Piano Pedagogy Laboratory Program

The Piano Pedagogy Laboratory Program (PPLP) was founded in November, 1983 with a dual purpose: to provide teacher-training for the University of Michigan students enrolled in the Master of Music in Piano Pedagogy and Performance degree, and to provide piano lessons to pre-college age students from the community. Since that time, the PPLP has grown from two beginning classes with a total enrollment of 13 students, to 11 classes with an enrollment of approximately 85 students. All students enrolled in the PPLP receive a unique combination of group and private lesson study during the school year, as well as frequent performing opportunities in departmental recitals, master-classes and in special local events.

The PPLP faculty consists of faculty and staff at the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre, and Dance, as well as the Graduate Student Instructors (GSI’s) currently enrolled in the Master of Music and the Doctor of Musical Arts in Piano Pedagogy and Performance degree.  Class and teacher assignment for each student will be determined by the coordinator.

John Ellis, Director  (private teacher)

Aya Higuchi Hagelthorn, Coordinator (group teacher, private teacher)

Kate Acone (private teacher)

Rachel Chen (private teacher)

Christine Choi (group teacher, private teacher)

Korean-American pianist Christine Choi is an active soloist and chamber musician. She has participated in international festivals and has given recitals in Europe, South Korea and the U.S. She has performed in masterclasses with Charlene Biggs, Angela Cheng and Ralph Votapek. Over the years, Dr. Choireceived various scholarships, including Ann Arbor Symphony Women’s Association Scholarship, SKR Scholarship and Kiwanis Scholarhip. Dr. Choi earnedherDoctor of Musical Arts and Master of Music degree from the University of Michigan, where she was fully supported by Rackham Graduate Studies. Previously, she was at New England Conservatory in Boston, where shestudied under Saj-nicole Joni Endowed Scholarship for four years and received her Bachelor’s degree with special honors. Her primary teachers include Arthur Greene, Bruce Brubaker and Patricia Zander.

Melissa Coppola (private teacher)

Claudio Espejo (private teacher)

Alissa Freeman (private teacher)

Annie Jeng (private teacher)

Ceren Su Sahin (private teacher)

Susan Yang (private teacher)

PPLP is a year-round program of continuous study, and each academic year begins in September, finishing at the end of April with an annual Spring Recital in which all students of the program participate. Students are required to take a minimum of 6 private lessons in the Summer Session (May – August).

The students receive weekly assignment sheets, detailing what they need to achieve, and what goals they need to maintain. The PPLP has three different types of study, depending on the level of the student: Beginning, Elementary, Intermediate, or Advanced.

Beginning students start their instruction with two weekly, one-hour group lessons. Toward the end of November, when the children have begun reading music on the Grand Staff, one of the group lessons is dropped and a 30-minute private lesson is substituted in its place. From that point until the end of the academic year in April, the beginning students will have a weekly one-hour group lesson and a weekly 30-minute private lesson.

Elementary level students are those in the second through fifth years of study. They receive a weekly one-hour group lesson and a weekly 45-minute private lesson.

Intermediate and Advanced students are those in approximately the sixth year (and higher) of study. Typically, these are children in middle and high school. They receive a weekly one-hour group lesson (alternating between performance and theory classes) and a weekly 45-minute private lesson.

Tuition covers the following: both group and private lessons, departmental recitals, and master-classes. PPLP has two payment plans: Option 1 is payment in full; Option 2 is payment in 4 installments. All tuition is payable by check or credit card online.

In addition, there is a non-refundable Registration Fee of $50 per student. Please contact the coordinator for more information.

Tuition payments: There is a $50, non-refundable registration fee for all students. We are pleased to offer a choice of tuition payment options. Tuition for the entire 27-week school year for 2018-2019 is $1,560, if paid by September 1, 2018. For the Payment Plan Option (in which tuition is divided into four payments), the cost is $1,635. Tuition for the Transitional Curriculum is $1,390. A $25 late fee will be added for Payment Plan Option, if received after September 15. NOTE: if a student withdraws from the program, pro-rated tuition will be refunded as long as the PPLP office is notified in writing and the withdrawal takes place before November 1, 2018. NO REFUNDS WILL BE GIVEN AFTER THIS DATE; those who have elected the payment plan option will be expected to complete their payments.

We have many different types of performance opportunities for our students. These include informal performances, in group classes, and playing in front of their peers; we want students to feel comfortable performing in front of peers first. This supportive environment helps them feel confident in formal piano recitals that take place in the several different performance venues at the School of Music. In addition, many students participate in master classes presided over by the director of the program.

We are proud that you have entrusted your child’s pianistic development to us and want you to know that we take this responsibility very seriously. If you ever have any questions, concerns or comments regarding your child’s study, please feel free to contact us. Your feedback is always appreciated.

Code of Conduct: Participants should understand that their behavior reflects on the entire University of Michigan community and, as such, should behave in an honest, respectful and responsible manner that is consistent with the mission of the University. Participants are expected to treat their fellow students and teachers in a respectful manner at all time, make a good faith effort to progress in their studies and refrain from prohibited conduct including destruction of property and physical violence.

Music needed for study is available through a variety of sources. Locally, it can be ordered throughKing’s Keyboard House (2333 E. Stadium Blvd; (734) 663-3381). Please call ahead to make sure materials are available. For Frederick Harris publications, materials can be ordered from the Music Development Program online bookstore at Materials generally arrive within 5 days.

Pianos: a tuned acoustic piano is a necessity for daily practice. Students cannot develop technical proficiency or the ability to communicate a wide range of sound by using an electric keyboard. We will be happy to refer you to a qualified tuner / technician if your instrument needs some attention prior to the start of lessons.

Assignment sheets are given out at the weekly class lesson and provide the student with a handy checklist of materials and pieces that will need daily practice. Parent announcements are always at the top of the sheet.

Daily practice: an essential ingredient necessary for each student to reach his or her full potential! The amount of practice time will vary, depending on the length of the assignment, student’s level, etc. We ask that our students do as much practice as is needed to perform each item on their assignment sheets with fluency and ease.

Parental help might be needed to assist younger students with practice following each lesson. Your family will want to discuss daily practice and determine a regular, convenient time for it to happen. Daily practice will be enjoyable with your loving support, encouragement and praise.

Performance opportunities: Students perform weekly in class. Beginning students will have a Parent’s Day class in December. Continuing students participate in informal recitals, a more formal program at the beginning of May, and other activities throughout the year, such as The Music Development Program Assessments. Please refer to the Calendar of Events for specific dates of these events.

Punctuality: Classes and private lessons begin promptly at the scheduled time. It is important that students arrive early (with all materials and clean hands) so that they may get settled and warmed-up prior to the start of class. We ask that parents of elementary level children physically escort them to and from classes and private lessons.

Transitional Curriculum: This special program is for an incoming transfer student who has deficiencies in limited areas, and therefore needs extra time to prepare to join a group class that is most suitable in the following school year, as well as for a current student who has been assessed to move ahead a year. A student can only participate in this transitional program for up to one school year. A student will receive a weekly private instruction of 45 minutes, in order to join the regular progrm in the following school year, and tuition is adjusted accordingly.

Class absences: Regular attendance is essential for progress; there is not enough time in the private lesson to cover all the material that has been presented in a one-hour class. If an absence is unavoidable, please notify the PPLP office. Assignment sheets for a missed class can be mailed home or given out at the next private lesson. More than three class absences in one academic year may affect the good standing in the program.

Private lesson absences: Private lessons will be made up if missed due to illness or emergency and if the teacher or PPLP office has been notified in advance of the lesson time. Because studying piano involves close contact (particularly hand-to-hand) we ask that students do not attend lessons if they are in the contagious stage of an illness. Lessons missed due to reasons other than those above will be made up at the teachers’ discretion only. Lessons cancelled by the teacher will always be rescheduled.

Weather policy: You will be called or emailed if weather conditions force cancellation of classes and lessons. Public school closings in the morning do not necessarily cancel late afternoon lessons.

Parking: There is a metered parking lot south of the Moore Building. Parking regulations are in effect on weekdays until 5:00 p.m. Parents are welcome to wait in the atrium area. PLEASE NOTE: the circle drive in front of the building is for drop-off or pick-up only.

Student Progress Reports and Performance Records: Reports on the student’s progress will be mailed to parents at the end of the academic year. A Performance record of all pieces completed and memorized during the year will be included.

Need-based Scholarships: A limited number of need-based awards are available. If a financial need arises, and the student is in good standing, the administration of PPLP will request and review documentation related to the particular situation. Any decisions on partial or full tuition assistance, the duration of the assistance, and other conditions for receiving the assistance (i.e. attendance, passing examinations or auditions, etc.) will be at the discretion of the administration of PPLP.