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Piano Class Information: MUS 120A/B, MUS 220A/B

Piano Class MUS 120A, 120B, 220A, 220B will be mostly virtual (online) in Fall 2021. In addition to asynchronous instruction, we are tentatively planning for open times in the iLab for practice and in-person help.

SELF-STUDY will again be offered:

  • Available for all levels 120A through 220B
  • No enrollment required (note: piano class not required for degree, only Piano Proficiency Exam)
  • Course materials provided, including access to BeachPiano video demonstrations
  • Flexibility to work at own pace; must be self-motivated and able to learn independently
  • You may choose self-study or take the course in any given semester and switch between the options from semester to semester as you desire

Self-Assessment Test

**NEW!** We have instituted a Self-Assessment Test to place students into the appropriate class in the sequence. All BCCM undergraduates except piano majors and those who have passed the Piano Proficiency Exam should take the Self-Assessment Test.

To take the Self-Assessment Test, login to Beachboard and select the "Music—Undergraduate" course. In the "Content" section, find the "Piano Proficiency Requirement" post and follow the instructions there. Make sure you view the .pdf and also fill out and submit the form.

If you have any questions, please contact Dr. Chou at

Piano Proficiency Examination (PPE) Requirements

The Piano Proficiency Exam (PPE) is administered throughout MUS 220B, but may also be taken without enrollment through Self-Study. In order to pass the PPE, students must be very well-prepared. Unprepared and underprepared work is not acceptable and will not pass the exam nor will it be heard by the instructor. If a student is unsure of the examination standards, they may consult the instructor. All parts of the exam are to be played with proper tempi, rhythm, fingering, pedaling, dynamics and phrasing.

The PPE is not graded, but given on a pass/fail basis. If students do not pass an item, they will have another opportunity (not to exceed one week) to retake that part of the exam. Students not enrolled in MUS 220B are assumed to have the skills necessary to pass the exam. These are the components of the exam:

Exam Components

All of the following skills will be assessed unless noted.


All repertoire will be assigned or approved by the instructor. One (1) piece must be presented as a polished, well-practiced product. Memorization is not necessary.

Technical Skills

Scale harmonization, cadences, scale and arpeggio will be tested.

Keyboard Harmony

  • Play a choral-style warm-up at sight. Your instructor will provide you with the pattern.
  • Harmonize a short tune with a patterned accompaniment using appropriate harmony.


Transpose a short piece selected by the instructor to two different keys.

Open-Score Reading

Perform an excerpt from a four-voiced composition in open score (16-24 bars) selected by the instructor. This may be prepared.


Excerpt will be made available to the student during the final exam.


Choral-Vocal Music Education Students only: A pre-approved accompaniment from the vocal repertoire may be presented, possibly in lieu of repertoire piece.

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  • California State University, Long Beach
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