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Piano Pedagogy Degree Programs

Learn about piano pedagogy programs, including admission requirements, typical coursework, and how to choose a program. Get salary and job outlook information for a degree in piano pedagogy.

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Overview of Piano Pedagogy Bachelor's Degree Programs

Piano pedagogy is a program within college music departments that focuses on how to teach piano. It typically combines education in piano performance with leadership and teaching education to prepare students for careers as private piano instructors or school teachers. Success in a piano pedagogy program requires you start with and build skill in music, in addition to gaining knowledge. This article covers the admission requirements for these programs in more detail, and describes some typical coursework. You will also learn about career options for those with a degree in this field.

Admission Requirements for Piano Pedagogy Programs

Even pedagogy programs in a musical instrument are performance-based. For that reason, it is common for schools to require an audition as part of the application process. The audition might need to be in person, but if you live out of state it may be possible to send a video or audio version to the admission committee. You can expect to need to compile a repertoire of several pieces showing off your piano skill. The application itself, apart from the audition, typically follows university procedures and may include submitting transcripts, letters of recommendation or statements of interest.

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Piano Pedagogy Program Coursework

Piano pedagogy coursework includes improving your piano playing skills, learning how to teach in different settings, and studying music theory and history. Descriptions of some standard courses are below.

Music Theory

This course teaches established concepts in music theory such as harmony and melody. It serves as the basis for learning how to compose and analyze music. Topics include dissonance, modulation, secondary harmony and formal design. A comprehensive music theory course will cover historical techniques and contexts from the Renaissance through to modern times.

Piano Performance Practice

Private lessons are a common course offering in music programs, as you must maintain and improve your playing abilities throughout your college career. You will be expected to receive instruction from a professional piano teacher within the program for credit, as well as practice on your own using the program's facilities. This course normally culminates in a performance in front of a jury.

Reading and Writing in Piano

In this course students will examine literature related to the piano and piano pedagogy. It might be a survey-style course, emphasizing basic research skills and dialogue. Some topics include new techniques in playing or teaching, current thought in piano technique and how different students learn.

Piano Pedagogy

This course discusses the concepts necessary to teach piano successfully and how teaching differs in different settings. Settings that might be covered include private instruction; primary, secondary and tertiary schools; and adult classes. The course might also cover specific teaching considerations, such as teaching students with disabilities or teaching prospective instructors. Another topic within this course is how to start and manage a teaching business.

Music History

Music history might mean just Western music history, or the course may involve a more comprehensive survey of world music. It is typically taught chronologically, beginning in early times and continuing through to the 20th century. The course covers different periods and styles as well as the lives and work of influential musicians.

Internship in Piano Teaching

This course is designed to provide practice in real teaching before entering the job market. Internships are undertaken with piano students of any age or ability depending on your interests and the areas in which you need experience. Lessons are always conducted under the supervision of an experienced teacher or faculty member.

How to Choose a Piano Pedagogy Program

The size of a piano pedagogy program and how much opportunity for performance practice is offered might both be factors to consider when choosing a program. While a small program might offer more individual attention from faculty and a broader music education, a larger program will have more specific piano pedagogy coursework and likely more specialized, possibly even acclaimed, piano faculty. In addition, different programs offer different opportunities for students to practice performing and teaching. Both are important for development, so you should look for a program that provides plenty of internship, recital or show opportunities based on the areas in which you need to gain experience.

Career Options for a Degree in Piano Pedagogy

Piano pedagogy programs prepare students to be piano teachers for any group in any setting. One option is to teach at the postsecondary level. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported a median annual salary in 2016 of $68,650, and a 12% increase in jobs from 2016-2026 for all art, drama and music teachers at the postsecondary level. There are, however, a number of other careers you could pursue, some of which are listed below.

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