Keyboard Studies

Join the VSU Family where learning is built on trust and mutual respect, and where the core values of community, civility, integrity, and citizenship are upheld at the highest level.

Performance opportunities for pianists at VSU include solo and chamber music recitals, master classes with visiting guest artists, ensemble performances, weekly piano studio class, and community outreach performances. Special VSU events include the VSU Piano Studio Recital, VSU Piano Day, Wednesday Student Performance Hour, and the Valdosta Symphony Orchestra Concerto Competition.

Piano Quartet at VSU

Performances take place in the 740-seat Whitehead Auditorium. VSU maintains a fleet of over forty acoustic pianos including two Steinway concert grand pianos. VSU features several practice rooms reserved for piano majors which house grand pianos. Other keyboard instruments include a concert organ, a practice organ, two harpsichords, and a multi-functional piano lab with sixteen Kawai digital pianos.

VSU Piano Student VSU Piano Student

In Fall of 2020 VSU Department of Music is expanding with an additional music building including a brand new Recital Hall. VSU is increasing our fleet to over 60 acoustic pianos which will include a brand-new Hamburg Steinway concert grand and a brand new Shigeru concert grand.

At VSU, there are several scholarships and graduate assistantships available for piano majors including the Music Scholarship Alliance Sharp Smith Piano Endowment.

Students interested in studying piano at VSU have the choice between Classical or Jazz tracks in the Bachelor of Music or Bachelor of Arts degrees. VSU also offers a Masters of Music Performance in Piano, Collaborative Piano, and Jazz Piano.

The VSU Department of Music offers a personalized, nurturing and rigorous environment for piano majors. Our graduates have gone on to have fulfilling careers as performers, teachers, church musicians, accompanists, and patrons of the fine arts.

Faculty

Collaborative Piano Staff

  • Angela Duncan
  • Valerie Holton Smith
  • Sue Ellen Rumstay
  • Caitlin Moore (Graduate Assistant)
  • Ethan Parker (Graduate Assistant)

Undergraduate Degree Programs

Classical Piano

The Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance - Classical
The BM degree is designed for students who are considering a career in performance, teaching, and graduate studies. Piano performance majors receive two fifty-minute lessons a week and are required to perform both a junior and senior recital. Other coursework includes classes in Piano Literature, Accompanying, and Pedagogy.  Audition Required.
    
The Bachelor of Arts in Music – General Track – Classical Piano
The Bachelor of Arts in Music – Education Track – Classical Piano
The BA degrees are designed for students who are considering a career in teaching, music business, music therapy, church music, and graduate work.  The BA allows for a minor in another area of interest outside of music.  Bachelor of Arts piano majors receive one fifty-minute lesson a week and are required to perform a senior recital.  Other coursework includes classes in Piano Literature, Education, and electives.  Audition Required.

Audition Requirements for Undergraduate Classical Piano
*a minimum of 2 pieces in contrasting styles performed by memory
*Sight-reading
For further audition information and to schedule an audition, please contact Dr. Joshua Pifer, Keyboard Area Head at jkpifer@valdosta.edu

Jazz Piano

The Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance – Jazz
The Bachelor of Arts in Music– Jazz Track
Students interested in studying jazz at VSU have the option of a Jazz emphasis within the Bachelor of Music in Performance and Bachelor of Arts in Music degrees. The degree programs are designed to help prepare students for careers in music performance, composing/arranging and education. Jazz majors focus on, jazz piano skills, repertoire and improvisation in their private lessons. They perform with the Jazz Ensembles and Combos, and take specialized courses including Improvisation, Jazz History, Arranging, and Pedagogy.

Audition Requirements for Undergraduate Jazz Piano:
*Major scales (arpeggios optional)
*Short classical piece
*Jazz etude or transcription (All State etudes acceptable)
*Standard jazz tunes with Aebersold or iRealPro accompaniment (play melody, chords and improvise)
*Sight reading
For further audition information and to schedule an audition for Jazz Piano, please contact Professor David Springfield, Director of Jazz Studies at daspring@valdosta.edu

Graduate Degree Programs

Classical Piano

Master of Music Performance in Piano
The MMP in Piano is designed for students who are intent on pursuing a career in piano performance. Students will receive one fifty-minute lesson a week and are required to perform a graduate recital. Performance opportunities include studio class, studio recitals, student recitals, guest master classes, state piano competitions, community outreach recitals, chamber music recitals, VSU Piano Day, and the Valdosta Symphony Orchestra Concerto Competition.

Audition Requirements:
*A program of at least 20 minutes which include a minimum of 3 pieces in contrasting styles to be performed by memory
*Sight-reading
For further audition information and to schedule an audition, please contact Dr. Joshua Pifer, Keyboard Area Head at jkpifer@valdosta.edu

Master of Music Performance in Collaborative Piano
The MMP in Collaborative Piano  is designed for students who are intent on pursuing a career as a collaborative pianist. Students will receive one fifty-minute lesson a week and are required to perform two graduate recitals. Performance opportunities include performing with faculty and graduate students, studio class, studio recitals, student recitals, guest master classes, community outreach recitals, chamber music recitals, and VSU Piano Day.

Audition Requirements:
*a substantial movement from a chamber work or instrumental sonata
*a minimum of two vocal literature pieces with contrasting styles
*Sight-reading
Audition repertoire will be performed with current VSU faculty.  Please contact Dr. Joshua Pifer, Keyboard Area Head at jkpifer@valdosta.edu to plan your audition repertoire, to schedule your audition, and to coordinate rehearsals with faculty prior to audition.

Graduate assistantships:

Graduate assistantships for the MMP in Piano and Collaborative Piano, are available on a competitive basis.

Jazz Piano

Masters of Music Performance in Jazz Piano
Students interested in studying jazz at VSU have the option of a Jazz emphasis within the Master of Music in Performance degree. The degree program is designed to help prepare students for careers in music performance, composing/arranging and education. Jazz majors focus on, jazz piano skills, repertoire and improvisation in their private lessons. They perform with the Jazz Ensembles and Combos, and take specialized courses including Improvisation, Jazz History, Arranging, and Pedagogy.

Audition Requirements:
*All major and minor scales
*Short classical piece
*Jazz transcription (performed with original recording)
*Standard jazz tunes with Aebersold or iRealPro accompaniment (play melody, chords and improvise)
*Sight reading
For further audition information and to schedule an audition for Jazz Piano, please contact Professor David Springfield, Director of Jazz Studies at daspring@valdosta.edu

Graduate assistantships:

Graduate assistantships for the MMP in Jazz Piano are available on a competitive basis.

Notable Recent Alumni Achievements

Vicorie Brown - BM (2016). 
Piano Instructor and Music Theory Teacher at Stillwell School of the Arts, Jonesboro, GA.

Angela Duncan - MMP in Coll. Piano (2018)
Collaborative Piano Staff for the VSU Music Department, piano teacher, entrepreneur in Valdosta.

Analine Hellman - MMP (2015). 
Collaborative Piano Staff for the VSU Music Department, piano teacher, church pianist.

Gloria Lemus - BM (2019). 
Pursuing a dual MM in Piano Pedagogy and Arts Administrtion at Ohio University.

Joseph Morris - BM (2016). 
MM from Georgia State University. 
Piano Instructor at Georgia Highlands College in Cartersville, GA and Private Piano teacher in Atlanta.

Erin Palmer - BM (2004), MMP (2006), Doctoral Candidate in Collaborate Piano at UNC Greensboro.
Collaborate Pianist at UNC Charlotte.
Staff Pianist with AIMS, Graz, Austria.

Cathy Rogers - MMP in Coll. Piano (2012).
Staff Accompanist at Brewton Parker College, Mount Vernon, GA.
Staff Accompanist and studio piano teacher at Truett-McConnell in Cleveland, GA.

Sara Seligosky - BM (2016). 
MM at University of Alabama. 
Piano Teacher, Church Musician in Tuscaloosa, AL.

Valerie Smith - BM (2002), MMP in Coll. Piano (2012). 
Collaborative Piano Staff for VSU Music Department, Principal Keyboard Player of the VSO.

Tyler Walker - BM (2013). 
MM from Hunter College, New York. 
Pianist, piano teacher in New York City.

Jeneffer Widjaja - MMP (2019). 
Private teacher and concertizing pianist in Indonesia.

Cedrice Young - BA (2018). 
Pursuing MM in Piano Pedagogy at Georgia State University.

Gunner Chancey - BA (2019)
Full Time Director of Traditional Worship at First Methodist Church in Cordele, GA