TO: All New Piano Students

FROM: Mary Van De Loo

We will be helping you to develop some functional keyboard skills, such as sightreading, score reading, harmonization, transposition, and improvisation, as part of that core curriculum.  Keyboard skills will be related to and reinforce your theory and aural skills work.  It is very important for you to be able to "translate" theoretical concepts -- intervals, chord progressions, scales, etc. -- into sounds at the keyboard.

Functional Keyboard Skills (PDF)

Functional Skills for Keyboard Majors (MURP 301, 302) is a sequenced two-term proficiency level course; you must pass a departmental exam to complete the requirement.  Most students finish the requirement during the second and third terms of their first year.  Some students who enter Lawrence with a strong keyboard theory background are able to satisfy the requirement in less than two terms.  On the attached sheet you will find an outline of the departmental exam content for the Functional Skills course, including voicings for the required chord progressions.  If you are proficient with these skills when you arrive on campus in the fall, you will be allowed to skip one or both levels of Functional Skills.  This can save you valuable time as you work through the freshman curriculum.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.  You can reach me at the Conservatory by telephone at 920-832-6637 or via e-mail at

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