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School of Music


piano students and teacher

Piano programs for children

Our programs for children include a wide variety of group and private options, for all ages and levels.


Experiencing Music at the Piano

For kindergarteners (K5)
New section beginning January 27, 2018
Saturdays at 10:00 a.m. (2017-2018 Calendar)*
13 weekly 50-minute group classes, private mini-lessons, and 1 recital
This two-semester course combines learning music fundamentals and beginning piano playing techniques in a dynamic group setting. Private mini-lessons are included during the class throughout the year.

Designed for kindergarteners, the curriculum provides engaging music that can be played by small hands and fingers and includes learning through exploration and activity. Students perform in a mini-recital at the end of class I and are invited to perform in a formal recital at the end of class II.

To be eligible for the course, students must be enrolled in kindergarten and be able to read letters (not words) and numbers.

Student piano requirement: Acoustic piano (preferred) or 88-key digital piano
Practice requirement: 15-20 minutes a day, five days a week

Cost: 2 payments of $260. See Policies & Tuition for details. Register Online.


Time to Begin

1st year of study for first and second graders
Wednesdays at 4:45 PM (2017-2018 Calendar)*
26 weekly 45-minute group classes, 26 weekly 30-minute private lessons, and 2 recitals

This two-semester program for elementary school students is taught by Dr. Sara Ernst. The academic year includes weekly group lessons, in which the children explore new concepts together, perform music, and participate in dynamic, musical activities. Weekly private lessons provide individualized attention and goals, and these are taught by instructors who are mentored by Dr. Ernst. Private lessons are scheduled at 4:15 p.m. (prior to group class) or 5:30 p.m. (after group class). Students receive weekly practice assignments, which are augmented through online video tutorials.

The children will perform in the semester recitals in December and May, and may also participate in CMTA Achievement Day. Enrollment is for the duration of the academic year, September through early May.

To be eligible for Time to Begin, students must be enrolled in first or second grade and must be able to read simple words and write basic numbers and letters. Students with prior study may transfer into the program, pending an interview to ensure correct placement. 

Student piano requirement: Acoustic piano (preferred) or 88-key digital piano
Practice requirement: 30 minutes a day, five days a week

Cost: 2 payments of $435 or 6 payments of $145. 
See Policies & Tuition for details. Register Online.


Music Tree

2nd year of study for first and second graders
Tuesdays at 4:30 PM (2017-2018 Calendar)*
26 weekly 45-minute group classes, 26 weekly 30-minute private lessons, and 2 recitals

This two-semester program for elementary school includes weekly group classes and private lessons. In the group class, children explore new concepts together, perform current study pieces, and participate in structured musical activities. Weekly private lessons provide individualized attention and goals, often focused upon technique and repertoire. Private lessons may be scheduled at 4:00 p.m. (prior to group class) or 5:15 p.m. (after group class), pending teacher availability. 

The children will perform in the semester recitals in December and May, and may also participate in CMTA Achievement Day. Enrollment is for the duration of the academic year, September through early May.

To be eligible for Music Tree, students must have completed Experiencing Music at the Piano, our K5 class. Students with prior study may transfer into the program, pending an interview to ensure correct placement. 

Student piano requirement: Acoustic piano (preferred) or 88-key digital piano
Practice requirement: 30 minutes a day, five days a week

Cost: 2 payments of $435 or 6 payments of $145. 
See Policies & Tuition for details. Register Online (coming July 1).


Elementary Artist Piano Study

2nd to 3rd year of study for first through fourth graders
Thursdays at 4:30 PM (2017-2018 Calendar)*

29 weekly 45-minute private lessons, 26 weekly 50-minute musicianship & repertoire classes, and 2 recitals

This program for elementary school students includes 45-minute private lessons and a group class focused on performance, musicianship, and theory. In weekly individual lessons, students explore technique, repertoire, and other skills, receiving a customized practice assignment for each week. In weekly group class, students perform for their classmates, and explore theory and musicianship, which includes activities such as improvisation, composition, ear training, and ensembles.

Students in the Elementary Artist perform in semester recitals and CMTA Achievement Day, and may participate in the Music Development Program, if ready.

To be eligible for Elementary Artist Piano Study, students must be enrolled in first through fourth grade and have completed the Center classes Experiencing Music at the Piano (K5), Time to Begin, and/or Music Tree. Students with prior study elsewhere may transfer into the program, pending an interview to ensure correct placement.

Student piano requirement: Acoustic piano (preferred) or 88-key digital piano
Practice requirement: 30 minutes a day, five days a week

Cost: 2 payments of $555 or 6 payments of $185. 
See Policies & Tuition for details. Register Online (coming July 1).


Young Artist Piano Study

29 weekly 45- or 60-minute private lessons
Repertoire classes, recitals, festivals & auditions, theory classes, other opportunities
See table below for class levels and times (2017-2018 Calendar)
See Calendar for theory & repertoire class dates

Young Artist is our most comprehensive program of study and is designed to follow our beginning and elementary classes outlined above.* 

Students learn reading, repertoire, technique, theory, ensemble and creative skills, and are engaged in regular performance opportunities. Private lessons occur weekly, repertoire classes meet 7 times per academic year, and theory/musicianship classes meet 26 times per academic year. Students with significant advancement may also have the potential to play chamber music with other instrumentalists.

Repertoire Classes are for the development of artistic performance and listening skills, and for expanding knowledge in repertoire and music history. Students perform at least one piece, receiving coaching from the instructor, and hear the playing of their peers. 

Students participate in formal performances including one recital per semester, SCMTA state auditions, and the Music Development Program. The private teacher may encourage additional performances and auditions.

Theory & Musicianship courses are taught in our Group Piano Lab and are designed for piano students. These courses include theory (curriculum of the Music Development Program), aural skills, ensemble repertoire, improvisation, composition, and other activities. Theory Classes are coordinated by Carolina Music Studios and are designed for all instruments. They also support the Music Development Program theory curriculum. Students enroll in either Theory (CMS) or Theory & Musicianship (Piano). This is optional but recommended.

Once there has been significant advancement in study (often by 5th grade), teachers will recommend lengthening lessons from 45 to 60 minutes.

Student piano requirement: Acoustic piano
Practice requirement: 45-60 minutes a day, 5-6 days a week
A minimum of 6 lessons must be taken throughout the summer. Students are encouraged to enroll in the Intermediate Piano Camp.

Cost for 45-minute program: 2 payments of $597 or 6 payments of $199. 
Cost for 60-minute program: 2 payments of $768 or 6 payments of $256. 
See Policies & Tuition for details. Register Online.

Class Title (2017-2018)

Section

Level

Day & Time

Elementary Theory & Musicianship (Weekly class, Piano)  1 Prep to 2 Friday 4:30 p.m.
Elementary Theory & Musicianship (Weekly class, Piano)  2 Prep to 2 Saturday 10:00 a.m.
Elementary Repertoire Class, (three times per term)  1 Prep to 2 Friday 5:30 p.m.
Elementary Repertoire Class, (three times per term)  2 Prep to 2 Saturday 11:00 a.m.
Intermediate Theory (Weekly class, CMS)  1 3 to 5 Friday 4:30 p.m.
Intermediate Theory (Weekly class, CMS)  2 3 to 5 Friday 5:30 p.m.
Intermediate Theory & Musicianship (Weekly class, Piano)  3 2 to 5 Saturday 11:00 a.m.
Intermediate Repertoire Class, (three times per term)  1 2 to 5 Friday 5:30 p.m.
Intermediate Repertoire Class, (three times per term)  2 2 to 5 Friday 4:30 p.m.
Intermediate Repertoire Class, (three times per term)  3 2 to 5 Saturday 10:00 a.m.
Late Intermediate Theory (Weekly class, CMS)  1 6 to 8 Friday 5:30 p.m.
Late Intermediate Repertoire Class, (three times per term)  1 5 to 8 Friday 6:30 p.m.

 


Young Musician Piano Study

29 weekly 45- or 60-minute private lessons (2017-2018 Calendar)
2 repertoire classes, 2 recitals, 1 festival
In this program of study, students learn reading, repertoire and musicianship throughout the academic year. A wide variety of repertoire can be learned, from popular to Classical music, uniquely designed to suite the needs and desires of the student. Students participate in two pre-recital repertoire classes, two semester recitals, and CMTA Achievement Day.

Students with prior study may transfer into the program, pending an interview to ensure correct placement. Once there has been significant advancement in study (often by 7th grade), teachers will recommend lengthening lessons from 45 to 60 minutes.

Student piano requirement: Acoustic piano
Practice requirement: 30 or 45 minutes a day, 4-5 days a week
Students are encouraged to take at least 6 summer lessons or enroll in summer camp. Those who take summer study are given preference in Fall registration. 

Cost for 45-minute program: 2 payments of $516 or 6 payments of $172. 
Cost for 60-minute program: 2 payments of $681 or 6 payments of $227. 
See Policies & Tuition for details. Register Online.


 

 

Fall Festival for Young Pianists

Fall Festival for Young Pianists

Free for children, ages 5 to 12. Beginners to advanced players are welcome. RSVP requested (via online ticket, free). View the Storytelling Through Music poster. 

Storytelling Through Music
Sat., Oct. 14, 2017

9:30 a.m. – noon
USC School of Music
Registration begins in the lobby at 9:15 a.m.

Young pianists, age 5-12, participate in a variety of fun-filled musical activities, exploring the connection between stories and music. Students rotate through four classrooms for 30-minutes each: improvisation, composition, listening and performance. Students are supervised by piano instructors at all times, and a morning snack is provided. Each participant has an informal performance opportunity; bring a piece to share! 

The final event at 11:30 a.m. is a performance of The Story of Babar: The Little Elephant, music by Francis Poulenc, story by Jean de Brunhoff, performed by Dr. Sara Ernst. This storybook concert is perfect for the whole family.  

RSVP requested (via online ticket). This is a free event, open to all young pianists.  Ticket sales close at 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, October 12, or when the maximum registrations have been received. Drop-ins are welcome as space permits. 

On-site registration begins at 9:00 a.m. in the lobby. Parents are welcome to follow along in the festival or to drop-off children once formal consent has been provided. Parents are asked to return at 11:30 a.m. for the concert in the Recital Hall. The event concludes at 12:00 p.m.

Programmed by the Center for Piano Studies and the USC MTNA Collegiate Chapter.


*If you are unavailable at any of the given class times, email piano@mozart.sc.edu to be placed on a list for an alternative section. It is possible for elementary children and beginners (1st grade and above) to take private lessons in the Young Musician or Young Artist program described on this page.