Guidelines for Classical Piano Principals

Welcome to the UALR Department of Music! We are pleased that you have chosen to pursue your musical education here. This guide is designed to acquaint you with the standards and procedures that are expected of classical piano principals in the BA and BM programs.

“But one thing is common to artists of all ages… they were not born as finished artists, but their path was one of effort and endurance.”
Paul Badura-Skoda, concert pianist and teacher



An audition is required for admission to a music degree program. Auditions are scheduled by appointment during the Fall and Spring semesters or during the summer.  Depending on which degree you wish to apply for, please prepare a short program according to the following guidelines:

BA Piano Audition Requirement

1. Two contrasting pieces. Each piece should represent a different historical style (Baroque, Classical, Romantic, or Twentieth Century).

2. At least one of the selections should be performed from memory.

3. Students are encouraged to present music that shows their highest technical proficiency. The minimum repertoire standard for admission as a piano principal is the Intermediate/Moderately Difficult level, comparable to the following list of pieces:

One of the Little Preludes by J.S. Bach
Sonata in G, L. 84/K. 63 or Sonata in F, L. 75/K. 78 by D. Scarlatti

Sonatinas by Diabelli, Kuhlau, or Clementi (3 movements)
7 Variations on “Nel cor piu non mi sento”
or “6 Variations on a Swiss Song” by Beethoven

An easier Song Without Words by Mendelssohn
An easier prelude by Chopin, such as Op. 28 #4, 6, or 20
A selection from Schumann’s Album for the Young, Op. 68
To a Wild Rose by E. MacDowell
Summer’s Nocturne by Catherine Rollin

A selection from 15 Children’s Pieces, Op. 27 by Kabalevsky (such as #11 Sonatina, or #8 Etude)
A selection from Mikrokosmos, Vol. III by Bartok
A selection from Pour les Enfants by A. Tansman
A selection from New Recital Pageants, Bk. 3 by D. Waxman

BM audition requirement in piano at UALR

The audition program must be performed from memory, and consist of 3 pieces, including:

1) A contrapuntal Baroque composition equivalent in difficulty to a three-voice fugue from the Well-Tempered Clavier by Bach, such as a sinfonia, or the c minor, d minor, or B-flat Prelude & Fugue from WTC I, or a gigue from one of the French suites.

2) a sonata-allegro movement from a Classical sonata by Haydn, Mozart, Clementi, or Beethoven

3) a Romantic work, such as Brahms “Edward” ballade, Liszt Consolation #2 in E or #3 in D-flat, Chopin Waltz in A-flat Op. 70 #2 or comparable works; an etude by Chopin or Moszkowski, or a work from the Impressionist or Contemporary period such as Debussy prelude “The Girl with the Flaxen Hair” or Villa-Lobos “O Polchinelo” or the Khachaturian Toccata or comparable works.

Major and minor scales and arpeggios in 4 octaves; some sight-reading.

BM piano applicants should also submit a list of piano repertoire studied (during the previous four years). The level of difficulty of the audition repertoire performed for the BM must be at the early advanced or higher level.  Graduate students intending to enroll in the Master of Education or the Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies degree programs should be prepared to demonstrate piano performance skills to qualify for study in MUPR 7126 or 7226.  Prior experience studying sufficiently advanced repertoire and technique are expected for graduate-level MUPR piano performance study.


Students who have been accepted as piano principals into the music major or minor should meet with their assigned Music Dept. adviser, or inquire in the Music Dept Office (FA 164), each semester prior to registration. In addition, each student is responsible for carefully reading the Music Dept. entry in the UALR Undergraduate Bulletin and the semester Schedule of Classes. Expedient completion of the BA or BM music degree depends upon the student being organized and staying well-informed at all times.


1226 = Minor or Elective Study, repeatable as often as desired.

2226 = 1st Year Piano Principal for Music Major, or minor or elective student with equivalent skill level in piano technique and repertoire, 2 semesters. By audition only.

3226 = 2nd Year Major Study, or minor or elective student with equivalent skill level in piano technique and repertoire, 2 semesters. By passing jury for MUPR 2226 only. (Required for BM to prepare the junior recital.)

4226 = Optional 3rd Year Major Study BA, 2 semesters. By passing jury for MUPR 3226 only. (May be repeated for a 4th year if desired in BA.  Required for BM to prepare the senior recital.)

BA music majors must complete 8 credit hours of applied study, at least 4 hours each of MUPR 2226 and 3226. In addition, BA music majors must perform at least once per year in Student Recital Hour.  BM music majors must complete 16 credit hours of applied study, at least 8 hours of which must be MUPR 3226 and 4226.

Electives: All elective piano students who are beginners will be placed in Piano for Non-Majors (MUAP 1150). Only non-beginner elective students or music minors should register for 1 credit hour private lessons (MUPR 1126) or 2 credit hour private lessons (MUPR 1226).


Performance is an important part of the learning experience in classical piano studies. Students perform at lessons, in studio class, in UALR Student Recital Hour, and in performance examinations known as juries.

Classical piano principals are expected to perform once per year in a public performance such as Student Recital Hour. Repertoire for performance must be music studied at UALR, either solo or duet. (Scholarship students are required to perform once per semester.) With permission of the instructor, performance equivalencies may be substituted for public performance in an event such as Student Recital Hour.

BA and BM piano majors must play a jury after 2 semesters of study in MUPR 2226, and will be graded “Pass/Fail.” The MUPR 2226 jury will consist of 2 contrasting pieces, at least one of which must be performed from memory for the BA.  All must be memorized for the BM.  The BA repertoire standard to pass the MUPR 2226 jury and advance to MUPR 3226 is represented by the following list:

J.S. Bach (Easier preludes, fughettas, 2-part inventions, and dance movements)

A sonata-form movement from a sonata–
Haydn (G major Hob.XVI/27, or E major Hob. XVI/13)
Beethoven (Sonatas Op. 49, Nos. 1 & 2)
Mozart (Fantasy in d, K. 397)

Chopin (Waltzes Op. 69, Nos. 1 & 2)
Schubert (Moments Musicaux, Op. 94)
Schumann (Bunte Blätter, Op. 99 or Album Leaves, Op. 124)
Mendelssohn (Songs Without Words)

Bartok (Mikrokosmos, Vol. IV)
Debussy (Arabesques, Nos. 1 & 2; Children’s Corner)
Kabalevsky (Sonatina in C, Op. 13 #1; Preludes, Op. 38)

BA piano principals must also play a jury after 2 semesters of study in MUPR 3226. This jury is considered part of the Capstone Experience for the degree, and is outlined below.  BM piano majors perform a recital permission jury for the junior recital (required) and also for the senior recital (required).


All BA music major piano principals must pass a final performance jury after completing 4 hours of applied study in MUPR 3226. This final jury is to be comprised of a minimum of 2 contrasting pieces, with a total jury performance time of at least 15 minutes. At least one piece must be performed from memory. The minimum repertoire standard to pass the MUPR 3226 jury is represented by the following:

J.S. Bach (Two and Three-part Inventions; selected Allemandes or Gigues from the French Suites)

Mozart (Sonata in C, K. 545)
Beethoven (Sonata in f, Op. 2 #1, first movement)
Haydn (Sonata in e, Hob. XVI/34; Sonata in D, Hob.XVI/37)

Brahms (Fantasie in E Major, Op. 116 #6 ; Ballade in d, Op. 10 #1)
Chopin (Nocturnes, Op. 32 #1 & Op. 55 #1)
Liszt (Consolations) Schubert (Impromptu in A-flat, Op. 142 #2)
Schumann (Arabesque, Op. 18)

Shostakovitch (24 Preludes)
Kabalevsky (Preludes, Op. 38)
Debussy (Preludes, e.g. Girl with the Flaxen Hair)

Piano Portfolio:  download the guidelines for the portfolio from this link.  Your portfolio is due at the time of your jury.

Piano Proficiency Exam: All BA music majors must pass the piano proficiency exam in scales, chord progressions, harmonization and sight-reading. It is recommended that piano principals take 1 semester of Class Piano 4 (MUAP 3165) to prepare for the exam. See Dr. Hakatani (FA 101F) for further information.

Recital:  Sufficiently advanced BA piano principals may, in consultation with their piano teacher, apply to present a full or half-recital by passing a recital permission jury. A recital is not a requirement for the BA degree. However, students who wish to go on for graduate study in music are advised that a full-length undergraduate recital is a requirement for admission to most Master’s degrees in piano.

BM piano performance majors must present both a Junior Recital (at least 30 minutes of music) and a Senior Recital (at least 50 minutes) during fall and/or spring semesters prior to graduation. BM performance majors must earn a “C” or better in at least one semester of 3000-level MUPR prior to enrolling in Junior Recital (MUPR 3000), and a “C” or better in at least three semesters of 3000- and 4000-level MUPR prior to enrolling in Senior Recital (MUPR 4000). Your piano teacher will plan with you, the semester before you hope to give a recital, and schedule the recital permission jury. Careful preparation is essential, and the permission jury must be passed at least 4 weeks prior to the hoped-for recital date.


For concert use the Music Dept. owns two Steinway concert grand pianos and a Bösendorfer Imperial grand. A Hubbard French double-manual harpsichord is also available for study and performance. Our keyboard lab features Roland digital pianos, Macintosh computers, and the latest sequencing, transcription, and theory software. There are 8 piano practice modules located on the 2nd floor of the Fine Arts Building. Practice modules are generally available on a “first come-first served” basis during regular building hours, 7:30 a.m.- 9:30 p.m. daily.

Students should take individual responsibility for the care of all university-owned equipment and facilities, such as: proper care of instruments, turning off lights, closing practice room doors, etc. Any damage or misuse of facilities should be reported in writing to the Music Office (FA164) immediately.

Music materials in Ottenheimer Library are cataloged on computer. Scores, books, periodicals, and recordings in various formats are available to all registered university students. Remember that library materials are for temporary use. Students should expect to purchase musical scores for assigned lesson repertoire.


The Music Department offers numerous scholarships and awards. The department seeks to promote musical excellence. Awards are based on competitive auditions held during the Fall and Spring semesters. Inquiries about scholarship application procedures should be discussed with your piano teacher, and you may download a scholarship application form from the Music Department web site.

Information about outside music competitions ranging from local to international often reaches the UALR Music Dept. Interested students should discuss competition applications directly with their piano teacher. Instructor approval is required for participation.