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I started learning piano as a child, but it was in high school that I realized I really wanted to pursue playing keyboards, because it allowed me a way to express myself. I later attended Mt. Hood Community College, famous for its jazz program, where I played keyboards and sang in select choirs and vocal jazz groups. After graduating, I directed the college Gospel Ensemble for two years before working full-time at a large local church, where I was Music Director, a worship leader, and keyboardist. In addition to vocal and keyboard work, I directed large and small choirs and ensembles, bands and orchestras, also arranging many styles of music.
I presently enjoy working as an accompanist, music teacher and contracted musician. I also play keyboards and sing backup in a funk/R&B band and in a high-energy 80's-90's-themed dance band.<
In addition to my current work as an accompanist, I've been teaching piano for 20+ years, and I love partnering with students to help them grow musically and realize their dreams. Some of my students have gone on to be professionals or teachers, and some are playing the music they love with their friends. Others are playing in their churches or in bands, and some play simply for personal enjoyment. My lesson focus depends on the student goals, but I will always include elements of theory, as it facilitates a deeper understanding of the music, allowing students the capability of creating their own music and playing in many different styles. I believe lessons should be fun as well as challenging, so I supplement course curriculum with music selections and styles students are most interested in. I also provide a recital opportunity every spring, which has proven to be a powerful motivator and a great family experience. I enjoy teaching students of all ages.
In most of my lessons, I use one of several piano methods, which I supplement with additional materials, chosen according to the student's musical preferences and goals. My preferred courses for beginning students are Alfred, Faber and Bastien. I always include music theory, as it is fundamental to appreciating and understanding the music, and it allows students to learn the basics of improvisation. For students interested also in vocal training, I have experience and an excellent teaching method available.
My desire is to bring your musical goals into focus through education and creative participation. I believe piano instruction should be geared to the student, fun and casual, yet challenging and inspiring. I also believe patience and encouragement are essentials to a great lesson experience. I teach sight-reading, music theory, improvisation and notation, and I'm comfortable in many styles, including classical, pop and rock. You will gain skills for ensemble playing, writing your own music, or simply playing for your personal enjoyment.
Suzanne has been great! I went in as a novice, no experience at all and knowing I couldn't carry a tune in a bucket. In no time Suzanne has helped me increase my range and learn how to tune match so I am more comfortable with trying to sing. She has helped me pick out songs that I like and learning how to sing them. Suzanne makes it fun and easy to learn! I highly recommend her!
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