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Piano Classes at Prep

The NEC Prep Piano Department offers a variety of classes for piano students.

Piano Seminars

Preparatory Piano Seminar

A. Ramon Rivera, Coordinator and Instructor

Open by audition to piano students, typically in grades 5 and 6. The class provides an introduction to lecture and group discussion of style period considerations and related arts, with guest teachers, informal class performance, masterclasses, and one class recital per semester.

Eligibility: Students must be playing repertoire at the level of Bach's Little Preludes and Two-Part Inventions.

Saturday, 9:00 - 10:00 AM

Junior Piano Seminar

Konstantinos Papadakis, Instructor

Open by audition to students in the crucial and important transition between the Preparatory and the Intermediate Piano Seminars. Emphasis on technical development and development of good practice habits, musical literacy, reading skills, and practical memorization skills. The year-long course includes frequent in-class performances, master classes, and one class recital per semester.

Eligibility: Students must be playing repertoire at the level of Bach’s Two-Part Inventions or Sinfonias; early Haydn, Mozart, or Beethoven works.

Saturday, 9:00 - 10:00 AM

Intermediate Piano Seminar

A. Ramon Rivera, Coordinator and Instructor

Open by audition to intermediate piano students. Most students in the seminar are ages 11-14. A weekly program of masterclasses, lectures, guest speakers, field trips to museums, and arts events of interest provide this age group with the opportunity for activities and discussions appropriate to their musical development. Special performance projects are an integral part of the curriculum. At least one recital per semester. This course is required for Level III Certificate piano students.

Saturday, 1:00 - 2:00 PM

Advanced Piano Seminar

A. Ramon Rivera, Coordinator and Instructor

Please note that there are two levels of Advanced Piano Seminar. Open by audition to advanced piano students, these seminars are designed to enrich existing keyboard knowledge and performance skills. The class includes guest performers and speakers each week in related arts fields (poetry, graphic arts, other instrumental disciplines) in addition to guest keyboard artists and participating members of the Preparatory School piano faculty. The format includes masterclasses, lectures, and discussions. Public performances include group recitals and participation in the Festival of Contemporary Music. This course is required for Level IV Certificate piano students.

Advanced Seminar I (students in grade 10 or younger): Saturday, 2:00 - 3:00 PM

Advanced Seminar II (students in grades 11 and 12): Saturday, 3:00 - 4:30 PM

Sight-reading for Pianists

Elizabeth Skavish, Instructor

This course is designed to develop excellence in piano sight-reading skills. Students learn specific techniques of piano sight-reading in addition to exploring the ways that music of different composers appears on the page. A strong emphasis is placed on the understanding of stylistic periods of keyboard music, and becoming skilled with rhythmic accuracy at first sight. Students also learn practical ways of applying music theory knowledge to improve their sight-reading, and how to use keyboard topography to their best advantage. Students sight-read and build confidence each week in class in a variety of contexts: whole class with and without the instructor, with duet partners, and individually. Differentiated instruction allows each student to achieve at his/her own highest level and ensures that each student is challenged appropriately by the instructor. Weekly homework is an important part of the course and includes playing scales and arpeggios in all keys as well as sight-reading.

A pre- or co-requisite for the course is music theory at Level II or above (or a working knowledge of the same material). Please note that basic facility with note-reading skills is assumed and necessary for a successful Piano Sight-reading class experience. Minimum age for the class is 10. Repertoire level should be Level II or above; this course is required for Level II Certificate piano students and is a one semester course.

Audition Requirements: Students will be asked to perform two contrasting pieces. Students will also be given short excerpts to sight-read during the audition.

Fall or Spring Semester, 15 weeks, Saturday, 11:00 - 12:00 PM

Sonata-Duo Class

Maria Benotti, Instructor

Violinist-pianist partners study specific works from the violin-sonata literature, two duos sharing a one-hour lesson in workshop format. Each pair performs for their colleagues and in turn observes the others’ instruction, scores in hand. Intensive study of technical as well as interpretive aspects of each sonata is the focus. Performance presence and refinement of ensemble playing, discussion and hearing of concepts are encouraged. Open to upper-intermediate to advanced players.

Saturday, 1:00-2:00 PM

Piano Class for Singers

Aimee Tsuchiya, Instructor

This class will develop skills, knowledge and technique at the keyboard to boost overall musicianship and provide useful tools for burgeoning young singers. No prior piano experience required. We will cover basic elements including the ability to read music, understand rhythms and time signatures, key signatures, chords and transposition. Students will gain the ability to play scales, short two-hand solo pieces, and sight-read simple vocal melodies accurately, as well as analyze and play chord progressions, and learn how to accompany themselves on vocal repertoire. Students will be encouraged to sing at the keyboard much of the time, teaching themselves to hear intervals and learn melodies at the keyboard, as well as sing harmonies in choral settings and with chordal accompaniments. Materials will include technical and theoretical exercises, short vocal excerpts, and the student’s own repertoire in various styles!

Eligibility: Appropriate for students 11 years old and up, or with instructor approval. Class size is limited to 6 students each semester. Students with some piano background may place out of the Fall Semester session, by placement audition with instructor.

Meets for the Full Academic Year, Saturday, 2:00 - 3:00 PM


Most piano courses run on a full academic year schedule. Auditions for the 17-18 academic year will take place on September 9-10, 2017. During the school year, rolling admission is possible but is strictly at the discretion of the individual teachers.

Click here to sign up for a fall placement!