I started studying classical piano at the age of 6 and continued through high school before going on to study with Robert Shannon at Oberlin Conservatory, where I majored in music history and theory (as well as English and creative writing - I've always had a lot of interests!). I also sang in choirs from a early age, including my high school's Madrigal Singers, the MMEA Northeast District Chorus, and the Oberlin College Choir, a select group which performs regularly with the Cleveland Orchestra. After graduation, I tried out a variety of musical activities, including singing with a semi-professional a Capella group, None of the Above, and appearing in local community theatre productions. But I finally realized that I'm most comfortable behind a piano, whether playing and conducting for musical theatre, coaching singers, writing music for youth productions, or teaching the next generation of music lovers how to navigate the keys. And while I perform mostly Broadway-style music now, my classical training continues to serve me well; using good technique not only allows me to play more accurately and expressively, it also protects me from injuries that might otherwise arise from long rehearsals and a busy performance schedule.
I'm excited about where my musical journey has taken me, and I look forward to helping you start or continue yours.
*** Lesson Details ***
I'm serious about making sure my students learn basic skills, like reading notes and rhythms and learning to interpret music artistically, that will serve them not only as developing pianists but in any future musical endeavors. To that end, I choose method books (such as the Faber Piano Adventures series) and supporting materials that build a strong foundation of musical knowledge, and I help each student construct a practice schedule that's appropriate to his or her level.
However, although I do maintain a certain amount of structure, I am very patient and relaxed in my approach to each individual student. I recognize that not everyone learns at the same speed or in the same way, so as long as I can tell you're putting in the effort, I will also try my hardest to find what works for you! And I know it's easiest to stay motivated when working on music you love, so I like to supplement the regular lesson materials with music of the student's choice, whether that means offering a selection of level-appropriate classical pieces, helping locate an arrangement of a favorite song, or coming up with our own arrangement if a good one doesn't already exist. And while my own background is strongest in classical and Broadway styles, I'm happy to have students work on music from any genre. One of the best parts of teaching is when I get to learn something new as well.
*** Studio Equipment ***
Front room setup for lessons with upright piano, 88-key keyboard, and stereo. Also has laptop available to record lessons. Parents can sit in on lessons, and waiting area for parents. Parking available in driveway and street. Has one cat.
*** Travel Equipment ***
I would expect the student to provide a piano or suitable keyboard (88 keys, weighted keys or at least somewhat touch-sensitive, with a clear piano sound). For vocal students, it would be helpful for them to have a separate music stand as well.
*** Specialties ***
In terms of vocal music, I am definitely most comfortable with Broadway-style repertoire, but I have experience with some of the classical repertoire as well. As a pianist I have a solid classical background but am also very familiar with Broadway playing styles; I think I've done a little of everything at this point, so I could adapt to any interests my students might have. I am trained in the Taubman piano technique, which focuses on healthy, effective motions, so I try to incorporate some elements of that in my teaching, to the extent
that I think a particular student will benefit from it.
As for methods: for beginning and intermediate piano students I tend to use the Faber Piano Adventures series, supplemented by additional exercise books (Dozen a Day, for example), simple classical pieces (Bastien publishes a book that I like), or other materials depending on the student's interest and level of achievement (pop, Broadway, etc.). For advanced students I would use different exercise books (Hanon, Czerny, etc.) and focus more on repertoire than method, continuing to teach theory and technique as it comes up.
For vocal students I have mostly stuck to whatever materials/repertoire the student was most interested in, plus vocal exercises to support any problems or challenges they might be working on (e.g., range, vowel formation, learning a healthy mix/belt technique).
· Singing · In studio Such a great experience. My 11 year old daughter loves taking lessons with her.
· Singing · In studio Eyva had a fantastic time!! Very excited to continue with the lessons.
· Singing · In home She worked patiently with Mia as she tried out her first vocal warm ups and songs
· Piano · In home Nathan had fun
· Piano · In home Nathan was happy at the first class already liked the teacher
· Piano · In home Bethany is wonderful with both of my children. They were not sure they would like to learn piano but her outstanding teaching has made them very comfortable. I'm thrilled!
· Singing · In studio Voice lessons with Bethany were very good for me. She tailored our warm up exercises for my particular needs. She has good advice for breathing and vowel sounds for each piece and general advice for technique to make a piece sound better and be easier to sing. She also plays piano well for accompaniment. I hope to take lessons again with her soon.
· · Vocal and Piano
Bethany Aiken is doing a wonderful job teaching my 9 year old daughter Amelia Miller piano and vocal lessons. Amelia really enjoys her sessions and is learning so much. Bethany is a very calm and patient instructor which puts my daughter at ease and she feels so comfortable.