Piano Proficiency Exam
All music majors must pass the piano proficiency examination by the second semester of their junior year, without exception. Music majors who exempt one or more levels of Piano Proficiency must enroll in applied piano lessons as a substitute for each level exempted. If an off-campus/overseas semester is planned, the student must plan to take the examination earlier, in order to meet the above deadline. The exam is held during the last week of classes each semester and students must sign up for the examination at least two weeks prior to that date. The sign-up sheet will be posted on the noticeboard outside the music office. It is advised that students complete this requirement as early as the fall semester of their junior year, to allow a possible re-sitting of the examination if necessary.
The examination consists of two parts.
Part A The performance of two memorized, contrasting pieces (for guidance relating to appropriate level, contact your individual piano faculty member)
Part B The fluent and solid demonstration of various practical skills outlined below.
The two parts of this examination may be taken separately, but if the student chooses that option, both parts must be successfully attempted within consecutive semesters.
Practical Skills – Music Majors excepting Piano Majors
Scales Prepare two octave scales in all major and minor (both harmonic and melodic) keys, with the correct standard fingering, observing good hand position and maintaining a tempo of ♪ = 120 (assuming that the scale is in 16th notes).
Arpeggios Prepare two-octave root position arpeggios in all major and minor keys. Correct fingering and tempo must be observed.
Primary Chords Prepare the primary chords of I, IV and V in all major and minor keys, in keyboard style (3 notes in RH, 1 in LH). Correct voice leading and a steady pulse must be observed.
Melody Sight read a given treble-clef melody, and then harmonize it with LH chords in (broken/block chord form) that follow coom-practice TSDT function. The harmonic rhythm is expected to be one or two chords per measure.
Transposition Transpose the melody and chordal accompaniment into a different key. Any key is possible for the transposition element, though the mode will remain the same as the original melody.
Sight-reading Read a short piece in a key signature of up to two accidentals. In the exam the student will have a couple of minutes to examine the score before playing the piece.
Practical Skills – Piano Majors
1) Similar motion of all major, harmonic and melodic minor scales in four octaves, observing standard fingering and at approximately ♪ = 200 (assuming 16ths)
2) Similar motion chromatic scales from any note, three octaves, observing standard fingering and tempo and at approximately ♪ = 200 (assuming 16ths)
3) Similar motion major, harmonic and melodic minor scales in octaves and double 3rds, two octaves and at approximately ♪ = 100 (assuming 16ths)
4) Contray motion major, chromatic and harmonic minor scales, two octaves, observing standard fingering and at approximately ♪ = 200 (assuming 16ths)
1) Similar motion major and minor, four octaves, observing standard fingering and tempo and ♪ = 160 (assuming 16ths), in root position, first inversion, and second inversion.
2) Root position Dominant and Diminished 7th arpeggios at ♪ = 160 (assuming 16ths).
Melody Harmonize a short melody (either soprano/bass) in keyboard style (3 notes in RH, 1 in LH). Proper voice leading and common-practice TSDT function must be observed.
Transposition Transpose the melody and chordal accompaniment into a different key. Any key is possible for the transposition element.
Sight-reading Read a short piece of an appropriate level.