Music Piano Proficiency

All music majors are required to exhibit a basic proficiency at the piano by completing the following requirements:

  1. Play two-octave scales and arpeggios in the major and minor keys (including three forms of the minor scales), both hands together, with correct fingering, at the tempo quarter note = 60.
  2. Play a prepared, approved composition at the level of the following:
    Bach - Anna Magdalena Notebook (intermediate to advanced selections)
    Clementi - Sonatinas
    Beethoven - Dances
    Schumann - Album for the Young, Op. 68 (nos. 12 ff.)
    Schumann - Scenes from Childhood, Op. 15
    Kabalevsky - 15 Children's Pieces, Op. 27 (nos. 7-15)
  3. Harmonize a simple melody in a major key, and one in a minor key using tonic, dominant and sub-dominant triads.
  4. Transpose a melody up or down a major second and a minor second.
  5. Sight-read a four-part chorale or hymn, and a piano piece at the level of the following:
    Bach - Anna Magdalena Notebook (beginning level selections)
    Schumann - Album for the Young, Op. 68 (nos. 1-11)
    Bartok - For Children (beginning level selections) 
    Kabalevsky - 15 Children's Pieces, Op. 27 (beginning level selections)
    Kodaly - Children's Dances

During Principles of Music III, music majors will be given a preliminary test and advised of their progress and of recommended approaches for successful completion of the piano proficiency requirement. Music majors are encouraged to pass piano proficiency by examination until May of their junior year. After that they are required to take class piano either one or two semesters, depending on progress, to complete piano proficiency. There is a $270 charge for piano class enrollment. 

The proficiency exam may be taken in sections. Section exams may be scheduled at a time agreed upon by the student and the examining professor (office hours are optimal) or at juries during a second jury slot. The exam may be taken until successfully completed or until May of the junior year. Dr. Hodson and other piano instructors may grade exam sections, and will report the results of all examinations to the Music Department Chair. In rare circumstances when no piano faculty member is available, other members of the full-time faculty may be requested to grade the exam.

Students must complete the exam at Westmont or pass a piano class at an accredited institution with syllabi requirements that are equivalent to Westmont’s piano proficiency requirements. Students must submit the syllabus from their most advanced piano course for evaluation and approval. Most fourth semester piano classes at California community colleges are equivalent.