School of Performing Arts: Music Piano Proficiency Requirements

All music majors are required to pass the functional piano proficiency examination as one of the graduation requirements for any music degree. Students should pass the piano proficiency by the end of the sixth semester of study at ISU or sooner. Students unable to fulfill the examination requirements upon entrance must register for Class Piano (MUSC 1118-1119-2218-2219) until able to complete MUSC 2219 with a grade of "C" or higher. Placement in the proper course is determined by the instructor through an interview/audition. Students should take Class Piano concurrently with Music Theory (MUSC 1103-1104-2203-2204). The proficiency requirements are:

  1. Demonstrate sufficient knowledge of the keyboard and reasonably good hand-finger technique for facility and fluency, note and rhythm reading knowledge and fluency, basic knowledge of pianistic and music theory terminology, and command of musical usage of pedal.

  2. Play all major and harmonic minor scales and arpeggios (root position), two octaves, hands together at quarter note = 84; cadential progressions I-IV-I-V7-I (i-iv-i-v7-i) in all major and minor keys, root position only.

  3. Sight-read material such as Burgmuller Op. 100, easier pieces of Schumann Album for the Young, hymns, etc.

  4. Transpose an arrangement of a folk, national or community song up or down a step.

  5. Demonstrate open score reading by playing one inner line of a choral score with one hand and conducting with the other.

  6. Harmonize a simple melody, such as those found in elementary music songbooks.

  7. Supply accompaniments to commonly sung folk, national or community songs including The Star Spangled Banner and Happy Birthday.

  8. Play a composition comparable in difficulty to the Beethoven and Haydn German Dances, Bach and Mozart Minuets and short Preludes, and Schumann's Album for the Young. Demonstrate correct performance practice for the style of the period of the chosen solo.