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MUS 131 and 132, Section 58255 and 58266 - Keyboard Instruction 1 and 2 - Julie Lawson

Course:Keyboard Instruction 1 and 2
Professor:Julie Lawson
  • OnlineLive
Course Length:
  • 16 Week


Hi everyone,

Come join me on this adventure as we make our way through the joys and tribulations of beginning and beginning/intermediate piano. This is your chance to do something you've always wanted to do.  All you need is a keyboard, the textbook, and a willingness to persevere.  You will have a newfound appreciation for musicians after this course. 

Learning an instrument is both fun and frustrating.  Many of you have probably tried piano lessons before and as soon as you got to the frustrating part, you quit.  You've got to have enough grit and determination to cut through the frustrating times so you can enjoy the fun of making music on an instrument that will bring you so much pleasure.

My two college degrees are in piano performance and my college education was one of the best experiences of my life.  I have been teaching MUS 131 and 132 for many years now.  Most of the time I'm teaching 18-22 students all at once.  That seems impossible, right?  Sometimes it feels that way but everyone leaves the class at the end of the semester with the ability to play pieces using both hands.  You will be able to coordinate two hands moving independently of each other as well as the ability to read in two clefs at the same time.  You will have enough knowledge to either move seamlessly into the MUS 132 class, continue on your own with the assigned method book, or work one on one with a private piano teacher.  I look forward to the adventure with you.  Hope to see you in the Fall, 2021.

Course Description

MUS 131 is the first of two levels of keyboarding, focusing on introductory skills.  The emphasis is on note reading and rhythm reading, piano technique, sight-reading, interval recognition, duet playing and learning simple repertoire.

My goal is to give everyone the basic skills necessary to develop the dexterity and coordination of a piano player.

MUS 132 is a continuation of MUS 131.  A 16 week piano class hardly makes anyone an expert pianist and I certainly don't expect the 132 students to be experts.  If you are, you definitely don't belong in MUS 132.  You will continue at your own pace.  You will keep learning additional repertoire, start playing chords and inversions, practice scales and arpeggios, etc.

Hopefully we will be able to have 2 recitals during the semester.

What to Expect in this Course

Beginning and beginning/intermediate piano students are not expected to sit at the piano practicing for more than 20 minutes at a time.  You don't want to play until your hands are stiff and sore.  Fifteen to twenty minute sessions 2-3 times a day should be more than sufficient, at least at the very beginning.  As the music becomes more challenging, you may want to add an extra 5-10 minutes to your practice sessions.

You will learn how to read pitches in treble and bass clef, a variety of rhythms, five finger pattern warm ups to strengthen your hands and fingers, independence of hands, simple melodies with accompaniments, and repertoire suitable for recitals.  The more advanced students will begin learning major scales and arpeggios and more advanced repertoire.

Types of Assessments

1. Posture and hand position

2. Rhythmic accuracy and the ability to count rhythms

3. Treble and bass clef reading proficiency

4. Five finger patterns and all chord qualities

5. Simple pieces, hands together

Textbook Information

Keyboard Strategies, A Piano Series For Group or Private Instruction Created For the Older Beginner, by Melvin Stecher, Norman Horowitz, Claire Gordon, R. Fred Kern, and E.L. Lancaster. Publisher is G. Schirmer, Inc. The ISBN: 0-7935-5291-5.

The book is available through the campus bookstore or online.

Other Relevant Course Information

In order to succeed in this class, you MUST practice daily.  I understand that we don't all learn, process, and create at the same pace and I will take that into consideration when assigning music.  It is important that you stay current though.  It is easy to fall behind if you miss class.

Also, because this is a "group" class, we cannot be successful as a group unless everyone comes to class prepared.  That is your job; practice and come prepared for group activities.

Additional Resources


This course can be accessed on the first day of class via Canvas at Log into Canvas using your CanyonsID single sign-on:

  • CanyonsID Username is your COC student email address (Ex:
  • CanyonsID Password is your COC student email password

Please visit the Get to Know Your Online Classroom page for help logging into Canvas and for tips on using Canvas and Zoom. Canvas Chat Support is also available 24/7 for any Canvas related issues.

Online Education

Check out the Online Education website for more information on a variety of topics that can help you be a successful online student such as: exam proctoring, learning styles, computer skills, and tips for student success. If this is your first online course, feel free to take our online learning readiness assessment to assess your skills.

The Learning Center (TLC)

The TLC provides FREE online tutoring resources to COC students!

Academic Accommodation Center (AAC)

College of the Canyons AAC provides educational services and access for eligible students with documented disabilities who intend to pursue coursework at COC. A variety of programs and services are available which afford eligible students with disabilities the opportunity to participate fully in all aspects of the college programs and activities through appropriate and reasonable accommodations. For more information on their services visit the Academic Accomodation Center website.

Online Counseling

The Counseling Department offers appointments online. You can schedule an appointment by visiting the Online Counseling website. Counselors can help you map out a plan to reach your educational goals as well as advise you on course selection and registration.

Management of Stress and Mental Health

Often the pressure on our students is very strong, involving academic commitments, relationships, outside jobs and family pressure to name a few. The staff and faculty of College of the Canyons are here to see you succeed academically and care about your emotional and physical health. You can learn more about the broad range of confidential student services, including counseling and mental health services available on campus by visiting the Student Health & Wellness Center in the Student Services Building (across from the bookstore). The phone number is 661-362-3259 that you can call 24/7. You can also e mail for an appointment at At the Canyon Country Campus the Health Center will be in the new Student Services Building.

Also, the National Suicide & Crisis Lifeline number is now 988. All students at COC are encouraged to enter that phone number in their cells. You can call it when you, or someone you know, is having thoughts of suicide or is in severe distress.

You can also now use the Crisis Text Line: Just text "Courage" to 741741. Someone will get back to you immediately. Its free, 24/7, and confidential.

Veterans Resource Center

The College of the Canyons Veterans Resource Center is a department within the Student Services Division at the college, created to help veterans and veteran dependents with applying to College of the Canyons, enrolling in classes, and requesting VA Education or Vocational Benefits. For more information please visit the Veterans Resource Center website, email or phone (661) 362-3469.


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Last updated: 08/02/2021 Sub#: 304