Skip to main content

Piano Proficiency Information

Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Music degree plans include courses in Group Piano. Music students who wish to be exempt from taking the required Group Piano course sequence must pass the Piano Proficiency Exams normally administered at the end of Group Piano II or Group Piano IV. The following is a list of piano proficiency requirements found on the Piano Proficiency Exam. Text references are from Alfred's Group Piano for Adults, volumes 1 & 2 (abbreviated as “AGPA 1” & “AGPA 2” below).

Piano Proficiency Exam Requirements

Group Piano II Proficiency Exam

This exam is applicable to Bachelor of Music, Applied Music students in Brass, Woodwinds, Strings, or Percussion, and Bachelor of Arts students. All other Bachelor of Music degrees must pass the Group Piano IV Proficiency Exam below.

  • Scales & Arpeggios
    • Major and minor pentascales (hands together)
    • Major and minor scales (two octaves, hands separately)
  • Chords
    • Major and minor chords (root position played chromatically)
    • Dominant chords (root position, played chromatically)
  • Chord Patterns & Progressions
    • Chords played diatonically within major and minor keys (root position)
    • Progressions that include primary and secondary harmonies (AGPA 1: pp. 171, 242, 253, 262) (Keys: up to 2 sharps/flats)
  • Harmonization
    • Harmonize a given melody using appropriate accompaniment patterns (AGPA 1: 237)
    • Harmonize a melody using given chord symbols (roman numerals and popular symbols) (AGPA 1: pp. 179, 267)
  • Sight-Reading
    • Sight-read a piano solo written on the grand staff (AGPA 1: 102, 103)
  • Transposition
    • Transpose a piano solo (prepared) up or down a minor third (AGPA 1: pp. 87, 90, 91)
  • Repertoire
    • Play two short, early-intermediate level solos (AGPA 1: p. 116, “Dream Echoes,” Lancaster; p. 317, Ecossaise in G, Beethoven) 

Group Piano IV Proficiency Exam

  • Scales & Arpeggios
    • Major and minor pentascales (hands together)
    • Major and minor scales (two octaves, hands separately)
    • Major and minor arpeggios (two octaves, hands separately)
  • Chords
    • Major and minor chords (root position and inversions, played chromatically)
    • Dominant and diminished 7th chords (root position, played chromatically)
  • Chord Patterns & Progressions
    • Chords played diatonically within major and minor keys (root position and inversions)
    • Modulation to the dominant, the relative major, and the relative minor (AGPA 2: pp. 184, 195, 228) (Keys: up to 3 sharps/flats)
    • Progressions that include chromatic harmonies (secondary dominants, augmented sixths, and the Neapolitan) (AGPA 2: 268, 270, 284) (Keys: up to 3 sharps/flats)
  • Harmonization
    • Harmonize a given melody using appropriate accompaniment patterns (AGPA 2: pp. 201)
    • Harmonize a melody using given chord symbols (roman numerals and popular symbols) (AGPA 2: pp. 200, 285, 287)
  • Sight-Reading
    • Sight-read a piano solo and a vocal or instrumental accompaniment written on the grand staff. (AGPA 1: pp. 246-247, 289, 303)
    • Sight-read any pair of non-contiguous lines from an open score (for example, the soprano and tenor line from an SATB score) (Similar in difficulty to AGPA 2: pp. 332-333)
  • Transposition
    • Transpose a piano solo (at sight) up or down a minor third (Similar in difficulty to AGPA 1: pp. 256-257)
  • Repertoire
    • Play an approved prepared accompaniment of a composition from your applied instrument. (Voice Majors will play an approved art song.)

Play two short, intermediate level solos. (AGPA 1: pp. 298-299, “Chromatic Rag” by Palmer; p. 301, “The Bear” by Rebikov; p. 342, Allegretto, Op. 101, no. 43 by Beyer)