piece from the piano repertoire showing some independence of hands on the level of page 364, Alfred’s Group Piano for Adults, Volume II, 2nd ed.  Minimum tempo will be determined for each example.
    2. The piano part of a song on the level of page 169, Alfred’s Group Piano for Adults, Volume II, 2nd ed. Minimum tempo will be determined for each example.
    3. Choral score – 2 parts from a 4-part open score on the level of page 278, Alfred’s Group Piano for Adults, Volume II, 2nd ed. Minimum tempo will be determined for each example.
  1. Performance

    1. One piece from the piano repertoire of intermediate difficulty, on the level of pages 362-363, Alfred’s Group Piano for Adults, Volume II, 2nd ed. Performed at an appropriate tempo, with correct fingerings and observance of musical markings, no repeats will be taken unless determined necessary to the structure.
    2. The piano part of a song for the individual’s voice type. Appropriate difficulty will be determined in consultation with the piano faculty. Student will be responsible for selecting the piece and providing an original copy of the score.  Performed at appropriate tempo, with correct fingerings and observance of musical markings, no repeats will be taken unless determined necessary to the structure of the piece.
    3. One four-part choral piece or traditional hymn. Performed at an appropriate tempo with correct fingerings.
    4. The piano part of one choral piece for SATB. Appropriate difficulty will be determined in consultation with the piano faculty. Student will be responsible for selecting the piece and providing an original copy of the score. Performed at appropriate tempo, with correct fingerings and observance of musical markings, no repeats will be taken unless determined necessary to the structure of the piece.

Piano Majors

  1. Five-note Scales and Cadences

    1. Five-note scales – all major and minor keys, hands together, minimum speed: 60= 2 notes per tick
    2. Cadences – I-IV-I-V7-I in all keys, hands together with appropriate inversions (I in root position), minimum speed: 60 = 2 ticks per note
  2. Scales and Arpeggios

    1. Scales – all major and all forms of the minor, 4 octaves, hands together with correct fingering, minimum speed:  60 = 4 notes per tick
    2. Arpeggios
      • Tonic triad – all major and minor tonic triad, 4 octaves, hands together with correct fingering, minimum speed:  60 = 2 notes per tick
      • Dominant seventh chord – all major and minor keys, 4 octaves, hands together with correct fingering, minimum speed:  60 = 2 notes per tick
      • Leading-tone seventh chord – fully diminished, all major and minor keys, 4 octaves, hands together with correct fingering, minimum speed:  60 = 2 notes per tick
  3. Harmonization and Transposition

    1. Harmonize a folk tune with given chord symbols. Play the melody with the right hand and use a simple chordal accompaniment in the left hand. Use chord inversions as appropriate to show smooth voice leading. Minimum tempo will be determined for each tune.
    2. Transpose the above melody and accompaniment up and down a whole step. Minimum tempo will be determined for each tune.
  4. Sight Reading

    1. One piece from the intermediate piano repertoire, on the level of page 221 of   Alfred’s Group Piano for Adults, Volume II, 2nd ed.  Minimum tempo will be determined for each example.
    2. The piano part of a song on the level of page 254 of Alfred’s Group Piano for Adults, Volume II, 2nd ed. Minimum tempo will be determined for each example.
    3. Choral score – 4 parts from a 4-part open score, on the level of page 278 of Alfred’s Group Piano for Adults, Volume II, 2nd ed. Minimum tempo will be determined for each example.