El Cerrito Piano Lessons

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John D.

Berkeley, CA

Learning piano is a great way to build a musical foundation. Piano students will learn how to use their ears to pickup on their favorite songs, in addition to working through books and fundamentals. Recently, a student who started from scratch went part of the way through the method book until she reached "When the Saints Go Marching In". We learned the chord structure of the song, and she learned to improvise over the structure. She decided to do the student recital, and performed a super fun 5-minute version of the song with a professional band. The whole room was into it and it was magical! Contact me for piano lessons and see what can happen when you understand not just how to read notes, but how music works when you play with a real band.

About John

*** Lesson Details ***
My students will develop a passion for music and a desire to play!

I like to get right to the experience of actually playing music. I start with learning songs, drum beats, and chord progressions and get to technique and music reading AFTER we have had some fun.

My key to successful teaching is to create a custom curriculum for each student. Some students are interested in the details of how to do it "right", and others just want to rock. I try to adapt to different learning styles and musical goals to give each student an ideal experience.

I want student
s to learn how to play, not just how to read or do drills. We will listen to music together, and talk about the function of each instrument. For drummers, I play bass lines on the piano and we lock into a groove. For piano students, I play along with drums or percussion. It's important for students to learn how to play with others, and to listen and get inspired by what's around them.

Students will have the option to perform in a student recital where you are backed by a band of professional musicians!

***John D.'s Biography***

I was born in Amsterdam, Holland, where my father worked as an opera singer. While listening to vocal warm-up arpeggios, my mother bounced me on her knee and taught me rhythms and rhymes.

In my family we beatbox, play piano, and sing together. The family moved to the States in 1995 where my parents worked as music teachers. My Dad is a voice professor at the University of Wisconsin, and my Mom runs an amazing music program at Country View Elementary School in Verona, WI.

I played in the band program throughout high-school and had an amazing and demanding music teacher and highly talented friends. The drumset became my passion and I played, blissfully and recklessly, as often possible. Our teacher took the high school band on a concert tour of Europe in 2002 in Austria, the Czech Republic, and Italy.

The band program led me to classical and contemporary music at the University of Wisconsin, where I honed my craft and discovered the profound breadth of music around the world. I paid my way through college as a member of the WI Army National Guard Band, a great wind ensemble with jazz and rock band components, and slowly built a career as a musician. I took every gig that came my way and created my own if nobody was calling. Pretty soon I became "œthe guy in, like, 8 different bands", including Funk, Rock, Jazz, Afro-Cuban, Brazilian, and West African bands. I've been working as a musician ever since, performing several nights per week, and teaching during the day.

I began teaching drum lessons to my friends when I was about 18 and realized I was really good at it. I began taking on private students and teaching group lessons and classes. Students of mine have achieved the highest ranks at the State Solo and Ensemble Festival in Wisconsin, and auditioned into the Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestra. I am on the annual faculty Wildcat Percussion Camp, was adjunct faculty at New York University, and directed the world percussion ensemble at the University of Wisconsin. I've worked as a teacher with the Madison Area School District, Wisconsin Youth Company, YMCA, Global Arts to Go, University Settlement, and in many different public schools in the New York metro area. I taught a high school class called "The Spirit of Jazz", and

I've learned how to be a real teacher, to put myself in your shoes to help you achieve your potential as a drummer, and as a musician. My teaching style is to de-mystify the art of percussion: getting great sounds out of the drums, being prepared for any style, practicing productively, and focusing your mind.

I have a Bachelor's degree in classical percussion from the University of Wisconsin, a Masters degree in Jazz Performance from NYU, and have traveled to Africa, Europe, and Latin America to perform, record, and study. I have performed with Badal Roy (Miles Davis), Chris Potter, Kenny Werner, Brad Shepik, Lenny Pickett, Chuchito Valdez, and many other great musicians. I was Adjunct Faculty at NYU'™s jazz program, and at the University of Wisconsin dance program. I've given masterclasses at Juilliard, University of Michigan, Lawrence Conservatory, and many other colleges. I played for 5 months in the Off-Broadway show "Fun Home", and toured and gigged with a wide variety of bands.

I've recorded on nearly 20 albums and have been involved in many other projects. Ask me anything you want in our music lessons!
...

Reviews

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Mike T. September 22, 2014
Percussion · In studio
I have been a colleague of John's for 16 years and he has always impressed me with his constant dedication to the craft of music. Though he is incredibly talented, he has always been one that works hard and asks questions without fear. In my experience, this is the kind of person that makes the best teachers. He has always loved music, drums, all percussion and more recently has been learning so much about music technology and how to express yourself with any media available. It would be a shame to pass up an opportunity to study with him!
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Daniel P. August 24, 2014
Drum · In studio
I was pretty new to drumming when I first started taking lessons from John, and I could barely play a simple back beat. Long story short - within 6 months I was playing my first show!

I was looking for a teacher with both rock/jazz and classical background, so John fit the bill perfectly. He also knows a lot about Latin American percussion and other styles from around the world, and has a great understanding of how these different styles relate to each other and the various techniques which can be applied.

During the first few lessons, we discussed my background and aims, and came up with a solid plan for how I should proceed. John's broad experience was really helpful for this process. I had been playing guitar and piano for many years before I started on drums, so I already had a decent grounding in musicality and theory. We therefore focused mainly on technique during lessons. John has a real gift for explaining things in an easily understandable way, as well as going into detail when required. Whenever I had trouble with a particular technique, John's advice would help me overcome it. He is also very helpful in suggesting suitable exercises and repertoire. John also provides a private blog containing lesson notes and useful links, and he was also happy for me to record lessons, which I found very useful. With John's help, I was able to progress pretty quickly, and after 6 months I started playing in a band with some friends, which has been awesome fun.

John is super friendly and engaging, and this makes lessons with him great fun. As well as being a fantastic drummer, it is clear that he really cares about the quality of his lessons, and about his students. I'm sure he would make a great teacher for students of all ability/background. John, you rock! Thanks!
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Annie H. October 13, 2013
Drum
Verified Student
Great Musician & Great Teacher

My son started taking lessons with John when he was 7. During the past few months my son has become more aware of the music around him. He looks forward to drums every week. John has great patients and is amazing at connected with children. He is able to keep my son focused, which can be a hard task of itself. He offers instruction while still valuing the individual's personality and taste. John not only shares his knowledge and personal experiences, but his passion.

I would recommend John to anyone in a heartbeat.
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John D.

John D.

Berkeley, CA 94708
(4)
starting at
$30 / 30-min
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Kateland C.

Oakland, CA

About Kateland

I am a graduate vocal performance student at San Francisco Conservatory of Music, with a Bachelor in Music Vocal performance from University of California Irvine. I specialize in teaching classical art song and opera, but am also passionate about teaching the musical theater repertoire and popular genres. My goal is to inspire students to explore the sound and meaning of the music beyond the written page. I believe deeper understandings give way to stronger and more professional performances. I work closely with students to help them develop strong basics and a concrete foundation in voice
or piano, through fun and interactive music and games. Having performed with the Orange County Pacific Symphony, I am able to provide students with professional performance perspectives from performing in small venues to 3,000 seat performance halls.

*** Lesson Details ***
I encourage students to learn and work on music they are passionate about. I expect students to practice regularly to the best of their ability. I am patient and tailor each lesson to the student’s skill and comprehension level. I work with students to help them establish good practicing habits.
To me it is most important that the student is having fun while learning; therefore, as a part of regular instruction time we play games to learn and review material, skills, and performance techniques.
After 3-6 months of lessons students will be familiar with musical terminology, be able to identify musical symbols and read music, at least, at an elementary level. They will also be introduced to the basics of performance.

*** Studio Equipment ***
No studio at this time. I am happy to teach in home

*** Travel Equipment ***
I expect the student to provide enthusiasm and dedication

*** Specialties ***
I specialize in teaching classical art song and opera, but also enjoy teaching the musical theater repertoire and popular genres.
...
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Kateland C.

Kateland C.

Oakland, CA 94602
starting at
$45 / 30-min
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Jessica W.

Lafayette, CA

Learn how to read music, keyboard awareness, proper hand position, technique and musicality.

About Jessica

Hi! My name is Jessica and I would love to be your voice and/or piano teacher! I have been studying and performing classical music for 21 years. My relationship with music started at age 9 with the Contra Costa Children's Choir and I have maintained my classical vocal studies ever since. Along with my vocal studies, I studied classical piano privately with Keith Snell for 7 years, competing and achieving high marks in regional competitions. I went on to receive her Bachelor's degree in Music at Mannes College of Music in New York City and finished my education at the San Francisco Conserv
atory of Music, where I received my Masters, receiving training in vocal pedagogy and physiology, as well as vocal performance. I graduated from SFCM in 2009 and immediately began perusing both a teaching and performing career.

I have maintained an active voice and piano studio since 2011 and also teach with Village Center for the Arts, giving private lessons as well as working with their In School Outreach Programs, teaching Beginning Piano Class and Musical Theater Workshop. Other teaching opportunities include Vocal Master Class with Acalanes High School Women's Ensemble, voice instructor and Alto section leader for Occidental Choral Retreat with Volti SF, Music Instructor with Gymboree, and volunteer pre-school music instructor at Fairmount Elementary in SF.

I am an active performer in the Bay Area as well, performing with the new music ensemble Volti, Lyric Theatre San Jose, Opera on Tap San Francisco, Urban Opera, West Coast Opera Works, San Francisco Baroque Opera, and Bay Area Summer Opera Theater Institute (BASOTI). I have also been employed as a performer on the east coast, making my professional debut with the Hartford Symphony Orchestra in 2011 and singing the title role in Handel’s Radamisto with The Manhattan Opera Studio in August 2014.

During my many years studying music, I was inspired by several amazing teachers. They are responsible for making me the artist and musician I am today. My mission as a teacher is to pass on the wonderful knowledge and passion that was given to me onto a new group of eager young minds. I am truly a self proclaimed music dork and proud of it! I am a fun, patient, passionate teacher and am very excited to be a part of the TakeLessons team!

*** Lesson Details ***
In my lessons, I feel it is important for my students to have fun and to and enjoy the learning process. However I believe in order for both student and teacher to get the most out of the lesson, practicing at home is extremely important and I expect my students to do so. I will always send them home with a goal or assignment that should be reached or completed by the next lesson to the best of the students ability.

For my voice students, we always begin with breath. Proper breathing is the foundation for all good singing. Then we move on to warming up both the voice and the body. During warm-ups, we will focus technical concepts such as breath control and support, vowel placement, and optimum vocal production. In most lessons (time permitting) we will work through a piece of music, one of their choosing or, if needed, I will recommend a piece. We finish each lesson with a review of the concepts we discussed during the lesson and practice goals for the week.
For my piano students, I begin with finger placement and keyboard awareness. Depending on the students age and level, we will use both a music book and a music theory book (for very young students, I will hold off on the music theory and focus mostly on finger placement and keyboard awareness). Each week, I will assign two pieces of music and pages in the music theory book (again depending upon student's age and level). Students are expected to prepare the assignments by practicing at home and have them ready at the next lesson.

Communication is something very important to me as a teacher. I want my students to feel comfortable expressing their needs and/or concerns, musically or otherwise and hope they would appreciate me, as the teacher, to do the same.

*** Studio Equipment ***
Upright piano with seating for parents

*** Travel Equipment ***
I can provide music and have a portable electronic keyboard.

*** Specialties ***
Classical voice is definitely my specialty. I believe good classical technique is the basis for all good singing and can be applied to genres such as musical theater and jazz. The only vocal styles I am NOT comfortable teaching are belting, pop or rock style vocal production.
...

Reviews

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Christine G. April 28, 2014
Classical Voice
Verified Student
Patient and encouraging

I'm always impressed with how Jessica is patient with our 7 year old daughter and still is able to draw her out and motivate her when she is tired from school. Jessica always finds creative ways to be inspirational. Both my husband and I drive 15 miles to be able to have Jessica teach our little girl. We think she is worth it. She has been flexible and always tried her best to work within our schedule and has even driven out to our house to cover a lesson when things didn't work out in the schedule.
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Kellian D. March 11, 2014
Piano
Verified Student
Wonderful teacher

Jessica is teaching piano and voice to my 10 year daughter, and I am so impressed with her skills as a teacher. She is patient, encouraging, and inspiring, and her love for both music and teaching is apparent. She is also extremely knowledgeable about music theory and uses a teaching method that's very effective and gets students actually playing music right away, without shortchanging their long term development as musicians. Jessica is a rare find, plus she comes to our house for lessons!
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Jeannemarie H. February 27, 2014
Piano
Verified Student
Jessica is great with kids and makes music so much fun!

I have two girls, ages 9 and 6. They both take piano with Jessica once a week. I can't express enough how great Jessica is with them and her ability to adjust to their ages and their ways of learning.
Jessica is so passionate about music which is demonstrated in her teaching style and of course all her education, training, and performances.
Jessica is so wonderful in her communication - showing such support throughout the lesson and has a great ability to explain the music so they understand.
My girls are very fortunate to have such a great mentor and teacher. Jessica is a true professional who is fully committed to music. We could not be happier!
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Jessica W.

Jessica W.

Lafayette, CA 94549
(7)
starting at
$25 / 30-min
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Peter D.

Oakland, CA

I studied with various teachers in and out of college for five years, and have over a decade teaching hundreds of students, from the elementary levels to classical piano technique to jazz improvisation to pop piano to ragtime. You will be challenged and at the same time inspired to get the most out of your time with instrument!

About Peter

For the last ten years I have made the process of learning music an exciting and rewarding endeavor for all ages and levels. I am teach piano, songwriting, composition, and music theory, and music production, and am fluent in Spanish.

My teaching methods include all the basic elements (technique, theory, ear training, sight-reading, performance, etc.), but the key here is that the lessons are specifically tailored for and suited to you, the student. Drawing on my experience as an Artist Developer, for more seasoned music students, I have mentored many a musician as they find their a musica
l path, whether it be artist/performer, composer/arranger, accompanist, songwriter, etc.

I have studied with over 12 music professors, both in the classroom and individually for 6 years at Saddleback Community College in Orange County. I have also studied a number of styles while composing for and performing in various small ensembles, including:  world music, classical, pop, jazz, and musical theatre.

I continue to produce and compose music for myself and other artists as well.

*** Lesson Details ***
I each student in the way they need to be met:  if they need a serious approach to their musical goals, I meet them with the same intensity (and raise them a few!). Most students seem to prefer a laid back, more "fun" approach, which I am excellent at providing as well. For piano students, the Faber books serve as a springboard to go into playing their favorite kind of music, whether it's pop, jazz, or classical.

*** Specialties ***
Classical, jazz, and pop styles of piano
Songwriting in most genres (except rap)
Pop styles of singing and guitar
...

Reviews

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Dami M. December 22, 2014
Guitar · In studio
Verified Student
My child was resistant to learning the guitar - thought it was too hard - but was able to make strides and now enjoys it due to Peter's patience! He made the lessons fun, too.
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Melissa R. December 10, 2014
Arrangement and Composition · In home
I had the privilege to work with Peter in Artist Development. He was instrumental in helping be unlock my creative blocks. His passion for music and musicians is evident in his breath. He really cares about the art of expression and will always go the extra mile to help artists grow their authentic self and passion. I highly recommend Peter to anyone. His excellent songwriting and composition skills, along with his Music Industry expertise and connections are an added bonus that could expand to endless future collaborations and possibilities.
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brittany G. December 8, 2014
Songwriting · In home
I have worked with and learned from Peter D. for a little over 2 years and am SO happy with how much I have learned. Peter is classically trained but is also open to many music styles and experimentation. Not only is he an exceptional musician himself, he really knows how to "diagnose" each student and create the lesson around their needs. You will not be bored in Peter's class!
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Peter D.

Peter D.

Oakland, CA 94618
(13)
starting at
$40 / 30-min
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Astrid A.

Pinole, CA

I can teach beginner to intermediate piano, which would include scales, proper fingering techniques, teaching to play with both hands together and even into modes and Jazz chords and jazz theory. I believe my students need to learn music theory along with piano, other wise they don't understand what they are doing. Plus it will help them in the future with music.

About Astrid

I have worked with children with autism and other learning difficulties. I love helping students fall in love with music, like I did growing up with my vocal coaches. I am passionate about music and my students learning and excelling in their craft. I enjoy working with all ages and all types of music abilities.
...

Reviews

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Rachel S. May 23, 2015
Singing · In studio
Verified Student
After looking for weeks for a vocal teacher, I came across Astrid here on TakeLessons and felt she might be a good person to try a few lessons with. I showed up the lesson to find out that she was the older sister of two of my good friends and to find out that she is the best vocal teacher I could have found! She's very patient, fun, talented, helpful, and silly, and she really makes learning to train my voice awesome! I take one 1/2 hour lesson usually once a week with her, and I've already completed two full songs with her in the few months I've been training with her!
Astrid is definitely someone I would highly recommend to anyone looking for a vocal coach, plus she has an awesome voice. Definitely going to continue lessons with her! :)
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Matt W. January 25, 2015
Singing · In home
Verified Student
Astrid is great with our 14 year old daughter. She listens to her, challenges her, and is helping her develop a lot.
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Augustino M. June 15, 2014
Piano · In studio
Verified Student
by teaching a young girl like Jasmine and being a young lady herself;;Astrid is very patient and seems very skilled on what she does
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Astrid A.

Astrid A.

Pinole, CA 94564
(3)
starting at
$30 / 30-min

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Free Piano Lessons with an Expert Teacher

Learn how to play the piano in these video tutorials from a professional piano teacher!

Have you always wanted to play the piano? We’re here to help! Get started with these 20 video tutorials hosted by San Diego, CA piano teacher Jordan M, one of our expert instructors with TakeLessons.com. In this free video series, you’ll get an introduction to the instrument and learn a few easy exercises to get you reading music and understanding rhythm!

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Intro to the Piano: Learn about the parts of the piano and how to find the all-important Middle C.

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Learn about the treble and bass clefs, and tips for remembering the notes on the piano.

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Learn what all those sharps and flats really mean, and how to decode your music.

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Understanding Rhythm

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