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I have been playing piano and flute/piccolo for 17 years now and my love for music has only gotten stronger. In the winter of 2009, I graduated from Roosevelt University with a Bachelor of Musical Arts degree in Piano Performance. Also, I am currently working on my Master of Arts degree in Musicology/Music History at the University of Iowa (I still need to complete my thesis). As a musician, I have performed in numerous competitions, recitals, church services, weddings, and even several funerals. I believe that music has strong emotional powers and it has been my pleasure to move people by making music. I enjoy sharing the gift of music with others in performances as well as in lessons.
I have been teaching piano lessons for over a decade. I have held private studios in Seattle, WA, Wheaton, IL, Bloomington, IN, and now in the Torrance, CA area as well as taught group lessons, taught at the YaGe Community Arts School in Kunming, China, and taught at the Joe Ferrante Music Academy in Monrovia. I have extensive experience teaching the full gamut of the classical repertoire, traditional and contemporary jazz, pop, R&B, and rock. I also do transcriptions and arrangements of pieces if my students want to learn a piece for which there is no sheet music. I also teach improvisation, music theory, and composition. Whatever excites my students, challenges them, and helps them be their most musical is what I focus on.
I have been teaching private piano lessons for the last 5 years in the USA and Serbia, and have been consistently teaching students in Rhythm School of Dance and Music, Niles, IL, for the last 2 years. I'm passionate about making sure every student has what they need to become an independent musician, and I strive to get each student to reach their personal goals, whether it is to play for enjoyment or to make piano their career. With my teaching style, students not only learn music theory and musicianship, but they also learn important skills such as self-discipline. I encourage my students to enter competitions and recitals, as well as work on composing their own music.
I like to strike a balance of teaching out of various method books(depending on the student and their level of ability, some are more suitable than others of course and I help guide the way), and learning to play by ear, which can be almost anything the student wants to learn, provided it's not overly complicated for them. Technique has it's place, but is certainly not the whole story. Learning music that is fun, while at the same time learning to get better at your instrument, makes the overall process enjoyable and rewarding. Once you have the right tools, music is something that can be fulfilling for the rest of your life, especially when you learn to do it in a fun and healthy way.
My goal in teaching is to make sure my student reaches their fullest potential. If something that I'm doing isn't working or getting through to the student I will make sure to adapt and find the right way to engage them. Positive encouragement helps a student grow in the healthiest way. My students understand, especially the more experienced ones, understand the importance of putting work into their craft. I am there to give you the tools for success. I will help you refine those tools so you can perform at the highest level possible.
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The content of each lesson is determined by the ability and experience level of each individual student. For students just starting off, the foundations of piano playing will start to be laid. This includes learning to read music and chord charts, learning their way around the piano, and learning simple scales and chords. Students can put these new skills to use through simple, entry level compositions. For intermediate pianists, they will develop some of the finer arts to piano playing, such as modulation, developing speed, and combining a wider array of chords, such as augmented and slash chords. They will also get to work on their sight reading and playing more challenging songs. Advanced students may wish to work on their improvisational skills, develop their repertoire, or study a specific genre or style of playing, such as Jazz, Baroque, or Blues. Regardless, all students will experience the joys of piano playing.
Adults take up piano lessons for a number of different reasons. Some people want to reintroduce themselves to the instrument having once played it in the past, while others are looking for a new hobby or just to learn a new skill for fun! Whatever the reason, there are major benefits to learning the piano during adulthood. Learning piano technique can help retain fine motor skills and co-ordination, it can keep the mind sharp due to the complex thought processes, and has shown to be good for preserving your hearing. Learning to play the piano can also be therapeutic, and is a great stress reliever.
Provided you do not have the space or budget to purchase an acoustic piano, such as an upright or baby grand, then a keyboard is a perfectly acceptable alternative. Keyboards with a weighted hammer action are the best option, as the key touch sensitivity is comparable to that of an acoustic piano. As a rule, more keys are better and at least 61 key pianos are advised. The most popular brands of keyboard are Casio, Roland, and Yamaha and can be purchased from most musical instrument retailers. Keyboards offer great convenience due to their price, portability, and headphones option.
Piano lessons in your home offer a convenient option for learning to play an instrument. 90% of our students take their lessons in their home, and this is a practical and time-saving way to learn the technique of the instrument. Think of all the time you can save by not having to transport your student to a class every week! In-home lessons are structured the same way as in-studio lessons are, and in addition, a younger student may feel more comfortable at an in-home lesson, as they are already familiar with the surroundings.
Musika recommends that children start piano lessons no earlier than age 4 or 5. The attention span and personality of the child are something to consider when thinking of taking lessons. Even if your child has no evident musical inclinations, piano lessons offer a great option for introducing your child to music. During their lessons children generally learn how to read music, the fundamentals of musicianship and sight reading, music theory techniques, and ear training.
Review by Stevengournay
There are only a handful of people I count in my life who were great teachers, and Laura is one of them. Her musicianship is so secure as are her technique and personality that she zeros in on my weaknesses and devises exercises to strengthen them, and during the lesson it is not "Do this, no, do that" which is unnerving to a novice. She understands the most important part of study is relaxation, so that is easy to achieve with such a confident and compassionate human. Music is her life and she is eager to share her talent with everyone. A rare find, indeed!
Review by Lucinda
Melissa is very encouraging, positive, supportive and patient. She knows how to explain the technical details of flute and music notation to kids in a way that makes sense to them. She has been reliable so far turning up on time and calling if there is a need to reschedule. I would definitely recommend her to others.
Review by Andy Snyder
Giorgi has made learning cello even more fun. From the sympathetic, "It is hard" to the precise, "Be careful about the curve of the thumb" he has strengthened learning in every lesson, without being overwhelming. He started playing a little duet on only the 3rd lesson or so, which made me feel, even as a beginner, that I'm already starting to make (occasionally screachy) music. He has suggested a variety of drills and practice techniques which have also sped up the process a lot. And he has a good sense of humor and surprising amount of patience.
Review by Christopher Perrone
Mike has been working with my son Robert for over a year and has just started working with my daughter Kate. Mike is both a great musician and a good teacher. He connects with the kids and keeps them engaged. He is able to tailor the lesson to focus on music that is interesting to each child. He also encourages the students to participate in a public setting which is great. I would highly recommend Mike.
Review by Olivia
Andrew is very encouraging and uplifting, but also isn't afraid to tell you your weaknesses. Andrew also is super awesome with scheduling. Fits around your schedule all the time. He really knows what he is doing and can help you reach your goal in the time you would like to. Couldn't have gotten a better teacher, who continually helps me grow and pushes me.
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 Shelonda
Henry is teaching my daughter how to play piano. Henry is an excellent teacher, we really like and appreciate him. His teaching style works very well for my daughter, she is comfortable which makes learning enjoyable. Henry is very patient and I can see that he is passionate about teaching music. Great teacher for sure.
Review by Jacob Solomon
Ileen is a very attentive instuctor. she is patient and works hard to see her student succeed. if a concept is unclear she expains it in other ways to ensure understanding. I would highly recommend ileen to students of all levels who want to learn guitar and music theory to thoroughly enjoy the instrument and music
Review by James F.
After my first piano lesson, Polina is easily the best teacher I could have hoped for. Extremely charismatic and excited to help YOU learn the piano. She puts a lot of effort into evaluation your learning style and will no doubt help you make tremendous strides! I'm stoked to continue taking lessons!
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