Keyboard Studies

Performance Opportunities

All UST ensembles count toward your GPA and are tuition free. Four semesters of ensemble participation equals a tuition savings of over $4,400.

Piano Ensemble
The Piano Ensemble presents a unique opportunity for piano majors, piano minors and other qualified pianists to explore the treasures of two-piano and piano duet repertoire.

Accompanying Ensemble
The Accompanying Ensemble provides an opportunity for pianists, singers and instrumentalists to explore the joys of the art song and chamber music repertoire through individual and group coaching.

Freak Piano Blowout
This annual or biennial studio piano recital is a rowdy celebration of very contemporary, innovative, and avant-garde music for solo piano.

New Music Ensemble
This mixed instrumental group is devoted to the study and performance of new music.  Repertoire may include non-tonal, neotonal, indeterminate, or experimental genres, collaborative improvisation, and original composition. 

Jazz Ensemble
Members study and perform jazz in various styles with exposure to improvisation, and present formal and informal concerts on campus each semester.

Popular Music Ensemble
Student groups receive individual coaching for small ensembles on the performance of all genres and types of American popular music.

Symphonic Wind Ensemble and Symphonic Band
To audition as the pianist for these university bands, please see the UST Bands page.

Festival Orchestra Honors Concert
Music majors and graduate students are eligible to audition for this honors concert once every year.  Selected winners perform a concerto with a professional orchestra.

Keyboard Lessons

Any St. Thomas student may take music lessons for credit, regardless of their major or level of musical experience.  Individual 30 or 50-minute one-credit weekly lessons are available in piano, jazz piano, harpsichord, and organ.

How do I sign up for lessons or piano ensembles?

Visit www.stthomas.edu/music/lessons/ for information on registering for music lessons for credit.  Contact the Director of Keyboard Studies, Dr. Vanessa Cornett-Murtada, to audition for one of the piano ensembles.

How advanced to I need to be to take lessons?

Any St. Thomas student has the opportunity to take music lessons at St. Thomas, regardless of their experience or level of ability.  We teach absolute beginners all the way up to very advanced piano graduate students.

What performance opportunities will I have?

In addition to the many ensembles available, all piano students are invited to attend or participate in a weekly Piano Studio Performance Class, studio piano recitals, and other performances around campus.  Music majors take performance juries each semester, and are eligible to audition for the Festival Orchestra Honors Concert.

What options do I have for improving my technique at the keyboard?

All students enrolled in lessons will study repertoire and technical studies to improve their facility at the instrument.  Keyboard majors take additional lessons in piano skills to develop their technique and practical skills such as sight reading, harmonizing, and improvisation.  All music majors must pass a Piano Proficiency Exam during their undergraduate study. 

Where do piano students practice?

St. Thomas houses more than 50 keyboard instruments, about half of which are grand pianos.  Piano practice rooms are available to students in BEC.  The many classroom and practice instruments, both grand pianos and studio uprights, are well-maintained by master technicians.

What organs are featured at St. Thomas?

The four organs on campus include the outstanding Gabriel Kney in the Chapel of St. Thomas Aquinas and the Fritz Noack in the St. Mary's Chapel. Visit www.stthomas.edu/organs for more information about the organs of St. Thomas. 

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