Class Piano

Course Syllabus


La Plata High School

McDonough High School

North Point High School




Mr. William Derr





Course Description

    Class piano is designed to teach the concepts and fundamentals needed to perform on the piano.  It will increase musical understanding beyond just reading notes by teaching students a vocabulary of chords and keys, accompaniment patterns, and improvisational techniques.   Students will play melodies in several positions and have the opportunity to participate in ensemble playing.  Students will develop good practice habits, and learn techniques to increase the muscular agility and flexibility of their hands.  We will delve into music at its source, find out how music is constructed, and discover the composers and history behind the music. 

    Through the use of the MIDI Laptop Lab* students will have the opportunity to explore music technology, and its applications to composition, arrangement, and even recording industry techniques.

    At the completion of this course, the student will have learned to play some of the standards of piano repertoire while gaining a thorough understanding of the history and basic concepts of music.


*Not available at all schools.


Course Outcomes – Students will be able to:

1.                    Follow classroom procedures regarding practice and instruction.

2.                    Demonstrate basic competencies of piano performance in the areas of tone production, technique, and phrasing.

3.                    Identify music notation and symbols relative to the level of proficiency

4.                    Identify basic musical forms within learned pieces.

5.                   Identify proper performance habits.

Course Philosophy

   The piano is a performance instrument, and the primary goal of this course is for students to become competent, independent performers on the piano.  For this reason, students will be assessed largely based on their performances on the piano.  It is equally important that a student develop the skills, discipline, and determination to prepare for a performance, therefore an equal portion of the grade will be derived from how well the student prepares and uses his or her practice time.  Because not everyone has a piano at home, home practice is optional; however, students should come to class every day prepared to get the most out of the practice time they are given in class.




Evaluation Criteria

  Practice – Preparation   30%

   Performance – Recitals  30%

   Technique/Theory         25%

   Quarterly Project            15%



Grading Scale

   90% - 100% A

   80% - 89%    B

   70% - 79%    C

   60% - 69%    D

   0%     - 59%    E



   Students will use digital piano workstations.  It is expected that each student will treat the school instruments with respect and do their utmost to prevent damage.  Each student and his or her parent / guardian are responsible for the condition of the assigned instrument.  If an instrument is damaged due to student negligence, it is the student and parent / guardian’s responsibility to pay for the repair or replacement of the instrument.

Daily Required Materials

A portion of the student’s daily Practice/Preparation grade will be determined based on bringing the following required materials to class.


    Textbook Alfred’s Basic Adult All-In-One Level 1 – for Piano I or Beginning Students

                              Alfred’s Basic Adult All-In-One Level 2 – for Piano II or Intermediate Students

                              Alfred’s Basic Adult All-In-One Level 3 – for Piano III or Advanced Students


Mr. Derr will assist you with selecting the appropriate book for your level of proficiency.  The textbook must be purchased or ordered by the student by September 1st so that the student can bring it to class by September 18th.


The book can be purchased or ordered at O’Neil’s Music Store (near Staples), but they only keep a limited number in stock.  Call before you go.  The number for the store is (301) 645-5733.  Each book can be purchased or ordered with an optional CD.  While this is not required, it may be helpful to students who would like to hear how the songs go, and practice along.


      Pencil & Paper – provided by the student

    Class Piano Folder – provided by the student

      Additional Music – additional music will occasionally be specified by the instructor.

    Headphonesrequired only at North Point.  Otherwise, headphones are provided.




Download Course Syllabus PDF


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