Online Programs

The Nelly Berman School of Music will be offering a number of online music programs, including online music lessons, online group theory classes, online performance classes, and an online “Practice-a-thon” Practice Challenge from March 13, 2020, until MontCo businesses reopen.


According to our teachers who have been teaching online for years, there are many benefits to online lessons, including:

  • Lessons can be recorded and students see their own posture and hands on the screen, which allows them to correct it better.
  • Recording and listening back allows students to hear themselves from an audience perspective – they’ll hear the incorrect phrasings, issues with balance and tone, and will be able to refine their pieces, and give themselves suggestions, as they do to others in performance classes. 

If you are an orchestra, band, or vocal ensemble student who would like to use this time to improve your music skills, our teachers are available to help! Please contact us for availability and pricing at office@nbsmusic.com.


The Nelly Berman School of Music will also be offering online group music theory starting next week! The classes for students 12 years old and up will be taught by piano/theory faculty member Dr. Ariane Alexander, whose theory/composition student recently won the PA MTNA Composition Competition.

  • These classes are interactive – students will be able to talk with each other and with Dr. Alexander in an online classroom format.
  • In music theory – offered Wednesdays at 6PM – students will cover theory topics including: key signatures, major & minor scale structures, intervals, simple, compound and asymmetrical meters, basic modulation, and easy rhythmic and melodic dictation.
  • Classes will be $36 per student and the curriculum is 10 weeks long (total tuition: $360).

If you are interested in learning more about how music is written and learning more about the inspiration and historical context behind the works of famous composers, contact office@nbsmusic.com to sign up for online group theory/music history!


Starting on Saturday, February 21st, we’ll be holding our first online performance class!

  • Join our private Facebook group, upload your child’s video to the group (only viewable to group members) and leave (kind and constructive) comments on others’ videos.
  • Tune into our live “watch parties” at 3:00PM on Saturdays, where all viewers can listen and leave comments in real time!

The Nelly Berman School of Music will also be holding a “Studies Competition: Technique Skills Building Program,” a new bi-annual online studies competition for our piano, violin and cello students, ages 5 and up.

Important dates:

Registration Register online via GoogleForm. The online registration is open from March 23 to April 24

Competition Application DeadlineApril 24, 2020

Video Submission Deadline – May 15, 2020

Piano Judges: Dr. Anna Kislitsyna and Dr. Igor Resnianski

String Judges: Elliot Mallard (for violin) and Irina Schuck (for cello)

Judges will not be able to judge their own students

The Nelly Berman School is excited to present to you a music technique program focusing on studies and etudes. 

Teachers of participating students will assign the suggested studies for each of the skill levels listed below. The students need not record 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 will receive a score based on technical skill and musicality for each study (and scales for string students) that they submit. Students 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 “Studies Competition: Technique Skills Building Program” consists of 6 levels for pianists and 5 for the strings, starting from Beginner up to Artist ( Professional for pianists). It will be conducted online, will be open to all Nelly Berman School of Music piano and string students, and will take place two times a year, during the fall semester and spring semester. It is our desire and goal that this new studies competition will motivate our students to develop superior technique which will, in turn, allow them to play some of the most beautiful and sophisticated repertoire in music literature. This semester, the participation is free, due to the coronavirus.

The top three scores and two honorable mentions will be listed on the NBS website, and the top five audition videos will be streamed on our website. Students who complete the Artist Level will be put on the NBS Wall of Fame and represent NBS at an annual award winners’ Gala Concert.

Guidelines for studies/etudes selection:

Instrument : PIANO

Teachers should assign students studies appropriate to their level. 

LEVEL I – Beginner

Choose 4 studies focusing on the following technical skills listed below. To pass level I and move to level II Advanced Beginner, you must complete a study for all listed skills:

  1. Scale based study emphasizing the right hand 
  2. Scale based study emphasizing the left hand
  3. Arpeggio based study
  4. Mixed technique study, i.e. staccato, skips, playing both hands together, etc.

Suggested studies: Studies from Russian School of Music, Volume 1 part 2, or from 18 studies in the Russian School of Music, Volume 2. 

LEVEL II – Advanced Beginner

Choose 4 studies focusing on the following technique skills. To pass level II and move to level III, you must complete a study for all listed skills:

  1. Scale based study emphasizing the right hand 
  2. Scale based study emphasizing the left hand
  3. Arpeggio based study
  4. Mixed technique study, such as thirds, repetitions, chords, specific patterns etc.

Suggested studies: Czerny-Germer, or other studies of similar difficulty level.

LEVEL III– Intermediate 

Choose 4 studies or etude focusing on the following technique skills. To pass level III  and move to level IV you must complete a study for all listed skills:

  1. Scale based study
  2. Arpeggio based study
  3. Mixed technique: thirds based study/or large chords, turns, repetitions, jumps, etc
  4. Octave based study, or another mixed technique, if the hand is too small for octaves

Suggested studies: Czerny Op. 299, Liszt Op. 1 “ Etudes in 12 exercises,” or other studies of similar difficulty level.

LEVEL IV – Advanced

4 studies from the two suggested composers must be performed to pass level IV and move to level V

  1. Scale based study
  2. Arpeggio based study
  3. Mixed technique: thirds based study/or large chords, turns, repetitions, jumps, etc
  4. Octave based study, or another mixed technique, if the hand is too small for octaves

Suggested studies: Moszkowski (12 virtuosic etudes), Czerny Op. 740 (larger etudes)

LEVEL V – Artist

3 etudes from two or three of the suggested composers must be performed with emotional expressive texture, with the melody interwoven through the technical elements to pass level V and move to level VI

  1. Chopin from Op 10 No 5, 9, 10, 11., Op 25 Nos. 1, 2, 5, 9.
  2. Liszt Transcendental Etudes No. 1
  3. Rachmaninov Études-Tableaux Op. 33 2nd edition: No. 2 in A minor, No. 5 in D minor, No. 8 in G minor

LEVEL VI – Professional

2 etudes from the following composers must be performed to complete the Nelly Berman School of Music “Technique Skills Building Program”:

  1. Chopin Etudes Op. 10 and 25, excluding Etudes listed in Level 5
  2. Liszt Three Concert Etudes, Transcendental Etudes 2-12
  3. Rachmaninov Virtuosic Etudes from Op 33 (excluding Etudes listed in level 5) & Op. 39.
  4. Scriabin Virtuosic Etudes
  5. Prokofiev Three Etudes
  6. Stravinsky Etudes
  7. Ligeti Etudes 
  8. Kapustin Etudes

Instrument: VIOLIN

Teachers should assign students studies appropriate to their level. 

LEVEL I – Beginner

To pass level I and move to level II, you must complete the two listed studies and scales:

Scales D minor, A minor (2 octaves)

Studies #10, #12

LEVEL 2 – Advanced Beginner

To pass level II and move to level III, you must complete the two listed studies and scales:

Scales C minor, F major (2 octaves)

Studies #6, #16

LEVEL 3 – Intermediate

To pass level III and move to level IV, you must complete the two listed studies and scales:

Scales D minor, G major (2 octaves)

Studies in the 3rd position – #15, #17

LEVEL 4 – Advanced

To pass level IV and move to level V, you must complete the two listed studies and scales:

Scales G major (3 octaves), F major (2 octaves)

Study in 1st and 3rd position – #50

Study in 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th position – #56

LEVEL 5 – Artist

To complete the Nelly Berman School of Music “Studies Competition” Technique Skills Building Program.

Scales A major (4 octaves), F major (3 octaves)

Studies #28, #35

Instrument: CELLO

Teachers should assign students studies appropriate to their level.

LEVEL 1 – Beginner 

C Major and D Major in 2 Octaves 

1 per bow and 4 note slurs

Dotzauer Book 1 #1

LEVEL 2 – Advanced Beginner 

G Major and A minor melodic 

1 per bow and 4 note slurs 

Dotzauer Book 1 #3

LEVEL 3 – Intermediate 

D Major and D Minor (harmonic and melodic) 

3 octaves 1 per bow/3 and 4 note slurs 

Dotzauer Book 1 # 5 or # 15

LEVEL 4 – Advanced 

E flat Major and F minor (harmonic and melodic) 

4 octaves 1 per bow/3 and 4 note slurs 

Dotzauer Book 2 #35 or # 38

LEVEL 5 – Artist 

B flat Major and A Minor (harmonic and melodic) 

4 octaves 1 per bow/3 and 4 note slurs 

Popper High School of Cello Playing #1

Guidelines for Competition Registration:

Registration – Register online via GoogleForm, found on our website, nbsmusic.com. The online registration is open from March 23 to April 24. 

Deadline – April 24, after which date NO CHANGES WILL BE MADE.

Guidelines for Competition Video Submission:

Deadline – May 15, after which date NO SUBMISSIONS WILL BE ACCEPTED

All submissions should be emailed to office@nbsmusic.com with the title indicating “[Student Name], Technique Skills Building Studies Competition”. The email body should indicate the level and particular skill the student is competing in. The submission video must be clearly shot, with a full view of the musician’s upper body, instrument, and hands.

Additional Information:

This semester, during our closure due to coronavirus, the competition will be free for all NBS students through our NBSCMI 501(c)(3) nonprofit scholarship program. 

Starting from the fall 2020 semester, the cost for participation will be $25 per student entry. Students will receive the judges’ scores and comments and a certificate of completion for those who complete a level. We will post a list of participating students on our website and the recordings of the top 5 students.

Donations by check (made out to NBSCMI and mailed to 461 W. Lancaster Avenue, Haverford, PA 19041) or through Paypal (through nbsmusic.com/support) are appreciated to help cover the costs of the competition!


  • Weekly “Practice-a-Thon” Practice Challenges
    • All interested students can submit their weekly “Practice-a-thon” practice charts; the top three will be listed every Monday on the website and on Facebook
    • All “Practice-a-Thon” participants are encouraged to participate in the weekly performance classes online!

While lessons move online, the Nelly Berman School of Music will be offering recording audio files of accompaniment parts by our accompanists, Elvira and Yanzhima.

These accompaniment recordings can be used by students to aid their practice at home. In Russia, all strings, winds, brass, and voice teachers had an accompanist present at all lessons; students would rehearse with accompaniment, hear how the piece was written, and hear themselves as a melody in a larger harmonic structure, instead of as a single line.
Though the experience differs from the work that an accompanist does with a student in in-person accompaniment rehearsals, where the student learns how to perform with another person, give and receive cues, and feel the piece as it is meant to be performed live, there are a lot of benefits:

  • Students learn rhythms quicker
  • They figure out where they were out of tune or had a wrong note sooner
  • They are able to learn their pieces at a much faster pace.

You will receive one recording at a slower tempo for learning purposes (with metronome speed provided) and one at performance tempo.

Please see below for pricing:

Recording of accompaniment part:

  • $20 for a piece from Suzuki Volume I and Volume II
  • $30 for a piece from Suzuki Volume III
  • $50 for a piece from Suzuki Volume IV
  • $60 for non-Suzuki & more difficult pieces; based on difficulty

*Discounts are available if students would like to request recordings for multiple pieces; all desired pieces must be requested at the same time for discount to apply. We encourage students to request more than one piece at once. Please inquire at office@nbsmusic.com.