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Piano Proficiency Examination


The Piano Proficiency Examination must be taken and passed by all students majoring in Music: Performance track, Music Education track,and Liberal Arts track. This is required before a degree in music is conferred. The examination may be completed in portions during piano study. The Piano Proficiency Examination is typically taken by the end of two years of piano study. Some students can accomplish the Examination in less than two years. The Piano Proficiency Examination must be completed before the Junior year of music study. It is assumed that those students who have Piano as their applied major area can accomplish the Piano Proficiency Examination for Piano Majors in this time or less.

A grade of at least a C or better, or an S (Satisfactory) is required to pass the exam. Music minors must pass the major scales, major cadences and major diatonic triads (numbers 1,2,3) of the exam as part of the piano requirements for a minor in music with a grade of at least a C or better, or an S (Satisfactory). 

Questions concerning these requirements should be directed to the piano faculty, Dr. Zahari Metchkov, or Ms. Diane Eickelman.


General Piano Proficiency Requirements

NOTE: Items 1-9 must performed from memory

1. Major Scales up to 4 sharps and flats: C, G, D, A, E, F, Bb, Eb, Ab,- hands together, two octaves, ascending
and descending

2. Major Cadences up to 4 sharps/4 flats: C, G, D, A, E, F, Bb, Eb, Ab,-
I-IV-I-V-V7-I hands together

3. Major diatonic triads up to 3 sharps/3 flats: C, G, D, A, F, Bb, Eb-
I-ii-ii-IV-V-vi-vii°-I  hands together, one octave, ascending and descending

4. Harmonic minor scales up to 3 sharps/3 flats; a, e, b, f#, d, g, c- hands together, 2 octaves, ascending and descending

5. Harmonic minor cadences up to 3 sharps/3 flats: a, e, b, f#, d, g, c-
i-iv-i-V-V7-i  hands together

6. Harmonic minor diatonic triads up to 3 sharps/3 flats: a, e, b, f#, d, g, c-i-ii°-III-iv-V-VI-vii°-i (Note Major III)
hands together, 1 octave, ascending and descending

7. Build and resolve a fully diminished 7th chord on the leading tone of any minor key up to 3 sharps/3 flats:
c, d, e, f#, g, a, b in either hand

8. Build and resolve a root position dominant 7th chord (built on the 5th scale degree) in any major key up to
3 sharps/3 flats: C, D, Eb, F, G, A, Bb - either hand

9. Arpeggiate and block tonic triads in root, first, and second inversions, in both major and minor keys up to 3 sharps/3
flats: C, c, D, d, Eb, e, F, f#, G, g, A, a, Bb, b- hands together

10. Transpose a folk tune up a whole step and down a whole step from the original key.
(e.g. Functional Piano text 10th edition pp.146-149)

11. Improvise an accompaniment, using 4 different chords, to a melody that is at least 8 measures in length

12. Prepare a solo composition as determined by piano faculty (e.g. Functional Piano text, 10th Ed., pp. 163, 205,
249, 292, 346)

13. Sight-reading

14. Score-reading: SATB, play any 2 parts

15. A simple version of "The Star-Spangled Banner," mm. quarter = 75
Stages of Completion

  1. Complete requirements 1-3 before enrolling in MUS 227
  2. Complete requirements 4-6 before enrolling in MUS 229
  3. Complete requirements 1-15 before enrolling in Junior-level (300-400 level) classes
  4. Complete ALL requirements to pass the Piano Proficiency Exam

Applied Piano Proficiency Requirements



  • All Major Scales: Four Octaves. Hands together in Sixteenths MM: 100 per square
  • All major Cadences; Hands together
  • All Major Arpeggio Triads (root, first, second Inversions). Hands together, Three Octaves MM: 100 per triplet


  • All Harmonic Minor Scales; Hands together, Four Octaves
  • All Harmonic Minor Cadences; Hands together
  • All Harmonic Minor Arpeggio Triads; Hands together

7th Chords

  • All Diminished 7ths Arpeggio in sixteenths. Three Octaves, MM: 90 per quarter
  • All Dominant 7ths Arpeggios, all inversions, in sixteenths, Three Octaves, MM: 90 per quarter

Skills (Please consult Proficiency Folder for practice materials)  

  • Transpose at sight a folk tune up a half/whole and down a half/whole step from original key. (Example: Functional, Piano Textbook pp.140 – 143).
  • Improvise at sight an accompaniment using different chords to a melody which is at least eight measures in length. Harmonization must demonstrate solid understanding of common practice harmonic language, musical variety, and successful use of at least one V7 chord and one chromatic harmony. 
  • Score Reading: SATB-play at sight any two parts.

Additional Regulations:

Applied Piano Students cannot apply for Junior recital before requirements 1-8 are complete. Faculty will not sign Recital Application form until requirement is complete.

Applied Piano students cannot complete Senior Recital until requirements 9-11 are complete. Faculty will not sign Recital Application Form until all requirements are complete.

Piano Proficiency is requirement for graduation of all CSU-Pueblo music majors

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