Boring Music Theory Lessons

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Benjamin Z.

Portland, OR

Lessons can focus on music theory for personal tutoring at the collegiate level, composition/song-writing, or to further your existing musical knowledge.

About Benjamin

Benjamin Z. began his musical journey when he was 9 with classical piano lessons in Chicago. He earned a Bachelor of Music degree (Piano; Jazz Emphasis) at Portland State University in 2011. Benjamin has studied and performed straight ahead Jazz, Western Classical, Soul, Rhythm and Blues, Funk, Experimental and electronic genres. He has composed and arranged for many types of ensembles including jazz vocal groups, jazz chamber groups (trios, quartets, etc), vocal ensembles and Big-bands.

Benjamin has experience working with students ranging from preschool to senior citizens in all skill lev
els. He has worked with adult group-piano classes at the collegiate level, coaching elementary students in after school music programs, group children'™s classes, and individual instruction. Benjamin welcomes students of all ages, styles, and skill levels.

*** Lesson Details ***
"As a teacher I offer a great deal of knowledge in many styles of music as well as a genuine motivation to impart the love I have for music performance. My journey through music has blessed me with experience in western classical, jazz, blues, and popular styles; all of which allows me to instruct students in whatever their musical goals may be. The lessons are always rooted in observing excellent pianistic technique and fundamental musicianship (ear training, reading music notation, etc). Finally, my students know me to be a patient instructor that consistently works to teach the material in a way that is accessible and relevant to the student's goals."

*** Travel Equipment ***

The student should have a notebook to record our lessons in, a piano/keyboard to play and receive instruction on, and what ever music material I have assigned (course work, lesson book, etc). The keyboard should be 88-key and weighted. If the student is very young then it is not critical that the keyboard have weighted keys but it is still preferable.

*** Specialties ***

Voice and Piano

Instrumental and Vocal technique.

Jazz Repertoire: Standards, Comping, Improvisational studies

Western Classical Music. I have studied many classical styles: baroque, classical, romantic, and modern classical music.

Music Theory: Conservatory, Popular, and Jazz Styles.

Ethnic Musics: Several native musics from the far and middle east (Maqqam, Indian Hindustani, Japanese folk musics)
...

Reviews

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Eliana K. June 16, 2015
Singing · In studio
Verified Student
Gentle yet firm and directive in his ability and approach to teach the young.
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Eliana K. June 16, 2015
Singing · In studio
Verified Student
Gentle yet firm and directive in his ability and approach to teach the young.
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Samuel K. May 1, 2015
Singing · In studio
Verified Student
Getting up and singing in front of someone for the first time is intimidating. For some reason, we think of singing as something we should already know how to do. Every singing instructor's first challenge is to get their new pupil to sing. Benjamin passed that with flying colors. He cracked jokes, and sang silly songs to me before ever asking me to sing. Eventually, I gave it a shot.

That first lesson took place about two months ago, and since then my singing has gone from off-key and unbearable to pretty ok. Today I received my first impromptu complement on my singing. It was a big deal. Anyone who has ever experienced real stage fright knows that this is a big deal. And if I hadn't started learning from Benjamin, it wouldn't have happened. I do not think anyone else could have actually gotten me to sing. And if anyone else had, I'm not sure they'd have known what to do with me. Run screaming, maybe. Benjamin didn't do that, however. He gave me vocal exercises, and tips not only for practicing, but for practicing in a way that would not harm my vocal chords. He assed my vocal range, gave me warmup exercises, and a few bits of repertoire to start working on. It's working wonders. The difference between my singing a month ago and my singing today is palpable (I checked my recordings, so I can prove it!).

If you're a little nervous about starting singing, this man is your man. He'll set you at ease, and in no time you'll be able to sing.
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Benjamin Z.

Benjamin Z.

Portland, OR 97215
(6)
starting at
$35 / 30-min
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Susan L.

Portland, OR

I have been teaching music theory for about 20 years. This can be a gateway to arranging, composition and improv plus improving sight-reading skills. I use the many excellent materials from the Associated Board of the Royal School of Music. Students can earn certificates of completion from grade 1 to grade 8. Several practice tests are available to ensure success if a student chooses to participate in the music theory exams.

I customize my teaching to the goals of my students. I can be fun and laid back or very strict and rigorous. I use various methods designed for the goals of my students. I provide performance opportunities through out the year so they can share the joy of music and accomplishment with their friends and family.

About Susan

Hi, my name is Sue L. I perform professionally with Cascade Chamber Orchestra (classical) and Mango Nights (World Music and Jazz). I've been teaching all strings and piano for about 20 years. In the first few lessons students learn how to get get big, beautiful tone by learning various bowing techniques that are easy to learn with a little daily practice.

Then I teach how to read music and play songs in a variety of styles: Gypsy, classical, bluegrass, contemporary classical, rock and more. The album I use for this is a beginning book called VIP Strings composed by my mentor Dr. Lyons. T
he book comes with a play along piano accompaniment CD that makes practicing fun! Along with this I teach music fundamentals like scales, music theory and ear training.

For more serious students, I use materials from the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music and prepare them for one to two exams a year. The exams test playing abilities on 3 songs plus scales, arpeggios, ear training and music theory. Students that pass get a beautiful certificate for each level, grades 1 to 8.

I earned my music degree from Portland State University in 2006, graduating with honors. In 1996 I won two Medals of Distinction for violin performance and music theory and then in 2001 I received a Merit Award from the Associated Board of the Royal School of Music, London, England for viola performance. I've been blessed to be able to perform in a variety of ensembles and genres such as musical theater pit orchestras, string quartets, the Vancouver Symphony, and rock, jazz, tango, Middle Eastern and blue grass/folk bands.

My biggest thrill is to be able to transmit culture to the younger generation through music.

*** Lesson Details ***
I offer the following for my violin, viola, cello, bass and piano students. Most of all, it is the joy of music making that I want to share with my students.

Private and group lessons
Two recitals a year
Special performance opportunities throughout the year
Classical, jazz, fiddle, rock, tango, sacred, Celtic, folk
Music theory
Customized lesson plans using various methods old and new

I endeavor to provide a fun, non intimidating environment for students while motivating them to achieve their highest potential by providing many performance opportunities throughout the year. Some of my students have appeared as special guests with my band, Mango Nights.

Included with weekly private lessons are once a month group lessons where students can learn essential ensemble skills and have fun meeting other students.

Beginning students learn several simple songs that teach great tone and rhythm using classical, folk, blues, rock, ragtime, bluegrass. Students learn concepts such as syncopation, rhythm, note reading, articulations, dynamics, asymmetrical time meters and and more. Each book comes with a CD with piano accompaniment which makes practicing at home enjoyable.

Students are gradually introduced to scales, arpeggios, music theory, ear training and sight reading. All this works together to produce "the complete musician". The complete musician is a person who has excellent rhythm, pitch, note reading skills and creativity, a person who can enjoy and appreciate music in it's various forms over a lifetime whether it be for personal enjoyment or as a career.

For more serious students who have the goal of auditioning for university scholarships, top youth orchestras or becoming a professional musician, an accelerated intensive course is available in partnership with the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music. In this program, the student is prepared for a once a year rigorous exam requiring the playing of select pieces, scales and arpeggios, sight reading and ear training. The candidate performs for the visiting Associated Board Examiner from London England and is graded on a point system. Upon passing the student receives a beautiful certificate and additional awards for high scores. Once a year at a separate time, a written exam for music theory is taken. The exams are graded 1 to 8 and can be classical or jazz depending on the candidate's choice.

*** Studio Equipment ***
electric piano, separate room for lessons, off street parking,
Convenient close in location

*** Travel Equipment ***
Small amp, Mac laptop and metronome.

*** Specialties ***
I teach many styles and genres such as Classical, Folk, Bluegrass, Celtic, Rock, Jazz, Tango and Middle Eastern.

Ensemble playing with other students.

Professional opportunities playing for weddings and other events.
...

Reviews

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AprilS June 25, 2012
Susan is a great instructor! She's very helpful and positive. And she lets you move at a pace relative to your abilities. I enjoyed my lessons with her very much!!
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GloriaB1 April 17, 2012
Very Encoluraging

Susan is so encouraging & gets excited because I'm excited to learn to play the piano. She's very patient with me...which is a huge plus! She also has a way of breaking the music language down so that I can relate to it. It's sort of like word association. That works!
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NickK April 10, 2012
helpful and flexible

Susan is a wonderful instructor. She was flexible with my crazy schedule. She gave me enough work to not get boerd between lessons but not to much work. I always look forward to my lessons.
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Susan L.

Susan L.

Portland, OR 97230
(4)
starting at
$37.50 / 30-min
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Michael R.

Oregon City, OR

About Michael

Michael is a freelance musician based in the Portland metropolitan area. His diverse skill set allows him to perform in a variety of musical groups. Michael is hired regularly to perform for: jazz and cover bands, weddings, corporate events, musicals, and studio sessions. He also leads and writes music for his own band that performs regularly in the Portland metropolitan area. He attended Mount Hood Community College and Portland State University. Michael graduated with a B.S. in biology and minored in jazz studies.
Many describe Michael as genuine and passionate. He has a youthful, energetic
teaching style that works well with most students. Michael’s creativity and patience have allowed him to be successful with teaching students with learning disabilities. He has no problem using “outside of the box” techniques to help explain a tough concept.
Michael’s practice philosophy is simple. Make practice enjoyable and efficient. He has experienced the common pitfall of practicing scales for many hours only to retain little or nothing. Michael shows his students techniques to focus, and get more done with less wasted time. He caters his lessons to maximize every student’s potential. Lessons are customized to meet the student’s goals and learning style. Michael ensures that every student will have the technique, theory, and musical knowledge to be a complete musician that is comfortable in any musical genre or setting.
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Reviews

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Jack D. October 6, 2014
Saxophone · In home
Verified Student
"Now that I'm studying with Mike, the efficiency of my practice time is way, way up."

Mike is the first coach who emphasizes "practice the hard parts". So much so that any time a note comes out either not in rhythm, not in pitch, or not a great sound, I have the confidence to stop and repeat the hard part until it's no longer hard. Even when learning to improvise, if the notes I pick on the sax don't match the ones I first heard in my head, I have the confidence to stop and really find those notes that my mind imagined. Eventually I'll be able to hit the ones I intend the first time. He also advocates to always know the purpose of any practicing you're doing---there's no more aimless noodling. Even when I'm jamming, there's a specific goal in mind.

The second thing I really get from Mike is that he expects me to know what notes I'm playing and what role they fill in the key. Formerly my method of improvising was to hunt and peck, occasionally hitting notes outside the key and finding a way to "work them back in". But now, if I'm riffing on the note F in the key of B-flat, Mike wants me to know that that's the 5 of the key. And to also know where the 3 and 7 are---like a home base where you know it's safe to play.
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Aaron S. May 28, 2014
Saxophone · In home
Verified Student
We are so lucky to have found Michael! Before we started with him in February, my son played Ode to Joy, now he's practicing jazz and having fun while practicing. Michael has awesome enthusiasm, and a great foundation in both performance and theory. He shows care for the student and is always supportive. I completely recommend him for any skill level!
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Michael R.

Michael R.

Oregon City, OR 97045
(2)
starting at
$27 / 30-min
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Suzan G.

Portland, OR

Notation, chord theory, keys and modulations, applications for improvisation and composition.

About Suzan

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 was hooked. Later on I attended Mt. Hood Community College, played keyboards and sang in choirs and vocal jazz. After graduating on the President's List with an Associates Degree in Special Studies Music, I directed the college Gospel Ensemble for two years before working full-time at a large local church, where I was a Music Director, Worship Leader, and keyboard player. In addition to vocal and keyboard work, I enjoyed di
recting large and small choirs and ensembles, band directing, orchestra conducting, and arranging many styles of music. It is exciting to experience what can happen when people work together musically--the whole becomes even greater than the sum of the parts!

I've been teaching piano for 20+ years now, 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.

If we get the opportunity to work together, you (or your child) will discover that I am patient and encouraging. My desire is to bring your musical goals into focus through education and creative participation.

What is your dream? Playing classical, rock, playing in a band, writing your own music? I'd love to help you realize that dream!

*** Lesson Details ***
I believe piano instruction should be fun and casual, yet challenging and inspiring. In our lessons, you'll learn proper technique, sight-reading, improvising, and the music theory behind it. I utilize popular piano methods and contribute additional resources, and I design lessons to help you reach your music goals, whether your dream is to play with others, write your own music, or play your favorites for personal enjoyment. You'll explore many music genres, from classical to rock to jazz, including a large dose of your preferred styles. If you play an electronic keyboard, we'll incorporate features of your instrument to increase your rhythm and song-writing skills. Aspiring songwriters can learn skills like chart writing and computer notation. You'll learn how technology--even your smart phone--can help!

The student is responsible to purchase required books--usually lesson and theory, and occasionally a recital book. These usually cost between 5 and 7 dollars each and can be purchased locally. Bring lined paper with you for your lesson notes. I'll supply staff paper, music and any additional lesson materials, as needed. I will encourage you to purchase a metronome (the musician's friend) if you do not have an instrument with rhythms or metronome.

*** Studio Equipment ***
I teach both at students' homes (on your instrument) or at my home, where I have a Yamaha CP70 electric grand piano. The lessons are in the front living room, where seating is available and parents are welcome to observe the lesson. I have a laptop with Sibelius Notation and YouTube at the ready, as well as a mic, mixer and speakers, should they be needed. There may even be a studio cat nearby to inspire you!

*** Travel Equipment ***
If lessons are at your home, it is important that you have a practice instrument, which we will use in our lessons. If you need to purchase a piano or are exploring the world of electronic keyboards, I can help you with the many choices available and recommend instruments in your price range. I can also help you become familiar with your keyboard and those features that will be useful to you.

*** Specialties ***
For individual lessons, I prefer using the Alfred Method (beginning through intermediate), and have also used the Bastien method, and some others. I teach both sight-reading and/or improvisational skills, along with musical theory, according to the student's needs and goals. I'm comfortable in multiple styles (classical, pop, rock, folk, some jazz and blues).
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Reviews

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Renee M. March 12, 2014
Piano
Verified Student
what an experienced teacher and wonderful person!

Suzan is such an experienced teacher and she has a passion for music and you feel that. She is kind and such a lovely person. My daughter loves her piano lessons with suzan. She puts together nice recitals for the students and gives all them such an individual attention you feel like the only student. She is also an inspiration to my daughter as an accomplished musician and as a human being. We love suzan! We feel like shes part of the family! ♡♥♡♥
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Zhanna B. January 17, 2014
Piano
Verified Student
The best teacher!

Suzan the best teacher ever! My 9 years old girl say after each lesson. What i can add more?
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Michele A. December 9, 2013
Piano
Verified Student
A1 Teacher

Suzan is an excellent teacher with vast experience. She is always positive and willing to go at a pace that is comfortable for me, while encouraging me to stretch! Thank you so much, Suzan!
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Suzan G.

Suzan G.

Portland, OR 97236
(9)
starting at
$30 / 30-min
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Elisa B.

Oregon City, OR

Music theory section added in the end of the lesson. Using theory work books. Note names, note values, music terms etc. to increase ability to read and perform music and to gain deeper understanding about music in written form.

About Elisa

Violin Teacher's Certificate - Sibelius Academy, Finland
Suzuki Teacher Training - Marylhurst University, OR

Classical and Suzuki options - starting Suzuki students as early as 3 yrs old. Teaching Suzuki Books 1-11.
Beginners, intermediate and advanced levels
I am using classical method books including Kayser, Wohlfart, Kreutzer, Mazas, Dont and Paganini Caprices with students looking for more rigorous studies and more advanced skills.
Keeping music and technique in balance - Learn how to enjoy performing - Find your own highest potential - Fall in love with music

*** Lesson Detail
s ***
I am friendly and like to inspire my students to find their own best potential. Suitable challenges are fun and needed to keep the personal progress going on. "No suffering in my studio!" means that the process of learning needs to be enjoyable but at the same time I am asking the students to give their best effort. Setting frequent goals in form of group classes and recitals keeps us in full sail and teach us to enjoy the act of playing both alone and in front of friendly audience.
I teach both classical and Suzuki methods. I like to keep my students musically well fed and encourage exploring music reading and music theory next to practical skills. I stir my students toward high standard personal level in their studies, an ingredient from Finnish cultural climate.

*** Specialties ***
Suzuki method and classical method, fiddling, beginning jazz, improvising
...

Reviews

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Lisa M. June 14, 2015
Violin · In studio
I think Elisa is amazing. My daughter learned excellent technique and was given many opportunities to perform solo as well as in an ensemble. Elisa has a great love of music and a natural gift for teaching and it shows in her individualized approach to her students. She is an excellent musician and teacher with infinite patience and respect for her students.
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L D. June 11, 2015
Violin · In studio
Elisa was very patient and understanding for our beginning violin player!
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D C. June 11, 2015
Violin · In studio
I retired 2 years ago and decided to renew my interest in the violin. I selected Elisa B. to be my instructor and I am still enjoying taking lessons from Elisa. She is an exceptional violinist and teacher. She is patient and encouraging. No matter what your age, I highly recommend Elisa. She is a wonderful person and gifted musician.
D.
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Elisa B.

Elisa B.

Oregon City, OR 97045
(4)
starting at
$27.50 / 30-min

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4 Painless Steps to Help You Learn Music Theory

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4 Painless Steps to Help You Learn Music Theory
Sure, music theory is complex -- but there's no need to fear it! Here, Jamaica Plain, MA teacher Noaa R. shares four steps to get you started...   Many students tend to avoid studying music theory and harmony. This can stem from a fear of compromising one’s creativity with rules and numbers, a failure to connect concepts with application, or from feeling overwhelmed by the perceived volume of material to be learned. However, when you approach theory as an exploratory process that help
6 Fun and Unique Ways to Learn Music Theory
Staring at the Circle of Fifths and memorizing key signatures isn't the only way to learn music theory! Here, Brooklyn, NY teacher Liz T. shares some creative ideas to revive your learning...   Music theory is a very important part of your musicianship, whether it be mastering ear training, harmony, or sight reading. No matter what instrument you play or what styles you enjoy, those who learn music theory grow further as musicians. A solid knowledge can help you improve your perform
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Why Learning Piano Theory is Important for All Musicians
Struggling to understand music theory? Try heading over to the piano -- seeing a visual representation can help a ton! Here, Lowell, IN teacher Blake C. shares how to get started...   Many musicians avoid learning music theory altogether because it can feel much like learning a foreign language; as a result, many musicians enlist in the anti-music theory organization. I will admit it – I was a member of the anti-music theory organization in my early years, declaring that music theory
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