Music is a beautiful gift from God, and He has woven it into the fabric of humanity. For Christians, music takes on even more significance since it is one of the ways we communicate the beauty of God’s majesty and glorify Him with our talents.
At BJU you’ll explore the intricacies of keyboard (piano and organ) music through careful study and concentrated practice under highly qualified and experienced faculty. You’ll lay a strong foundation in music history and theory through your courses and in putting your skills to the test—both in your weekly lessons and in live performances. And more importantly, you’ll deepen your relationship with the Creator, who made you and music for His glory, and learn how to imitate the One who rejoices over His people with singing.
Within the keyboard performance program at BJU, you’ll build a solid foundation in theory and technique. You’ll learn how elements—including tonality, harmonic sequences and chromaticism—work together to create coherent and expressive music, and you’ll learn how to use each element to create compelling music. You’ll sharpen your skills in performance and learn how to accompany other performers effectively and how to aid them in sight-reading and practice.
From your first semester, you’ll get involved in one of the many music groups on campus. In addition, you’ll have performance opportunities in your classes. There are even classes dedicated to piano or organ performance where you’ll perform for your peers and receive suggestions from a faculty member.
Your sophomore year, you’ll prepare for your platform check, a performance in front of several members of the music faculty. In this performance, the faculty will evaluate your musical skills and determine how you’ll continue your studies at BJU. You’ll also take a technique test that will display your proficiency on the piano or organ. Once you pass each of these checks, you’ll prepare for more recitals that will challenge you and refine your skills on the piano or organ.
When you arrive for your first semester, you’ll need to audition so your music background and current skill level can be evaluated. The audition will help the music faculty assess your potential as a music student and will give them a good idea of how to equip you to reach that potential. One to three faculty members will be present for your audition.
Liberal arts courses, such as economics, philosophy and speech, will challenge you to see life from a broader perspective. These subjects will also help you develop essential life skills such as critical thinking, problem-solving, creativity and effective communication—skills necessary for flexibility in your job. The importance of communication skills cannot be overstated for a musician, and these core courses will enhance your powers of expression.
In addition, your Bible courses will connect your pursuit of God to all of life—including your work as a performer. These courses will better equip you to pursue God and will remind you to allow your knowledge of Him to inform your ethics and practices in the field. And more importantly, you’ll learn how you can point others to the beauty and holiness of God and the hope found only in the person and work of Jesus Christ.
The keyboard performance program offers you the option of adding some electives to your class schedule. If you’re planning to run your own studio or hold private lessons, consider taking business courses. You’ll learn useful administrative skills and build a foundation in the basics of running a small business. Another option is to take courses in technology, which will build on your knowledge of music technology.
Daniel Overly, ’12
I would recommend the keyboard studies program of Bob Jones University to any Christian young person who is serious about developing as an artist in the framework of a Christian worldview. As a student, I found myself challenged in every way: academically, musically, personally and spiritually. Academically speaking, I received a strong foundation in music history and theory as well as in other important liberal arts subjects, such as English, philosophy and history. I grew musically as I received private lessons, participated in large ensembles, and performed in a variety of settings. My interactions with godly and experienced faculty members and enthusiastic fellow students helped me to develop personally and spiritually. The need for Christians in the arts is great. If you aspire to such a goal, then BJU is a perfect place to take your first steps in that direction.
Here are a few different jobs that you could work toward:
- Concert pianist
- Private teacher
- Studio teacher
- Community school music teacher
- Private school/public school teacher
- Church instrumentalist/church fine arts programs
- College instructor
- Collaborative artist/accompanist
- Chamber musician
Our keyboard performance graduates have been accepted into graduate schools such as:
- Baylor University
- University of Cincinnati—College-Conservatory of Music
- Cleveland Institute of Music
- Concordia University—River Forest
- Eastman School of Music
- Florida State University
- Indiana University
- Konservatorium Wien Privatuniversität
- Louisiana State University
- Peabody Conservatory of Music
- The Hartt School
- University of Oklahoma
- University of South Carolina
- Westminster Choir College
- Yale School of Music
Our graduates have held various positions including:
- Music director, Impact World Tour
- Faculty member, The Juilliard School
- Associate professor, University of North Texas
- Associate editor, Beckenhorst Press
- Associate faculty, Sarasota Music Festival
BJU offers students a variety of ways to network with employers and organizations. A multitude of job opportunities are posted each year on Career Central, our online job board. In addition, more than 60 businesses and 150 Christian schools/mission boards/Christian organizations come on campus to recruit students through on-campus interviews and job/ministry fairs.
Career Services also helps students by holding seminars on resume preparation and interview techniques.
Once you complete your platform check during your sophomore year, you’ll prepare for two recitals: one in your junior year and one in your senior year. These recitals are a significant part of the keyboard performance program and play a major role in preparing you for your profession.
Each of these recitals is designed to help you build your repertoire, teach you how to prepare for performances, and give you practice memorizing your pieces, playing in various styles and using appropriate technique.
Practice studios, each equipped with an upright piano or a grand piano, are available for your use across campus (including in a few residence halls). These studios are in addition to faculty members’ studios, which come equipped with grand pianos. If you’re focusing on organ performance, you can practice and perform on a handful of pipe organs or synthesizers that are scattered across campus.
The Gustafson Fine Arts Center Music Library
Available for your use are more than:
- 15,000 bound scores
- 5,500 chamber and choral music pieces
- 7,200 biographies and books on music
- 7,100 LP recordings
- 8,220 musical CDs
- 850 musical DVDs
At BJU, you’ll experience a variety of excellent performances—as a performer and as a member of the audience. You’ll grow through personal performances, through junior and senior recitals, large and small ensemble recitals, the Concerto and Aria Competition, Annual Music Contests, and Student Recital Hours.
Additionally, you’ll be exposed to accomplished artists in the Concert, Opera and Drama Series, such as The King’s Singers, Canadian Brass and Prague Symphony Orchestra.
The piano lab contains several Yamaha Clavinovas that give you more flexibility than acoustic pianos. Each Clavinova comes equipped with MIDI ports so you can easily compose, record and share files with the help of computer software.
There are more than 20 groups you can get involved in, ranging from a number of larger choirs to smaller instrument ensembles, such as the trumpet choir or the handbell choir. These groups will give you experience as one part of a whole, so you’ll be better prepared to lead others in similar situations.
There are numerous outreach opportunities each week. Many of them will stretch you by using your music skills, either as an instrumentalist or in leading the music. You’ll learn how to minister alongside others, so you’ll feel better prepared for the ministry you’ll take part in after graduation.
BJU’s keyboard performance faculty bring 30–40 years’ experience in the field to their classrooms and studios, as well as their education from PhD, MEd and DMA programs at leading universities.
They’ve contributed to the keyboard studies field in many ways, including producing published arrangements and piano textbooks. And each faculty member makes sure your learning is personalized, so you can grow to your fullest potential as a musician and performer.
Courses & Objectives
Sample Course Outline
- Composition & Literature
- Creation to New Creation: Exploring the Bible for Life
- Introduction to Music Literature
- Theory II
- Practical Musicianship II
- Private Instrn: Keyboard Major/Prin (2 credits)
- Large Ensemble Elective (1 credits)
- BJU Core
Each student will:
- Apply knowledge of standard keyboard literature to performance.
- Integrate music theory and performance in literature interpretation.
- Apply mature musical interpretation and advanced keyboard skills.