Piano - University of Houston
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Timothy Hester
Professor of Piano
Chair of Keyboard Studies Division

Director of Keyboard Collaborative Arts
phone: 713 - 743-3309
email: thester@uh.edu
office: MSM 227

Welcome to the Moores School of Music Piano Division! Our program immerses students in the art of solo piano performance, collaborative piano and piano pedagogy, preparing them to embark upon rewarding journeys in the world of music. If you are interested in learning more about what we have to offer, we would love to hear from you! #GoCoogs  



Academic Programs

  • Bachelor of Music

    The Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance provides aspiring artists with intense foundational training.  While studying at the Moores School, students develop tools for success through total musical immersion. We offer numerous diverse performance opportunities on campus and in and beyond Houston’s thriving performing arts scene. 

  • Certificate in Performance

    The Certificate in Music Performance in Piano is a highly specialized, two-year program designed to prepare exceptional pianists for careers as solo concert artists. 

    The  Certificate in Music Performance in Collaborative Piano is a highly specialized, two-year program designed to prepare  exceptiona l pianists for careers as collaborative concert artists. 

  • Master of Music

    Offered in piano performance, collaborative piano and piano pedagogy. Our alumni have distinguished themselves in national and international competitions and established major careers as performers and teachers across the globe. Collaborative piano students develop skills and evolve repertoire in our conservatory-type laboratory, then embark on multi-faceted careers across the globe. Piano pedagogy students hone their craft by working one-on-one with our award-winning faculty, through internships within the newly formed Community Arts Academy and by participating in Houston’s vibrant piano teaching community. 

  • Doctor of Musical Arts

    Our Doctor of Musical Arts program is suited for advanced pianists interested in studying solo piano performance or keyboard collaborative arts at the highest academic and performance levels. Our students’ pianistic roots are cultivated through nurturing yet rigorous training and exceptional artistic teaching.  

    Solo piano students and alumni go on to distinguish themselves in national and international competitions and establish major careers as teachers and performers across the globe. Keyboard collaborative arts students are required to perform solo literature, enabling them to unify solo and collaborative performance and change the perception that a pianist is simply either a soloist or an accompanist. As an extremely fertile city for the arts, Houston affords our students, who plant themselves here, the added boon of developing lucrative local careers as performers and educators. 

    All doctoral students choose from minor areas including piano pedagogy, collaborative piano, music theory, musicology and conducting, and have the option of a full dissertation track or shorter essay track. Applicants to the doctoral program have previously earned a master's degree in music, preferably in performance. 


Scholarships are available for students at all levels of study who demonstrate outstanding accomplishment and promise. For nonresident students, merit-based scholarships may make a student eligible to receive a tuition waiver resulting in Texas resident tuition rate. Prospective students are encouraged to contact Timothy Hester to discuss scholarship possibilities. 
  • Teaching Assistantships

    Numerous teaching assistantships in piano, accompanying, class piano, music theory and music history are available to graduate students who qualify. Teaching assistants receive a stipend and scholarship. For out-of-state students, teaching assistantships activate in-state tuition. 

    Teaching assistants in piano gain valuable professional experience teaching piano under the guidance of a faculty mentor. Teaching assistants in accompanying gain invaluable experience in our nurturing laboratory, working with one of our talented instrumentalists or vocalists. Teaching assistants in class piano instruct students in group settings guided by our pedagogy faculty. 

Select Division Courses

  • Sight Reading for Pianists

    An elective for piano majors of all levels, this course helps delineate the many factors used to sight read music. Enhanced reading skills help students gain quicker mastery of their solo and collaborative literature, enabling them to build more extensive, more diverse repertoires throughout their careers. The course is based on the teaching philosophy of Ignace Paderewski, who felt that '...the chief aim of every teacher of the pianoforte should be to impart to his/her student a correct technique that would enable the student to sight-read any composition with proficiency and correctness...' 
  • Keyboard Harmony

    Applications of music theory at the keyboard for majors in piano performance includes the study of basic chord progressions, modulations, harmonization of melodies, sequences, chromatic progressions and dissonance usages. Improvisation, realizing figured bass and lead sheets and other keyboard techniques are also studied. 
  • Collaborative Keyboard Techniques

    Mandatory for all freshman and sophomore piano majors, this course is designed to introduce basic concepts of musical collaboration. Students focus on improving sight-reading skills and rhythmic control as well as developing a heightened awareness of the soloist in terms of following skills and tonal balance. A variety of literature is studied, leading to mastery of diverse musical styles.  Study of figured bass, keyboard harmony, transposition and score reading are additional areas of training. 
  • Piano Pedagogy

    This survey of teaching tools and materials is appropriate for independent piano teachers of beginning, intermediate and adult hobby students. Communication skills and teaching strategies, curricula planning and development, peer-teaching and observational activities are included. 

Faculty Recordings and Publications

Collaborative Piano


Moores School of Music chamber ensembles allows students to bring their talent and training from applied lessons and large ensembles together while studying literature written for smaller, more intimate groups. Students benefit from coachings focused on tonal blending, score knowledge, communication, listening skills, intonation and musical expression. 



Through generous donations, the Moores School of Music has been able to purchase new Steinway pianos for our concert halls, faculty studios and practice rooms. Our beautifully equipped facilities allow our piano students to strive for their ideals without hindrance. They can prepare for lessons with the trust that their teachers will be able to guide them with impeccable precision and inspiring artistry.  Most importantly, the music will be served at the highest possible level. Our young artists will be ready to embark upon great careers, groomed by their positive experiences on the finest Steinway instruments. 

To further commit to this excellence, the Moores School of Music has endowed the maintenance of these instruments. A staff of the highest-quality piano technicians and extensive, on-campus repair facilities ensure that all instruments are kept at the highest standard of performance. Students at the Moores School of Music have a distinct advantage over students at other institutions. Piano majors have access to brand new Steinway semi-concert grand pianos in all their major practice rooms, and a fleet of eight concert grands, with instruments from both New York and Hamburg, are available to them for performance and rehearsal. 

Current Students

The talented students in our Piano Division have hailed from Mexico, Russia, Greece, Brazil, Canada, Peru, Taiwan, China, Jamaica, Korea, Colombia, Sri Lanka, Romania, Japan, Moldova, Singapore, Malaysia and the United States of America. They form a tightly knit team of pianists who crave the excitement of preparing programs with other musicians. Their astounding energy and professional commitment play equal roles in their successful performances. 
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“The seven years I spent studying at the Moores School was among the most inspiring of my music career.  The Moores School provided me a pathway to the real music world, not only for my piano playing, but also in relation to music literature.”    -Yan Shen  (DMA '15, Performance Certificate '17) Concert Pianist, Kawai Artist  Former Piano Faculty member of the  Xinghai  Conservatory of Music, Guangzhou, China