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Degree Recital Accompanists

If you will be giving a degree recital and would like to request a pianist enrolled in piano accompaniment course MUS:7401, Special Studies in Piano Accompaniment and Chamber Music, please email Rene Lecuona ( with the following information:

  • Instrument and studio teacher 
  • Repertoire and length of each piece (the pianist will not be assigned more than 45 minutes of total music) 
  •  Approximate date of the recital (or precise date if known)  
  •  A list of any previous degree recitals (name of pianist, degree and semester) for which the student was assigned a pianist enrolled in piano-accompaniment course MUS:7401.

This request needs to be received sometime between 10:00 am on the first day of the semester and 5:00 pm on the Tuesday of the second week of the semester. Early submissions will not be considered.

Pertinent Information About Course MUS:7401

Course MUS:7401 is a piano accompaniment course which is required of piano majors as part of their degree programs. It corresponds and is roughly comparable to the "ensemble requirement" for music majors (choir, band, orchestra). 

This has several implications:

  1. 1. The pianist enrolled in course MUS:7401 is serving the school at large and learning valuable professional skills. Therefore, the pianist is not paid for this work, just as a tenor is not paid to sing in choir, etc.
  2.  The work load should be significant, but not oppressive. It should be roughly equal to the time other students devote to choir, band, and orchestra (ca. four hours per week of ensemble time, with a reasonable amount of preparation time).  As is generally acknowledged, it is often time-consuming to learn piano parts.  The total time for the pianist enrolled in course MUS:7401 for learning, rehearsing, attending lessons by either the studio professor or the pianist's professor, performing in seminars or masterclasses, should not get too far out of the bounds of four hours per week.  
  3.  Pianists enrolled in course MUS:7401 always have a supervising faculty member. Generally, but not always, this supervisor is their piano teacher. Piano professors make themselves available to pianists enrolled under their instructor number for coaching at various stages of the process. 

A reasonable scenario for work involving a pianist enrolled in this course might be the following:

First week of school: A student giving a degree recital during that particular semester (in consultation with their studio professor) makes an official request to Rene Lecuona (, following the instructions listed above.

End of the second week of school: pianists and students are matched up via email. The pianist and student, in consultation with the student's major teacher, make a plan for learning, rehearsing, and performing the pieces. The pianist gets some/all of the scores from the student. Performance dates are established so that there are no surprises.

As the semester progresses, here are some other items to keep in mind:

  1. Taking into consideration what a pianist can reasonably be expected to learn in a certain timeframe, rehearsals should begin.
  2. The pianist should meet with his or her own professor for any needed pianistic or musical guidance.
  3. The paired student and pianist should begin to attend lessons with the student's professor.
  4. If there are any concerns about the quality of the pianist’s work, the studio professor should contact the pianist's supervising professor. 
  5. The work culminates in a degree recital sometime during the semester in which the pianist is enrolled in course MUS:7401.
  6. In the case that the recital is postponed from the fall semester to the spring semester, the pianist enrolled in course MUS:7401 will generally complete the assignment in the spring semester if the following criteria are met: the preponderance of the work for the degree recital must be completed in the fall semester; and the degree recital must take place by the Saturday of the second week of school.  

When each of the pianists enrolled in course MUS:7401 Special Studies in Piano Accompaniment and Chamber Music has an assignment (a degree recital to accompany), then my role as coordinator for this course is complete. There are no other pianists for me to assign to accompany full degree recitals. However, sometimes it is possible to have up to 20 minutes of your recital accompanied by a TA Accompanying Project. (Information about this is on the School of Music website.)

Students at the School of Music at the University of Iowa, and at most institutions around the country, are not guaranteed an accompanist for their degree recital. Here and at other institutions around the country, students needing accompanists hire private accompanists, ask their friends to accompany their recitals, and sometimes have a pianist assigned to them.


Please contact Professor Réne Lecuona, co-chair of the piano area.