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.
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.
Students will revisit the classical repertoire and develop an understanding of the style and historical context of the compositions. Using ear training exercises they will analyze compositions, create progressions, develop voicings and piano solo techniques. Students will acquire the necessary tools to create their own improvisations using classical compositions as source materials.
This course will focus on the recordings and improvisations of Keith Jarrett, Herbie Hancock, and Chick Corea. Students will analyze and learn compositions and improvised solos of each pianist, and will perform one transcription of each pianist's solo or trio improvisations. Through in-depth discussion around the melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic devices employed by those pianists, students will also learn to utilize those devices in their own improvisations, and how those concepts apply to the music of today.
This is a course for piano principals in which the live solo piano improvisations of Keith Jarrett are studied in detail. Studies include listening and analyzing live recordings such as: The Koln Concert, The Sun Bear Concerts, The Solo Concerts: Bremen/Lausanne, and La Scala and their corresponding transcriptions. In addition, students are required to transcribe performances and provide detailed analyses of their transcriptions and of Jarrett’s improvisational techniques and musical influences, including classical, blues, pop, jazz, and avant-garde styles or genres. An underlying goal of this work is to help students find their own voices. By listening to and analyzing Keith Jarrett’s live improvised solo piano concerts, students not only learn the style of his music, but they also have the chance to reflect on their own musical backgrounds, discovering their own sound and voice in the process. Jarrett’s music serves as a role model for students’ musical and life journey.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.