Piano Pedagogy & Literature
University of Arkansas at Little Rock
Fall 2017 ~ Dr. Linda Holzer

MUED 3302


Online class
3 credit hours

Dr. Linda Holzer, office FA 101-D, Music Department, LRHolzer@ualr.edu (email preferred) 569-8436

Course Format:

MUED 3302, Piano Pedagogy & Literature, is a one-semester upper-level music course that uses exciting resources to acquaint music majors with current methods and materials in piano teaching and their practical applications. Not just teaching about teaching, this course includes insights on business practices for music teachers, and an introduction to the latest music teaching technology, apps for iPad to enhance piano lessons.

Pre-requisites: permission of instructor, or completion of MUPR 2226 piano lessons, MUTH 2381 (Music Theory 1), MUTH 2192 (Aural Skills 1) and MUHL 2305 (Intro. to Music) or Music History 1 or 2. This course is an online course There will be 4 face-to-face meetings with the instructor during the semester, with the first one being Monday, Aug. 21 in the afternoon at 3 PM.

All students enrolled in Piano Pedagogy & Literature use Blackboard course management software (free through UALR) to access course materials online such as handouts, participate in online Discussions, and turn in all written assignments. Additionally, all students take the mid-term and final exam for this course online via Blackboard. All lectures for Piano Pedagogy & Literature are audio archived on Blackboard. Students should get in the habit of logging on to Blackboard a minimum of twice per week to keep up with the Lecture & Readings schedule, and course assignments.


Purchase online from a vendor such as amazon.com:

Creative Piano Teaching, 4th edition (2011), by Lyke, Enoch and Rollin.

Also purchase these method for beginners:
The Music Tree: A Plan for Musical Growth = A Time to Begin + Activities book + red Music Tree Book (amazon sells all 3 at a discount; scroll down to where it tells you to Add All Three to your cart)

Piano Pronto: Keyboard Kickoff. Purchase from the publisher here.

Your UALR Email Account: Check your UALR email regularly. This is the way the university and your professors will communicate with you outside of class.

ON RESERVE at Ottenheimer Library at UALR:

Thinking as You Play: Teaching Piano in Individual and Group Lessons by Sylvia Coats (2006)
Independent Piano Teacher’s Studio Handbook, by Beth Gigante Klingenstein (2008)
Practical Piano Pedagogy, by Martha Baker-Jordan (2004)
The Well-Tempered Keyboard Teacher, 2nd edition by Uszler, Gordon and McBride-Smith
How to Teach Piano Successfully, 3rd edition by James Bastien
With Your Own Two Hands by Seymor Bernstein
Focus on Suzuki Piano by Mary Craig Powell
At the Beginning by Rhoda Rabin

Piano Repertoire:
The Pianist’s Guide to Standard Teaching & Performance Literature by D. Jane Magrath
A History of Keyboard Literature by Stewart Gordon
Guide to the Pianist’s Repertoire by Maurice Hinson

Piano Ownership:
The Piano Book: A Guide for Buying a New or Used Piano by Larry Fine

General Course Structure

The course is divided into two parts, comprised of a total of seven (7) units. Each unit is approximately two weeks long. Units One - Three occur before the Mid-Term, and focus on teaching beginner students (children and adults), music literacy, evaluating a new student, and an introduction to business matters for piano teachers. Units Four - Seven occur after the Mid-Term, and focus on teaching intermediate and advanced students, and more information about professional employment and business matters. Five units include an online quiz. Unit quizzes, the mid-term, and the final exam are all located on the Assessments tool on Blackboard. A Practice Quiz is provided for you to familiarize yourselves with online test-taking format if this is new to you.

The Lecture & Readings schedule, Part One; and the Lecture & Readings schedule, Part Two outline the flow of the course, and should be consulted at least twice per week. Assignments, quizzes and tests have specific due dates within a unit. Once the due date has passed, and the window for late work with grade penalty has passed, you will no longer be able to complete those unit assignments or quizzes, but you will be able to review content on the Learning Modules to study for future tests.

Student Learning Objectives:

Students will be able to demonstrate their ability to do the following through assignments, quizzes, tests and discussions:

1. Apply multiple systems of assigning levels of difficulty to piano repertoire for purposes of proper instructional sequencing. Distinguish between elementary performance skills, intermediate performance skills, and advanced performance skills, and identify repertoire suitable for students at different musical performance skill levels.

2. Summarize the credentials and qualifications customers expect a good piano teacher to have.

3. List the investments a piano teacher expects customers to make in terms of financial commitment and time commitment in order for piano lessons to be successful.

4. Conduct research to differentiate essential start-up costs for customers who wish to undertake piano lessons, versus optional costs.

5. Describe trends in piano studio enrollment in Arkansas, correctly identifying the largest age-group and skill group served by most piano teaching businesses.

6. Summarize effective approaches to developing music literacy.

7. Develop facility in analysis of piano teaching materials for beginners (child beginners and adult beginners), demonstrating the ability to compare and critique elementary piano method books in a written assignment and an oral report.

8. Describe the piano teacher's professional network and principal professional music organizations.

9. Analyze the process of entering a student in a music festival or competition, including repertoire requirements, judge's evaluation criteria, and how to prepare a student psychologically for the pressure before and after the event to ensure a constructive learning experience.

10. Differentiate and analyze piano teaching pieces by identifying the stylistic characteristics of a historical period (Baroque, Classical, Romantic, Contemporary {20th-century, 21st-century}) and musical forms (e.g. sonata-allegro, fugue, etc.)

11. Summarize the principles of injury-preventive piano technique at each skill level of piano study.

12. Identify different approaches to behavior modification for piano teaching, including age-appropriate and skill-appropriate techniques for teaching students how to practice piano music (practicing at home is self-directed activity), based on principles of motor skill development, and demonstrate these, via an oral report, in a lesson plan for teaching an intermediate piano piece.

13. Describe the value of piano lessons from both the music teacher's point of view and the customer's point of view, summarizing the artistic, educational and financial considerations involved.

14. List and explain basic components of music studio management and business development, including how to structure a teaching calendar, marketing to attract customers, how to calculate estimated monthly and annual income, and how to estimate quarterly tax payments.

15. Evaluate career options for pianists, and examine different entrepreneurial approaches to the business of piano teaching.

16. Create a resumé for applying for a job as a piano teacher; prepare for job interviews and auditions for freelance employment in the music field.



Portfolio Part One

  1. Pedagogy Documents:
    a. Comparative analysis of two elementary piano method books (see Assignments tool on Blackboard)
    b. Completed research projects 1, 2, and 3 (see Assignments tool on Blackboard)
    Business Documents:
    c. Sample Resume (see Assignments tool on Blackboard)
    d. Completed financial analysis project (see Assignments tool on Blackboard)

    20% of semester grade

    Portfolio Part Two
  2. Personal development section in your portfolio comprised of the following:
    a. Daily practice log for 4 weeks, annotated as assigned
    b. articles of interest from newspapers and non-scholarly publications (minimum of 3). The goal is for you to become aware of what non-musicians encounter in print media about music, so that you are aware of your customer's frame of reference for the subject, and can expand and deepen it.
    c. Two Piano Journal entries (see Assignments tool on Blackboard)

    d. 3 Discussions on Blackboard (see Discussions tool): 1) Introductory Journal Entry: Student Biography Assignment; 2) Remembering Your Early Piano Lessons; 3) Brainstorming about Equipment to Suit Different Budgets.

    15% of semester grade.

    Quizzes, Oral Reports and Tests
  3. 5 online Unit Quizzes, on the Assessments tool on Blackboard.

    15% of semester grade

  4. Oral Report 1: presentation comparing 2 elementary method piano series

    10% of semester grade
  5. Oral Report 2: presentation w/lesson plan for one intermediate piano piece
    (and written handout for class)

    10% of semester grade

    Oral Reports are done using Blackboard Collaborate as well. You will need a computer headset and mic in order to deliver your report via distance-learning.

  6. Mid-Term - online, Assessments tool on Blackboard

    15% of semester grade

  7. Final Exam - online, Assessments tool on Blackboard

    15% of semester grade

Policy on Late Work: Assignments are due by 10 AM on the due date. Late work will be assessed a grade penalty of a letter grade for each delinquent day. The first delinquent day is the calendar day after the due date. Beyond the 4th delinquent day, no late work will be accepted. Missed quizzes or tests cannot be made-up without prior approval from the instructor, and will not be given without exceptional cause. It is essential that you regularly consult the course Blackboard site, the Lecture & Readings Schedule, the Assignments tooll. Plan ahead, and practice good time management.

Technology: Students are expected to use Blackboard, the UALR course management software program, for completing semester assignments. Blackboard becomes available to enrolled students beginning at midnight on the first day of classes. Students are responsible for having regular and timely access to the appropriate software and computer equipment required for completing homework, assignments, and activities.

Grading Scale

90-100% = A,   80-89%= B,   70-79% = C,   60-69% = D,   <60% = F

Final semester grades are derived from a weighted average of the components listed under Projects and Examinations. Please refer to My Grades on Blackboard to see your weighted semester grade average.

Extra Credit: There will be no extra credit option. Please put any available time into the reading, lectures, assignments, discussions, and studying for quizzes and tests.


Class Structure:

The Class Week begins on Monday at 10 am and runs through the following Monday 10 am (Central Standard Time). Each Monday morning the current week's readings, homework assignments, quizzes, and discussion topics become available on Blackboard. The course starts with Unit 1 on Blackboard. Always go to the current Unit to see what is due each week.

You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view all pdf files. If you do not already have Acrobat Reader installed on your computer, a free version is available at http://get.adobe.com/reader/.

Written Assignments: Most written assignments must be submitted as an MS Word document (.doc or .docx) or RTF or PDF. Use size 12 font, double-spaced, with 1-inch margins. All written assignments are turned in through Blackboard, either as an attached document or by typing directly into a response box.

Journal Entries:

Two Journal Entries: These journals use the Assignments tool on Blackboard. One-two pages long for each journal entry (600 - 750 words). The first journal must be course-specific reflections, i.e. reflections on issues related to the learning experience for piano lessons, the job market for piano teaching, the cultural landscape for piano music, etc. The second and final journal entry may be a personal reflection on your learning experience in the course about becoming a piano teacher.

Write your journal entries after reading and reflecting on class lectures and discussions, newspaper and magazine articles (e.g. Newsweek, Time, MSNBC, the New York Times, JSTOR, or the Music Index, etc.) jotting down news from radio or tv broadcasts, or making notes on readings from the text, etc. Sample journal entry.
Consider the following questions in writing your journal entry:

  • Are piano lessons limited to one age group or skill level? How, why, or why not? Give a rationale for your answer.
  • How has this course affected your outlook or awareness on music and piano teaching in general?
  • Have you encountered contradictory information about music and piano teaching? From what sources? Think critically, examine the differing points of view, and state your own opinions on the matter.
  • How has this course affected your outlook on the function and role of piano teachers in American society?

    Note: although journal entries are, to a degree, personal reflections, please write in a serious tone, and avoid slang and/or sarcasm.

    Journal #1 is due Monday, Sept. 18
    Journal #2 is due Monday, Nov. 27

Plagiarism/Academic Dishonesty Statement: College and University regulations regarding academic dishonesty, as set forth in the UALR student handbook and other university documents and publications, will be strictly enforced in this class. Any student caught in the act of cheating will be assigned a grade of zero points (F) for the assignment in question. If written work does not appear to be your own, you will be questioned about it and appropriate action will be taken.

Students with Disabilities: Your success in this class is important to me, and it is the policy and practice of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock to create inclusive learning environments consistent with federal and state law. If you have a documented disability (or need to have a disability documented), and need an accommodation, please contact me privately as soon as possible, so that we can discuss with the Disability Resource Center (DRC) how to meet your specific needs and the requirements of the course. The DRC offers resources and coordinates reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities. Reasonable accommodations are established through an interactive process among you, your instructor(s) and the DRC. Thus, if you have a disability, please contact me and/or the DRC, at 501-569-3143 (V/TTY) or 501-683-7629 (VP). For more information, visit the DRC website at http://ualr.edu/disability/

Web accessibility Statement: It is the policy and practice of UALR to make all web information accessible to students with disabilities. If you, as a student with a disability, have difficulty accessing any part of any online course materials for this class, please notify the instructor immediately.

Weather Policy:
The UALR website, UALR email, the University’s main telephone number (501-569-3000), and the campus emergency alert system are the official means of communicating all information concerning weather-related closing. Local television and radio stations will also be notified. Weather and road conditions vary from place to place. Employees and students are expected to exercise good judgment regarding the safety of travel when road conditions are affected by the weather. This course is offered during the Spring semester, when ice and snow may be a factor in the early weeks. For this blended course, the instructor will hold class regardless of whether the physical campus is closed or not, provided electricity is operational for the campus Blackboard server and the instructor's home computer.