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.

PFSS-351

2 credit(s)
Course Chair: Tony Germain
Semesters Offered: Fall, Spring
Required of: Piano and vibraphone principal PERF majors
Electable by: All
Prerequisites: None
Department Code: PIANO
Location: Boston Campus

A study of the history and development of the art of jazz piano and the lives and times of the artists themselves. Through listening to archival and contemporary recordings and analysis and discussions, the rich diversity of the different jazz styles will be examined, along with the artists associated with certain styles. Solo piano and group playing from ragtime to contemporary will be addressed.

PIPN-111

Course Chair: Tony Germain
Semesters Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer
Required of: All Piano principals
Electable by: All
Prerequisites: None
Department Code: PIANO
Location:

Principal instrument study level 1 piano.

PIPN-112

Course Chair: Tony Germain
Semesters Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer
Required of: All Piano principals
Electable by: All
Prerequisites: PIPN-111
Department Code: PIANO
Location:

Principal instrument study level 2 piano.

PIPN-211

1 credit(s)
Course Chair: Tony Germain
Semesters Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer
Required of: All Piano principals
Electable by: All
Prerequisites: PIPN-112
Department Code: PIANO
Location:

Principal instrument study level 3 piano.

PIPN-212

1 credit(s)
Course Chair: Tony Germain
Semesters Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer
Required of: All Piano principals
Electable by: All
Prerequisites: PIPN-211
Department Code: PIANO
Location:

Principal instrument study level 4 piano.

PIPN-311

1 credit(s)
Course Chair: Tony Germain
Semesters Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer
Required of: All Piano principals
Electable by: All
Prerequisites: PIPN-212
Department Code: PIANO
Location:

Principal instrument study level 5 piano.

PIPN-312

1 credit(s)
Course Chair: Tony Germain
Semesters Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer
Required of: Piano principals: MUED, PROM, and PERF majors
Electable by: All
Prerequisites: PIPN-311
Department Code: PIANO
Location:

Principal instrument study level 6 piano.

PIPN-411

1 credit(s)
Course Chair: Tony Germain
Semesters Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer
Required of: Piano principals: PERF majors
Electable by: All
Prerequisites: PIPN-312
Department Code: PIANO
Location:

Principal instrument study level 7 piano.

PIPN-412

1 credit(s)
Course Chair: Tony Germain
Semesters Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer
Required of: Piano principals: PERF majors
Electable by: All
Prerequisites: PIPN-411
Department Code: PIANO
Location:

Principal instrument study level 8 piano.

PIPN-XXX

Course Chair: Tony German
Semesters Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer
Required of:
Electable by: All piano principals
Prerequisites:
Department Code: PIANO
Location:

Private instruction is part of the performance core for all Berklee students. Through private instruction, students develop proficiency on their principal instrument, synthesize and integrate knowledge of contemporary and traditional styles into musical interpretation, and synthesize and integrate knowledge of posture and instrumental technique into their daily practice routines. All Berklee students take private instruction levels one through four on their principal instruments. Performance majors continue on to do levels five through eight. 

The Piano Department encourages students to find their own voice and develop their own style. Private instruction encourages students to experiment across genres to build skills and challenge themselves. Berklee prepares you for today's music by building on traditional aspects of learning. Piano Department instruction emphasizes a foundation in the standard technical challenges of professional performance—scales, arpeggios, exercises such as Hanon, Czerny, and Pishna—as well as materials designed to help students master the many combinations of classical, jazz, pop, and rock styles common in today's music. The department also provides intensive training in sight-reading and in chord symbol terminology and chord voicing.

  • PIPN-111: Private Instruction 1 – Piano
  • PIPN-112: Private Instruction 2 – Piano
  • PIPN-211: Private Instruction 3 – Piano
  • PIPN-212: Private Instruction 4 – Piano
  • PIPN-311: Private Instruction 5 – Piano
  • PIPN-312: Private Instruction 6 – Piano
  • PIPN-411: Private Instruction 7 – Piano
  • PIPN-412: Private Instruction 8 – Piano

PSPN-335

2 credit(s)
Course Chair: Tony Germain
Semesters Offered: Fall, Spring
Required of: None
Electable by: All
Prerequisites: Overall ensemble rating 3
Department Code: PIANO
Location: Boston Campus

This course offers a step-by-step approach to improvising contrapuntally in a solo piano context. Emphasis on walking bass lines through a series of rhythmic/melodic motives gives the pianist a basis for gaining the independence required to simultaneously improvise in a linear or chordal manner in the right hand. This eventually leads to multi-voice improvisation. Artists studied and transcribed include Lennie Tristano, Dave McKenna, Bill Evans, Brad Mehldau, Oscar Peterson, and Diana Krall. Weekly class performance includes repertoire of the jazz standard literature.

RPPN-211

1 credit(s)
Course Chair: Tony Germain
Semesters Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer
Required of: Piano principal PERF majors
Electable by: Piano principals PERF majors
Prerequisites: PIPN-112 and concurrent enrollment in PIPN-211
Department Code: PIANO
Location:

First level of principal instrument recital preparation for performance majors. 

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