Performance - Piano

Piano Performance and Keyboard Studies

Piano Performance Program Overview

The Piano Performance program at California State University, Stanislaus maintains a long tradition of excellence in the study and instruction of piano and keyboard studies.  Stanislaus State piano faculty, piano majors, and alumni contribute significantly to a growing musical culture on- and off-campus, engaging frequent performances as well as fostering a passion for piano and music instruction that extends throughout the region and beyond. 

At California State University, Stanislaus, piano majors discover a stimulating environment for pianistic study, with frequent opportunities to perform, to assist at the annual Summer Music at Stanislaus Piano Camps, and to engage a variety of musical activities sponsored by both on- and off-campus organizations.  With the small student-teacher ratio, a dynamic student body, fine performing artists and ensembles, and internationally and nationally recognized faculty, students can readily excel in their musical pursuits.  Pianists receive an excellent opportunity to study with a faculty of piano professors who actively engage concert artistry on international, national, and regional stages.  Piano faculty are moreover well-experienced in competition adjudication, masterclass instruction, festival management, research scholarship and lecturing, and compositional craft, engaging important knowledge of professional experience relevant to the discipline as well as outreaching to regional, national, and international communities.

Department of Music Facilities, Keyboard Instruments, and Other Offerings

The facilities of the Department of Music include the Bernell and Flora Snider Recital Hall, an elegant, contemporary building with excellent acoustics and state-of-the-art recording technology; the Music Building, which houses rehearsal, teaching, and practice rooms of various spacing; and the Music Technology Lab, which features a ten-station Macintosh computer lab furnished with Pro Tools, Sibelius and other digital technology.  The department possesses an excellent collection of keyboard instruments, including an outstanding Steinway concert grand piano and an exquisite Dowd harpsichord housed in Snider Music Recital Hall.  Within the Music Building, instruments include newer Steinway, Mason and Hamlin, Kawai, and Boston pianos as well as a classroom lab of digital piano lab. 

Music students often enjoy the beautiful setting where the music facilities are located, finding the water-rich, tree-lined park environment of the western part of campus conducive to focused music study and artistic creativity.  Students also frequently enjoy the opportunity to experience the many fine cultural events offered locally, regionally, and nationally.  With the Stanislaus State campus situated in travel proximity to Modesto, Stockton, Fresno, Sacramento, San Jose, San Francisco, and the Bay Area, students have easy access to an array of artistic offerings that further inform their educational and cultural experience of the musical arts.

Bachelor of Music (B.M) Degree Program in Piano Performance

The Bachelor of Music (B.M.) degree program in Piano Performance is designed for advanced pianists for whom piano performance and teaching is the major emphasis.  Piano performance majors engage a well-rounded curriculum designed to equip them with essential advancing pianistic and musical skills useful toward a successful career in performing and teaching.  Alongside high-level training in applied piano performance, students receive a comprehensive undergraduate education in the study of keyboard literature, piano pedagogy, piano accompanying and collaborative arts.   Courses within the curriculum include weekly hour-long applied piano lessons, pedagogical instruction in studio and class piano teaching, training in accompanying methods and collaborative arts, and studies in keyboard literature from the Renaissance to the Contemporary eras.  The core program of keyboard studies is complemented with an excellent curriculum of courses in music theory, music history, music performance, and liberal arts studies.  Throughout their undergraduate years, piano performance majors gain significant opportunities to perform, present lecture-demonstrations, and engage introductory experience in pre-college piano teaching.  Intended for students concentrating on a career in solo and collaborative concert performance as well as in piano teaching, the piano performance degree program furthermore aims to prepare students for studies at the graduate level.  Prospective piano majors are encouraged to contact Dr. Sarah Chan at schan7@csustan.edu or (209)-667-3429 for more information.

Entrance-Scholarship Audition Information

Students interested in majoring in piano performance should demonstrate a substantially advanced level of pianistic training before considering the piano performance track.  A limited number of merit-based scholarships are available to the most outstanding pianists intent on majoring in piano performance, with scholarship consideration administered through entrance-scholarship auditions.  (Senior high school students who win the Sylvia M. Ghiglieri Piano Competition automatically qualify for scholarship consideration if applying for University admission as piano performance majors for the subsequent academic year.  See https://www.csustan.edu/music/music-festivals/ghiglieri.)  Scholarships are given as four-year awards for entering freshmen, and two- to three-year awards for transfer students.  

Piano auditions occur in the Spring semester of each academic year.  Pianists interested in applying for a performance scholarship should audition in the Spring prior to the intended year of academic enrollment.  Prospective students should schedule an audition time with the Music Recruitment Coordinator at MusicRecruitment@csustan.edu or (209) 667-3844 and are expected to have applied for University admission prior to auditioning with the Department of Music.  Guidelines to University application and Department of Music audition procedures:

University Admissions Deadlines and Procedures

Department of Music Entrance-Scholarship Audition

  • Audition dates are posted on the "Entrance and Sholarship Audition Information" webpage.  Prospective students need to contact the Music Recruitment Coordinator to set up a specific time and date for their audition.  International students living abroad at the time of application and for whom overseas travel presents an extenuated difficulty may send a video recording of a live performance either by weblink or by DVD; please contact the Music Recruitment Coordinator for more information.
  • Piano Audition Requirements: Please refer to the Piano Audition Requirements document for a full description of repertoire and sightreading requirements.  The audition comprises a 10-minute performance of two solo pieces in contrasting styles, selected from two contrasting musical eras; a 1-minute sightreading assessment is also administered.

Pre-College Piano Competitions/Events