Keyboard Studies - Shorter University

Dr. Jerico Vasquez teaching

Shorter has a tradition of excellence in producing pianists and organists. Our graduates can be found across the United States in college teaching positions, as church organists and choir directors, as professional collaborative artists (accompanists), and as first-rate private instructors of piano and organ.

As a keyboard student at Shorter University, you will benefit from excellent one-on-one teaching by professors of piano and organ. You will also have ample opportunity to perform as a soloist and as a collaborative artist.

Shorter University is a Kawai Epic Institution.  There are twenty-two practice rooms, rehearsal spaces, and studios, all equipped with Kawai pianos. Brookes Chapel, our main performance space, has two concert grands, a Shigeru Kawai and a Steinway & Sons.

There are several degree programs to choose from and we can help you decide which program is best-suited for you.  Questions regarding keyboard studies and piano pedagogy may be directed to Dr. Jerico Vasquez at

Currently, we offer the following degree programs:

  1. Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance
  2. Bachelor of Music in Piano Pedagogy
  3. Bachelor of Music in Music Education
  4. Bachelor of Music in Worship and Music Leadership
  5. Bachelor of Arts in Music

BM in Piano Performance

The Bachelor of Music degree in Piano Performance is a degree for pianists interested in taking their pianism to the highest possible level. Pianists achieving a BM in Performance often continue as Master’s and Doctoral level students, with a goal of teaching at the collegiate level and performing professionally as a solo and/or collaborative artist.  The degree is structured to allow for the maximum number of credit hours for piano study, providing ample room in the schedule for practice. The capstone projects are a 30-40 minute recital as a Junior, and a 50-60 minute Senior recital.

BM in Piano Pedagogy

The Bachelor’s of Music in Piano Pedagogy is a degree designed to teach pianists how to become effective teachers. This degree provides young pedagogues with the skills and resources necessary to develop a thriving private studio.  Many students who receive an undergraduate degree in piano pedagogy have continued in graduate school, obtaining Master’s and/or Doctoral degrees in the field.

At Shorter University, pianists seeking this degree are required to perform nearly as much as the performance majors. This is not the national trend, but at Shorter, we believe that those who desire to teach other pianists to perform should themselves be regularly involved in performance.

Shorter also has a keyboard lab equipped with thirteen Kawai electronic pianos and SMARTboard software.  Undergraduate pedagogy students are provided with the invaluable experience of teaching group classes for young beginners as well as observing collegiate level group piano classes.  The Preparatory department at Shorter also provides pedagogy students with numerous opportunities to teach and work with young, beginning pianists.

The capstone performing events in the Piano Pedagogy degree are a 20-30 minute Junior recital, and a 30-45 minute Senior recital.

Organ Facilities

The pipe organ in Brookes Chapel was designed and built in a classic American design by Walter Holtkamp, a prominent American builder, in the mid 50’s. It was enlarged in the late 80’s by Michael Proscia (stops marked with *). It is an electric-action, 33-stop, 39-rank instrument with three manuals and pedalboard and contains over 1,400 pipes.

Holtkamp Specification:

16′ Subbass 8′ Chimney Flute SW/POS 16′ Quintadena 8′ Copula
16′ Quintadena 8′ Dulciana SW/GT 8′ Principal 4′ Rohrflote
8′ Violon 8′ Voix Celeste* POS/GT 8′ Gedeckt 2′ Principal
8′ Gedackt 4′ Gemshorn SW/PED 4′ Octave 2′ Nachthorn
4′ Choralbass 2 2/3′ Nazard POS/PED 4′ Spitzflote 1 1/3 Larigot
2′ Nachthorn II Terzian (2+1 3/5) GT/PED 2′ Doublette III Cymbal
III Mixture 8’Hautbois IV Mixture 8′ Krummhorn
16′ Fagott 4′ Clarion* 8′ Trumpet en Ch. * 4′ Schalmei
8’Trumpet en Ch. * 8′ Trumpet en Ch. *

Shorter also owns a 6-stop two-manual tracker organ built by the prominent North German Rudolph von Beckerath.  This instrument resides in the Organ/Gamelan studio.

Accompanying Opportunities

Pianists at Shorter can develop their collaborative skills through accompanying. With strong programs in voice and musical theatre, collaborative pianists are always in high demand.

Upon completion of a one-semester Accompanying course, pianists have the opportunity to become paid accompanists. Accompanists are paid to play for the following: voice lessons, seminars, and exams; musical theatre and audition technique classes; Chorus and Chorale concert choirs; major musical productions such as Operas and Musicals produced by Shorter University. Many of our keyboardists have church jobs as choir directors, pianists or organists. In recent years, many of our pianists have continued graduate work in collaborative arts.