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I was a former jingle composer in NYC within a big advertising agency, creating tunes for Purina Cat Chow, Cookie Crisp and other brands. I went back to grad school later in life to pursue a teaching degree. Recently, I was a Middle and High School Chorus Teacher in Westchester.
My musical background began during my childhood South Africa with a very European-style approach to learning classical piano. Later, after emigrating to the U.S., I majored in music with a concentration on performance and music history. I have always been intrigued by the complicated development of classical music in Europe with a special interest in the music of Beethoven. Later, I returned to college in order to become certified in music education - in great part because I believe in bringing music to classrooms where students might otherwise not have any direct connection with music.
I have performed professionally in opera, operetta, and oratorio across the United States and Europe. I have studied vocal performance at University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music, the Mozarteum and Universitaet Salzburg in Salzburg, Austria, and the University of Maine-Orono. I have a BA in German Language & Literature from UMKC and also teach foreign languages privately. I performed at the Lyric Opera of Kansas City for 11 consecutive seasons and was co-founder, President, and Artistic Director of Kansas City Metro Opera. I have played trombone in swing bands, marching bands, pit bands, orchestras, and pit orchestras for over 25 years. I have also conducted and directed many productions in opera and musical theatre as well as directed both small and large choral ensembles.
The way I learned is the way I teach. I was taught the same way multiple ways and because of this I can give students different avenues to learn the same thing. So if they don't understand it in A, or B, I still have C, and D as a back up. I try to include the student to help navigate their own lesson plan and figure out what they want to focus on. Too many times a student is learning things they don't fully understand or even want to understand. having an open line of understanding and communication is something I value and hold dear to my teachings.
I am a multi-instrumentalist teacher who loves bringing my experience on the bandstand and in the studio to students. I graduated SUNY Purchase specializing in jazz performance, have been on tour throughout the east coast and Midwest with 'The Element', and performed extensively in the Westchester and NYC area playing with 'Mokaad'. I have been fortunate enough to share the bandstand with greats such as Bernard Purdie, Charlie Lagond, and Gabriel Garzon-Montano. I have played professionally as a keyboard player and guitarist, and played bass and drums in a variety of studio situations.
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Due to the attention span of very young children, we advise that students begin their piano lessons no younger than age 4 or 5. Piano lessons are a great way to introduce an instrument for the first time to a younger child. Learning piano will teach them basic musical skills such as rhythm and harmony, as well as how to read sheet music and chords.
Music lessons in your home offer a convenient option to learn music! Most of our students request in-home lessons for this reason. As long as you have a piano or keyboard in your home, then you should be all set to start your lessons! Children who have never played an instrument before may feel more comfortable studying in their own home, as it may be less intimidating than going somewhere else. In-home lessons also decrease the time and gas money spent traveling to a different location.
The best instrument to get would be an upright or baby grand piano. However, if your finances are limited we suggest looking into a digital keyboard. Go with the best quality keyboard that you can afford. We suggest a keyboard with weighted keys so that there is more resistance on the keys than a toy piano. Most digital keyboards start at 61 keys, and go up to full size at 88 keys. You have to consider which keyboard would fit best in your home and your budget. A beginning student should get the keyboard before or immediately after beginning lessons, so that they may begin practicing as soon as the lessons commence.
We have many adult students taking lessons. Whether you studied music as a child, or are wanting to learn a new skill, music lessons are a great avenue to go with! Not only do they keep you young and energized, but the teachers in our network are also able to teach in a way that makes sense for you.
Students at different levels of their piano playing will require different aspects of piano playing to be covered during their lessons. Beginners typically start out learning the basics, intermediate players will be applying the foundations to more complex compositions, and advanced players will want to hone a few specific skills or styles. The basic things that beginner students will work on tend to be learning the notes of the piano, posture and playing technique, scales, and chords. At this level, students will learn simple scales and chords, such as major and minor chords, and start to put some of the basic techniques into practice via simple songs. Intermediate players will work on more exotic chords and playing such as diminished chords, 7th chords, and applying these things to more challenging compositions. Advanced players can improve sight reading, improvisational abilities, or work on genre specific techniques, such as Jazz or Blues. Throughout, students can develop their musical ear, reading, and theory.
Review by Maurice Romero
This is the 1st time I've ever taken lessons, and Robert has been a pleasure to work with. I've made quick progress and have enjoyed the process. I'm always listening for those tips that you can't find in a book. I can count on Robert to be strict on the fundamentals and am clear it will make a difference in the long run.
Review by John
When I started with Darrell, I didn't know anything bout music. Nothing. We started with basic music theory & moved into scales and reading. It hasn't been very long at all, but my confidence is growing quickly. He does ask a lot from you and he expects you to keep up. But I can honestly say that if you are willing to work hard and spend the time at home doing what he asks, you will see the results. He wants you to succeed and takes pride in watching you grow. If you want it as bad as he does, you will see the result very quickly.
Review by Steven G.
Laura is the kind of teacher you wish you had in all your studies: gracious, easy-going, light-hearted, yet behind the easy going exterior is an excellent musical mind with everything at her fingertips. I've had about 5 teachers in my life who count as really influential people, and Laura easily fits that category. She lets you be yourself so that you are fully present rather than old-school doctrinaire style, what I call "stiff as a German, sig-heil" teachers. She's the polar opposite. Brava, Laura! Thank you so much!
Review by Jennifer
Dave is a fantastic teacher. He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to students that I think is invaluable. At the same time, this does not limit him from working with beginning students. He is very communicative with the parents as far as schedule changes. We are so grateful to have found him!!
Review by Scott
David is not only a great musician and educator but also a delightful human. We began using David six years ago as a piano teacher for my two boys. Since then my eldest moved on to acoustic and electric guitar and my youngest electric and stand up bass. Somewhere along the way I began to take guitar lessons also (I was David's most bearded student at age 48). David always came prepared to lead but also to follow, he often asked what we were listening to and taught us how to play it. His ability to listen to a piece of music and transcribe it always left me amazed, we have several notebooks full of songs we learned individually or played as a group. After a shoulder injury David continued to impress by teaching me music theory instead of our usual lesson. I could go on forever, David made a positive impact on my family and feel fortunate to have met him.
Review by Angie Ignazzitto
Stephanie is an excellent voice teacher! Our 10-year-old daughter enjoys her lessons with Stephanie each week. She has an amazing way of connecting with our daughter through music. Stephanie knows how to offer constructive feedback in a positive way that keeps our daughter interested and wanting to learn more. I would recommend Stephanie without hesitation.
Review by Valerie Moore
Kevin is very friendly and professional trombone teacher. During the first session he assessed my 12 year old son's strengths and identified areas for development. He has helped him refine his technique which helps our son in band class but also has him working on duets that help him grow in new ways. He comes to our home and is always very punctual. I would highly recommend Kevin!
Review by La from Issaquah
thank you musika and ed. I never thought of looking for an in-home lesson until I found musika. I have absolutely no hesitation that Ed is beyond capable. He's even offered to meet us at a music store to purchase the correct fitting instrument. how fabulous is that! We've also decided to extend the lesson time from 30 to 45 minutes. All this and just one lesson under our belt. He quickly understood where my daughter is at in level and her style of music. I'm thrilled as can be.
Review by Elsahatzipavlou
Erin has been a wonderful voice/piano teacher for our 7 year old daughter. She is talented, patient, and has a wonderful demeanor. She has been consistent with her teaching in piano and voice. She keeps record of where the students leave off so that they know what to expect the following week. I would definitely recommend Erin to anyone looking for a skilled piano/voice teacher.
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