Piano Courses

The courses at Berklee are continually reviewed and evaluated so that they consistently reflect today's musical needs. In classes such as Contrapuntal Jazz Improvisation, Improvisational Theory, Piano Accompaniment Techniques, and Survey of Piano Styles, you will learn the history of your instrument, analyze its present-day challenges, and pursue an in-depth study of styles and techniques. Below is a list of all Piano courses for the upcoming semester.

Introduction to Jazz Improvisation for Classical Pianists

ENPN-P121

1 credit(s)
Course Chair: Stephany Tiernan
Semesters Offered: Fall, Spring
Required of: None
Electable by: Piano principals
Prerequisites: ILPN-121 and PIPN-111
Department: PIANO

Designed for classical pianists who want to develop jazz improvisation skill. This course will emphasize the understanding of the process of improvisation; specifically addressing the fundamental differences between jazz and classical piano playing. Specific attention will be paid to standard jazz forms, including blues and standard jazz repertoire, free improvisation, time feel, interpretation, and motivic development.

Jazz Piano Trio 2

ENPN-P212

1 credit(s)
Course Chair: Stephany Tiernan
Semesters Offered: Fall, Spring
Required of: None
Electable by: Piano principals
Prerequisites: Take ILPN-122
Department: PIANO

A two-hour lab for Piano Performance Majors that focuses on advanced harmonic and rhythmic studies for the pianist and the rhythm section. Styles include Latin, Brazilian, Hard Bop and Modern. Class focuses on rhythmic accuracy, independence, using the left-hand as an integral part of building up solos, understanding of odd meters, such as 3/4, 5/4 and 7/4, rhythmic comping and the use of rhythmic motif displacement as a comping and soloing technique in various styles. Development of rhythm section language and musical communication with bass and drums.

Keyboard Lab – Reading 1

ILPN-111

1 credit(s)
Course Chair: Stephany Tiernan
Semesters Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer
Required of: None
Electable by: Piano principals
Prerequisites: None
Department: PIANO

Instrumental laboratory for piano principals emphasizing reading studies in a variety of idioms. This course increases sight-reading abilities through exposure to traditionally notated materials.

Keyboard Lab – Reading 2

ILPN-112

1 credit(s)
Course Chair: Stephany Tiernan
Semesters Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer
Required of: None
Electable by: Piano principals
Prerequisites: ILPN-111 or overall ensemble rating 2
Department: PIANO

Continuation of ILPN-111. Instrumental laboratory for piano principals emphasizing more challenging reading studies in a variety of idioms. This course increases sight-reading abilities through exposure to traditionally notated materials.

Keyboard Lab – Comping 1

ILPN-121

1 credit(s)
Course Chair: Stephany Tiernan
Semesters Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer
Required of: None
Electable by: Piano principals
Prerequisites: None
Department: PIANO

Instrumental laboratory for piano principals emphasizing comping studies and the application of these techniques to a variety of idioms. Recorded material for play-along purposes.

Keyboard Lab – Comping 2

ILPN-122

1 credit(s)
Course Chair: Stephany Tiernan
Semesters Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer
Required of: None
Electable by: Piano principals
Prerequisites: ILPN-121 or overall ensemble rating 2
Department: PIANO

Continuation of ILPN -121. Instrumental laboratory for piano principals emphasizing more challenging comping studies and the application of these techniques to a variety of idioms. Recorded materials for play-along purposes.

Keyboard Lab – Chart Reading

ILPN-213

1 credit(s)
Course Chair: Stephany Tiernan
Semesters Offered: Fall, Spring
Required of: None
Electable by: Piano principals
Prerequisites: ILPN-113 and ILPN-122 or overall ensemble rating 3
Department: PIANO

Practical training in the kind of reading and comping skills necessary for successful ensemble participation, such as introductions, endings, fills, notational practices, and style awareness. Recorded material for play-along purposes.

Keyboard Lab – Advanced Comping

ILPN-224

1 credit(s)
Course Chair: Stephany Tiernan
Semesters Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer
Required of: None
Electable by: Piano principals
Prerequisites: ILPN-122 or overall ensemble rating 3
Department: PIANO

Continuation of ILPN-122 emphasizing more advanced voicing techniques. Instrumental laboratory for piano principals emphasizing comping studies, including rhythm, and the application of these techniques to the jazz idiom. Recorded material for play-along purposes.

Accompaniment Techniques for the Singer/Pianist

ILPN-227

1 credit(s)
Course Chair: Stephany Tiernan
Semesters Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer
Required of: None
Electable by: Voice principals and SONG majors
Prerequisites: ISKB-212 or PIPN-112
Department: PIANO

Practical intermediate keyboard skills for self-accompanying vocalists and singer/songwriters. Focuses on rhythm, voicing, registration, and overall arrangement. Enhancement of individual performance skills and repertory through study and critiqued performance of musical examples drawn from appropriate contemporary styles.

Upper Structure Triad Applications

ILPN-235

1 credit(s)
Course Chair: Stephany Tiernan
Semesters Offered: Fall, Spring
Required of: None
Electable by: Piano principals
Prerequisites: ILPN-122 or overall ensemble rating 3
Department: PIANO

This course involves the in-depth study of upper structure triads (USTs) for all chord types and triad combinations. Content and exercises focus on the identification of triads for specific tension combinations as they apply to comping in a group setting. The use of USTs will also be introduced as a technique for harmonizing melodies in a solo piano/ trio format.

Advanced Rhythmic Lab for the Keyboardist

ILPN-237

1 credit(s)
Course Chair: Stephany Tiernan
Semesters Offered: Fall, Spring
Required of: None
Electable by: Piano principals
Prerequisites: ILPN-112 and ILPN-122, or overall ensemble rating 3
Department: PIANO

A lab workshop specifically designed to improve the keyboardist's understanding and mastery of different rhythmic concepts and their application on the keyboard into various musical contexts. Students will learn percussion and speaking rhythms, which they will apply on the keyboard. The course material will be based on different rhythmic approaches of jazz performers such as Jelly Roll Morton, Thelonious Monk, Danilo Perez, McCoy Tyner, and others; 20th-century composers, including Olivier Messiaen, György Ligeti, and Alberto Ginastera; and a variety of global music styles.

Advanced Stylistic Comping – Pop

ILPN-241

1 credit(s)
Course Chair: Stephany Tiernan
Semesters Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer
Required of: None
Electable by: Piano principals
Prerequisites: ILPN-122 or overall ensemble rating 3
Department: PIANO

Instrumental laboratory for piano principals emphasizing comping studies and the application of these techniques to a variety of pop music styles. There will be use of recorded material for play-along purposes.

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