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.

Classical Accompanying

ILPN-385

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

The study and performance of traditionally notated accompaniments for music in a wide variety of styles serving to enhance performances and rehearsal skills, as well as broaden professional opportunities. Styles include opera, art songs, choral compositions and arrangements, and Broadway musicals.

Keyboard Lab – Smart Reading

ILPN-P101

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

Utilizing the latest technologies in Berklee's web-based learning environment, this online piano lab is designed to develop reading and comping skills to support the role of the piano in the rhythm section. The focus is on strengthening the student's ability to read and interpret notation and chord symbols. Through the use of tunes that include a diverse range of styles and rhythmic feels, exercises to develop stylistically appropriate voicings, video clips to help students gain an understanding of the role of the pianist in the rhythm section, historical information on the development of styles over the 20th century and beyond, and listening assignments that expose the students to some of the most influential pianists, students will be better prepared to interpret and perform music at sight in ensembles and in other musical settings.

Upper Structure Triads 2: the Linear Approach

ILPN-P236

1 credit(s)
Course Chair: Stephany Tiernan
Semesters Offered: Fall, Spring
Required of: None
Electable by: Piano principals
Prerequisites: ILPN-235
Department: PIANO

This course involves the in-depth study of upper structure triads (USTs) for the use of melodic material for improvisation. All chord types and triad combinations are analyzed for the purpose of linear and harmonic improvisation. The recordings of Herbie Hancock, Bill Evans, James Williams, and Chick Corea are played and analyzed as examples of USTs in linear and harmonic contexts. Emphasis is placed on UST combinations to voice lead through chord progressions in a linear fashion. USTs are applied as a technique for harmonizing melodies in solo piano and trio formats. The use of USTs as a compositional element is also explored.

Jazz Harmonic Applications 2

ILPN-P274

1 credit(s)
Course Chair: Stephany Tiernan
Semesters Offered: Fall, Spring
Required of: None
Electable by: All
Prerequisites: ILPN-273
Department: PIANO

The course offers an organized approach to develop a thorough knowledge of common harmonic vocabulary used in contemporary jazz established in ILPN-271, ILPN-272, and ILPN-273 (Jazz Harmonic Techniques for Piano 1, Jazz Harmonic Techniques for Piano 2, and Jazz Harmonic Applications) as applied to one-handed and two-handed voicings through construction and supportive exercises. Designed for pianists and other instrumentalists who want to further develop keyboard skills.

Basic Keyboard Techniques 1

ISKB-211

1 credit(s)
Course Chair: Stephany Tiernan
Semesters Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer
Required of: COMP, CWPR, FILM, JCMP, and SONG majors
Electable by: Electable by:COMP, CWPR, FILM, JCMP, and SONG majors
Prerequisites: PW-111
Department: PIANO

For non-piano principals. Comping, harmonic continuity. Triads, seventh chords, melody, and accompaniment. Standard song forms, blues.

Basic Keyboard Techniques 2

ISKB-212

1 credit(s)
Course Chair: Stephany Tiernan
Semesters Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer
Required of: COMP, CWPR, FILM, JCMP, and SONG majors
Electable by: COMP, CWPR, FILM, JCMP, and SONG majors
Prerequisites: ISKB-211
Department: PIANO

Continuation of ISKB-211. Advanced comping, voicings, additional melody with accompaniment.

Keyboard Skills for the Writer

ISKB-215

1 credit(s)
Course Chair: Stephany Tiernan
Semesters Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer
Required of: None
Electable by: COMP, CWPR, FILM, JCMP, and SONG majors
Prerequisites: ISKB-212 or PIPN-111
Department: PIANO

A course designed to provide the Professional Writing Division student with the specialized keyboard skills necessary to develop their composition abilities. This course will focus on developing sight-reading skills applicable to score-reading, lead-sheet reading, transposition, etc. Open to piano principals or those who have completed basic keyboard classes.

Keyboard Class 1 for Music Education Majors

ISKB-221

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

A graduated piano study for beginning students dealing with note reading, rhythm, and technique. Materials range from separate hand studies to simple two-voice pieces and simple melodies with chordal accompaniment. Technique involves scales and coordination studies with fingering for various two-hand patterns. Introduction to harmonization.

Keyboard Class 2 for Music Education Majors

ISKB-222

1 credit(s)
Course Chair: Stephany Tiernan
Semesters Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer
Required of: MUED and MTHE majors
Electable by: MUED and MTHE majors
Prerequisites: ISKB-221
Department: PIANO

Coordination studies leading to a simple chorale style. Introduction to transposition of simple melodies with accompaniment (major keys). Continuation of scale studies and chordal patterns relating to harmonization.

Keyboard Class 3 for Music Education Majors

ISKB-321

1 credit(s)
Course Chair: Stephany Tiernan
Semesters Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer
Required of: MUED majors
Electable by: MUED majors
Prerequisites: ISKB-222
Department: PIANO

Further development of techniques necessary for functional piano playing in public school teaching. Full chorale style with the aid of graduated coordination studies. Emphasis on rhythmicized accompaniment patterns and transposition of material based on standard school music (major keys with secondary dominants). Chorale-type accompaniments based on various styles.

Keyboard Class 4 for Music Education Majors

ISKB-322

1 credit(s)
Course Chair: Stephany Tiernan
Semesters Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer
Required of: MUED majors
Electable by: MUED majors
Prerequisites: ISKB-321
Department: PIANO

Continued use of chorale style materials including some standard public school literature. Further use of simple melodies with rhythmicized chordal patterns in minor keys. Sight-reading of open score vocal arrangements. A complete, simplified supplement for pop music, including melody with chordal accompaniment or chordal progressions with bass line. Standard progression studies.

Keyboard Fundamentals

ISKB-P111

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

An online keyboard program for non-piano principals designed to give students skills in note reading, chord voicings, rhythmic interpretation, technique, and other instrumental skills. Using video clips, recorded play-alongs, chord-study exercises, weekly recorded assignments, and feedback from the teacher, students will be able to play simple accompaniments, read notes on the grand staff, realize a lead sheet, apply simple voice-leading techniques, and develop hand independence and a familiarity with different styles. Students will acquire the ability to use the keyboard as a resource in learning harmony, ear training, arranging, and technology applications such as notation and sequencing.

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