Piano Courses

The courses at Berklee are continually reviewed and evaluated so that they consistently reflect today's musical needs. In classes such as Contrapuntal Jazz Improvisation, Improvisational Theory, Piano Accompaniment Techniques, and Survey of Piano Styles, you will learn the history of your instrument, analyze its present-day challenges, and pursue an in-depth study of styles and techniques. Below is a list of all Piano courses for the upcoming semester.

Jazz Piano Trio 1

Course Number
ENPN-112
Credits
1
Course Chair
Dave Limina
Semesters Offered
Fall, Spring
Required Of
None
Electable By
Piano principals
Prerequisites
ILPN-121 or overall ensemble rating 2
Department
PIANO
Location
Boston Campus
Description
An ensemble for piano students who want to improve their ability to function in an ensemble setting with bass and drums. They will gain an understanding of the role of bass and drums in the rhythm section and learn to interact and communicate with them. Creating arrangements, working on appropriate comping techniques, improvisation, dynamic balance, and other applicable techniques to the jazz piano trio idiom will be addressed.

Piano Trio Lab 2

Course Number
ENPN-113
Credits
1
Course Chair
Dave Limina
Semesters Offered
Fall, Spring
Required Of
None
Electable By
Piano principals
Prerequisites
Overall ensemble rating 3
Department
PIANO
Location
Boston Campus
Description

A two-hour lab for Piano Performance Majors that focuses on advanced harmonic and rhythmic studies for the pianist and the rhythm section. Styles include Latin, Brazilian, Hard Bop and Modern. Class focuses on rhythmic accuracy, independence, using the left-hand as an integral part of building up solos, understanding of odd meters, such as 3/4, 5/4 and 7/4, rhythmic comping and the use of rhythmic motif displacement as a comping and soloing technique in various styles. Development of rhythm section language and musical communication with bass and drums.

Afro-Cuban Piano Montunos Ensemble

Course Number
ENPN-246
Credits
1
Course Chair
Dave Limina
Semesters Offered
Fall, Spring
Required Of
None
Electable By
Piano principals
Prerequisites
ILPN-112 and ILPN-122, or overall ensemble 2
Department
PIANO
Location
Boston Campus
Description

This course emphasizes rhythmic aspects and the historical context of Afro-Cuban piano montunos. Harmonic vocabulary includes triads and sixth chords in inversions, and A and B standard jazz voicings for major, minor, and dominant seventh chords. Harmonic contexts used in class encompass one chord, I-IV-V-VI-I progression and variations, and standard jazz tunes. All examples are in duple meter.

Odd-Meter Rhythmic Studies for the Pianist Ensemble

Course Number
ENPN-249
Credits
1
Course Chair
Dave Limina
Semesters Offered
Fall, Spring
Required Of
None
Electable By
Piano principals
Prerequisites
Overall ensemble rating of 4
Department
PIANO
Location
Boston Campus
Description
A hands-on, in-depth study of odd meters (5/4, 7/4, 5/8, 11/8 and 15/8) using rhythmic speech and counting/tapping of various groupings and accents. These exercises will take place at the piano and away from the instrument and will emphasize repetition to give the student time to internalize the groove of each meter. Through an in-depth study of cross-rhythms, listening to significant performances and transcribing musical examples, students will be expected to produce and perform arrangements of standards and/or original compositions utilizing odd meters.

Synth Techniques for Live Performance Ensemble

Course Number
ENPN-261
Credits
1
Course Chair
Dave Limina
Semesters Offered
Fall, Spring, Summer
Required Of
None
Electable By
Piano principals
Prerequisites
ILPN-122 or overall ensemble rating 3
Department
PIANO
Location
Boston Campus
Description
An ensemble designed for piano principals emphasizing basic synthesizer programming and performance in a live situation. Focuses on orchestration, patch choices, and playing multiple timbres simultaneously in any synthesizer setup.

The Music of Jarrett, Hancock, and Corea

Course Number
ENPN-262
Credits
1
Course Chair
Dave Limina
Semesters Offered
Fall, Spring
Required Of
None
Electable By
Piano principals
Prerequisites
Overall ensemble rating 3
Department
PIANO
Location
Boston Campus
Description

This course will focus on the recordings and improvisations of Keith Jarrett, Herbie Hancock, and Chick Corea. Students will analyze and learn compositions and improvised solos of each pianist, and will perform one transcription of each pianist's solo or trio improvisations. Through in-depth discussion around the melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic devices employed by those pianists, students will also learn to utilize those devices in their own improvisations, and how those concepts apply to the music of today.

Solo Piano Improvisations of Keith Jarrett

Course Number
ENPN-264
Credits
1
Semesters Offered
Fall, Spring
Required Of
None
Electable By
All
Prerequisites
Overall ensemble rating 3
Department
PIANO
Location
Boston Campus
Description

This is a course for piano principals in which the live solo piano improvisations of Keith Jarrett are studied in detail. Studies include listening and analyzing live recordings such as: The Koln Concert, The Sun Bear Concerts, The Solo Concerts: Bremen/Lausanne, and La Scala and their corresponding transcriptions. In addition, students are required to transcribe performances and provide detailed analyses of their transcriptions and of Jarrett’s improvisational techniques and musical influences, including classical, blues, pop, jazz, and avant-garde styles or genres. An underlying goal of this work is to help students find their own voices. By listening to and analyzing Keith Jarrett’s live improvised solo piano concerts, students not only learn the style of his music, but they also have the chance to reflect on their own musical backgrounds, discovering their own sound and voice in the process. Jarrett’s music serves as a role model for students’ musical and life journey.

Gospel Keyboard Techniques Ensemble

Course Number
ENPN-266
Credits
1
Course Chair
Dave Limina
Semesters Offered
Fall, Spring
Required Of
None
Electable By
Piano principals
Prerequisites
ILPN-122 or overall ensemble rating 3
Department
PIANO
Location
Boston Campus
Description
This ensemble will expose the pianist to the stylistic diversity among gospel keyboard performers. Through analysis, transcriptions, and performance, students will gain practical performance experience in playing hymns, traditional gospel pieces, and contemporary gospel music. Focus will be on learning gospel music in the traditional way and will include learning by ear. The student will be exposed to the historical development of this spiritual music.

New Music Improvisation Ensemble

Course Number
ENPN-371
Credits
1
Course Chair
Dave Limina
Semesters Offered
Fall, Spring
Required Of
None
Electable By
Piano principals
Prerequisites
ILPN-113 and ILPN-121, or overall ensemble 2
Department
PIANO
Location
Boston Campus
Description
An ensemble for pianists to study improvisational systems and structures using both traditional notation and other methods such as graphic, visual, or written instructions. Topics include motivic development; varied scales and harmonic materials; dynamic registral and spatial contrasts; and repetition and variation of patterns with an emphasis on listening and group interaction. Students are encouraged to develop their own compositions for performance in class.

Jazz Piano Master Class Ensemble

Course Number
ENPN-461
Credits
1
Course Chair
Dave Limina
Semesters Offered
Fall, Spring, Summer
Required Of
None
Electable By
Piano principals
Prerequisites
Ensemble rating 4444
Department
PIANO
Location
Boston Campus
Description
An advanced performance ensemble for piano principals providing the opportunity to study, analyze, and perform the music of selected jazz pianists in a master-class setting. Transcriptions of materials to be studied will be distributed to provide the basis for faculty-led analytical discussions. The addition of bass and drums will allow for performance in a complete group setting.

Keyboard Lab – Smart Reading

Course Number
ILPN-101
Credits
1
Course Chair
Dave Limina
Semesters Offered
Fall, Spring
Required Of
None
Electable By
Piano principals
Prerequisites
None
Department
PIANO
Location
Boston Campus
Description

Utilizing the latest technologies in Berklee's web-based learning environment, this blended (online and on-ground) piano lab is designed to develop reading and comping skills to support the role of the piano in the rhythm section. The focus is on strengthening the student's ability to read and interpret notation and chord symbols. Through the use of tunes that include a diverse range of styles and rhythmic feels, exercises to develop stylistically appropriate voicings, video clips to help students gain an understanding of the role of the pianist in the rhythm section, historical information on the development of styles over the 20th century and beyond, and listening assignments that expose the students to some of the most influential pianists, students will be better prepared to interpret and perform music at sight in ensembles and in other musical settings.

Keyboard Lab – Reading 1

Course Number
ILPN-111
Credits
1
Course Chair
Dave Limina
Semesters Offered
Fall, Spring, Summer
Required Of
None
Electable By
Piano principals
Prerequisites
None
Department
PIANO
Location
Boston Campus
Description

Instrumental laboratory for piano principals emphasizing reading studies in a variety of idioms. This course increases sight-reading abilities through exposure to traditionally notated materials.

Request Information