The Piano Department at California State University Northridge has a fifty-year history of excellence. As one of the premier piano departments of the greater Los Angeles area and a leader of its kind in the California State University system, the piano area continues to attract serious and highly qualified students from the United States as well as from abroad. All piano students, beginning with their freshman year, are only taught by members of the faculty and not by teaching assistants. The students greatly benefit from the faculty’s individual attention and from a supportive, encouraging atmosphere in the department.
CSUN piano graduates have gone on to pursue graduate and doctoral degrees at such schools as Juilliard, Manhattan School of Music, New England Conservatory and Indiana University, to name just a few. The piano curriculum in Piano Performance and Piano Pedagogy prepares students for a variety of professional activities. During their course of studies at CSUN, piano majors are given an opportunity to develop their skills in solo performance, as well as within chamber music and piano ensemble organizations. In addition to their curriculum studies, all piano students are required to take the piano accompanying class every semester they attend CSUN.
Our piano students are given ample performance opportunities at the biweekly informal noon recitals, at their studio classes and during master classes by visiting artists. The Chamber Music and Piano Ensemble classes culminate in end-of-semester public performances. Additionally, the CSUN music department holds a yearly concerto competition, and over the years many piano students have had the opportunity to perform concertos with the CSUN Symphony Orchestra as a result of winning the competition.
Dmitry Rachmanov - Area Coordinator
Timothy Howard | Organ & Harpsichord
The Piano Area of the CSUN Music Department offers the following undergraduate degree programs:
Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance
Bachelor of Music in Piano Pedagogy
The acceptance and placement in one of these degree programs are determined by the quality of the audition and by the goals and interests of the student. In addition, students applying for the graduate program are required to present a list of previously studied repertoire and three letters of reference.
Courses offered in the Piano Area include Applied Piano, Keyboard Literature, Master Class, Sight-reading, Functional Keyboard Skills, Alternative Keyboards, Piano Accompanying, Piano Ensemble, Chamber Music and Piano Pedagogy.
Bachelor of Music:
The Bachelor of Music is a performance degree. Applicants must show evidence of considerable previous piano study. Piano literature performed for the entrance audition should include the following:
Three memorized works from contrasting style periods, to be chosen from:
A. One Baroque work, comparable to a Bach prelude & fugue.
B. One movement from a classical sonata by Haydn, Clementi, Mozart, Beethoven or Schubert.
C. One 19th or 20th century work.
As part of the BM degree requirements, every piano major must present a Junior as well as a Senior Recital. BM degree in piano pedagogy requires only a Senior Recital.
Bachelor of Arts in the Music Education option:
Three memorized works:
A. One Baroque Work, comparable to a Bach invention or Sinfonia.
B. One movement from a classical sonata.
C. One piece of the candidate’s choice.
Bachelor of Arts in Composition, Media Composition, Music Therapy and Breadth Studies options:
Two works of contrasting styles of the candidate’s choice. Memorization is not required.
All piano majors are required to participate in two semesters of pedagogy courses. Those students seeking a B.M. degree in piano pedagogy are required to enroll in four semesters of pedagogy and successfully demonstrate teaching ability at all levels.
Pedagogy I introduces the study and analysis of elementary, fundamental piano teaching including collections, supplementary literature, technique, business problems/solutions, and pedagogical and technological aids for a beginning piano teacher. Application of literature, teaching aids and software in supervised individual and group-teaching situations are presented in a wide variety of settings including acoustical, electronic and professional portable keyboards. Fundamental problems in psychology such as personality types, self-analysis, characteristics of "good/bad" teachers, learning/motivation, and roll playing are presented. Problems related to student recruitment and retention are examined. Development of audio-visual aids for use in pre-lesson activities will be created. Eight hours of teacher observation, both individual and group instruction are required.
Pedagogy II contains the study and analysis of intermediate literature, business properties, and pedagogical and technological aids for the piano teacher. This course also covers the application of literature, teaching aids and software in supervised, individual and group teaching situations in a wide variety of settings and at various levels of advancement. Examination and comparison of the variety of teaching approaches as well as the problem of transfer students will be considered. Eight hours of teacher observation, both individual and group instruction are required.
Pedagogy III is a class for analytic directed teaching within and outside of the class. Participants are required to teach for this semester two students who must be available to attend the pedagogy class and be willing to have their lesson under class observation. The analysis of teacher/student interaction will be taped and analyzed. This course also covers the application of literature, teaching aids and software in supervised, individual and group teaching situations in a wide variety of settings and at various levels of advancement. Eight hours of teacher observation, both individual and group instruction are required.
Pedagogy IV is a class for directed teaching within a multi-student class situation. Each participant must attend every meeting of a group piano class on campus and teach this class for half of the period every other week (depending on the number of participants). At the pedagogy class prior to the group piano class, material and concepts will be reviewed. Each student teacher must provide a lesson plan prior to their assigned teaching time. Every student teacher will be assigned students from the piano class in order to keep a diary of their progress throughout the semester and assist them with problems those class students may encounter. Each meeting of the pedagogy class will be a time for evaluation of the student teacher and class success or concerns. This course also covers the application of literature, teaching aids and software in supervised, group teaching situations in a wide variety of settings and at various levels of advancement.
Pedagogy Materials Lab:
The Piano Pedagogy area maintains a separate library containing current materials published for keyboard instruction. This library also contains multiple copies of past publications no longer in print. Each of the pedagogy classes is designed to acquaint students with a vast cross-section of material available and the wide range of approaches to teaching piano. These classes are not designed to “sell” one methodology but rather use a comparative analysis of publications to give future teachers knowledge of the variety of approaches one may use that may be successful with students who have different “needs” or learning abilities.
Organ & Harpsichord Degrees
The Organ Area of the CSUN Music Department offers the following undergraduate and graduate degree programs:
Bachelor of Music in Organ Performance
Bachelor of Arts with an Organ Emphasis
Master of Music in Organ Performance
Master of Music in Harpsichord Performance
Acceptance into one of these degree programs is determined by the quality of the audition and by the goals and interests of the student.
Courses offered in the Organ Area include Applied Organ, Organ Literature and Masterclass in Church Music. Organ students also take course offerings in the Piano Area (for example, Functional Keyboard Skills and Alternative Keyboards) and the Choral Music Area (for example, Choral Conducting and Choral Literature), among others.
Bachelor of Music:
The Bachelor of Music is a performance degree. Applicants wishing to declare organ as their primary performance specialty must demonstrate potential for working with an active church music program and/or for public concert performance.
Bachelor of Arts:
A student pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music (Breadth Studies in Music, Music Industry Studies, Music Education, or Music Therapy) may declare organ as his or her primary performance specialty. Students in this program have their personal course of study customized through consultation with the appropriate faculty.
Audition & Entrance Requirements
Bachelor of Music:
Applicants must show evidence of considerable previous organ study. In rare cases, exceptions may be made for applicants demonstrating evidence of considerable previous piano study, but somewhat limited organ study. In addition to scales and arpeggios at the piano, organ literature (three pieces from different periods) performed for the entrance audition normally should be comparable in difficulty to:
- Bach, Orgelbüchlein, BWV 599–644
- Pachelbel, preludes and fugues
- Vierne, 24 Pièces en style libre
- Dupré, Seventy-nine Chorales
- Distler, Dreissig Spielstücke
Bachelor of Arts with an Organ Emphasis:
Applicants must show evidence of previous piano study. In addition to scales and arpeggios at the piano, applicants should prepare three pieces from different periods for presentation on the piano or organ. If performed on the piano, audition repertoire should be comparable in difficulty to:
- Bach, Two-part inventions
- Mozart, Sonata in C major, K. 545
- Beethoven, Sonatas, op. 49
- Mendelssohn, easier Songs Without Words
- Chopin, easier Preludes
- Debussy, Reverie
- Bartók, Ten Easy Pieces
If performed on the organ, audition repertoire should be comparable in difficulty to:
- Bach, Adagio in E minor, BWV 916
In dulci jubilo, BWV 729
Pastorale, BWV 590
Eight Little Preludes and Fugues, BWV 553–560
- Croft, Voluntaries
- Lemare, Andante Pastorale
- Muffat, Antiphon
- Peeters, selections from Sixty Short Pieces
- Vierne, selections from 24 Pièces en style libre