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I have a diverse background in multiple musical styles and instruments. I also have ample experience teaching students of all ages.
Called a "creative soul" by the CBS Evening News, Pierre first began composition shortly after teaching himself to play the piano at the age of 16. Under full scholarship to Kalamazoo College, he attained his bachelors degree in music and chemistry and his senior thesis, an interdisciplinary work on the works of Edgar Allan Poe and the Polish composer Frederic Chopin, received the highest honors the institution conferred. He studied composition under Elizabeth Start and Keith Murphy and participated in master classes by composer C. Curtis-Smith. Following graduation, Mr. Miller also studied piano under Steven Hesla at University of Montana and in master classes he has also worked with such diverse musicians as Alon Goldstein, Karen Walwyn, Kuang-Hau Huang, David Schrader, as well as Gilmore Concert Artists Pierre Laurent-Aimard, Angela Hewitt and Orli Shaham.
I always guide my instructions accordingly to my studets needs to keep the lessons engaging and fun. I try to get to know my students as well as possible so I can pick them the right pieces to play. For beginning students I typically use Nancy and Randall Faber's PreTime Piano, however I also put my personal touch in every students program depending on their skill level, age and interests. I always pick pieces that I am sure my students will enjoy learning but also have them gain a new important skill. I also supply visual help such as stickers and drawings to ensure understading of a subject.
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.
As a kid, I grew up listening to all types of music, from soul, jazz, hip-hop, R&B, contemporary, and rock. My mom introduced me to my first piano at the age of 6 and I was hooked. Music became a part of my soul. I had great teachers that continued to help me develop my skills and challenge me. I started in classical, and soon found myself getting into jazz and contemporary; I was growing as a musician. Music was becoming a passion. While my friends were saving for a car, I was saving for a Yamaha Motif XF8. I would spend hours in my basement producing and creating music. I believe music can take you to places with no barriers and restrictions. As the philosopher Nietzsche so appropriately stated, "Without music, life would be a mistake."
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In many ways adult learners have an advantage over young students. Adults have better self-discipline with regards to practice, are more patient, and have higher levels of concentration. This allows them to develop the basic skills at a reasonably quick rate. Learning the piano is also a great way of remaining mentally active during adulthood, and helps students to improve their hand-eye co-ordination and develop a critical ear. Learning to play the piano in adulthood can be beneficial health-wise, is a great way of harnessing creativity and stimulating the brain and it can be immensely satisfying when achieving set goals.
Our recommended starting age for piano is 4 or 5, when students are capable of playing the keys properly and have sufficient strength in the fingers and hands. Young students also should have begun learning to count and to read. No matter what your age may be, the piano is an excellent introduction to the fundamentals of music, including music theory and basic composition techniques.
Most students start out by learning to play on a keyboard or digital piano. The most reputable keyboards brands are Yamaha, Roland and Casio, and can be purchased from most good music instrument retailers. Students should look to buy a keyboard with 88 weighted keys, as this will most resemble the playability of a real piano. At a minimum, 61 keys will suffice for most songs and practice. Keyboards are portable and can be played with headphones, making them highly convenient for practice. That said, if it is within your means to buy an acoustic piano, it will provide the best learning experience.
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.
Teachers in the Musika network do not adhere to one specific method for all their students. Most teachers will customize their lesson plans to the individual needs and skill level of the student. If you are looking for any specific teaching styles or methods to be used in your lessons, please let us know during the matching process and we can try to assign you to the teacher who will best suit your needs. Generally lessons will cover topics such as learning to read music, practice skills, music theory and musicianship, ear training, and rhythm skills.
Review by Richardpoplawski
I feel she is a very professional teacher and I have already recommended your company and her to my friends who have children that play musical instruments. My 8 year old son has never been so enthusiastic to play his violin. His skills have improved almost exponentially since we have began lessons with Lauren. Your company has exceeded my expectations and I am very happy to have found it online.
Review by Anita
Our daughter has only been playing the piano since March. Tony replaced our other teacher who had a job transfer and could no longer teach. Tony is fun and encouraging. My daughter is playing Taylor Swift and Christmas songs and is playing the piano more than ever before. Very happy so far with Mr Tony
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.
Review by Ericcharlton
Rahsaan is an extremely talented player who relates really well with my teenagers. He has them both interested in learning. Given Rahsaan's expertise, it's clear that even though they are beginners now, they can learn from him for a long time to come. He's a real nice laid-back guy and both the boys really enjoy their time with him. I've been very impressed and pleased with the experience.
Review by Thomas Pickens
"I've been taking lessons with Richard for just a little over six months now and all I can say is that he is an amazing instructor. He hasn't followed a set one size fits all script in his lessons but has instead worked with my musical interests and at my pace in a way that is truly valuable. He has also kept things fun, interesting, and engaging even at times when I've felt overwhelmed and discouraged. This is an instructor that is truly adaptable to his students and will make sure that they get the most out of their lessons. I would definitely recommend him to anybody that truly wants to unlock their musical potential."
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 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 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.
Review by Marcia Hecht
Karleen has really turned it around for me. My previous teacher (not from Musika) had me feeling anxious, upset, and incapable...NOT the desired result! Karleen's method is clear, appropriate for my beginning level, and (best of all) actually lets me achieve some progress! I'm actually looking forward to my lessons now!
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