Creating a Collaborative Piano Graduate Degree Program: An Administrative Study

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The purpose of this document is to create a template for a master’s degree in Collaborative Piano using data collected from an online survey and from publicly available information on

The purpose of this document is to create a template for a master’s degree in Collaborative Piano using data collected from an online survey and from publicly available information on institutional websites. The history and development of the graduate collaborative piano degree in the United States is examined to provide the background to this research. In addition to the degree template, other aspects useful for the creation of such a degree are discussed, including proposed required and optional courses, financial considerations, community outreach opportunities, and balancing off-campus professional engagements with on-campus academic duties. A list of all institutions currently offering collaborative piano degrees at the graduate level is included in the appendix.

The degree template conforms to the requirements of the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM) in order to allow the greatest number of institutions the ability to embrace the curriculum. Designed to be flexible within the overall requirements of the degree, the proposed curriculum favors a balanced approach between instrumental and vocal collaboration, with a combination of traditional courses, project-based courses, and customizable elective courses designed to develop important competencies in collaborative piano. Both solo and collaborative applied lessons would be required, with three coached collaborative recitals and one uncoached collaborative recital required to fulfill the degree requirements. The project-oriented Collaborative Piano Seminar course has the flexibility to allow team teaching or community partnerships and requires an off-campus class performance once per academic year.

The goal of this template is to provide a pedagogically solid foundation for a master’s degree in collaborative piano, with the flexibility to add a variety of elective courses best suited to the needs and talents of the students, faculty, and institution. The synthesis of classical and popular styles within the curriculum is designed to give the collaborative pianist diverse musical competencies in order to succeed and thrive as a professional musician in the 21st century, whether the student continues with self-education after the master’s degree, pursues further study at the doctoral level, or enters the professional world.