I studied piano in Germany with Lola Poirier (a student of the famous Alfred Cortot) for 11 years, then with Phillip Evans in New York (professor at the Manhattan School of Music) and finally with world-renowned concert pianist Eugene Liszt at Carnegie-Mellon University, where I received my Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance with a Minor in Child Pedagogy.
For the past twenty eight years I have been teaching students of all levels and ages, incorporating some of my former teachers' methods with my own teaching style. I am passionate about awakening a hunger in each of my students for bringing and keeping music in their lives forever. I don't look at my students as children who play an instrument, but as young artists on the road to self-discovery and musical fulfillment!
Although many of my students have used their proficiency in piano for college admission and scholarship opportunities, my goal remains to bring their piano playing ability to such an advanced level, that it will become a part of their lives forever.
Along the way I have created strong bonds of friendship with many of my former students, to the point that I feel like they have become a part of my extended family. I am most rewarded when a former student drops by for a visit after completing college to let me know how they are still being positively affected by their continued use of the gift of playing the piano.
*** Lesson Details ***
My objective in the first few months of working with a new student is to teach them all the basics-especially how to read music-so they will be able to get to play the pieces they love as soon as possible. My emphasis is on classical music, but I also teach Popular Music and Broadway Music or anything else the student might prefer.
I use the Michael Aaron Beginner's book together with Note Reviews (my own method of teaching note reading the fast and easy way).
I am very friendly and outgoing- being overly strict doesn't accomplish anything.... but I am progress oriented. My students all practice because they want to move forward and improve and because they enjoy coming to class and performing in my Recitals....which are a wonderful opportunity for them to showcase their talent and accomplishments.
After 3 months many students are just about ready to start on their first real classical piece (such as "Fur Elise' by Beethoven) and by 6 months most are playing original classical pieces by Mozart, Bach and Haydn and Beethoven.
In addition, many of my students enjoy learning contemporary and musical theater pieces, and some even come for audition coaching . I accompany them and help prepare them for their music theater auditions: I teach them how to incorporate their piano training to aid them with their vocal exercises and....having an extended personal background in musical theater myself...give them feedback and insight into the audition process.
*** Studio Equipment ***
Private music studio in the back of house with two grand pianos
*** Specialties ***
My biggest strengths as a teacher are relatability and communication: I am very good at figuring out each of my student's strengths and weaknesses and working with them to bring out their best! Making the lessons fun remains a priority.... as does making sure they learn how to read notes and get exposed to as many pieces as possible so they have a well rounded repertoire.
I love teaching music, it is my greatest passion in life and my students respond in kind by learning quickly and advancing rapidly while enjoying themselves immensely. As is evident by the fact that most of them stay with me for many years most until College some even returning after College to enhance their skills and enrich their repertoire and, because they miss their weekly classes. Some of my former students have even gone on to become Piano teachers themselves!
I was a music educator (music specialist) at this school for 5 years. Ever since, I have been teaching piano privately.
This is a program that makes it easier for children to integrate music into their lives through play....exposing them to music from all cultures.
The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) is a membership association of more than 480,000 US composers, songwriters, lyricists and music publishers. The ASCAP is committed to nurturing music makers throughout their careers.
Verified Student · Piano · In studio
Verified Student · Classical Piano · In studio
Verified Student · Piano ·
Clarissa has done good job with student , giving them confidence to perform on the stage .
Especially , my daughter 5 years old and no previous experience, she played 3 songs and perform great !!
Verified Student · Piano ·
She is not only an amazing piano player but an awesome teacher as well! I have only had a few months of lessons and have learned so much already! Her love and knowledge of the piano is so inspiring to see. I am so happy that she is my teacher!
Verified Student · Piano ·
Clarissa has been an exceptional teacher! She's very dedicated, passionate, loving, and understanding. My daughter has learned more in the one year with Clarissa than previous years with other teachers put together. My daughter and I feel extremely happy and grateful we found her. Looking forward to many more years to come :)
Clarissa is AWESOME! My 7-year-old daughter is a bit hyperactive but Clarissa is very patient and encouraging with her and Samantha loves learning from her. My teenager would butt heads with me about practicing, but she would do it for Clarissa. I would recommend Clarissa to anyone and everyone!