Texas Tech University

Keyboard: Graduate Certificate in Piano Pedagogy

Designed for the professional piano teacher, the 12- to 15-hour curriculum provides enrichment and skill development both musically and pedagogically. It can also assist participants in qualifying as Nationally Certified Teachers of Music through the Music Teachers' National Association (MTNA).

Admission Requirements and Instructions

To be accepted into the Graduate Certificate in Piano Pedagogy program, the applicant must have a bachelor's degree that includes at least fifteen hours of music courses and must be accepted by both the Graduate School and the School of Music.

To apply to the Graduate School:

  • Visit the Graduate School website online.
  • Apply using the online form and pay the application fee as directed.
  • Send official transcripts of all previous college studies to: Graduate Admissions
    Texas Tech University
    P.O. Box 41030
    Lubbock, TX 79409-1030

To apply to the School of Music:

  • Contact Dr. Carla Cash at carla.d.cash@ttu.edu or (806) 742-2270, ext. 253 to schedule an audition.
  • Play an audition consisting of 2 contrasting piano works of at least early intermediate difficulty. Memorization of works is optional. A recording may be submitted if a personal audition is not convenient.
  • Provide a videotape or DVD of your teaching. Videos must be at least 20 minutes long.
  • Take the graduate placement exam in music theory, offered the week prior to the beginning of each semester. This exam may be waived at the discretion of the piano faculty.


How difficult is the theory exam?
The exam comprises two parts: aural skills (including recognition of intervals and triads and harmonic and melodic dictation) and written theory (including part-writing, figured bass, and analysis of tonal music). The exam covers basic concepts taught in undergraduate theory courses.

If I fail the theory exam, is it impossible for me to enroll in the certificate program?
No. The exam is for placement purposes only. There are two courses offered for students whose exam scores indicate the need for remediation. The courses do not count toward the total hours needed for the certificate, but will help the student review basic music theory.

Is it possible to complete the certificate by taking summer courses?
At the present time, we do not offer piano or piano pedagogy courses in summer sessions. However, if there is sufficient demand for summer courses, it may be possible to offer them in the future.

Does completion of the certificate program automatically grant MTNA certification?
No. At the completion of coursework, one receives a Graduate Certificate in Piano Pedagogy from Texas Tech University. However, if a teacher is interested in working toward MTNA certification, the faculty at Texas Tech can assist in the process. For information about MTNA Certification standards and requirements, visit http://www.mtnacertification.org.

How will the certificate program help me become a nationally certified teacher through MTNA?
MTNA standards will be addressed in piano lessons and piano pedagogy courses. Additional courses taken at Tech will also aid teachers in fulfilling certification requirements. Participants can also use their studies at Tech as a way to update their references.