Music Technique Skills-Building Program

The Music Technique Skills-Building (MTSB) Program is currently open to all Nelly Berman School of Music piano, cello, clarinet, oboe, and violin students.

This program culminates in the MTSB Scales & Studies Competitions that take place two times a year, during the fall semester and spring semester. The goal of this program is to motivate our students to develop superior music technique which will, in turn, allow them to take on the most sophisticated repertoire in music literature. The program currently consists of six levels for pianists and violinists and five for cellists, clarinetists, and oboists. Each instrumental division was created by our own faculty in collaboration with the director of the Nelly Berman School of Music.

Teachers of participating students assign the suggested studies – or studies that they deem equivalent – for each of the skill levels listed below; students will then audition live. Students need not prepare studies for all required skills at once. They can spread out their submission of studies (and scales for strings students) and audition over multiple semesters. Each student receives a score based on technical skill and musicality for each study (and scales for string students) that they submit.

Participants will gain a clear understanding of what it takes to move up a level and what kind of repertoire, upon completing their level, they will be able to perform successfully.

The cost for participation is $25 per student per instrument. All participants will receive the judges’ scores and comments. Platinum and gold winners will be invited to perform their top-scoring entry in an Honors Recital, to be held in the Recital Room at the school.

Fall 2021 results | Spring 2021 results | Fall 2020 results | Spring 2020 results



* Sheet music is available for the violin studies; please inquire via email:


Donations by check (made out to NBSCMI and mailed to 461 W. Lancaster Avenue, Haverford, PA 19041) or through Paypal (through are appreciated to help support this program, made possible by the NBS Classical Music Institute, our 501(c)(3) nonprofit arm!

We’d like to thank the following teachers who contributed to the creation of this program: Elena Berman (director & piano faculty), Dr. Anna Kislitsyna (piano & harpsichord faculty), Jacques-Pierre Malan (cello faculty), Elliot Mallard (cello faculty), Dr. Igor Resnianski (piano faculty), Irina Schuck (violin faculty), Joe Dvorak (clarinet faculty), Dr. Kate Young (former clarinet faculty), Dr. Meghan Woodward (oboe faculty), Sylvia Ahramjian (violin faculty), and Tanya Ivanova (violin faculty).