Please note that this list is a suggested guideline of skills which we, the CPS Officer Board, think a given level should have. This is not a requirement checklist; choose the category which matches you the best.
Level 0: Complete beginner, very little to no prior musical experience in any medium
Level 0.5: Previous experience with another instrument but no prior experience with a piano.
Level 1: Limited previous musical experience. Level 1 players should be able to do the following:
- identify Middle C on any piano
- identify all notes, A through G, as well as sharps and flats on a keyboard
- correctly interpret time signatures
- identify the following note types and clap a written rhythm with some accuracy: whole notes, half notes, quarter notes and eight notes, as well the respective rests
- play a basic written melody after a small amount of practice, such as Mary Had a Little Lamb
Level 2: Level 2 players will have begun to develop basic piano technique and have a starting knowledge of essential music theory. Such players should be able to do the following:
- identify and play the notes of a scale when given the starting note
- understanding what a key signature is
- play a C major scale proficiently with two hands
- define a chord and distinguish between major and minor chords by ear
- know how to find the notes for major and minor chords, given a root note
- play short, simple pieces with some proficiency. Some examples include Bach’s Prelude #1 in C major, Mozart’s Minuet in C Major, and the opening of Beethoven’s Fur Elise.
Level 3: Level 3 players possess moderately developed piano technique and a solid understanding of music theory fundamentals. A level 3 player should be comfortable with the following:
- proficiently playing most, if not all scales through multiple consecutive octaves
- identifying key signatures quickly and accurately from a piece of written music
- play any major or minor chord on command for a given root note (sharp, flat or natural)
- a basic understanding of augment, diminished and 7th chords
- basic understanding of musicianship, including aspects such as movement, dynamics, staccato/legato, etc.
- proficiency with a few more technically challenging pieces. These should be pieces you would be comfortable playing for other people. Typical pieces would be similar to much of that written by Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms and similar composers.
Level 4: A level 4 player should be very comfortable with every part of the music theory listed above. In addition, level 4 players have greater technique and a larger repertoire of technically challenging pieces. Level 4 players also express a keen awareness of musicianship and performance.
Level 5: Level 5 players are competition level pianists who have performed repeatedly in the past. Such pianists typically have won awards and recognition.