Piano at Westminster Choir College has multiple dimensions at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. It fosters the development of students who perform on a high level as soloists, as artist-teachers and as collaborators with other performing artists. A strong foundation of technique and knowledge of piano literature and style are essential to all of these aspects of pianism. The department also provides instruction for undergraduate students who need keyboard skills in order to function effectively throughout their professional careers.
Programs of Study
Undergraduate Piano majors are encouraged to play at least twice in performance classes each semester. Semester juries, a recital in either the sophomore or junior year and a senior recital are required.
Piano primary students majoring in Sacred Music, Bachelor of Arts in Music, or Music Education are expected to play once each semester in performance class. Seniors give a full or half recital, as determined by the instructor and the department following the jury examination at the end of the junior year. Freshmen have required juries at the end of each semester; sophomores and juniors, at the end of each year.
Students majoring in Piano receive private lessons and play in weekly studio and are expected to play at least twice in performance classes. The program culminates with a full recital. Semester juries are required.
Graduate piano primary students majoring in Sacred Music or Music Education receive private lessons and are required to present a half recital. Students are expected to play at least twice in performance class each semester. Annual juries are required.
All undergraduate voice primary students must enroll for piano secondary study until the capstone course (PI 204, PI 205, PI 207, or PI 208) is passed. Instruction is in the form of piano classes. Incoming undergraduates take a placement test and may be required to successfully complete PI 045 before beginning the sequence of Piano Secondary courses. The sequence consists of four courses: PI 103, PI 104, PI 203 and the capstone course, each of which must be passed with a grade of B- or higher.
For any student with a double major that includes the Bachelor of Music in Music Education or the Bachelor of Music in Music Education/Master of Arts in Teaching degree program, that student must successfully complete PI 204, the Piano Secondary capstone course. For any other student with a double major, not including the B.M. in Music Education or the B.M. in Music Education/M.A.T. degree program, the capstone course required for that student will be determined by the piano secondary faculty and coordinator of Piano Secondary in consultation with the Associate Dean.
Instruction entails study and performance of piano literature from the Baroque through the 21st Century as well as development of proficiency in areas of functional keyboard skills. If the capstone is passed in fewer than four semesters, further study is not required.
Students may elect private instruction in piano for credit. There are no audition requirements, but an extra fee is charged. Elective lessons are provided on a space-available basis to qualified students.
PI 611 is a required graduate Piano Pedagogy course for the purpose of solving problems related to piano teaching. The class format includes discussion of observations, supervised and independent teaching, questions relating to repertoire, materials, and technique, comparative philosophies and psychologies and their applications, group and private teaching, business issues (e.g. studio policies), professional organizations and publications, use of technology, career planning, recital and audition planning. Preparation for graduate oral examination is included. The weekly lab is required for two semesters, but recommended for all four semesters.
This is a weekly recital and lecture hour during which programs are given by students and guest performers. Attendance and participation at weekly studio and performance classes is required for all undergraduate and graduate piano major and primary students. All Westminster Choir College students are invited to attend.
Ena Bronstein Barton • Adjunct Associate Professor, Piano, 1983. Artist Diploma, Escuela Moderna de Musica and Conservatorio Nacional de Musica, Santiago, Chile.
Ingrid Clarfield • Professor, Piano, 1982. B.M., Oberlin College; M.M., Eastman School of Music, University of Rochester
James Goldsworthy • Professor, Piano, 1996. B.M., M.M., Southern Methodist University; D.M.A., Stanford University.
Phyllis Lehrer • Professor Emerita, Piano, 1975. A.B., University of Rochester; M.S., Juilliard School.
Agnes Poltorak • Adjunct Assistant Professor, Piano, 2000. B.M., University of British Columbia, Canada; M.M., Westminster Choir College of Rider University.