Music 161

MUSC 161:162

Catalog Entry

MUSC 161:162. First Year Class Piano
Three Hours Laboratory (1:1).

Prerequisite (MUSC 161): Audition and music reading ability

Prerequisite (MUSC 162): Completion of MUSC 161 with a grade of “C” or better.

Keyboard skills at the first and second basic levels is offered for non-keyboard music majors and minors. The course includes sight reading, analysis, memorization and performance of music; technical skills to develop a "feel" for the topography of the keyboard; harmonization and transposition of melodic lines; playing "by ear" and other creative activities including composition and improvisation.


Detailed Description of Content of Course

1. This course teaches the first basic level of keyboard skills in a laboratory setting. Reading music is emphasized which includes new and reviewed material as well as solo and ensemble repertoire.
2. Technical exercises to develop facility, fluency and a "feel" for the topography of the keyboard are practiced using the following theoretical concepts:

  • 161: in the keys of C, a, G, e, D, b, F, d, D flat, b flat, G flat, e flat.
  • 162: in the keys of A, f sharp, E, c sharp, B, g sharp, B flat, g, E flat, c, A flat, f.

    a. Major and minor pentachords, blocked and broken triads. Chromatic scales are also introduced.
    b. Major and minor scales (all three forms) played two octaves, hands separately.
    c. Cadences hands separately, in closed position, beginning with a root position tonic triad: I, IV in 2nd inversion, I, V7 in 1st inversion and I; beginning with a 1st inversion tonic triad: I in 1st inversion, IV, I in 1st inversion, V7 in 3rd inversion and I in 1st inversion; beginning with a 2nd inversion tonic triad: I in 2nd inversion, IV in 1st inversion, I in 2nd inversion, V7 and I in 2nd inversion.
    d. Triads and inversions, both blocked and broken, played one octave, hands separately.

3. Harmonization of melodies using I,IV and V chordal accompaniments in the left hand both with and without chord symbols
4. Transposition of pentascale position repertoire and single line melodies within a one octave range.
5. "Ear-to-hand" aural skills training using simple folk tunes such as "Mary Had a Little Lamb" and "Alouette".
6. Playing "by ear", improvisation, composition and other creative activities at a first basic level.
7. Throughout the course, students are coached by the instructor in basic piano technique including such aspects as posture at the keyboard, hand position, using fluid motions and keeping the wrists flexible.


Detailed Description of Conduct of Course

The class will meet three times a week in the digital keyboard laboratory. The students will play together in class and are expected to do individual practice (about 3 hours per week) outside of class.


Goals and Objectives of the Course

The students will attain the first basic level of proficiency in piano skills by the completion of the course. These skills include being able to play scales, cadences and triads, hands separately:

  • 161: in the keys of C, a, G, e, D, b, F, d, D flat, b flat, G flat, e flat.
  • 162: in the keys of A, f sharp, E, c sharp, B, g sharp, B flat, g, E flat, c, A flat, f.

Students should be able to sight read fluently at a level comparable to the music found in Book 1 of Bartok's Mikrokosmos, perform memorized repertoire comparable to "Funny Event" by Kabalevsky, demonstrate "ear-to-hand" ability such as playing tunes like "Alouette" in the above keys and be able to transpose and harmonize a single melodic line using I, IV and V in the above keys.


Assessment Measures

1. A placement audition/interview will be conducted by the course instructor during class time in the first week of class. Based on this audition/interview, the instructor will advise the student regarding the appropriate course to take:

  • MUSC 160. Beginning Class Piano.
  • MUSC 161. First Year Class Piano. Semester 1.
  • MUSC 162. First Year Class Piano. Semester 2.

A student who enters with keyboard skills beyond MUSC 162 may be invited to play an additional audition before a faculty jury for placement in MUSC 261:262 or applied piano study.

2. Students are evaluated through performance of skills tests given approximately every 2 weeks throughout the course. There is also a mid-term and final exam which will test all of the skills outlined in the content of the course above.

3. Students in MUSC 162 are required to pass a Level 1 Class Piano Jury Exam for a faculty panel of at least three faculty members. At least one Music Education faculty member will be included on the Jury Exams for Music Education majors. At least one Music Therapy faculty member will be included on the Jury Exams for Music Therapy majors.

Each student receives a pass/fail grade on skills in four categories: technique, sight reading, improvisation, repertoire. The student must be rated to pass in each of the four categories of skills in order to receive a grade of “C” or better.


Other Course Information


Approval and Subsequent Reviews

February 2006 Reviewed E. Fellin, Chairman