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Keyboard Division - Undergraduate

Keyboard Division 

The Ohio University Keyboard Division has distinguished itself as a leader in the field of keyboard education, offering a broad spectrum of degrees and innovative curricula designed to train the next generation of keyboard musicians to enter the profession with skill and confidence. Recognized for our nurturing yet rigorous learning environment, our programs promote high performance and academic standards and offer a wide array of performance opportunities, stimulating coursework, supervised teaching, and research initiatives. Furthermore, we endeavor to foster entrepreneurial thinking and visionary leadership among our students. 

The Ohio University Keyboard Division is staffed by four internationally recognized faculty who are committed to providing the highest quality educational experiences for our students. Our faculty regularly present recitals throughout the United States and abroad, and are esteemed authors, clinicians, and pedagogues. The Keyboard Division is comprised of a vibrant class of undergraduate and graduate students from around the globe. Our alumni hold faculty positions at prominent colleges and universities, and serve as independent piano teachers and studio owners/operators as well as leading contributors to the music publication industry. 

For more detailed information about our programs, click on the links below: 

Piano Performance & Pedagogy
Collaborative Piano

Undergraduate Degrees Offered 

Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance
Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance & Pedagogy 
Bachelor of Music in Organ Performance
Bachelor of Music Education with Keyboard Emphasis 
Bachelor of Music Therapy with Keyboard Emphasis 

Keyboard Division Faculty 

Dr. Christopher Fisher 
Professor of Piano
Director, School of Music

Dr. Emely Phelps
Chair, Keyboard Division
Coordinator, Graduate Collaborative Piano Program

Dr. Paul Barte 
Associate Professor of Organ and Harpsichord 

Gail Berenson 
Professor Emerita of Piano 

Dr. Sean Parsons 
Assistant Professor of Instruction, Jazz Piano and Theory 

Katherine Fisher 
Adjunct Professor of Piano and Piano Pedagogy

Undergraduate Audition Requirements [PDF]

Piano Performance & Pedagogy

The Ohio University Piano Performance & Pedagogy program is one of the country’s most active and highly regarded programs. Ohio University offers several degrees that emphasize piano pedagogy, including the Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees in piano performance and pedagogy. Students gain valuable teaching experience through their work with pre-college children, university students, and adults in both group and private learning environments. Group instruction takes place in one of two state-of-the-art piano laboratories that include Yamaha Clavinova digital pianos, SmartBoards, and other instructional technology. Our students participate in professional organizations including the Ohio University Collegiate Chapter of MTNA (recipient of the 2015 and 2019 MTNA Collegiate Chapter of the Year Award) and the Southeast District of OhioMTA. 

Competitive graduate assistantships are available. 


The following is a sampling of courses offered as part of the piano pedagogy curriculum: 

Piano Pedagogy I
Piano Pedagogy II
Group Piano Pedagogy
Practicum - Supervised Teaching 
Directed Readings in Piano Pedagogy 
Independent Study in Piano Pedagogy 
Entrepreneurship Certificate Courses 

Ohio University Piano Pedagogy Seminar 

Ohio University is home to the Ohio University Piano Pedagogy Seminar, an internationally known summer workshop that features renowned visiting artists and clinicians. The seminar provides piano teachers and students with valuable professional enrichment opportunities through a series of energizing workshops, presentations and performances. Participants have opportunities to share ideas and engage in dialogue with clinicians and with one another through round-table discussions and informal conversations. The event is held on the Athens campus of Ohio University in the scenic hills of southeast Ohio. For more information, visit: www.oupianopedagogyseminar.com.

Piano Pedagogy Resource Center

The Ohio University School of Music Piano Pedagogy Resource Center houses the latest in teaching materials and technology. The Center includes a collection of teaching methods and materials, standard intermediate and early advanced teaching repertoire, duet/ensemble literature, audio, video and software resources, educational tools, journals/periodicals, and a variety of books related to piano teaching and playing. The facility serves as a hub for research and exploration for our students, faculty, and regional piano teachers. 

Athens Community Music School

The Athens Community Music School (ACMS) provides Ohio University pedagogy students with a wealth of teaching opportunities as well as the chance to observe qualified, seasoned teachers in action. ACMS offers a variety of piano-related programs including private instruction, adult group piano classes, and a group piano preparatory program for children. Our piano performance & pedagogy students teach as student-faculty through ACMS, gaining valuable teaching experience while providing a source of income. 

Recent Internationally Renowned Piano Pedagogy Visiting Lecturers 

Nancy Bachus | Independent piano teacher and author
Bruce Berr | Independent piano teacher, composer, author
Marvin Blickenstaff | New School for Music Study
Sylvia Coats | Wichita State University; author, Thinking as You Play
Brenda Dillon | RMM specialist; author, Piano Fun for Adult Beginners
Robert Duke | University of Texas-Austin; author, Intelligent Music Teaching 
Randall Faber | Co-author, Piano Adventures
Barbara Fast | University of Oklahoma; co-author, iPractice: Technology in the 21st Century Music Practice Room
Katherine Fisher | Co-author, Piano Safari Method, Co-Author, Piano Duet Repertoire
Pete Jutras | University of Georgia 
Gayle Kowalchyk | Keyboard Editor, Alfred Music Company
Julie Knerr | Co-author, Piano Safari Method
E.L. Lancaster | Senior Vice-President and Keyboard Editor-in-Chief, Alfred Music Company
Peter Mack | Cornish College of the Arts 
Jane Magrath | University of Oklahoma; author, The Pianist's Guide to Standard Teaching and Performance Literature
Christopher Norton | Internationally celebrated composer
Robert Pace | Columbia University; author, Robert Pace Piano Method
Mary Craig Powell | Independent piano teacher, author, and international Suzuki trainer
Ken Renfrow | Bob Jones University, Composer and Alfred Music Company author
Barbara Lister Sink | Salem College; author, Freeing the Caged Bird 
Deborah Rambo Sinn | Author, Playing Beyond the Notes: A Pianist’s Guide to Musical Interpretation

For more information, contact Dr. Christopher Fisher at fisherc@ohio.edu

Collaborative Piano

The graduate collaborative piano program at the Ohio University School of Music offers intensive study at the graduate level to pianists who have specialized interests in piano/vocal and piano/instrumental repertoire. Through private instruction, coaching, chamber music and diction and literature classes, students gain greater familiarity with the standard repertoire and develop the musicianship skills required of advanced collaborative pianists. Our program provides a personal level of attention and focus while developing the skills necessary for career advancement. Students will have the opportunity to be coached in a variety of collaborative projects by the internationally respected artist-teachers of the OU School of Music's divisions of keyboard, voice, strings, and winds, and to participate in master classes with renowned visiting guest artists. Competitive graduate assistantships are available, offering further collaborative experience in duo repertoire, large instrumental and vocal ensembles, and opera.

Undergraduate Audition Requirements [PDF]


The Ohio University School of Music offers Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in organ performance, with curriculum that includes applied study, organ literature and organ pedagogy courses. The University chapel has an outstanding tracker organ built by the Gene Bedient company in 1997. It serves as the primary instrument for organ instruction and practicing. There are scholarships available for qualified students and graduate assistantships are possible for Master’s candidates. 

Undergraduate Audition Requirements [PDF]

For more information, contact Dr. Emely Phelps at emely.phelps@ohio.edu