Cheri Sykes

Cheri S.

Osseo, MN

Lesson Details



Cheri delivers an exceptional lesson experience and ranks in the top 15% of our teachers nationwide.
Teaches students:
Ages 4+

Teaching since:
September 1983

I earned my B.A. in piano, 1979, from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, where I was steeped in Bach and Chopin. My Masters work at Emory University in Atlanta further deepened my knowledge of classical performance practice and music history. I have studied with jazz pianists Laura Caviani and Sean Turner of the McNally School of Music, both of Minneapolis/St. Paul. Today I am an active solo party pianist, and leader/arranger for my own five-piece r&b band, Wild Honey. I have received statewide air-play performing Bach on Minnesota Public Radio. At the other end of the spectrum, my band Wild Honey has been featured on KBEM Jazz 88 FM’s program, “Jazz and the Spirit,” as well as KARE-11 Television’s morning program, “Minnesota Showcase." I serve as an exam judge for the Minnesota Music Teachers Association, and helped write its ground-breaking Popular Styles Exam Syllabus. I am a 2012 recipient of the Maureen Conway Award for Inspiring Teaching.

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Private Instructor, piano and guitar, for children and adults:
Nov 2009 - Present
Private Studio, Osseo, MN, 2008-present

Schmitt Music, Minneapolis, MN, 2006-2010.
Decatur School of Music, Atlanta, GA, 1994-1997.
The Music Place, Atlanta, GA 1990-1991. Also group keyboard instructor.

Piano Entertainer for Seniors
Sep 2006 - Present
senior housing and care facilities, freelance

Educational programs featuring solo performance of ragtime, stride, blues, and boogie-woogie.

Bandleader, arranger, keyboardist
Sep 1998 - Present
Wild Honey Band

Jazz, r&b, and gospel five-piece. Featured on KARE-11 television’s “Minnesota Showcase” and KBEM Jazz 88’s “Jazz and the Spirit” programs.

Solo pianist
Sep 1989 - Present
for parties, receptions, weddings; freelance

Jazz, pop, classical styles.

Music Director for Churches: organ, band-leading, choirs
Sep 1983 - Jan 2016
Lutheran, Methodist, and Catholic Churches

Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church, East Bethel, MN, organist and leader of rock band, 2013-2015.
Richfield United Methodist Church, Minneapolis, MN, alternative worship band, 2006-2009.
St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, New Brighton, MN, 1997-2005. Organist and director of contemporary combos for 10,000-member church. Major gospel concert featuring singer Gwen Matthews.
Luther Seminary, St. Paul, MN, contemporary worship leader, 2005-2009.

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Masters of Sacred Music
Sep 1991 - May 1993
Emory University, Atlanta, GA
B.A., Piano
Sep 1975 - Aug 1979
University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire


Licensed Instructor
Nov 2015

Licensed Instructor for preschool group music.

Master Certified
Jun 2009
Minnesota Music Teachers Association (MMTA)

MMTA Popular Styles Syllabus Committee, helping write a ground-breaking exam curriculum; chair 2011-2013. Exam judge for comprehensive classical exams, popular styles, and contests.


2012 recipient of the Maureen Conway Award for Inspiring Teaching.
Mar 2012
Keys 4/4 Kids Foundation, St. Paul, MN


Music Teachers National Association
Jan 2007

The MTNA was founded in 1876 with the goal of advancing the value of music study and music-making to society while supporting the careers and professionalism of teachers of music. With nearly 22,000 members in 50 states—and more than 500 local affiliates—the MTNA is the preeminent source for music teacher support, where members embody like-minded values and commitment to their students, colleagues and society as a whole, while reaping the rewards of collaboration, continuity and connection throughout the lifetime of their careers.

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Minneapolis Music Teachers Association
Jan 2007

The Minnesota Music Teachers Association, founded in 1901, is a professional non-profit educational organization and is affiliated with the Music Teachers National Association, founded in 1876. Our mission is to advance the profession of music teaching through education, certification, networking, and advocacy.

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Photos & Videos

"Poster Child", keyboardist Bill's original rock song, performed at Spring Recital.
The E-Sister Boogie--an original duet developed in lessons.  Boogie on, girls!
Catherine is doing great with Minnesota Music Teachers Association contests and exams.

Bill is preparing his original rock song, Poster Child, (developed in lessons), for the Spring Recital rock band.

Andrew's focusing on playing pop song arrangements these days.

A skilled guitarist, Jim is enjoying making musical connections between guitar and keys.


4 Reviews

Write a Review
Mai Lee Vang Mar 9, 2017
Piano · In studio

I started my piano playing experience as a high school student knowing absolutely nothing about music. I really enjoyed piano lessons with Cheri because she is a great instructor. She is kind, patient, and understanding. I always looked forward to lessons every week knowing I would have a great time. From individual music lessons to playing for an audience, it was always fun and exciting. I highly recommend music lessons with Cheri!

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Janaé Feb 27, 2017
Piano · In studio

Cheri was a breath of fresh air every lesson. For an adult beginner I was nervous starting but Cheri welcomes you in and breaks down the basics in a fun non-judgmental environment.

William Dec 9, 2016
Piano · In studio

I have an awesome time taking lessons from Cheri. From the beginning when I was learning lessons from different books to currently learning pieces by ear, from playing solo pieces to being part of a band, she has always been patient and fun and very knowledgeable. Being an adult student is an interesting and challenging experience and Cheri has been very supportive every step of the way. She even helped me write a song that included guitar and vocals that we performed with some fellow students at a recent recital. I've appreciated all the time she's worked with me and hope to continue taking lessons from her as long as I enjoy playing the piano.

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Marion Sep 18, 2016
Piano · In studio

My daughters and I have been taking lessons with Cheri for almost 5 years now and are absolutely amazed at both the breadth and the depth of her ability. The things she has taught us have ranged from standard classical fare to jazz, improvisation skills (in a variety of musical styles), theory and ear training and lead sheet reading. We have participated in the MMTA contests and both my daughters have received "high distinction" as their result. What I have loved most is that she is so willing to work with each student on their own musical priorities. My 14 year old daughter was asked to be on the Congregational Worship team at church as the piano player. Cheri spent lots of time each lesson working on the specific songs that my daughter needed and helped her get the confidence she needed to play introductions, accompany soloists, match rhythms, and vary the style from verse to verse to make it musically interesting. My younger daughter loved the fact that Cheri also taught guitar skills and spent a year transferring her piano skills to a different instrument. And I have loved the fact that she is gentle with the adult piano learner and has a flexible lesson schedule that will accommodate my busy schedule!

I wholeheartedly recommend Cheri to anyone who is looking for a piano teacher!

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