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Curriculum: Piano or Organ Undergraduates

Life isn't an audition.

Any music school can make you a better player. Our interconnected courses are built to transform you intellectually, artistically, professionally, and individually. You'll understand the roots of your music, freeing you to take it somewhere new. You'll see how your training broadens your options, rather than narrowing them. You'll find your voice. And you'll enter the world with the same confidence you bring to the stage.

Required Courses

Curriculum: Bachelor of Music in Piano or Organ
Credit Total: 127

Requirement Cr.
Private Instruction 32
Performance Classes 2
Humanities & Sciences 30
Musicianship & Music Theory 24
Music History & Literature 20
Professional Development 4
Applied Practical Training 2
Baroque Studies 2
Ensemble 10
Electives 3
Winter Term 3 Years
Digital Portfolio 4 Years
Juries & Recitals N/A

Historical Performance Emphasis for Keyboard (undergraduate) (total credits: 9-11)

  • ENS 210 (Conservatory Baroque Ensemble) (2 semesters, 4 credits)
  • ENS 212 (Continuo Playing) (1 semester, 2 credits) (not required if students can demonstrate prior experience)
  • MHL 400 (Introduction to Performance Practice) (1 semester, 3 credits)
  • PRF 354 (Harpsichord Class) (2 semesters, 2 credits)
  • Jury requirements as determined by Historical Performance faculty

These credits also count towards the Bachelor of Music degree.

Piano Jury and Recital Requirements

Freshman Jury

  • A prelude and fugue from The Well-Tempered Clavier or another work of Bach containing a fugue
  • An entire sonata by Beethoven, Mozart, or Haydn
  • A romantic work by a nineteenth-century composer or a work by a representative French composer (Debussy, Ravel, or others)
  • A work by a twentieth-century composer genuinely representative of musical and technical concepts developed in the last 80 years

Sophomore Jury

  • Any complete partita, French suite, or English suite, or any major work such as the Italian Concerto, or five sinfonias or two preludes and fugues from The Well-Tempered Clavier by Bach
  • A work from the classical period
  • A major romantic work (corresponding in importance and difficulty to a Chopin ballade or scherzo or Brahms’ Eight Piano Pieces, Op. 76)
  • An etude or prelude by Debussy
  • A 20th- or 21st century work

Junior Jury

  • A program of completely new material of not less than 60 minutes in length, to be approved by the major professor and the piano department, including etudes by two different composers (Chopin, Debussy, Rachmaninoff, Scriabin, etc.)

Senior Jury and Senior Recital

  • Piano majors must perform a senior jury to determine fulfillment of performance requirements. A public recital also must be performed, with repertoire approved by the major professor and the piano department.

Concerto Requirement

  • At any time during an undergraduate's residency, a one-time concerto performance requirement must be satisfied at an additional concerto jury. This requirement may be waived by permission if the residency is one year or less. Finalists in the Conservatory's annual concerto competition are also excluded from this requirement.

Organ Jury and Recital Requirements

Freshman Jury

  • A working knowledge of the organ, its design, construction, and registration
  • Trios, fughettas, and chorale preludes from the baroque period; selected works from Bach (e.g. Little Organ Book and Eight Short Preludes and Fugues)
  • Short compositions of Mendelssohn, Brahms, Vierne, etc.
  • Elements of hymn playing

Sophomore Jury

  • Selected Bach preludes and fugues
  • Works from older masters
  • At least one work each from the romantic and modern repertoire
  • Two hymns prepared on one day's notice before the examination
  • Sight-reading
  • Registration to be outlined for two works new to the performer

Junior Jury

  • A 45- to 60-minute recital demonstrating the student's command of a variety of styles, including at least one work from memory. This recital may be played publicly at the professor's discretion.

Senior Jury and Senior Recital

  • Organ majors must perform a senior jury to determine fulfillment of performance requirements. A public recital also must be performed, to include Bach works from the "mature master" period; a major French work; works by American composers; and one work in advanced style written after 1960. Ensemble music may be included. Half of this recital must be memorized.

General Repertoire Requirements

Students should play the following works by the end of their undergraduate career:

  • Bach: one trio sonata, two chorale preludes from the "Great Eighteen" or Clavierübung III (with pedal), three large preludes (toccatas, fantasies) and fugues
  • Buxtehude or other North German masters: one prelude and fugue, one chorale fantasy, three chorale preludes
  • Franck: two major works
  • Mendelssohn: a sonata or prelude and fugue
  • Brahms: four chorale preludes
  • Early Spanish or Italian: one significant work
  • French Classic Period: major portions of masses by Francois Couperin or Nicolas de Grigny
  • Modern French: two works
  • Modern German: two works
  • Modern American: two works
  • Post-1970: one work