Degrees on Keyboard

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A man in a dark suit playing the piano on stage A man in a dark suit playing the piano on stage

The Department of Keyboard Performance at the Frost School of Music is a dynamic center for music scholarship. Regardless if a student is more versed in classical or contemporary repertoire, the performance and academic opportunities are exceptional and for all areas of keyboard study. A degree from the Frost School will ensure broad comprehensive training for a student in a performance-intensive environment. Degree programs incorporate performance, music research, pedagogy, and professional skills to cultivate students for a professional life in music. Graduates may seek careers as concert performers, collaborative pianists/accompanists, and/or as artist teachers.

The Department of Keyboard Performance at the Frost School has an internationally recognized piano faculty that fosters academic and artistic excellence, and creates an environment that is both competitive and supportive. Private lessons are taught with individual student goals in mind, and direction in academics and career pursuits are a priority for the entire faculty. We take pride in the reputation of our keyboard faculty for not only their distinguished concert careers, but also their dedication as inspiring teachers and mentors.

The music and arts culture grows continuously in Miami, providing numerous concert performances with some of the world’s greatest musicians. The Cleveland Orchestra’s residency (during the months of January-March) draws celebrated solo artists such as Radu Lupu and Horacio Gutiérrez, among others. The Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts also attracts world-renowned concert pianists, including Murray Perahia and Evgeny Kissin, both having played in recent seasons. Performance opportunities are abundant for all piano students at the Frost School, including our annual Concerto Competition, Piano Honors Concert, Guest-Artist master classes, weekly Piano Forums and many other venues both on and off-campus.

Degrees in Keyboard

If you are considering a degree in keyboard performance, you probably already have a passion for your focus instrument. Years of diligent practice has led you to the next step in your performance career: a degree in keyboard. There are several steps to the application process and you will need to use care as you prepare each component, including your audition. A keyboard program will want to make sure you’re a good fit for the school, but it’s also important to choose a program that’s a good fit for you. As you prepare to apply, consider which programs most closely align with your goals. Where do you want to see yourself in 10 years? 20 years? At the end of your career? Curriculum, faculty, location, and the school’s network of alumni are also important factors as you make your decision.

What Does a Keyboard Degree Entail?

A degree in keyboard performance involves a range of experiences intended to make you a well-rounded musician. A keyboard degree at a school of music includes musical skills and professional skills:

  • Fundamental music skills. These can include courses in aural skills, music history, music literacy, keyboard literacy, keyboard pedagogy, and ensemble work. Although you will enter the program with fundamental knowledge, your degree will strengthen your knowledge and deepen your areas of expertise.
  • Professional skills. You may take courses in professional skills to suit your interests. These skills range from music business skills to music technology and music engineering. No matter your path, professional skills are transferable areas of knowledge you can use to make your journey easier.

Performance Opportunities and the Keyboard Degree

One of the best parts a keyboard degree is the opportunity for performance. The performance opportunities connected with an international school of music are numerous. Performance is like any skill: the more you perform, the more your skills will improve. Performing with peers, professors, other mentors, and larger ensembles helps you get a sense of your strengths. It also helps you make a name for yourself—once you’ve made contact with other performers, there are more opportunities for further collaboration.

Performance opportunities associated with your degree may include the following:

  • A solo recital
  • Concerto competitions
  • Participation in chamber music
  • Outside venues the school has a connection to such as ensembles, symphonies, and other groups throughout Miami and beyond

Private Lessons and the Keyboard Performance Degree

If you are a student who wants to take classes in a few different areas during your degree, it’s important to determine the pedagogy of the school beforehand. You may be able to participate in a few tracks of study at once. A quality music school acknowledges that the best musicians are well-rounded and have skills in a variety of areas.

Another essential part of your time as a keyboard performance student are private lessons with experts in the field. Nothing can replace one-on-one lessons of your focus instrument with a highly-trained faculty member. Throughout your degree, you will work closely with your faculty mentors to become the best musician you can be. This includes weekly private lessons, where you will hone in on individualized areas of growth.

What Do I Need to Know Before Applying?

Before you apply to an international school of music, you will need to have several music fundamentals under your belt. You will need to be able to play at a competitive level and possess fundamental theory and technical skills. You won’t be required to know everything about keyboards, but you will need to have a handle on your instrument so that you can begin your degree with a certain level of competency.

Many schools, like the Frost School of Music, require auditions, so that faculty can hear your technical ability. As with any accredited degree, you will also need to submit previous grades, a letter of intent, and other application materials. Make sure to check the school’s website for their deadlines and specific requirements, so that you have plenty of time to prepare.

Comparing Schools of Music

Pursuing a degree is your chance to set the stage for your career. Applying to school isn’t just about a competitive application; it also involves figuring out whether the school is a good fit. Considerations may include the following:

  • Location. Does the school’s city have a music scene? Is the school located in a city you’d be excited to live in? Can you see yourself there?
  • Faculty. Every school will list their faculty on their website. As you peruse who teaches in the program, make sure that the faculty focus in areas that match your interests.
  • Alumni. Are the school’s alumni performing locally, nationally, and internationally? Are the school’s alumni recognized for their achievements?
  • Pedagogical approach. Are students divided into silos, or can they pursue complimentary focus areas?

The Benefits of an Experiential and Integrated Keyboard Degree

If you specialize in keyboard, you are probably used to playing some of your music solo. However, when you play in an ensemble with other musicians, you gain a collaborative experience that will help you in your future career. It is important to choose a music school that provides you the opportunities to learn from solo private-teaching settings and as a group.

Pursuing classical, jazz, and a variety of genres is important to your success. Think of it like cross-training: the more skills you have, the better you will be at your primary focus.  Interdisciplinary, collaborative study also helps with problem-solving skills, deepens your musical knowledge, and helps you build a group of friends and colleagues who will cheer you on as you move forward.

How Do I Find a Keyboard Degree Program That’s Right for Me?

Pursuing a degree on keyboards is an exciting, high-octane opportunity. After you decide to pursue a degree in keyboard performance, it’s important that you weigh your options. Each school will have different requirements and approaches. The best programs out there allow you to learn about the elements of entrepreneurship, marketing, and collaboration in addition to encouraging artistic curiosity and diligent study.  The Frost School of Music uses a unique approach called The Frost Method™, an interdisciplinary strategy that cultivates study and collaboration through small classroom ensembles. With your mentors, you will identify areas of focus, learn musicality, and achieve your goals. As a graduate, you will join a network of thriving, successful alumni.

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