Piano and Keyboard Studies

Whether you are a current or prospective piano student, parent or teacher, or a community member interested to learn more about Millikin’s piano program, we welcome you and thank you for taking the time to browse our webpage. We would be delighted to invite you on campus for a visit, piano lesson, or just to be acquainted – we are only one e-mail, letter, or phone call away!

A proud member of the All-Steinway Schools elite group, Millikin University School of Music provides state-of-the-art facilities and instruments, including Steinway & Sons pianos in all teaching studios, as well as an ample number of practice rooms reserved for piano students.

The piano faculty, consisting of international performing artists devoted to pedagogical excellence, offer continued support and guidance to their students while maintaining active careers as performers, adjudicators, and clinicians. In addition, we facilitate opportunities for Millikin piano students to interact with guest artists both on- and off-campus. During the last two academic years, the Keyboard Studies area presented over twenty piano concerts and masterclasses on campus.

We offer competitive scholarships to new piano students based on artistic proficiency, annual cash awards for current piano students, performing opportunities at Millikin’s concert halls and beyond, as well as access to the Millitrax Studios, where students can produce and release professional recordings.

The vision of the Keyboard Studies at Millikin is to guide students toward artistic and pedagogical excellence, through enthusiastic preparation for the reality of the contemporary music world, all within a healthy academic and artistic environment.

Piano Audition Requirements

Piano Performance Major candidates are required to perform all audition repertoire from memory. All other piano candidates are required to perform at least one piece from memory. Pianists interested in the commercial music degree will perform one classical piece and one jazz/commercial selection; they will also be asked to improvise.

  • Technique: All major and harmonic minor scales and arpeggios, four octaves, hands together, from memory. Sight-reading.
  • Repertoire: At least two classical pieces in contrasting styles, selected from the Baroque, Classical, Romantic, and Twentieth Century repertoire.

To schedule a piano audition, please contact Ms. Hannah Krajewski, Audition Coordinator, at hkrajewski@millikin.edu.

More information

For further information about the piano audition process or the piano program, please contact Dr. Silvan Negruţiu at snegrutiu@millikin.edu.

Silvan Negruţiu, D.M.A.
Coordinator of Keyboard Studies

All-Steinway Schools demonstrate a commitment to excellence by providing their students and faculties with the best equipment possible for the study of music. That is why the only pianos owned by the institutions — from the practice room to the recital hall — are designed by Steinway & Sons.

Piano Faculty

Susan Cobb, D.M.A.


Adjunct Associate Professor of Music
University of Oklahoma (D.M.A.)
University of Illinois (M.M.)
University of Illinois (B.M.)
PMC19;  scobb@millikin.edu
Teaching Duties: applied piano, preparatory piano

Dr. Susan Schroeder Cobb teaches applied piano and preparatory piano at Millikin University. Dr. Cobb received her DMA degree from University of Oklahoma and her MM and BM degrees in piano performance from the University of Illinois. An active solo and collaborative recitalist, she recently performed Carnival of the Animals with duo pianist Dr. Chung-Ha Kim and the Millikin Decatur Symphony Chamber Orchestra. She regularly performs duet recitals at the President Calvin Coolidge Museum & Education Center at Plymouth Notch, Vermont. She has performed in Santo Domingo, St. Andrews in New Brunswick, Canada, and in Urbania, Pergola, Urbino, and Piobbico, Italy where she was director of Bella Musica – Millikin in Italy summer immersion for 4 years. In 2010 Dr. Cobb presented a lecture at Northwest Normal University in Lanzou, China. She has been on the faculty of the Summer Sonatina Piano Camp in Bennington, Vermont, the Illinois Summer Youth Music Camp at the University of Illinois, and the Millikin Piano Camp for High School Students.

Bruce Gibbons, D.M.A.

bgibbonsAdjunct Professor of Music
Louisiana State University (D.M.A.)
Colorado State University (M.M.)
Colorado State University (B.M.Ed)
PMC004; bgibbons@millikin.edu
Teaching Duties: Applied piano, applied organ, piano skills for vocal music ed. majors, accompanist for opera workshop and acting classes, accompanist for area and department recitals

Bruce Gibbons is adjunct professor of music at Millikin University in Decatur, Illinois, where he teaches piano and organ and serves as pianist for opera and music theatre classes and productions. He accompanies numerous student, faculty, and guest recitals at Millikin, and has performed throughout the United States with various artists. Dr. Gibbons holds performance degrees from Colorado State University and Louisiana State University, studying with Wendel Diebel and Jack Guerry. In addition to his academic duties he is also organist at First United Methodist Church, and a bassoonist with the Decatur Municipal Band.

Chung-Ha Kim, D.M.A.

chkimAdjunct Associate Professor of Music
University of Cincinnati,
College-Conservatory of Music (D.M.A.)
University of Cincinnati,
College-Conservatory of Music (M.M.)
Manhattan School of Music (B.M.)
PMC18; chkim@millikin.edu
Teaching Duties: Applied Piano, Piano Pedagogy, Preparatory Piano, Coordinator of Class Piano

Born and raised in Germany, Chung-Ha Kim began piano studies at the age of 6. She became a student of Prof. Barbara Szczepanska and continued piano studies with her in the pre-college division of the Robert-Schumann Hochschule in Düsseldorf . After graduating from the Kardinal-von-Galen Gymnasium in Münster-Hiltrup, Chung-Ha Kim moved to the United States and successfully completed a Bachelor of Music in New York and a Master of Music and a doctorate degree in Piano Performance in Cincinnati where she studied with Dr. William Black and Frank Weinstock. She remains active as a solo and a collaborative pianist with recent performances at the University of Louisiana (Lafayette), Steinway Piano Gallery (Springfield, IL), Millikin University (Decatur, IL), University of Chicago, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Harper College (Palatine, IL), Western Illinois University (Macomb, IL) and Radford University (PA). Dr. Kim has released two CDs: Maurice Ravel: Miroirs and A Palace of Strangers Is No City are available on iTunes, Amazon and via her website: http://chunghakim.com. She has published articles in Clavier and Piano Pedagogy Forum, the first online piano pedagogy journal. Her book review of David Schroeder’s Experiencing Mozart: A Listener’s Companion was published in the 2014 February/March-issue of American Music Teacher. Dr. Kim has been a member of Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) since 2004. She served as 1st vice president of the Illinois State Music Teachers Association from 2008-2011 and was named president of the Decatur Area Music Teachers Association (DAMTA) in 2009. Dr. Kim joined the National Federation of Music Clubs in 2012. Her students have won numerous competitions, scholarships and awards. Dr. Kim regularly adjudicates piano festivals and competitions. Her presentations and workshops on topics, such as Lowell Liebermann’s Gargoyles and performance anxiety elicit positive responses and discussions from her audiences. Chung-Ha Kim is a Steinway Artist. She currently resides in Decatur, Illinois with her husband and son.

Silvan Negruţiu, D.M.A.

snegrutiuAssistant Professor of Piano
Coordinator of Keyboard Studies

Shenandoah University (D.M.A. )
Royal Irish Academy of Music / Dublin City University (M.Mus.)
Romanian National University of Music (B.Mus.)
PMC206; snegrutiu@millikin.edu
Teaching Duties: Applied Piano, Chamber Music, Accompanying, Class Piano, Piano Literature

Internationally acclaimed pianist Silvan Negruţiu has performed concerts around the world, from the Kennedy Center in Washington DC to Ireland's National Concert Hall, the Romanian Athenaeum in Bucharest, and the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts. He appeared as soloist with prestigious orchestras including the Romanian Radio Chamber Orchestra, Alicante Philharmonic, George Enescu Philharmonic and Dublin Symphony Orchestra. Some of his concerts have included live television and radio broadcasts. He is a laureate of numerous international competitions, including the “Roma 2000” and Salerno “Beethoven e i classici” in Italy; the “Seiler” in Sofia, Bulgaria; the “Feis Ceoil” in Dublin, Ireland; and the “Konzerteum” in Pireas, Greece.

Mr. Negruţiu obtained his Master Degree Diploma with First Class Honours at the Royal Irish Academy of Music and Dublin City University in Ireland and the graduate diploma at the National University of Music in Bucharest, Romania. In Dublin he studied with pianists John O’Conor and Réamonn Keary, and held the position of piano instructor at the Royal Irish Academy of Music for three years. His principal teachers in Romania were Emilia Baziotis, Magda Stănescu, and Viniciu Moroianu; he has also advanced his studies with Lory Wallfisch, Richard Goode, Klaus Hellwig, and Peter Frankl.

Silvan Negruţiu has been a frequent attendee and performer at international music festivals such as the International Keyboard Institute and Festival, Mannes College of Music in New York, the International Holland Music Sessions in Bergen NH, Holland, and the Aspen Music Festival in Colorado, USA. In September 2008 Silvan was one of the seven international pianists invited to the prestigious Beethoven Course in Positano, Italy, organized by the “Wilhelm Kempff” Cultural Foundation. He is the recipient of the 2009 Gaiety Bursary in Dublin, the Romanian Government Bursary in 2007, the Romanian Ministry of Education and Research Award of Excellence in 2002, and the 2001 Eugen Barbu Award for excellence in performing activity. He is also an active member of the Performing Creation Union of the Romanian Musicians; College Music Society; Music Teachers National Association; and currently serves as Vice President of the Decatur Area Music Teachers Association.

Mr. Negruţiu has completed his Doctor of Musical Arts in Piano Performance degree at Shenandoah University in Virginia, under the guidance of internationally acclaimed pianist and pedagogue John O'Conor. At Shenandoah he was a piano instructor between 2010-13. He currently resides in Decatur, Illinois, where he holds the position of Assistant Professor of Piano and Coordinator of Keyboard Studies at Millikin University School of Music.