Piano Performance

Piano Performance

The Keyboard Studies 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 reaches throughout the region and beyond. 

At Stanislaus State, piano majors can discover a stimulating environment for pianistic study, with frequent opportunities to perform, to assist at the annual Summer Music at Stanislaus Summer 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 recognized faculty, students can readily excel in their musical pursuits. 

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 complete 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.


The Keyboard Studies program provides an outstanding opportunity for pianists to obtain high-quality training and education, offering two major tracks of study:

  • The Bachelor of Music (B.M.) degree program in Piano Performance,

designed for advanced pianists for whom music performance is the major emphasis and for whom training in piano performance and literature, piano pedagogy, accompanying, and collaborative arts prepares them for a career in concert performance, piano teaching, and solo and collaborative art.

  • The Bachelor of Music (B.M.) degree program in Music Education-Instrumental (piano emphasis),

designed for music education majors who have substantial pianistic skill and who declare piano as their major instrument, with the intent to teach music at the secondary and primary levels of public and private school education. Note: Instrumental music education majors declaring piano as their primary instrument must have a secondary instrument on which they are sufficiently proficient in order to participate in one of the instrumental ensembles throughout their course of study. 

Within the B.M. piano performance degree program, piano majors engage a well-rounded curriculum designed to equip them with essential pianistic and musical skills useful toward a successful career as practicing musicians and teachers.  The program furthermore aims to prepare students for advanced studies at the graduate level.  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 piano arts, and subjects in keyboard literature and musical styles from the Renaissance to the Contemporary era.  Throughout the years of study, piano performance majors gain significant opportunities to perform, present lecture-demonstrations, and engage introductory experience in pre-college piano teaching.  Prospective piano majors are encouraged to contact Dr. Sarah Chan at schan7@csustan.edu or (209) 667-3429 for further inquiry into program offerings.


Prospective 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 entering students who intend on majoring in piano performance, with scholarship consideration administered through entrance-scholarship auditions.  Eligible senior high school students who win the Sylvia M. Ghiglieri Piano Competition may also qualify for scholarship consideration (refer to competition webpage at https://www.csustan.edu/music/music-festivals/ghiglieri).  Piano scholarships are given as four-year awards for entering freshmen, and two- to three-year awards for transfer students.  

Auditions normally occur in the Spring semester of each academic year, and audition dates are posted on the “Entrance and Scholarship Audition Information” webpage of the Department of Music (https://www.csustan.edu/music/entrance-scholarship).  Prospective piano students interested in applying for a performance scholarship should audition in the academic year prior to intended year of enrollment, and should contact the Music Recruitment Coordinator at MusicRecruitment@csustan.edu  or (209) 667-3844 to schedule an audition time.  Please note that a student is expected to have applied for University admission before auditioning with the Music Department.

Audition requirements:  Two pieces of contrasting style from different musical eras, with a recommended minimum level of repertoire difficulty represented by (though not limited to) the following:  a dance suite movement, invention, or prelude and fugue by Bach; a sonata movement by Haydn, Mozart, or Beethoven; an impromptu, nocturne, prelude, etude, or intermezzo by Schubert, Schumann, Brahms, Chopin, Liszt, or Rachmaninoff; an advanced-intermediate work of the modern era by Debussy, Ravel, Bartok, Prokofiev. 


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