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Supplemental Materials

Sample Syllabus for Applied Piano
(adapted from syllabus used at Houghton College in Spring 2022)

Recruitment Statement

Within a year of starting my private studio in San Jose, where I had recently moved, I acquired 20 students and no longer had space to take on new students outside of exceptional cases.  I attribute this to a robust teaching philosophy implemented with a positive approach, a studio policy with clear expectations, and above all, teaching grounded in years of experience performing and experience selecting repertoire, building up pianistic technique, and developing expressive musical intuition.

I see success in recruiting as contingent upon a music school or department committing to a unified vision of the school, and a relational approach toward seeking new students. As a prospective student myself, I sought trial lessons with professors ahead of university/conservatory auditions, and these were crucial to being able to see myself as a student at a new school. Therefore, being willing to give free trial lessons to prospective students, engaging musically in the local community and music schools, and maintaining a private studio with local high school-aged students can be a huge boon in successful recruiting.

Other ideas for recruitment include hosting summer music festivals, camps, or workshops for middle school and high school-aged students, hosting auditioned masterclasses with university faculty, and hosting youth concerto competitions.  Each of these events creates an opportunity for young musicians to distinguish themselves, which is viewed positively by students and parents, and affords an opportunity for them to visit a university's campus and music facilities, meet professors, and build new relationships with the university community.

Sample Syllabus for Music History
(adapted from syllabus used at Eastern University in Fall 2017)

Piano Pedagogy Example Course Materials

  1. Professional Piano Teaching, Volumes 1& 2 by Jeanine M. Jacobson

  2. The Pianist’s Guide to Standard Teaching and Performance Literature by Jane Magrath 

  3. ​Other method books for method evaluation projects

Course Structure:

  • Unit 1 (Teaching Young Beginners) & Unit 2 (Teaching Intermediate Students) each address the following:

    • Common pedagogical challenges (conceptual, developmental)

    • Evaluated practical teaching experience (with current students, peers, and/or community members)

    • Written reflection upon pedagogical challenges faced in teaching experience

    • Presentation comparing 2 piano methods in each of below categories:

      • Theory​

      • Technique (articulation, technical exercises, pedal technique, etc.)

      • Artistry (phrasing, form, expression)

      • Repertoire (quality, variety)

  • Unit 3: Teaching Advanced Students addresses the following:

    • Common pedagogical challenges

    • Evaluated practical experience (with current students, peers, and/or community members)

    • Written reflection upon pedagogical challenges faced in teaching experience

    • Students select 10 pieces they would consider assigning an advanced student, explaining how and why they would grade them in terms of difficulty.

  • Unit 4: Studio management​

    • Students draft their own private studio policies addressing tuition, cancellations, recitals, practice expectations, individual teaching preferences, and parent/student/teacher expectations

    • Draft will be reviewed in class in a constructive round-table format​

    • Final draft is submitted for grade

Piano Literature Example Course Materials

  1. A History of Keyboard Literature: Music for the Piano and its Forerunners, by Stewart Gordon 

  2. Guide to the Pianist’s Repertoire​, by Maurice Hinson

Course structure:


Course addresses the following categories in each of 7 eras (Baroque, Classical, Romantic, Impressionist, 20th Century, 21st Century eras):

  • Major stylistic characteristics of the period

  • Major forms, composers, and compositional stages of composers where relevant

  • Major works, and their defining features and themes

  • Weekly listening assignments

  • Weekly listening quizzes in class ("drop the needle")

  • Cumulative listening exams (midterm, end of term)

  • Written exam, wherein students must:

    • demonstrate the ability to identify the composer of a given title of a significant work

    • demonstrate the ability to list significant works given the name of a composer

    • demonstrate knowledge of common stylistic features and background of significant composers

  • Semester project: present a profile of the life and keyboard works of a non-canonical classical composer​

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