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Piano Pedagogy Laboratory Program

About the 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. The supervisors are John Ellis, director, and Aya Higuchi Hagelthorn, coordinator.

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 and Fees

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.

Nurturing Performance

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.

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Photography Credits:

U-M Photo Services

Joe Welsh

Peter Smith

David Smith

Glen Behring

Tom Bower