For course requirements for the Bachelor of Music: Performance (Piano), please see here .
Music Theory and Aural Skills Requirement
Students are expected to register for Music Theory and Aural Skills courses each semester until they have completed the requirements. Part or all of these requirements may be waived by placement examinations.
Normally, students will take Music Theory I-IV and Aural Skills I-IV concurrently. That is, a student will register for Music Theory I (MUTH 130 or 131) and Aural Skills I (MUTH 101) in the same semester, Theory II and Aural Skills II in the next semester, and so on. Under certain circumstances, with the permission of the student’s division director and the Music Theory division director, a student will be permitted to move forward in the Music Theory sequence beyond the corresponding Aural Skills course.
A student’s Aural Skills requirement must be completed before the senior recital can be scheduled. Double-degree students will resolve any conflicts with these expectations in consultation with their advisors.
The First Private Study Committee Examination
This examination will consist of approximately eight minutes of solo music, prepared with the major teacher, to be performed from memory for a faculty jury composed of the entire piano department, at the end of the freshman year. Transfer students with two or more semesters of piano credit will not be required to take this examination. This examination will not be graded and is advisory in nature. Comments will be offered by the jury.
The Second Private Study Committee Examination
This examination will consist of 25
minutes of solo music, of which 12 minutes will be heard.
Repertoire must include a minimum of two contrasting styles and include
at least one work written before 1900. This
repertoire is to be prepared with the major teacher, and is to be
performed from memory for a
faculty jury composed of the entire piano department, at the end of the
sophomore year, or at the
end of the fourth semester of study. It is graded pass/fail and must be
passed by a majority of the
jury in order for the student to continue as a piano performance major.
Comments will be offered
by the jury. A failed sophomore committee may be taken a second time in
the first two weeks of
the following semester. At least one work must be new repertoire.
The Third Private Study Committee Examination
This examination will consist of one piece chosen by the student from three selected by the faculty and announced two weeks before the examination date. This examination will take place at the end of the first semester of the junior year, or at the end of the fifth semester of study. This music will be self-prepared, without help from the teacher or others, and will be memorized. This examination will be graded, and comments will be offered by the jury, which will consist of the entire piano faculty. Students who do not receive an average grade of B– or better will be required to repeat the Committee.
The Junior Recital
Two performances on a divisional or public studio recital, or on an honors recital are required before the junior recital. This will consist of solo works performed from memory. The maximum length shall be 35 minutes. Minimum length shall be 25 minutes.
The Senior Recital
This will consist of at least 50 minutes of solo repertoire performed from memory. In addition chamber works or concertos can be scheduled. A balance of repertoire is expected. Unusual or esoteric programs must be submitted to the piano department for approval. Students are required to play a pre-recital hearing (20 minutes) a minimum of two weeks before their senior recital. The senior recital may be performed during the first or second semester, or during Winter Term.
Conservatory Writing Requirement
All entering Conservatory and Double-Degree students must complete a writing assessment, administered by the Conservatory Writing Committee. Generally, this assessment takes place during Orientation week. Students who enter the Conservatory midway through the academic year must complete this assessment by the end of the second week of classes of the Spring semester.
This assessment is graded on a Pass/No Pass basis. Students who receive a passing grade on this initial assessment will have satisfied the Writing Requirement. Students who receive a No Pass on this initial assessment must successfully complete a second writing assessment by the end of their second year. For this second assessment, students must compile and submit to the Conservatory Writing Committee a portfolio comprising two pieces of persuasive writing and one reflective piece. Types of writing that might be submitted include (but are not limited to) essays submitted for Oberlin courses (College or Conservatory), artistic statements, program notes, personal statements, and grant proposals. The Conservatory Writing Committee will award each portfolio a grade of Pass or No Pass. Students who receive a Passing grade will have successfully completed the Writing Requirement. Students who receive a No Pass on this second assessment may revise and resubmit their portfolio one more time. Students must receive a Pass upon resubmission in order to satisfy the Writing Requirement.
Students are expected to complete the Conservatory Writing Requirement by the end of their second year of study at Oberlin. Students may not schedule their Junior Recitals until they have completed the Writing Requirement. Conservatory students enrolled in degree programs that do not require Junior Recitals will not be permitted to enroll in upper-division courses (taken during the Junior year or later, according to the advising grids) until they have successfully completed the Writing Requirement.
Numerous campus resources are available to help students develop their writing skills and fulfill the Conservatory Writing Requirement. These include Oberlin’s Writing Center and writing-oriented courses offered through the College of Arts & Sciences. Additionally, it is expected that Conservatory students develop as writers as they progress through the first years of the Conservatory curriculum, in particular their musicology and music theory coursework. To this end, students are encouraged to work closely with their Conservatory teachers (during office hours and the like) to hone their writing skills as they progress through these courses. Students enrolled in the English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) sequence will prepare to fulfill the Conservatory Writing Requirement as part of their ESOL coursework.
The following courses are available to piano majors and to other qualified keyboard players interested in accompanying:
APST 112, 113 - Keyboard Accompanying (four credits in Keyboard Accompanying are required of piano performance majors—one in voice, two in instrumental, and one free choice)
APST 204 - Interpretation of Art Song (for pianists of any class who are accompanying a senior or artist diploma recital—may substitute for one of the four required Keyboard Accompanying credits)
MLIT 220 - The Lied (a performance-oriented course in German Art Song)
MLIT 221 - The Mélodie (a performance-oriented course in French Art Song)
APST 112, 113 - Keyboard Accompanying
APST 204 - Interpretation of Art Song
For a description of the major and minor in harpsichord and the minor in fortepiano, see the Historical Performance Program.