Orinda 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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Anthony S.

Oakland, CA

I have taught piano students as young as 4 and as mature as 65. piano is usually the go-to instrument for individuals getting into music. I recommend musicians of every instrument to have at least beginner knowledge of the piano. I can help you learn your first instrument!

About Anthony

My latest article for TAKELESSONS:
http://takelessons.com/blog/ukulele-or-guitar-for-kids-zo1

I have a BA in Music from CUNY College of Staten Island and a MM in Composition from CUNY Brooklyn College. I have been teaching Music in NYC Public Schools since 2005 where I have taught thousands of students ages 5 through 14; General Music and Instrumental studies. I have taught private lessons as young as 4 and as mature as 65. In addition to my work as an educator, I am a working musician and composer most recently working on a Chidlren's songbook titled SENSITIVE SAM, and video game musi
c for the iPhone, iPad and iPod APP titled Tin Man Can released by Chillingo and Red Candy Games.
I use my creativity to engage my students, teaching them musical empowerment by learning how to improvise and compose their own music. My primary instruments can be found in any rock band (guitar, bass, drums, etc.) however I have extensive experience and success in teaching string and wind instruments. I am a fun and outgoing person who loves talking about music or just about anything, I would be happy to be your music teacher!

*** Lesson Details ***
I have a laid back personality but I stress self discipline in my lessons. I teach students to be their own boss! I want my students to take responsibility of their education because unlike the subjects that we NEED to learn for life, music can be the one thing we choose to learn to enrich our minds and spirit. I always begin my lessons with just getting to know the instrument, making sounds and noises and improvising on whatever the student already knows. I then proceed to rudiments, taking the student into understanding music as a subject and how to transfer things on a page or sounds in their ear to the instrument. I have a preferred way to teach and a curriculum I use, however I will ask the student what their goals are at the beginning and always keep my instruction steadily aimed at achieving those goals. After three to six months, students will be able to sight read simple melodies and chord names, as well as play some of their favorite songs and some classics.

*** Travel Equipment ***
I can provide a computer, music stand, manuscript paper, stickers and a sense of humor.

*** Specialties ***
I have taught Suzuki and Orff methods as well as traditional notational reading. I prefer to teach music reading to students ages 8 and up. I teach instruments, theory/ composition as well as songwriting.
...

Reviews

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Q'orianka May 20, 2015
Piano · In home
Verified Student
We love Anthony! Great teacher!
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Renate K. December 12, 2014
Guitar · In home
Verified Student
Our (then) 8 years old daughter took guitar lessons by Anthony last year. Anthony is a great teacher with a lot of humor, patience and expertise. It worked perfectly for our daughter and she loved the lessons and learned a lot. We would highly recommend Anthony to others.
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Katie M. November 22, 2014
Guitar · In home
Verified Student
Anthony is a fantastic guitar instructor for our 7 year old son. He is patient and clear, kind and fun-loving. My son is learning quickly and looks forward to his lesson time with Anthony. Anthony is always punctual and professional. We highly recommend Anthony as a guitar teacher.
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Anthony S.

Anthony S.

Oakland, CA 94611
(3)
starting at
$35 / 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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Matthew F.

Walnut Creek, CA

Piano is the cornerstone instrument of our era of music starting back with the keyboard instrument of the baroque and pre-baroque periods. Now we have the modern piano which is not only a perfect instrument to learn for any aspiring musicians as young as 4 or 5 years, but also a instrument capable of playing some of the most difficult of our time and of course as an amazing compositional tool to create music.
Start your lessons today, don't wait, this will be something you do for the rest of you or your child's life and the more practice you have as a youngster the easier it will be as you progress to master this instrument and happily enjoy your skill of music-making!

About Matthew

Hello!

My name is Matthew, and I teach many people of different ages academic topics from arithmetic to algebra 2/trigonometry, science, reading/grammar, as well as all kinds of music and instruments!

I currently study at Mills College in Oakland, CA for my master's in composition, and I hold a bachelor's degree from UC Santa Cruz.

Musically, I specialize in drum set and percussion, piano, voice, and guitar instruction (4 and 6 string) woodwinds, brass, and violin family strings. I have been teaching in Walnut Creek at my home studio/office for seven years, worked with local schools s
uch as Walnut Creek Intermediate, Meher School, Las Lomas High School, and Stanley Middle School.

If you are at all interested for yourself or your child please don't hesitate to call and ask questions.

Have a great day!
...

Reviews

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Blessings R. March 26, 2015
Piano · In home
Verified Student
Matthew Fisher-Keller has been teaching my 5 & 6 year old to play piano since August.
He is amazing with my children who have completely different temperaments. He is able to keep them focused, motivated, and interested which is no simple task. He approaches each lesson with passion and excitement which is infectious. He is loving and kind but never a push-over or disciplinarian. He is able to communicate with them on their level and still keep them progressing in their lesson plans. My kids actually get on the piano at random times and crank out tunes even when they don't have to practice. I am so thrilled with their growth. He is ALWAYS on time and an excellent communicator. He keeps his schedule and gives ample notification should there be any conflicts so that you can reschedule lessons. This has been an added bonus for a Mom that is juggling so many extracurricular and school activities. I am thankful for Matthew and would recommend him to ANY parent or person seeking a piano teacher.
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Matthew F.

Matthew F.

Walnut Creek, CA 94595
(1)
starting at
$40 / 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!

Video #1: Intro to the Piano

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

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Piano Basics

Learn about proper posture, hand placement, and other beginner essentials.

Video #3:
Reading Piano Notes

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

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Time and Key Signatures

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

Video #5:
Understanding Rhythm

Follow along to master quarter notes, quarter rests, and half rests.

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Whether you're just starting out or a seasoned pro, check out the Piano articles on our blog.

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