Intermediate Keyboard

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Authored by Ross Ramsay

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Course Code: OPIAN-210

Next semester starts Jan 9, 2023

Level 2

Level 2

3-Credit Tuition

$1,515

Non-Credit Tuition

$1,265

This course is designed for keyboard players with some prior playing experience, who want to take their performance skills to the next level. Also, the course fills a number of specific needs in the current online keyboard curriculum. It addresses the needs of students who have successfully completed courses such as Berklee Keyboard Method or Keyboard for the Electronic Musician, and want to continue their development in the Berklee keyboard program, but are not ready for advanced level courses. Intermediate Keyboard bridges the gap between the aforementioned offerings and the more advanced, challenging upper level courses.

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Intermediate Keyboard also fulfills the requirements of an elective keyboard course in other programs, when the student has already prior experience with the instrument. The course is style-agnostic, providing a rounded approach to developing playing skills that can be applied to any genre of music.

This course is designed to fit a wide range of students, with exercises and materials that cover different levels of skill sets. Additionally, students who have a higher level of competency or greater amount of practice time can choose to explore and further develop their skills by preparing optional bonus assignments created for that purpose.

By the end of the course, you will be able to:

  • Employ effective practice techniques in order to continually overcome musical challenges
  • Expand your playing technique to perform with greater speed and precision, with a focus on proper use of the body as a playing mechanism
  • Develop a strategy to better understand the music you are performing, through awareness of form, harmony, and melodic structure across all styles
  • Read and interpret notated music at a higher level
  • Read and interpret chord symbols more quickly
  • Understand pulse and groove while learning new rhythms over a wide range of styles
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Overview Syllabus Requirements Instructors
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Syllabus

Lesson 1: Zen Mind Beginner Mind

  • Strategies of Success
  • Notes, Rhythms, and Rhythmic Independence
  • Technical Foundations: The Key of C Major and A Minor
  • Our Muse or “Musette”
  • “Candle in the Wind”
  • “First Sorrow”
  • Assignment 1: C Major and A Minor Scales (One Octave, Hands Together)

Lesson 2: Beethoven to Bowie

  • Notes, Rhythms, and Rhythmic Independence
  • Technical Foundations: The Key of G Major and E Minor
  • The Sorrow of the Minor Key
  • “Space Oddity”
  • Beethoven Piano Concerto #4 in G Major (Opening Theme)
  • Assignment 2: G Major and E Minor Scales (One Octave, Hands Together)

Lesson 3: ‘I’ll Take You There’—Crossing Hands

  • Notes, Rhythms, and Rhythmic Independence
  • Technical Foundations: The Key of F Major and D Minor
  • The Serenade of Schubert
  • “I’ll Take You There”
  • Pentatonic Scales and Improvising on a Simple Progression
  • Assignment 3: F Major and D Minor Scales (One Octave, Hands Together)

Lesson 4: ‘Hello, It’s Me’—The 7th Chords

  • Notes, Rhythms, and Rhythmic Independence
  • Technical Foundations: The Key of Bb Major and G Minor
  • “Hello, It’s Me”
  • The Dominant Approach to Movement
  • Assignment 4: Bb Major and G Minor Scales (One Octave, Hands Together)

Lesson 5: Ballads and Ballades

  • Notes, Rhythms, and Rhythmic Independence
  • Technical Foundations: The Key of Eb Major and C Minor
  • Ballad: “Don’t Speak” by No Doubt
  • Ballade in C Minor by Freidrich Burgmuller
  • Assignment 5: Eb Major and C Minor Scales (One Octave, Hands Together)

Lesson 6: Something Completely Different—Bossa and Boogie Woogie

  • Notes, Rhythms, and Rhythmic Independence
  • Technical Foundations: The Key of D Major and B Minor
  • “Glass Beads” (or “Black Orpheus”)
  • “Boogie Woogie”
  • Assignment 6: D Major and B Minor Scales (One Octave, Hands Together)

Lesson 7: Pop Meets the Mother of Invention

  • Notes, Rhythms, and Rhythmic Independence
  • Technical Foundations: The Key of A Major and F# Minor
  • “In My Life”
  • “All My Loving”
  • Assignment 7: A Major and F# Minor Scales (One Octave, Hands Together)

Lesson 8: Shuffle - Jump—Swing: It’s a Triplet

  • Notes, Rhythms, and Rhythmic Independence
  • Technical Foundations: The Key of E Major and C# Minor
  • “Opus One” 
  • The Challenge of Mixed Rhythms
  • Assignment 8: E Major and C# Minor Scales (One Octave, Hands Together)

Lesson 9: Switching Roles—Grooving Accompanist to Soloist

  • Notes, Rhythms, and Rhythmic Independence
  • Technical Foundations: The Key of Ab Major and F Minor
  • “Killing Me Softly”
  • Serious Moments with the Sustain Pedal
  • Assignment 9: Ab Major and F Minor Scales (One Octave, Hands Together)

Lesson 10: Playing Blues on the Red Planet

  • Notes, Rhythms, and Rhythmic Independence
  • Technical Foundations: The Key of Db Major and Bb Minor
  • “Jupiter and Mars”
  • Stride Piano on Avenue C
  • Assignment 10: Db Major and Bb Minor Scales (One Octave, Hands Together)

Lesson 11: Green Onions in the Gloaming

  • Notes, Rhythms, and Rhythmic Independence
  • Technical Foundations: The Key of B Major and G# Minor
  • “Green Onions”
  • “In the Gloaming”
  • Assignment 11: B Major and G# Minor Scales (One Octave, Hands Together)

Lesson 12: The Logical Song and the Logical Next Steps

  • Notes, Rhythms, and Rhythmic Independence
  • Technical Foundations: The Key of Gb Major and Eb Minor
  • “The Logical Song”
  • Bach to the Starting Line
  • What’s Next?
  • Assignment 12: Gb Major and Eb Minor Scales (One Octave, Hands Together)

Requirements

Prerequisites and Course-Specific Requirements 

Completion of Berklee Keyboard Method or Keyboard for the Electronic Musician or equivalent knowledge and experience is required.

Required Textbook(s)

Hardware Requirements

  • A piano or keyboard with at least 49 standard size keys (61 or more recommended)

Students are required to record video for assignments. You can use your smartphone, digital camera, or webcam to do this. If you do not already have a preferred video software, you can use the built-in recorder tool within your assignment post. You can play the backing track through your speakers as you record and the microphone will pick up both the piano or keyboard (playing out loud through built-in speakers or amp) and the track as you play along.

After enrolling, please check the Getting Started section of your course for potential deals on required materials. Our Student Deals page also features several discounts you can take advantage of as a current student. Please contact support@online.berklee.edu for any questions.


General Course Requirements

Below are the minimum requirements to access the course environment and participate in Live Chats. Please make sure to also check the Prerequisites and Course-Specific Requirements section above, and ensure your computer meets or exceeds the minimum system requirements for all software needed for your course. 

Mac Users

PC Users

All Users

  • Latest version of  Google Chrome
  • Zoom meeting software
  • Webcam
  • Speakers or headphones
  • External or internal microphone
  • Broadband Internet connection

Instructors

Ross Ramsay

Author & Instructor

James Ross Ramsay, faculty in the Piano department at Berklee College of Music, has been teaching piano for 25 years, and has been included in the "Who's Who List of American Teachers" several times. He composes and produces music for local and nationally broadcast television, radio, cable, and video programs, and has been a featured soloist on piano and keyboards with various artists touring throughout the United States and Europe. Ramsay is a product specialist and clinician for Yamaha Corporation of America, Digital Musical Instruments, and Pro Audio Division. He received a Bachelor of Music from Berklee College of Music in 1986.


Rebecca Cline

Instructor

For over two decades, Rebecca Cline has lived in Boston as an educator, presenter, and performer specializing in Latin and jazz piano. As the author of Latin Jazz Piano Improvisation: Clave, Comping, and Soloing on Berklee Press, she has led over twenty workshops in the US, Asia, Europe, South America and the Caribbean on improvising within the context of the clave and on Cuban piano improvisation styles. She has taught ensembles, Cuban piano styles, and jazz studies to undergraduate students for 18 years at Berklee College of Music.


Zahili Gonzalez Zamora

Instructor

Zahili Gonzalez Zamora's musical career path and thirst for constant professional growth brought her on a long professional journey from Cuba, to Canada, to Southeast Asia, to the U.S.A. In 2017, she graduated from Berklee College of Music, summa cum laude, with a dual-degree in Jazz Composition and Jazz Piano Performance. In September of 2019 she joined the Piano Dept. at Berklee. 

Zahili has written and arranged pieces mostly within the Afro Cuban jazz genre. Her rich musical background, career experience and extraordinary improvisation skills render her a leader in the modern Latin jazz idiom and an influential, emulated musician.

Her Afro Cuban Jazz Trio, MIXCLA, features new original tunes and arrangements by her, which have quickly turned the attention of major agents locally and internationally. The trio has since headlined at the 59th Monterey Jazz Festival, the 2016 Stave Sessions, by Celebrity Series of Boston, the 2015 Montreal International Jazz Festival, Scullers Jazz Club in Boston (2018 and 2020), and other highly respected venues and Festivals around the world. With her trio MIXCLA, Zahili's newly released album has thus far advanced in the world of Jazz, adding to her accolades two nominations to the Boston Music Awards (2018 and 2019), under the Jazz Group category, and a finalist place at the DC Jazz Prix Competition, in Washington DC. 

Other accomplishments as a composer include, the Duke Ellington and the Wayne Shorter Awards for her outstanding creativity and musicianship, and the 40th annual Downbeat music award, 2017, under the Outstanding Performance category.  

Questions?

Contact our Academic Advisors by phone at 1-866-BERKLEE (U.S.), 1-617-747-2146 (INT'L), or by email at advisors@online.berklee.edu.

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