Piano Proficiency

All undergraduate degree candidates in music must successfully complete the Piano Proficiency examination as a part of their degree requirements.


Piano Proficiency

All undergraduate degree candidates in music must successfully complete Piano Proficiency as part of their degree requirements. The purpose of the piano proficiency program is to ensure that all music students, regardless of musical background, attain proficiency in the following keyboard skills: scales, chord progressions, harmonization of simple melodies, transposition, sight-reading and solo repertoire. These skills are an essential part of any advanced music study. Such skills allow a student to have immediate access to the content of musical scores, which, in turn, benefits studies in music theory (especially analysis, composition, ear training, and counterpoint), music teaching methods, and conducting. Keyboard skills have also proven invaluable for students preparing for courses in student teaching. Past graduates have indicated that their keyboard skills have proven to be an important part of their professional skills.

There are two possible pathways for completion of the Piano Proficiency Requirement: taking three semesters of Functional Piano, OR testing out.

A. Functional Piano
The Functional Piano curriculum is comprised of three consecutive semester courses: MUS 152, MUS 153 and MUS 154. Enrollment in MUS 131, Basic Theory, is a prerequisite for enrollment in MUS 152. All three semesters must be completed with a grade of C or higher. With completion of MUS 154, the student should enroll in Music 253 the following semester: Piano Proficiency (0 cr.). A “Pass” grade for this course will then be recorded on the student’s academic transcript.

B. Testing Out

The option to test out is designed only for music students who have taken over five years of private piano lessons, playing at an upper intermediate level. Students who wish to test out must receive permission from the course instructor. Once permission is granted, the student will be given a list of requirements. An appointment to test out can be made at any time curing the semester, but testing out during the first year of study is highly recommended.

It is strongly recommended that the piano proficiency requirement be completed by the end of the student's second year in the program.

Otherwise progress towards completion of the degree will be seriously delayed. To be allowed to present a Junior Recital, the student MUST have completed the Piano Proficiency Requirement during the semester prior to the semester in which the recital is to be presented.

For students in degree programs requiring student teaching in music, the Piano Proficiency Requirement must be completed in the semester PRIOR to that in which student teaching in music is to be done according to the following deadlines:

Student Teaching cannot be scheduled until the Piano Proficiency Requirement is completed.  This means that students desiring to student teach in the spring semester must have completed all parts of the Piano Proficiency Requirement no later than December of the previous fall semester. Similarly, students desiring to student teach in the fall semester must have completed all parts of the Piano Proficiency Requirement no later than May of the previous spring semester.

Note to Transfer Students:

The UAF Department of Music will honor completion of the piano proficiency requirements passed in their entirety at other NASM-accredited schools provided that 1) a letter is received from a faculty member at the former institution that describes in detail the nature of the school’s piano proficiency requirements and 2) the requirement is substantially the same as required at UAF. If the former institution does not require piano proficiency, then the transfer student must pass the UAF requirement in its entirety.