Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Date of Graduation

Fall 2012

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Music (MM)


School of Music


The purpose of this study was to examine the practice of using piano in the secondary choral rehearsal setting by examining the functional piano skills used and advocated for by current choral educators with the goal of determining if the level and type of preparation provided by university and college music education teacher preparation programs is adequate in terms of meeting choral directors’ “real world” needs. An electronic survey was disseminated to 514 middle school and high school choral directors currently serving in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Research was conducted based on usable responses (N=190) from two groups, those who had completed their undergraduate studies as keyboard majors, and those who had majored in voice or another instrument or related music field. The results of this study point to a number of key points that question how piano proficiency is developed in undergraduate music education programs. For example, when asked if participants were required to take a proficiency exam, 9% reported not having been given any such requirements. Such a response suggests that there is still no general curriculum alignment in higher education with regard to functional piano skills for pre-service choral educators. Also, one-third of the group which reported majoring in voice or another instrument were not given the opportunity to practice accompanying skills, and three-fourths were not given specific instruction in the functional keyboard skill of accompanying. Additionally, 23 % of the tested population reported having no ability to accompany an ensemble - a higher number than expected by the researcher.

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