In today’s evolving world of the performing arts, pianists must enter their careers with more skills than ever before. The successful pianists of tomorrow must be distinctive creative artists and musical thinkers.
The Department of Music at Augustana offers many opportunities in the area of piano for music majors and non-majors, including courses in applied study, piano pedagogy, piano literature, and experiences in accompanying, ensemble work and more.
Keyboard faculty are practicing artists, teachers and scholars. While they make classroom instruction lively and important, their one-on-one interaction in private lessons is what most serious keyboard students find most rewarding.
Students at Augustana who study piano have access to eighteen pianos, individual rehearsal rooms and practice rooms. A 7' Steinway Grand was recently purchased through the generous support of an Augustana alumnus, and it is used exclusively for piano student practice. Our 9' Steinway Concert Grand was selected by our faculty directly from Steinway Hall in New York City. This instrument is a premier artist-level performing instrument and is used exclusively in Kresge Recital Hall. While used on only a limited basis for guest artist and faculty recitals, piano students perform on the instrument in masterclasses and recitals.
An electronic piano laboratory is also available for student use and instruction. The facility includes ten full-keyboard units with MIDI, a master keyboard with extensive sequencing and orchestration capabilities, an integrated computer and sound system, and music notational and display devices. The lab is our primary instructional facility for all group piano classes and is used as a training facility for students learning to teach group piano.
Augustana students have been successful in competitions at the regional and national levels. Recent graduates currently pursue advanced degrees and/or teach piano across the nation.
The goal of the applied area for non-majors is to help students acquire piano skills that will help them in their future musical careers, regardless of the specific area they intend to enter. In fact, all students seeking a music degree from Augustana must successfully complete the department piano proficiency exams designed for either vocal or instrumental majors. This includes skills in sight-reading, improvisation, harmonization, technique, keyboard theory (scales. chords and progressions), transposition, repertoire, and accompanying. Students normally take four terms of piano for credit designed to complete the piano proficiency curriculum, including two terms of piano classes and two terms of applied piano.