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 at the highest professional level. At SJSU, a substantial amount of individual instructional attention as well as ample performing opportunities allow students to experience unlimited growth as musicians.

All keyboard 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” considered 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, Performance
  • Bachelor of Music, Jazz Studies
  • Bachelor of Music, Composition
  • Bachelor of Music, Music Education
  • Master of Music, Performance
  • Master of Music, Music Education
  • Master of 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 keyboard majors in the various degree areas?

Audition requirements may be found here.


What types of practice facilities are available?

A number of music practice rooms are equipped with grand pianos, reserved for keyboard majors.

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

We encourage all keyboard players to learn how to memorize and play solo literatures in public without music, which is an essential element of professional training.

Is there a choice of teacher?

You may request a specific teacher during the audition process.  After acceptance to the School of Music and Dance you will be assigned to that member of the keyboard faculty. The practice for changing instructors may be found in the Student Handbook.

Are harpsichords available?

Yes. The School owns four harpsichords.  Two are Wilson harpsichords that were built to the specifications of former faculty member 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, and includes a variety of courses designed to assist you in developing the capacities of a professional, 21st century musician.