Daniel Kotval

Daniel K.

Chicago, IL

About Daniel K.

Daniel teaches: Ages 5 and up
Teaching since: August 1980
Last sign in: Last week


Daniel, a former faculty member of Columbia College in Chicago, is a studio and live performance singer and musician based in Chicago. His teaching and performing experience spans three decades, and includes expertise in the studies of voice, guitar, piano, bass, drums, and trumpet, along with music theory, arranging, and composing. He is a Lincoln Academy Student Laureate who holds a BA in Music Composition, and has attended graduate courses in education at Roosevelt University and DePaul University in Chicago. He has taught students of all ages at private studios, public school, and college.

Daniel is described by his students as a natural teacher. He prefers to be regarded as an advancing student, and takes the journey along with his students to guide them towards their goals with a friendly, positive, efficient and productive approach. He feels that music is within all of us, and a desire to learn is a sign of talent, so anyone can develop their musical abilities with methodical practice.

The musical journey for Daniel began at an early age with trumpet and piano studies which became a passion for him by the age of 14. He was the drum major of the high school marching band, and successfully completed a paid contract to arrange music for the high school jazz band which performed in a state beauty pageant. He began teaching privately after high school, and continued playing in bands, and composing original music. He formed a professional jazz ensemble under the name of the Chicago Jazz Players by the age of 22, and developed his arranging techniques while having it performed by an eighteen piece orchestra consisting of many great local artists. It was in this environment that he gained experience with brass, woodwinds, and rhythm instruments. He was granted a position at Columbia College as an instructor at age 29 where he taught theory, sight singing, musicianship, ear training, harmony, orchestration, and composition. He scored the music for several plays, and conducted his own pieces with Chicago Symphony and Lyric Opera Players. During those years he found himself playing the guitar and singing more than anything else. It was in 1995 that he focused on singing and playing the guitar with his rock band. He has produced several CD recordings of his original music in his own studio, and has helped produce local bands and artists. He performs regularly in the Chicago area.

*** Lesson Details ***
Daniel exhibits patience and care with each student, and develops an individualized approach based on clear goals with practical procedures. Most beginners can expect to have a working knowledge of music notation and how it applies to their instrument within three months, and should be developing fluency in performing music that they enjoy within six months. Advancing students will enjoy the rewards that will follow by studying with an experienced teaching musician that will recognize strengths and weaknesses, and recommend proven techniques for personal musical development. Studying music should be fun, fulfilling, and in harmony with the needs and desires of the student, and this is key to the philosophy held by Daniel.

*** Studio Equipment ***
Eight track recording gear; grand piano; guitars/bass (acoustic & electric); cables/amps, drum kit and percussion.

*** Travel Equipment ***
I can provide lesson materials, and always have a metronome with me. I expect the student to have an instrument. I prefer that a student has a music stand.

*** Specialties ***
Customized approach to the individual based on needs and goals.

Photos and Videos


BA in Music Composition

Oct 1987 - Jan 1990
Columbia College


Lincoln Academy Student Laureate Award

May 1989
Lincoln Acadamy
Write a Review

25 Reviews on Daniel K.

Madeline L. Sep 8, 2016
Flute · In studio
Verified Student
Daniel is knowledgeable, understands how to teach young children and is patient. He is also very popular! For this reason I am unable to schedule lessons with him at this time.
Nelson Anaya Jan 22, 2016
Piano · In studio
Verified Student
Good teacher and great person.
Sarah Wasserman Jan 8, 2016
Piano · In studio
Verified Student
My first lesson with Daniel was great. He met me right at my skill level and gave me things to work on, both in technique and rep. I'd highly recommend him.
Karen S. Sep 24, 2015
Piano · In studio
Verified Student
My daughter has progressed beautifully. Daniel is an excellent piano teacher who is patient. Recommend!
Maria B. Sep 3, 2015
Singing · In studio
Verified Student
Daniel is great with kids, and there is no awkwardness in the lessons with him around my daughter. He is so kind, and he is willing to make the lessons work no matter what. We definitely recommend him as an instructor!
Gary M. Aug 10, 2015
Singing · In studio
Verified Student
Excellent teacher who is incredibly knowledgeable in all aspects of music. His use of the "pivot system" got me reading music in no time. As with all lessons, practice helps move things along, but even when "life" got in the way, Dan always made great use of our time. I will probably start up with him again once my schedule clears.
Conner P. Jun 18, 2015
Piano · In studio
Verified Student
Very friendly, competent, and enthusiastic. This is the teacher I've been looking for.
Kim W. May 15, 2015
Singing · In home
Verified Student
Daniel is the real deal. He is extremely knowledgable and honest about what level you are at and what it will take to move forward.
Kathleen R. Jul 31, 2014
Guitar · In studio
Verified Student
Dan has been a great teacher thus far. He is patient and finds material that I find interesting while keeping me engaged during the lesson. He has helped me with some vocal tips as well! I really am getting my money's worth taking lessons with him. I would recommend Dan to any aspiring musician in need of lessons!
Valerie L. Feb 12, 2014
Verified Student
Consistent quality

Daniel continues to devise new ways to make learning music theory fascinating, and the mechanics of playing the piano fun. His encouraging nature minimizes the frustration of being a beginning student.
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