Course Syllabus


Welcome to piano class!  Piano I is an introductory course in learning how to read, write, listen to and play keyboard music.  Students will practice individually on electronic keyboards with headphones and participate in recitals each six weeks.  Please read the expectations listed below.


In piano class, students will:

  •         Demonstrate an understanding of musical notation. 
  •         Develop correct piano technique, including posture, hand position, and fingering
  •         Apply knowledge of notation in writing basic musical symbols and terms
  •         Perform individually for the class

Please note that “playing around” on the keyboards is NOT the focus of this course and will not be tolerated.  To pass the course and progress through the material, students must work independently to practice the assigned music and music reading assignments.  Virtual Academy students are required to video themselves playing their assigned music.


  •         Michael Aaron lesson book, performance book, and technique book which will be purchased through school
  •         A pair of wired headphones
  •         A 1/8” stereo jack to ¼” stereo plug adapter, also purchased through school
  •         Pencils
  •         3-Ring notebook or folder (for keeping handouts)
  •         ChromeBook and charger


All three Michael Aaron books plus the headphone adapter are available through the school for $22. These books are the student’s to keep at the end of the semester.  Families should send $22 (cash or check made out to Parkwood CAB) to school in an envelope labeled with your student’s full name.  Please plan to pay the week of Monday, January 11 (process for doing this TBD, based on when I/we can return to campus).   If you have financial circumstances that limit your ability to pay for class materials, please speak with me and we will find a solution.  We have several sets of piano books students can borrow.  Students are responsible for providing their own headphones.  

Please note that some students advance more quickly than others and it may be necessary to buy the next level of books within one semester. 


We will check out a school-owned keyboard to each student to practice at home for use on remote learning days.  These are like ChromeBooks or textbooks; the cost to replace them will go on the student’s financial account if the keyboard is not returned in May.  Most keyboards average about $100 in replacement cost.  Students should treat keyboards with respect and report any problems or possible damage to Mrs. Sims immediately.  Damage beyond normal wear and tear will go on the student’s financial account.


Students will be graded both informally and formally.

Each day, students will be graded informally based on the recordings they submit or the live playing that they do for me in person or on MS Teams.  This, along with the daily check-in, serves as the student's daily participation grade.  Twice a week, this recording or live playing session will be a completion grade.  Twice a week, it will be graded with a rubric for accuracy.  Students will not be told which two recordings/live playing sessions will be completion and which will be accuracy.  On Fridays, students will play a specific song or portion of a song for a playing assessment.  Sometimes students can select the song for the assessment; other weeks, the song will be chosen by me.

Students will typically also have 3 to 5 brief classwork assignments per week.  These may be rhythm exercises, music theory drills, paper worksheets, listening logs, etc.  These assignments are graded for accuracy.

Point values for all grades - participation, playing assessments, classwork assignments, and performances - will reflect the importance of the grade.  Failure to submit daily recordings of your playing - or to play live for me in person or on Teams - will prevent you from passing this class.


Students are expected to come to class prepared and behave appropriately.

  • Gum, food, and drinks other than water are not allowed.
  • Students should play with headphones on unless instructed otherwise.
  • Students should refrain from talking during individual practice time.

Cellphones should be silenced and out of sight.  If there is a reasonable circumstance in which you need to use your phone, please ask first.

It is more important than ever for us to interact.  There will be partner and group activities in class daily, both online and in person.  Students are expected to participate in these.

Our class is held in the band room.  Please be mindful that this is a shared space.


Students are expected to abide by all UCPS and PWHS rules, as listed in the student handbook.  I will not hesitate to contact parents and/or administration as necessary for behavior issues.  Students are expected to wear masks throughout class.