Keyboard Studies

About the program

The Keyboard Studies faculty at San José State University is composed of internationally renowned performing artists. As instructors, they nurture and inspire future performing artists, music educators, and scholars on the highest professional level. At SJSU, a substantial amount of individual instruction time as well as ample performing opportunities allow students to experience unlimited growth as musicians.

All piano majors at San José State University receive applied lessons, taught one-on-one by our faculty. Chamber music, accompanying, orchestral, and jazz classes are also offered to prepare our pianists for versatile performing careers. In addition, piano majors take courses in pedagogy, piano literature, and piano technique. Special courses are offered each year such as “Beethoven Sonatas and their Performance Practice” in which the instruction focuses on the original intentions of the composer and “The complete piano works of Maurice Ravel” studied from a historical and cultural perspective.

Piano students at SJSU regularly come in contact with world-class artists who are invited by the School of Music and Dance to teach master-classes and perform for the students. In recent years, the roster has included legendary pianists Anton Kuerti, Charles Rosen, Menahem Pressler, John Perry, Ruth Slencynzska, Mack McCray, and Hans Boepple.

SJSU's Beethoven Center is home to a Historical Keyboard Collection that spans 300 years of keyboard history. Including clavichords, harpsichords, and fortepianos, the collection can be seen being performed in special concerts.

Degrees Offered

  • Bachelor of Arts in Music
  • Bachelor of Music in Performance
  • Bachelor of Music in Music Education
  • Masters of Arts in Music
  • Minor in Music


Audition Information

Visit the Auditions page for details on the audition process.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the audition requirements for piano majors in the four degree areas?

Audition requirements are listed in the Undergraduate and Graduate handbooks.

Can I apply as a post-baccalaureate?

Yes, many students who have a Bachelor’s degree in another discipline apply for admission to our School of Music to earn a second Bachelor’s degree.

Are there any age limits?

No, we have many mature students in the School of Music and Dance.

What types of practice facilities are available?

Several practice rooms are equipped with grand pianos, which are locked and reserved for piano majors only.

Are all piano majors expected to play from memory in a public performance?

Yes, we encourage all pianists to learn how to memorize and play in public without music, which is an essential element of professional training.

Is there a choice of teacher?

After acceptance to the School of Music and Dance you will automatically be assigned to a member of the piano faculty. You may request a specific instructor, but assignments are based on availability.

Are there harpsichords available?

Yes. The School owns two Wilson harpsichords that were built to the specifications of Fernando Valenti. These instruments are available to all keyboard majors.

How is your program different from a music conservatory?

The School of Music and Dance provides the same quality education as found in a conservatory but also includes General Education courses in addition to the music curriculum. The focus is to provide a liberal arts degree with a concentration in performance.