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Course Learning Outcomes

  1. Students will understand basic concepts of music theory including related terms and symbols, note and key names, key signatures and time signatures, and counting.
  2. Students will be able to play chords in blocked and broken positions and use them to accompany melodies.
  3. Students will be able to play technical exercises such as the Five Finger Position, major and minor triads, major and minor sales and major and minor cadences.
  4. Students will be able to improvise simple melodies and play chords with them.
  5. Students will sight read easier music.
  6. Students will play repertoire pieces as assigned with all dynamics and articulations.
  7. Students will be able to play individual part of ensembles.

Course Materials

Anderson, Richard, Beginning Piano Techniques . Prospect Heights, Il: Waveland Press, 2007.

Using the CD and Web Site

The textbook comes with a CD. You can also hear the CD examples on the Internet at Beginning Piano Techniques Interactive Activities. Listen to the examples numerous times so you are completely familiar with how each one sounds. Use each example to check your playing for correct rhythm, dynamics, tempo, and articulation. With many examples, you can practice one hand while the CD or Web site plays the other hand. In each chapter of the textbook are two ensembles. Practice reading each part of the ensemble while listening to it.

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Speedback Assignments

The Speedback assignment for each lesson is meant to increase and solidify your knowledge of music theory and other related information. You will be asked to define terms, symbols and other concepts of music theory. These assignments made up of multiple-choice, computer-graded questions. Complete each Speedback assignment at the end of the lesson, after you have reviewed the material and made sure you can successfully complete each element of the Self Check.

Played Assignments

The playing portion of the assignment is a demonstration of your ability to apply the information you have learned to the piano. So while the Speedback assignments are important, the played submissions are the most critical.

The playing examples should reflect thorough practicing. This means you can play the exercise or piece fluently without learned mistakes, hesitations or replays (stopping and restarting). Practice as slow as it takes to play the example perfectly. In the beginning, this may be very slow, but the speed will naturally increase if you do not try to force it by playing too fast too soon. Your motto should be: “Don’t taste the cake until it’s baked.” In other words, don’t play faster when it isn’t ready to be played faster.

Practice until you are confident that you can play the piece on tempo without mistakes before you record your playing to submit the assignment. When you record your playing, check to make sure that you (and therefore I) can hear the piano distinctly and clearly.

You will submit the played assignment as an MP3 file through your online course.

Note: When you submit the playing portions of the lessons, be sure to label them carefully and accurately, noting which lesson (1-12) they belong to. This will facilitate grading and insure that nothing is lost or misplaced.

If there are any portions of the lessons you do not understand, feel free to e-mail or call Dr. Anderson for assistance. It is best if assignments are well prepared from the beginning and do not have to be re-submitted. (To re-submit an assignment, you will have to pay a fee.)

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At the end of the course, you will have a comprehensive exam. It will involve all of the written work in the course and playing pieces and exercises you have previously learned. The final exam includes the Final Played Assignment and the Speedback Final Exam.

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The Speedback, played assignments, and final exam all count toward your course grade.

Assignments Percentage of Final Grade
12 Speedback Assignments 24%
12 Played Assignments 60%
Final Played Assignment 10%
Speedback Final Exam 6%

2 percent of each lesson’s overall grade comes from the Speedback assignment, and 5 percent is from the played portion.

Determining the grade for the playing portion is subjective. Basically, an A grade is given when there are no learned mistakes. The playing should be fluent, flowing and natural. All of the interpretive aspects such as the dynamics and articulation indicated in the music should be present and obvious. To a trained ear, there is no doubt about the amount of practice that has gone into the preparation of a piece. This is different than mistakes that happen accidentally because your finger slipped in a place where it normally would be accurate.

Grade Scale
A 100%–92% C 77%–72%
A- 91%–90% C- 71%–70%
B+ 89%–88% D+ 69%–68%
B 87%–82% D 67%–63%
B- 81%–80% D- 62%–60%
C+ 79%–78% E (fail) 59%–0%

Copyright Notice

The materials used in connection with this online course are only for the use of students enrolled in this course for purposes associated with this course and may not be retained or further disseminated. Any copying or further dissemination of these materials may be subject to applicable U.S. Copyright Laws. For questions or more information, please visit the BYU Copyright Licensing Office website.

“Members of the BYU community who willfully disregard this Copyright Policy or the BYU Copyright Guidelines place themselves individually at risk of legal action and may incur personal liability for their conduct. The unauthorized use or distribution of copyrighted material, including unauthorized peer-to-peer file sharing, may subject individuals to civil and criminal liabilities, including actual and statutory damages, costs and fees of litigation, fines, and imprisonment

Violations of the Copyright Policy may result in university disciplinary action including termination of university enrollment or employment.” (Emphasis added. Excerpt taken from the BYU Copyright Policy)

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University Policy - Title IX Statement

Preventing & Responding to Sexual Misconduct

In accordance with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Brigham Young University prohibits unlawful sex discrimination against any participant in its education programs or activities. The university also prohibits sexual harassment—including sexual violence—committed by or against students, university employees, and visitors to campus. As outlined in university policy, sexual harassment, dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking are considered forms of "Sexual Misconduct" prohibited by the university.

University policy requires all university employees in a teaching, managerial, or supervisory role to report all incidents of Sexual Misconduct that come to their attention in any way, including but not limited to face-to-face conversations, a written class assignment or paper, class discussion, email, text, or social media post. Incidents of Sexual Misconduct should be reported to the Title IX Coordinator at t9coordinator@byu.edu or (801) 422-8692. Reports may also be submitted through EthicsPoint at https://titleix.byu.edu/report or 1-888-238-1062 (24-hours a day).

BYU offers confidential resources for those affected by Sexual Misconduct, including the university’s Victim Advocate, as well as a number of non-confidential resources and services that may be helpful. Additional information about Title IX, the university’s Sexual Misconduct Policy, reporting requirements, and resources can be found at http://titleix.byu.edu or by contacting the university’s Title IX Coordinator.

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Accessibility Notice

BYU is committed to providing a working and learning atmosphere which reasonably accommodates persons with disabilities who are otherwise qualified to participate in BYU's programs and activities. In this spirit, BYU Independent Study aspires to improve web accessibility for users. While not required by law, the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 Levels A and AA provide a wide range of helpful recommendations to make Web content more accessible. BYU Independent Study strives to apply WCAG 2.0 recommendations where feasible, but may deviate from any recommendations that would result in an undue hardship to BYU Independent Study or alterations to program and course content and objectives. If you have questions about accessibility, or if you need to report problems with any accessibility features please see our Accessibilities and Accommodations Web Page.

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Good luck and enjoy the course!

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Course Policies

These policies are specific to this course. For additional information about general policies, please refer to Independent Study Course Policies page.


12 computer-graded assignments, 12 played assignments, 1 final played assignment, each may be resubmitted once for a fee

Resubmit an assignment for a fee.


1 proctored, multiple-choice, computer-graded final exam, may retake once for a fee, all assignments must be submitted and graded before requesting the final exam, students must pass the final exam to pass the course

Retake an exam for a fee.

Getting Help

Please use the help menu in this course to contact Independent Study or your instructor. You can find a list of free tutors available to BYU Independent Study students on the Free Tutoring Services website.

Note: The Harold B. Lee Library website provides a number of online resources and librarians are available via phone, chat, and email to answer questions about library-related issues.

Inappropriate Use of Course Content

All course materials (e.g., outlines, handouts, syllabi, exams, quizzes, media, lecture content, audio and video recordings, etc.) are proprietary. Students are prohibited from posting or selling any such course materials without the express written permission of BYU Independent Study. To do so is a violation of the Brigham Young University Honor Code.

Copyright © 2016 Brigham Young University. All rights reserved.

Published by the
Department of Independent Study
Division of Continuing Education
Brigham Young University
120 MORC
Provo, Utah 84602-1514