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I am a lifelong musician from a musical family. I majored in biology and music in college, graduating with honors, and then earned a PhD. in cognitive science, the study of how people think, learn, read and remember. I use my understanding of how the brain works to customize music lessons for each student's learning needs. I am a friendly, outgoing person and my students often hear me encouraging them to play or sing LOUDER! I live in beautiful Golden, Colorado with my musician son, two dogs, and one cat. I love to swim, hike, play racquetball, ski, grow organic vegetables in my backyard, read, watch movies, and of course play, sing and dance with other musicians. My home music studio is called the Rainbow Room because there is a rainbow on the ceiling, and I am the director of the Golden Learning Institute where all ages can study music, individually or in groups.
Music is one of my greatest passions. I enjoy helping others discover or rediscover their love of music through a sensible approach and truly attempt to craft my teaching style to fit the indiviudal needs of each student. I think music should be a form of both creative expression and enjoyment - never a means to feel frustration or pressure. I completed my degree from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2006 in music performance with an emphasis in jazz studies. I have played in over forty states, and continue to perform regularly with various groups in the Denver Colorado area.
After starting piano performance at age 12 and music composition at age 14, I shortly graduated from Vanderbilt University in 2012 with a Music Composition/Theory degree and have composed nearly 4 hours of Symphonies, Concertos, Soundtracks, Jazz Combos, Woodwind Ensembles, Choral works, World musics, and other forms of Postmodernism. Since Post-Graduation, I've been taking composition lessons with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra composer William Hill, and is composing his Third Symphony.
One of my favorite things to do is share my passion for music with others. I've found music to be the greatest inspiration in my life, and I love being able to introduce it to my students. I've been taking piano lessons ever since I can remember, becoming more and more serious as the years passed. In 2009, I joined a choir and a band through American Music Abroad, which took me on a 3 week tour of Europe. Through the long days of rehearsals, very long plane rides, and many shows, I found my passion for performing. This was the biggest transformation I've had as a musician, and I can't wait to play a part in this process for upcoming musicians!
Throughout my 20+ years as a music instructor, I have found that a friendly, encouraging approach resonates well with students. I individualize each student's instruction to best serve the goal of positive results through creative music- making. I graduated in 1980 with a Piano Performance degree from Fort Lewis College, Durango, Co., with a minor in music education. My performance experience includes playing for weddings, churches, accompanying other musicians, and playing and singing in jazz and Celtic bands.
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Learning to play the piano as a child is fun, rewarding, and vastly beneficial to their overall development. Children can develop their motor-skills, dexterity, and coordination through technical piano playing such as learning scales, chords, and correct fingering. Young students can also develop their concentration, listening skills, and ability to master complex thought processes through theory, repertoire, and student-teacher feedback. Learning to play the piano can also be character building by instilling a hard-working attitude, developing self-discipline and confidence through practice, taking exams, entering competitions or performing recitals.
The teachers in Musika's network design their piano lessons around the needs and abilities of each student. This means that lessons cater to a wide range of ability and experience levels, from those just starting to play the piano for the very first time, to students with already established skills and experience. For new learners, the aim is to get them playing simple songs as quickly as possible. To do so means teaching them the basics, such as scales, hand position, fingering technique, and chords. These are the essential skills for playing simple material. Beyond this, students can learn to develop their musical ear, sight read, read sheet music and chord charts, and general music theory. They will start to learn more complex chords and start applying them to more advanced compositions as they advance in lessons. Some students will already be excellent players, but want to develop particular skills, such as improvisational skills, or to study one specific type of piano playing, such as Blues or Classical piano.
For adults who are looking to learn to play the piano, we recommend that they do so with some clear goals in mind. Maybe you want to learn to play some of your favorite songs, pass an exam, or write your own music. Whatever the aim, the experienced teachers in our network can help unlock the skills necessary to make those goals a reality. It can take time to develop the techniques and co-ordination required to play the piano to a competent level. However, playing the piano is a great stress reliever, keeps you mentally active, and can help with your hearing and fine-motor skills.
Modern day keyboards have a wide range of functions that make them perfect for learning to play the piano. Many keyboards have in-built lessons and songs of varying difficulties to play along to, which can act as a great supplement to lessons. Keyboards also come with a range of different instrument sounds and FX, such as percussive sounds, string sounds, synthesizer-type sounds and brass and horn sections, which can be fun to play with. They also usually have a record function and can be synchronized to a personal computer, which is great for hearing your progress or writing your own music!
One-on-one piano lessons straight from the comfort of your own home is a great way to learn to play the piano. 90% of our students choose to take lessons from home, mostly due to the convenience of not having to make travel arrangements both to and from their lessons. This is great for parents and students with busy schedules. The content of home lessons is exactly the same as studio lessons, however, you will need to have a keyboard or piano at your home. Home lessons provide the best learning environment, as it is a comfortable, familiar surrounding for students to learn in.
Review by Ashley S.
Ali was an amazing voice coach! She taught in a way that made sense to me, and helped me find the voice placements I needed. I didn't know I could sound like that! My development with her was leaps and bounds rather than tiny dreadful steps that happen when you don't know what's going on! Ali was dedicated to helping me work on an audition for a music scholarship and I nailed it all thanks to her, seriously. I can't thank her enough! She helped me with the tools and confidence I needed to sing in the real world alone rather than just back row in a large choir.
Review by Al
Pavel is doing a great job with my 6 year old son. Pavel is doing a great job helping my son focus on technique and rhythm, which is something previous instructors weren't so successful with. Pavel is organized / structured / systematic, which is what my son needs now, but I hope he relaxes a bit as the lessons continue so that more "joy" comes through.
Review by Lea G
Kevin was such a fun, smart and innovative voice teacher to work with. I had the pleasure of taking lessons with him for over a year and I couldn’t have been more pleased with my time under his training. In just a few weeks I noticed my voice was stronger and I was able to apply his teaching and see the results. He explains his techniques in a way that the student is able to actually hear and feel the changes he is referring to. This allows the student to efficiently practice outside of lessons. Even further, he believed in me and truly cared about my progress. He was always energetic and focused in lessons and was continually surprised how far a song could come in just one hour of his time. Under his teaching I developed a stronger belt in my higher range, learned how to color my voice for different sounds and improved my stage presence. I wholeheartedly trust Kevin’s musical insight and was grateful that he challenged me with a wide variety of songs and styles that I hadn’t considered trying before.
Review by Jonathan
Angela is a phenomenal teacher. She is full of charisma and is a joy to work with. Most of my experience with her has been focused on working in the Alexander Technique and she seems very knowledgeable in this study. I would highly recommend her to any prospective student. I have seen myself improve dramatically in a few short weeks with her guidance (and much practice of course!)
Review by Blaine Vaz
“I took drum lessons from Mark for about 7 months. I have been playing for 38 years but always thrive to learn more. He was able to provide me alternative exercises and help me gain a better understanding of my opportunities. I have been able to take my playing to another level. His approach to teaching is perfect for any level of student, beginner or advanced. He is a true professional and an outstanding person. You won't go wrong with Mark!” Blaine Vaz
Review by Susan
My daughter is extremely happy and comfortable with Rachel, and looks forward to her piano lessons every week. She is a very kind and patient teacher, always using positive reenforcement with my daughter, which makes all the difference in the world to children. We definitely are looking forward to continued piano lessons with her. So glad we found her.
Review by Brooklyn
Laura is a fabulous teacher. She explains concepts to me using concrete examples so that I can understand changes that I need to make to my posture, breathing, phrasing, etc. She makes warm-up exercises fun, and she's got a great sense of humor over all. Her teaching style is collaborative, more egalitarian (she respects what I already know and meets me at my level), tailored to my particular interests and strengths, and I always look forward to our lessons!
Review by Shilpa
"Richard is a very talented and a patient teacher. He teaches my 6 year old daughter in the comfort of our home and he is very regular. He follows a learning book and mixes his lessons to bring difficulty and technicality while keeping it interesting for my daughter. My daughter was difficult to work with at the beginning but he was able motivate her in every possible way. As a parent I make an effort to learn with my daughter so that when my daughter practices I am able to guide and correct her and Richard is very generous to take the time to give provide me concepts. I am extremely happy with Richard and his ability to teach children."
Review by Yury
I would like to thank Polina for the series of classical piano lessons I've taken recently. Polina is a fantastic teacher and a high class performer, and I'm really happy I had a chance to meet her! I believe anyone can benefit from the teaching method Polina is practicing regardless of the student proficiency - from beginners to advanced performers. It was a pleasure for me to study classical piano courses under the guidance of such an intelligent & professional teacher! Without doubt, my playing technique has improved a lot and I have signed up for the new classes online already.