Degrees and Curriculum
We offer the following degree programs:
Bachelor of Music
Bachelor of Arts
Bachelor of Music Education
Our undergraduate-focused program makes it possible for students to receive undivided attention from our world-class faculty and take full advantage of performance opportunities both on and off campus.
Students receive individual lessons each week. Lessons are designed to help develop a student’s instrumental technique and interpretive abilities. Stylistic understanding of piano repertoire in its wide range will be emphasized, and students will be guided to continue to grow as well-rounded musicians.
Studio class is held weekly at Sherman Van Solkema Recital Hall. Various aspects of piano playing are discussed, and students perform for their peers and professors as their repertoire is getting ready to be presented for the public. Sharing of peer observation and constructive criticism is encouraged, as students develop a sense of musical partnership within the studios. Performances are also recorded and sent to the performers.
Performance Requirements and Opportunities
We recognize that performing is perhaps one of the most important facets of learning to become a better pianist and educator.
Student Recital Hour is held weekly at Cook-DeWitt Center, with the entire GVSU music student body as its audience. Everyone is required to perform at least once a year in this venue, but is welcome to perform as many times as one wishes. Most students perform a multiple times a year.
Half- and Full- Recitals are required for juniors and seniors, and additional recitals are scheduled with a permission from the studio professor.
Masterclasses by guest artists are scheduled regularly throughout the year, and students are invited to perform for world-class performers.
Studio Recitals and Piano-Area Projects are scheduled regularly. The piano-area project in Fall 2015 is “Scriabin at His Centennial Year.” Everyone in the GVSU Piano Area is playing selections from Scriabin preludes, Musicology Professor John Schuster-Craigs is giving a talk on Scriabin’s Synesthesia.
Off-Campus Performances are scheduled regularly also. This fall, students are invited to perform at St. Cecilia Music Center, one of the main venues in the city of Grand Rapids.
New Music Ensemble is one of the nation’s most recognized college ensembles. Their performances and concerts have been hailed by The New York Times, The Washington Post, and dozens of other medias. Our pianists often take critical role in it. Check out their website at www.newmusicensemble.org.
Early Music Ensemble often collaborates with early music experts and provides rare opportunities to undergraduate students to play period instruments as well as learn historically informed performance practice of pre-classical repertoire. Visit their website at www.gvsuearlymusicensemble.com.
Focused hours of practice are expected of piano students at GVSU. Each student is guided individually by the professor how to utilize the practice time better. For technical exercises, several sources are used depending on the level and need of a student. They include, but are not limited to: 51 Exercises by Brahms, Basic Principles of Pianoforte Playing by Lhevinne, Menahem Pressler: Artistry in Piano Teaching by Brown, and Cortot’s exercise recommendations on Chopin Etudes.