Piano Studies at TSU


Piano is an important part of music studies at TSU. Piano skills are viewed as necessary to any musical career or aspiration, whether as a public school music teacher, composer, or commercial music performer or producer.

The importance of piano is also reflected by the university's annual presentation of the James A. Hefner HBCU Piano Competition . This event, launched in the spring of 2005, is the only competition of its kind in the country. In addition to encouraging excellence in piano, the competition also encourages the performance of works by African American composers.

Watch video of 2012 First Place Winner Christopher Dixon of Stillman College performing Beethoven and Gershwin.

In order to better meet the specific goals of individual music students, the department adapts instruction to clearly defined goals for commercial music students as opposed to music education majors. Members of the piano faculty are committed to developing practical, useful application of piano skills for each individual student.

Download piano proficiency requirements. Members of the piano faculty represent a wide array of educational backgrounds and experiences. All music department piano teachers have at least an earned masters degree in music. They regularly provide faculty recitals highlighting music by African American composers in honor of Black History Month in February and music by women composers to commemorate Women's History Month in March. The Department of Music provides students many opportunities for accompanying and ensemble work in an array of styles and venues.

The piano area has recently published a textbook that is suited to music majors in the Department of Music for use in all Proficiency Piano Classes as well as applied lessons.  The book was the result of materials written and researched by the piano faculty over a period of three semesters.  The book features scale charts and chords, repertoire (some written by the faculty), hymns, lead sheets, simple vocal and instrumental accompaniments, and score reading.  The book includes the TSU Alma Mater, a new "TSU Blues", and the TSU fight song.  The authors of the book are Dr. Vicki King, Dr. Christine Perkey, Professor Kevin Durham, and Professor Maxine B. Jones.

Current members of the Tennessee State University Piano Faculty include Dr. Joseph Van Dyke , Dr. Patricia Reeves Maxine Jones,  and  Phyllis Sparks. . Detailed faculty profiles are available in the Department of Music Faculty page.

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