Strong instrumental playing begins with a solid understanding of the fundamentals of music and the simple act of making a sound from the instrument. Students learn to play music by ear first, and are later introduced to music notation. More advanced lessons emphasize sight-reading, expression, and improvisation.
Thomas has studied piano for 15 years, and continues to play regularly. His education has included courses specifically on musical instruction methodologies, and he has been trained as a pianist at the collegiate level.
Piano, woodwinds, trumpet, composition Chords, sight-reading, theory, jazz, classical, and pop
No one ever regrets learning an instrument… yet many grow old wishing they had taken music lessons! A talent they’ll be able to develop their entire life, your children will thank you for giving them the chance to learn music. And bonus points for you: after just a couple years, you’ll have free entertainment every Christmas!
Or maybe YOU’RE the one that wishes to learn! It is never too late to begin learning an instrument. Everybody has the ability, and if you’re determined and interested, there’s nothing stopping us from achieving this very special goal. (Interested in learning to compose? Scroll to the bottom to learn more.)
Everybody learns differently, and everybody likes different things. Whether it’s improvising or singing alon
gside a song you love or reading through a classical concerto, I’ll help prepare you or your child to tackle a wide variety of styles, without missing out on any of the basics that turn good players into phenomenal musicians. We all know it’s not about being the best. It’s about having fun, and playing music well is definitely fun. Music lessons include:
1. Building a really strong foundation so it's easy to interpret or understand any part, and to play it with the right amount of practice.
2. Learning to sight-read music, so you can play it well as soon as possible.
3. Learning how to improvise (make-up) music, learn music by ear, and to understand and create chords, which lets you play music in different ways.
4. Play different styles from classical to jazz to popular music.
5. Learning how to practice efficiently so you can learn music as fast as possible.
6. Composing our own original music.
Practice makes perfect! Learning an instrument helps build self-confidence and discipline. If your child’s bored, distracted, or just needs a constructive hobby, music is a great place to get them interested in something that will help them feel better about themselves, and the effects will be felt across everything else they do, through better studying habits to a more patient, diligent work ethic.
It’s also relaxing! Stressed about work? Need an escape? Everybody has the power to learn an instrument. Seriously, there’s no such thing as “talent.” Just start lessons and get practicing! It really is that simple, and I’ll guide you through every step of the way.
I have a diverse background teaching students of all ages, from 3-year-olds to retirees alike, customizing what we learn to the individual student. We’ll learn how to read music just as easily as you read words; improvise and compose music of our own; and feel good playing any style: classical, jazz, rock, and all. My experience as a working musician in films, musical theater, and pop music, as well as classical concert music, allows me to appreciate and teach styles that many other instructors overlook, and I know full well that learning an instrument is not about becoming a professional; it’s about being able to connect to others or oneself through music… and also to just have fun! There’s no need to learn music we don’t like! It’s not about stuffing Beethoven into your kids’ ears… we just want to make music, be that Beethoven or Billy Joel.
Learning an instrument is one of those few skills that will genuinely last you your whole life. I don’t want to sugarcoat it: it takes time to learn an instrument. It takes practice, and sometimes it’s frustrating. But the results are well worth it.
Now get out there and make some music! But start by signing up for lessons. I can’t wait to get started!
“What’s that chord?” “Why does all my music sound the same?” “How do I fix this voicing?” “I just can’t get it out of my head!” …sound familiar? You’ve probably hit a rut. Or maybe you’re just starting out. Either way, you want your music to sound new, exciting, and to come out exactly how you hear it in your head. Yes… you CAN learn to compose music, you CAN learn to be more creative, and you CAN learn to share your sound with the world.
Film music, classical, jazz… whatever your interest, all music comes from the same place, and by learning a handful of basic concepts, you can apply these to whatever style you’re trying to write. Learning to emulate another musician involves knowing what they’re doing. Learning to create a groundbreaking sound requires that you know what’s already been done, and how to achieve it. Step by step, we’ll work our way there.
We’ll learn how to write cool, interesting chord progressions, how to write beautiful melodies, and how to voice chords. We’ll learn how to control the mood of our music, from making it sound relaxed to adding tension wherever we want. Maybe you’re trying to write for an orchestra, or just a small band. By learning the basics, you can then easily break away from what’s been done and come up with something truly new… the goal of any aspiring composer!
The first lesson was successful. My particular background in piano is unique, and my needs are atypical as well. I thought Thomas assessed my abilities, lack of abilities, and goals well and quickly. He started me on a different perspective on looking at music (reading the staff) that seems very helpful. I'm encouraged.
Every problem has a solution. Let me help you find it. My specialty is narrowing down the exact root issue that the student is having, which seems like an obstacle and to offer practical solutions to solve this issue. This allows for the student to reach their goals. Please see all the subject specialties.
I enjoy working with complete beginners as well as seasoned professionals. I teach classical and popular styles. I specialize in teaching learning how to learn, sight-reading, technique, improvisation, chord-reading, songwriting. One of my specialties is to help you break through your most stubborn blocks. These might be the strangest things that you think no one would ever understand -- fear of playing in public, feeling like your left hand is uncoordinated, practice procrastination, pain when playing, pain when reading notation, memory issues, musical dyslexia... ANYTHING. I can help you and I will never make you feel embarrassed.
*** All Levels, All Styles *** -Classical -Pop -Country -Gospel -Blues -R&B -Rock -Reggae -Hip Hop -Worship -Church -Hymns -Techno -50s -Jazz -New Age -Folk -Broadway -Pop Ballad -etc.
*** In Studio or Online *** Of course it is more enjoyable if you can have lessons in person. But with modern technology, live online lessons come in a close second. I've been teaching for 40 years and I've been doing online lessons for about 12 years. I'm located in West Hills, which is a suburb of Los Angeles. If you are not local, using Skype with a webcam works out surprisingly well. I have students in Sydney, London, Hong Kong and many cities throughout the US.
*** Use a Piano or a Keyboard for Practicing *** I am not fussy if you use a keyboard but it needs to be a "weighted action" keyboard, so that it feels similar to a real piano. Ideally, you should also have a pedal and a stand if you are using an electronic keyboard.
*** Unconventional Approach *** Each student is taught with a customized approach. You get to tell me what areas you want to focus on. Sometimes there may be a block or something that is a weakness that you need to bolster. Sometimes it is a narrow niche within music that you want to give your attention to. One way that I'm unconventional is that I actually have found that it is NOT better if you practice every day. I recommend that you build in about three days of rest per week. Just like people who work out at the gym learn that the off days are when the muscles regenerate, the same is true for your brain. This allows your subconscious mind to do its job and your progress will actually be faster, not slower. Another example of my unique approach is how I treat beginners. Even though you may not yet read music very well or at all, it doesn't mean that you can't start working concurrently on a more advanced piece. This is because READING notation is a comparatively slow process, but why should we restrict your ability to play something that you love to your rate of reading music? Usually, our FINGER TECHNIQUE develops much faster than our READING so I'm happy to guide you on one or two more difficult pieces and help spoon-feed it to you, bit by bit, "by rote."
*** Areas of Focus *** -Finger Technique. How to play fast with ultimate control. -Sight-Reading How to Read Music at Sight -Rhythm Training -Music Theory -Interpretation -Injury-Retraining -Relaxation, Removing Unnecessary Tension -Pain-Reduction -Practice-Optimization - How to learn more in less time. -How to memorize music. -Biomechanical Efficiency - Maximum power with minimum effort. -Time-Management -Improvisation and creativity development techniques -Composition & Songwriting. -How to create melodies for your poems and lyrics. -How to put chords on your melodies. -How to create “song sheets,” lead sheets and how to write music down on paper. -How to notate your song so others can play it, without knowing how to read music! -Chord-Reading and How to Play Lead Sheets & Fake Book -Musical Styles and Piano Arrangements (Pop, Country, Gospel, Blues, R&B, Rock, Reggae, Hip Hop, Worship, Church, Hymns, Techno, 50s, Jazz, New Age, Folk, Broadway, Pop Ballade, etc.) -Ear-Training (How to Play by Ear, Playing by Ear) -Singers’ Tools -Pitch Control Training -Self-Accompanying -How to Sing Harmony -Sight-Singing (How to Hear the Notes in Your Mind) -Self-Accompanying techniques in every style - Learn how to accompany yourself or learn how to accompany singers. (see “Musical Styles” above.) -Audition Preparation - I will record the melody of the song for you so you can learn it. -How to put melody to lyrics -College Preparation -Performance Anxiety, Stage Fright, Fear -Releasing Emotional Obstacles to Playing Emotional Blocks, Healing Piano Trauma and Previous Performance Disasters, Piano Therapy -Motiviation Issues - Solving your procrastination and avoidance of your musical growth issues. -How to Look Like You’ve Played Piano for Years (for Actors, Singers and Celebrities Who Have A Role Deadline and Need a Crash Course.)
*** Celebrity Piano Teacher *** Over the years, I've taught many pro musicians and celebrities. (Takelessons prohibits me from mentioning their names here.)
*** Howard's Teachers Go Back To Beethoven *** I feel grateful that my own training included top teachers of both the “German School” and “Russian School” of piano technique. Generally, the German School teaches how to play with close-to-the-key hand placement preparation and fingering efficiency, and is known for great speed and accuracy. The Russian School teaches how to play with gravity and relaxation and is known for beautiful tone production. Each approach has its strengths and weaknesses. In my own playing and teaching, I have incorporated the good aspects of each and have discarded the bad. The result is a blueprint for biomechanical efficiency and beautiful sound, making it the best of both worlds. Please see the photo of the "piano lineage chart."
Howard is very caring and detailed oriented. He really knows how to inspire and encourage children to learn piano. He makes it challenging and fun!
April 12, 2016
Howard's approach is patient while at the same time he actually leads my son forward - not just listening to what he practiced that week. Howard does not make the weekly lesson a "test" but rather a session to work together and my son enjoys the lessons instead of worrying if he prepared enough.
We moved from Los Angeles so we chose to transition from lessons in Howard's house to weekly lessons online - it continues to work beautifully.
Howard can accommodate any style of student - I know because I took lessons from Howard myself until my work built up too much to continue.
Inherited a grand piano, but now it's collecting dust in your living room? Blow the dust off, and get your fingers warmed up... let's learn how to play the keys together!
Nicole is available to teach lessons for students of all levels. Beginning her singing career when she was 7, she most recently sang at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, was a winner of the international CS Competition in musical theatre, and is a Chicago F.A.M.E. finalist for Jazz and popular music. Combined with her training and professional experience, Nicole teaches singers to switch gracefully between multiple styles. She practices what she preaches: one night she might be singing Beyoncé, and the next morning she might be singing Handel's Messiah!
Nicole has been a young artist for Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre, Metropolitan International Music Festival, and for Tiroler Opern Programm, under international instructors, including Elizabeth Bachman (from the Metropolitan Opera), Kim Josephson (Metropolitan Opera), Sharon Cheng (Caramoor),
Michael Fennely (Carnegie Hall), Wei-En Hsu (Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra), and Candace Evans (Santa Fe Opera). Nicole earned her Associates in Theatre from Brigham Young University ('12) and went on to acquire her BM in Vocal Performance from Illinois Wesleyan University ('14). Nicole obtained additional training from Boston University, Elon University, and the University of Alaska Anchorage.
I have played piano since I was a child and studied piano as a non major during college. I have played piano in church for several years. I've taught students from children to older adults. Whether you wish to play for personal pleasure or prepare for a career in piano, I can give you the necessary tools.
Vandi has extensive performance experience in multiple genres: professionally with opera, orchestra, chamber music, musical theater, straight theater, film, sacred works, church music, jazz, and contemporary music.
Credentials: Meisner Training-Phoenix Theater with Bill Simmons 2017-2018 Destruction in Decatur 2017-Broadsword and Rapier and Dagger SAFD Certifications Crittenden Opera Workshop 2017-Washington D.C. CISCO 2017-Stage Combat Certifications Vianden Summer Program 2016-Luxembourg CISCO 2016-Stage Combat Certifications MM in Vocal Performance, the University of Akron, May 2015 BFA in Musical Theater, Shorter University, May 2011 (Theatre minor and Equivalent of a piano minor) Cosmetology Instructor's Certification and License, Gadsden State Community College, May 2007 Cosmetology Certification and License, May 20
Extremely professional and structured. Loved the lesson
June 14, 2019
She’s helping me prepare for an audition and giving me valuable tips to sound as good as possible in a short time.
May 30, 2019
Practicing with Vandi improves my skills more quickly than practicing alone and she is very good at not only answering questions via the internet tutoring but through phone as well. She is very prompt and consistent and provides easy to read materials for my skill level. I'm very happy with my purchase through Take Lessons so far. This is my first time using this website and it is my third lesson as I am new to piano. I have already recommended this site to other people.
Andrew is a gifted teacher who prides himself on making the student feel comfortable, no matter their level of experience or ability. This approach has worked successfully for many of his students, allowing them to be more open and understanding of some of the many concepts introduced and practiced while learning the piano.
Andrew is also very adaptable, understanding that each student is different, responding to unique learning styles and approaches that suits them better than others. But one thing remains the same, and that is the ability to enjoy the work as well as feel clear and measurable progress. This is any student's ultimate goal, and Andrew has a proven track record of success when it comes to learning the instrument.
Andrew will work with you to establish clear goals, if you don't already possess them, and be a steady and comforting guide for you on your journey - no matter how far you intend to go.
Andrew started playing piano at the tender age of 3. His mom wanted him to spend his endless energy on something artistic so she started him on piano lessons. Very early on it was clear Andrew had a natural, unique ability to connect with the piano. He played in school bands throughout grade school and began performing around DC in high school. While Andrew also plays guitar, drums, and bass, the piano has remained his first love and primary instrument.
At seventeen, Andrew left DC and started college at The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music in New York City. Andrew studied Jazz Piano but also led big bands, wrote and arranged music, produced, and engineered recordings. Shifting from Jazz to Rock in his early twenties, Andrew joined the band Ambulance LTD, playing live throughout New York City, the United States, and internat
ionally, as well as on the "LP" and "EP" recordings.
Upon returning to New York from touring, Andrew began assisting younger students at The New York Piano Academy—helping them to develop their playing skills, as well as their composing and arranging pursuits. The experience exposed his innate ability to build students’ talents through patience and encouragement, consistently taking them farther than they thought they could go. Andrew realized his passion for teaching and began working with students of all ages, from 3 year-old children to seniors. As a teacher, Andrew focuses on making learning enjoyable while teaching all types of music—pop, rock, jazz, classical, and even Broadway. Andrew tailors his lesson programs to the uniqueness of each student and teaches them not only how to play, but also how to better hear, enjoy, and love music.
Never thought l could to be able to learn a Bach invention before. Now I’m playing it. Very enthusiastic teacher.
April 4, 2019
Great first piano lesson for my 10 year old - Andrew was encouraging, patient and inspiring- my daughter connected with him right away and couldn’t wait to get home and practice. Looking forward to more lessons!
I will show you the easiest way to learn the hand position, that is the most important thing for playing from simple to advanced. I will teach you basic techniques and will help you play the music of your choice. I will pick you up from any level you are, with any issues you got from previous teacher, everything is possible to correct and make your fingers fly above the keys like a pro. I am playing piano since I was 6 years old and I have a BA in Vocal Arts.
I am very passionate about music in general, Piano was my first instrument. I studied piano since I was 6 years old, with some best teachers. I earned a BA in Voice Arts. I love teaching music to students of any age, have 10 years of experience in private lessons, singing and piano. I will always be teaching the right approach to music and musicality, and the technical basics, exercises and tricks to learn faster.
Because different types of people learn differently, as a piano teacher, I pride myself in being adjustable to each student and their needs to start or further their knowledge of the piano and music theory. I am also well-versed in several different genres or styles of playing such as classical, pop, jazz, Japanese, and playing by ear. I am confident in catering my lessons towards what each person wants to learn at various difficulties.
I started playing the piano when I was just 4 years old--though at the time, I practice begrudgingly, music took hold of me ever since. Music is a great way to express oneself and share with others how you feel where words may fail. I am a big believer of art helping to bridge gaps and help communication with those around us.
Because of teachers I've had that were strict when I needed a push, funny, eccentric, and caring when I needed a laugh, and most importantly believed in me, I aspire to provide the same encouragement to others.
I come from a varied background, having studied and performed in classical, musical theater, pop, rock and roll, and contemporary Christian styles for over 10 years. Whatever your interests as a pianist, I am here to help guide you through your musical journey.
I am a singer, pianist, guitarist, and woodwind player. I graduated from San Jose State University with a Bachelor of Music, concentrating in Music Education (vocal emphasis) and Composition.
I have been performing on stage for over 10 years in a variety of styles, from classical to pop to rock and roll. My varied interests and backgrounds in musical genres means that I am available to help you understand your musical interests better and apply techniques and stylistic choices to make your music sound the best that it can.
"I have the highest praise for Neil. I am an adult, and I studied for nine years as a child and started studying again about ten years ago and have studie
d with several teachers during that time. I work on some difficult pieces, and Neil can always explain to me how to play the passages I am having trouble with and make it seem easy. Also, he can demonstrate for me how something should be played because he is such an excellent pianist. I am so happy I found Neil, and highly recommend him."
"My daughter started piano lessons with Fawn at three years of age. She is now six years old and not only playing but reading music as well. I’ve also noti
ced my daughter booking more jobs in television and print because of the confidence she has acquired by playing in Fawn's Talent Share's. She is amazing with kids and I highly recommend her! Fawn is the best!"
"I wanted to find someone to teach me classical piano technique. That would be 'serious' technique. I count myself as fortunate to have gotten Roxanna as
an instructor. I feel that I am being properly guided by someone who has to have had breadth of experience to know and anticipate what things should be taught in what order. My mom is a life long amateur pianist and she agrees that I have found a great teacher !"
"Christina is great! We love her. We are so happy that she is teaching us. My six year old and I are both taking lessons from her."
"Regina is very patient to beginners and will really take time teaching until she see progress. Being experienced with her craft, she knows children very w
ell and their she works according to their capacity. I recommend her to parents with children just beginning with piano."
"Absolutely unique teacher. Very inspiring and mind changing. Opened a new world for me and many others. Highly recommended."
"One of the best teachers very patient and knowledgeable."
"Natasha is an amazing pianist and a wonderful teacher. She’s learned from the best and teaches just like the best. She is encouraging and supportive."
"Andree-Ann has been teaching both my kids for several years - she expects excellence from her students, but she does gives them all the tools they need to
succeed and push them to become better musicians every day! We are currently preparing for Certificate of Merit exams in March for the first time and I feel confident that both my boys will do very well. I definitely recommend her, and have already recommended her to several of my friends whose kids are now also studying with her."