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The Wind Ensemble playing music
School of Music

Master of Music in Piano Pedagogy

Two sets of hands playing piano, adult teaching a child

The Master of Music in Piano Pedagogy degree challenges students to pursue leadership in the teaching profession. Significant teaching opportunities (private and group) are available through the Butler Community Arts School for graduate students who are passionate about serving the greater Indianapolis community. Our graduates are thriving studio owners, owners of academies and multi-teacher organizations, successful doctoral degree candidates, and adjunct/full-time faculty.

The piano pedagogy program at Butler University is nationally recognized for its innovative curriculum. Pedagogy classes are designed around essential teaching topics (Organization and Materials, Psychology of Teaching, Technique, Style and Interpretation) instead of general levels or types of students.  These topics are explored in-depth, with practical applications to all levels and types of students.  Within each topic, students are encouraged to explore various approaches and to assimilate in their teaching the methods that most resonate with their teaching style and future career plans. 

How to Apply

Important Dates:

January 1: Application deadline for fall entry, including pre-screening materials.

March 1: Interview and audition deadline for fall entry.

Steps for Applying:

Step 1: Complete the Application for Graduate Admission. NOTE: To submit a graduate application, you need to have previously completed a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college or university and be seeking an advanced degree. Your Application for Graduate Admission should include:

  • Butler Application​​
  • A Professional Statement
  • Official transcripts or copies of official transcripts from all colleges and universities where candidates:
    • Earned a degree
    • Earned more than 15 credits (undergraduate and graduate)
    • Completed any program prerequisite (regardless of number of credit hours)
    • Completed courses for which candidates are applying for transfer credit
  • Resumé
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • International applicants must take the TOEFL as well as submit additional financial documentation. See International Student Application process.

Transcripts
Copies of official transcripts may be uploaded in the online application for application review only. Applicants who receive an offer of admission will be required at that time to submit official final transcripts issued directly from the institution(s) for verification prior to enrollment. More information is available in the application for admission.

Step 2: Complete the JCA Graduate Music Supplement. The supplement will appear on your application status page after submitting your Application for Graduate Admission. The supplement is required in order for your application to be considered complete.

Step 3: Submit Pre-Screening materials which includes a video or videos demonstrating your teaching abilities. The videos should include footage of you teaching two different students and be a total of 20 minutes in length. For each child in the video, please indicate the child's age, years of piano study, and years study with you.Submit video recordings as a link to an online source such as YouTube, DropBox, or GoogleDrive via email to music@butler.edu. The subject line of the email should include your full name and "Piano Ped Pre-Screen". 

Step 4: Complete an interview and a performance audition with appropriate piano faculty. Interviews and auditions are by invitation only upon approval of the pre-screening materials that are outlined in Step 3. Performance audition requirements are below. If you have questions or have not been contacted regarding the results of your pre-screening, please email music@butler.edu.

Performance Audition Requirements (invitation only):

Prepare three important, contrasting works from different styles and periods (i.e. Baroque, Classical, Romantic, Contemporary). Please consult Dr. Kate Boyd (kboyd@butler.edu) to discuss repertoire. All pieces should be memorized. Sight-reading will also be required.

Degree Overview

Total Credit Hours: 30 credit hours
Anticipated Duration: 2 years 
Degree requires a final oral comprehensive exam as well as either a full recital OR three-hour pedagogy workshop

Required Courses:

  • Piano Major lessons
  • Piano Pedagogy 1
  • Piano Pedagogy 2
  • Piano Teaching Practicum
  • Piano Literature
  • Research in Music
  • Ensemble
  • Music History Elective
  • Music Theory Elective
  • General Music Electives
  • Recital or Piano Pedagogy Workshop Presentation
  • Final Oral Examination

Download full degree guide in PDF form: MM in Piano Pedagogy

Graduate Assistantships and Tuition Waivers

We offer a limited number of graduate assistantships, fellowships, and tuition waivers to graduate music students in the fall of every academic year. Graduate awards are reviewed and renewed annually. To view a full list of graduate assistantship positions visit the Graduate Studies homepage or email music@butler.edu. NOTE: New students applying for entry in the spring semester will not be eligible for a graduate assistantship, fellowship, or tuition waiver, but may apply for the following academic year.

Piano Pedagogy Graduate Assistantship

Eligibility: Full-time, degree-seeking graduate students seeking fall-term entry only. Preference will be given to students pursuing a MM in Piano Pedagogy or Piano Performance; however, students pursuing other degree plans are welcome to apply.

How to apply: Select the Piano Pedagogy assistantship when prompted on the Graduate Application. A pedagogy interview is required, students pursuing the MM in Piano Pedagogy degree will automatically be considered for the assistantship and do not need to complete a separate interview.

Award Details: Includes a full tuition waiver of graduate tuition for 15 credit hours per year plus a stipend. 

Duties: Serve as Teaching Fellow for the Butler Community Arts School, including teaching private and/or group piano classes. Provide support for the pedagogy and/or piano department, including the MTNA Collegiate Chapter. Position will require 10-20 hours of service per week. Schedule and exact number of hours per week are determined at the beginning of the semester.

Faculty supervisors: Karen Thickstun, Instructor of Piano Pedagogy

Collaborative Piano Graduate Assistantship

Eligibility: Full-time, degree-seeking graduate students seeking fall term entry only. Preference will be given to students pursuing a MM in Piano Pedagogy or Piano Performance; however, students pursuing other degree plans are welcome to apply.

How to apply: Select the Collaborative PIano assistantship when prompted on the Graduate Application. A collaborative piano audition is required of all applicants.

Award Details: Includes a full tuition waiver of graduate tuition for 15 credit hours per year plus a stipend. 

Duties: Serve as collaborative pianist for vocal ensembles and/or vocal classes. Position will require 10-20 hours of service per week. Schedule and exact number of hours per week are TBD.

Faculty supervisors: Cathy Bringerud, Instructor of Collaborative Piano and Kate Boyd, Professor of Piano and Piano Area Coordinator

 

Faculty

Kate Boyd, Professor of Piano and Piano Area Coordinator

Karen Thickstun, Instructor of Piano Pedagogy

Cathy Bringerud, Instructor of Collaborative Piano

DJ Smith, Coordinator of Keyboard Skills

Contact Us

For application or general questions, contact the School of Music office at music@butler.edu or 317-940-9065

To discuss piano performance audition repertoire, contact Dr. Kate Boyd at kboyd@butler.edu.