Piano study at the East Carolina University School of Music has always been a strong and vital aspect of the School’s success. From its roots as part of a curriculum intended as a preparation for teachers, through the successful chairmanships of Dr. Robert Carter and, subsequently, Dr. Charles Bath and Dr. Henry Doskey, the piano faculty has maintained a high level of commitment to standards of excellence. Now under the leadership of Dr. Kerry Carlin, the department addressing every level of need in piano study has been and remains our mission.
Indeed, piano study is an essential part of every musician’s undergraduate training at ECU. That may begin with Group Piano for those young musicians who are not piano-trained when beginning their studies, and continue into more advanced areas for those who have already had moderate to extensive training. Students in majors such as Music Education, Music Therapy, and Composition, for example, are expected to develop strong piano skills that are vital to their success, and as a preparation for graduate study. Additionally, students in Jazz Studies receive training in Improvisation and Jazz Piano that can enable them to develop their talent in that area.
It is in the field of Piano Pedagogy and Piano Performance that the students with the most thorough classical keyboard preparation are encouraged and enabled to develop rigorous standards of study and discipline in order to fulfill their promise as performers and teachers. The long tradition of excellence is demonstrated by browsing through the list of Piano Alumni, many of whom have continued into important graduate schools and into successful careers in private or university teaching, commercial music, or other related fields.
The School’s inventory of instruments adds to the depth of preparation our students enjoy. Each of the major performance spaces in the School of Music boasts a Steinway “D” Concert Grand, upon which students perform regularly, in studio classes, masterclasses by visiting artists, departmental recitals, and in their degree recitals. Steinway grand pianos are also found in each teaching studio, alongside grand pianos by Kawai and Yamaha. The School of Music maintains a large fleet of high-quality practice pianos for all students’ use.