Piano Course Syllabus

Weekly lessons, 50 min. – 1 hr. each. Minimum 12 lessons.


Learn fundamentals of classical piano playing, including technique, interpretation, and music theory and history as they relate to specific pieces of traditional classical piano repertoire. Learn and polish pieces chosen to match each student's personal level, applying appropriate expressive tools, such as dynamics and articulation. Develop ear training and critical listening skills through exercises and exposure to recordings of historical pianists.


Technical exercises may include: scales, arpeggios, selected etudes of Hanon, Pischna, Philippe, or Czerny.


Beginning students will use adult method books such as John Thompson or Faber & Faber. More advanced students will play repertoire of important composers and their contemporaries: J.S. Bach, Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven, Chopin, Schubert, Schumann, Grieg, Brahms, etc.


You must complete a minimum of twelve lessons in order to receive a passing grade. In addition, I require each student to attend one live classical music performance by the end of the semester. Concert information is available on the web at: www.sfgate.com/eguide/music , and I will also make specific concert suggestions.


Students MUST be reliable and punctual: only one unexcused absence is allowed per semester—the second constitutes a failing grade . Once a lesson time is established, you are responsible for that time. Cancellations must be made by 9 p.m. the evening before the scheduled time by phone or email. Any cancellations after 9 the prior evening will be considered unexcused. It's especially important to attend regularly at the beginning of the semester, so that it's not necessary to cram many lessons in at the end of the term. I cannot guarantee multiple weekly lessons at the end of the semester.


Weekly practice is necessary in order to improve. Ideally, practice half an hour daily; however, I understand that factors such as access to a piano and other coursework may make that impossible. It is your responsibility to find time in your weekly schedule to practice. No matter how “talented” someone may be, one will never be an accomplished pianist without many, many hours at the keyboard. You will find that your enjoyment of the musical experience is dependent on the amount of time invested.


Grading will be based on attendance, completion of a minimum of 12 lessons, mandatory concert attendance, attitude, and personal improvement of the course of the semester.