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Piano Pedagogy

The USC Piano Pedagogy Program is the only comprehensive piano pedagogy program in the United States. We have a long and distinguished history of research and teacher training in the area of piano pedagogy. 

The University of South Carolina offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in piano pedagogy, and the curriculum is enriched through key experiences, such as:

  • Intern teaching in comprehensive programs for precollege and adult students
  • Intern teaching in college-level group piano
  • Training in the performance and pedagogy of keyboard improvisation
  • Advanced pedagogy in teaching students with autism and other special needs

The piano pedagogy faculty serve as mentors to student teachers and provide varied opportunities for them to work with children and adults both privately and in groups. In addition, they are committed to high standards in the balance of traditional piano teaching coupled with the latest advances in keyboard technology and instructional materials. 

Pedagogy students regularly observe faculty and other students in instructional arenas including beginning-level private and group classes, college-level group piano classes, college-level secondary lessons and applied teaching at the undergraduate and graduate levels. 

The Carolina LifeSong Initiative provides music lessons and experiences to students with disabilities and is the only program in the nation providing teacher training in this specialization through the doctoral level. 

The Center for Piano Studies offers private, group, and Recreational Music Making instruction for students of all ages and abilities, and is an examination center for the Music Development Program of the Royal Conservatory of Music.

The Group Piano Program provides opportunities in teaching college-level group piano classes, for music majors and for non-music majors, and in curricular development.

USC also is home to the Piano Pedagogy Resource Center containing the Pedagogy Library, facilities for classes, and resources for research and other projects. 

Piano Pedagogy Degrees

Bachelor of Music: Emphasis in Piano Pedagogy
Master of Music: Concentration in Piano Pedagogy (Recital or Thesis Track)
Doctor of Musical Arts in Piano Pedagogy (Recital or Dissertation Track)

Piano Pedagogy Courses

MUSC 573 Performance Pedagogy I
MUSC 573L Pedagogy Laboratory (Intern Teaching)
MUSC574 Performance Pedagogy II
MUSC 574L Pedagogy Laboratory (Intern Teaching)
MUSC 575L Pedagogy Laboratory (Intern Teaching)

MUSC 773 Seminar in Performance Pedagogy I
MUSC 774 Seminar in Performance Pedagogy II
MUSC 767 Pedagogy of Group Piano
MUSC 776 Topics in Piano Pedagogy (Current offerings include: Pedagogy of Improvisation, Teaching Students with Special Needs, Wellness and Performance Psychology, and Current Readings and Research)


Piano Pedagogy Faculty


Recent Guest Pedagogy Clinicians

Jane Magrath, Marvin Blickenstaff, Jennifer Snow, Peter Jutras, E. L. Lancaster, Kent McWilliams

Our Students

USC Piano Pedagogy students have been published in The American Music Teacher, Clavier Companion Magazine, the College Music Society Symposium, and in Piano Pedagogy Forum. Four of our students have been winners in the Clavier Companion Magazine student writing competition. 

Graduates of the USC Piano Pedagogy Program hold faculty positions at institutions throughout the United States and abroad. See our recent list of student positions and accomplishments.

The USC Collegiate Chapter of MTNA has regularly been selected to present at the national conference of MTNA, and many chapter members have presented session and research posters at the SCMTA state conference, the MTNA national conference, CMS regional and national conferences, and the National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy. The collegiate chapter hosts educational programs throughout the year, and sponsors Musicaré, a music program for residents in Alzheimer and Dementia care units in Columbia, SC.

Graduate Assistantships

A select number of graduate students receive assistantships in piano pedagogy, and these provide a stipend and a tuition supplement. These competitive positions include:

  • Teaching collegiate group piano
  • Administrative assistance for the Center for Piano Studies
  • Teaching classes to children and adults in the Center for Piano Studies
  • Librarian in our Piano Pedagogy Resource Center
  • Independent research and faculty research assistance

Additional assistantships are also available in studio, choral and opera accompanying and in other areas of the School of Music.

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