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Master of the Arts in Music Composition, San Jose State University, 2014
Bachelor of the Arts, University of California, Santa Cruz, 2004
Cabrillo College Composition Contest, first place, 2006
Cabrillo College Excellence in Music Award, 2000
Bud Kretschmer Award in Piano Performance, 1999
I grew up in Santa Cruz, California, and began playing piano at age 9 with the help of my older sister who also played piano. During my high school years, I focused on composition, which became my main area of study during college. Through my college training at the University of California in Santa Cruz and San Jose State University I supported myself by giving piano lessons, playing organ and piano for churches, and working as a freelance pianist. Currently, I am happy to be spending my time honing my keyboard abilities, teaching others to love the piano and music in general, and composing new pieces of music.
2011-2012: Teaching Assistant, San Jose State University
2010-present: Piano, percussion, and voice teacher with Musika
2010: Substitute accompanist at Willow Glen United Methodist Church
2008-2009: Accompanist for James Lick High School
2007-present: Organist/Pianist for Santa Teresa Hills Presbyterian Church
2006-7: Accompanist for Scotts Valley Unified School District
2005-2006: Accompanist and Teaching Assistant with Cabrillo Youth Choir
2005: Composer and Percussionist for "Oedipus Rex," Cabrillo Stage; Substitute Accompanist at St. Joseph's Church in Capitola, California
2004: Accompanist with the Santa Cruz Summer Singers
2003: Teaching Assistant for History of Western Art Music, University of California, Santa Cruz
2000-2001: Teaching Assistant and Tutor in music theory, musicianship, piano, and world music studies at Cabrillo College
1998: Began working as a freelance piano teacher and keyboard player
My favorite piano method book for children is the Bastien Piano Basics Series. Alternately, I sometimes use the Faber & Faber Piano Adventures. For very young children (3-6) "My First Piano Adventure," a Faber publication, is my book of choice. For adults, I usually use Alfred's Basic Adult Piano Course, though sometimes I skip method books and play pieces picked by the student. When teaching drums/percussion, my method books of choice are Standard of Excellence and Winning Rhythms.
I teach in a firm, thorough style, and prefer to emphasize the importance of basic body position and movements through both technical exercises and the repertoire of piano pieces. Reading music is another ability I believe is essential and I always teach this skill to students of any age.
Handles kids well. Tone and instructions are very constructive.
Harlan is very intuitive to my kids' learning needs. My kids are enjoying their lessons with Harlan. He is always pleasant and responsive. My older 6 year old son has started playing more complex pieces under his guidance.
Harlan is great with young kids. He understands that developmentally they need more repetition and is very patient. He challenges them appropriately and motivates them while still keeping it fun. Both my kids enjoy their music lessons and took to Harlan just after one lesson.
Harlan is very professional and great with young kids. He is firm with his expectations yet fun and engaging for our little one. Our child has enjoyed her lessons and learned a lot from him in just a short amount of time.
Harlan is very patient and encouraging with my son. My son is really enoying learning the piano and I feel he is learning a lot from Harlan.
Our kids are enjoying their lessons with Mr. Harlan. He really knows how to motivate them and get them excited about piano.
I really Like Harlan. As others said he is excellent with young children and really individualizes their lessons. (I have 3 girls taking lessons with him)
Harlan is excellent with small children. He has amazing patience and is very encouraging when my son is frustrated. He has high expectations but never gives my son more than he can handle so it's been a recipe for success!
He is patient with my son and engages him at different levels and my son enjoys learning from him.
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