Debbie Tibbetts

Debbie T.

Houston, TX

About Debbie T.

Debbie teaches: Ages 7 to 77
Teaching since: December 1987
Last sign in: 2 days ago


Having been a public school teacher, as well as a private and group piano instructor, I've observed how differently students "digest" information, and piano lessons are a great way to make use of different learning styles. I emphasize knowing HOW to practice before you leave so you'll be successful at home, and you are welcome to contact me with problems during the week so you don't lose a week in progressing with your lessons. I've had students send a video of a tricky section to ask for alternative fingering, and photos to clarify how they are reading something!! I also perform with an orchestra and want to feel proficient among my peers, so I really know how it feels to make a mistake in front of everyone. I am here to help you feel proud of your progress.
My primary teaching objective is to have fun as I assist you on this wonderful journey into music!

*** Lesson Details ***
I truly have fun making and teaching music. We celebrate all successes. Even the overcoming of the smallest "hiccups"!
There are games to make my students secure with the many concepts of music reading. I encourage improvisation and ensemble playing. We can add rhythm tracks to "jazz" up our scales and finger builders. Students can accompany with chords or melodic harmonies. I assign exercises to build finger flexibility, strength, fluidity and independence; Pencil work to master theory and reading skills; Pieces that contain the ideas we are focused upon; and pieces to add to your repertoire.

*** Studio Equipment ***
At my Home Studio,You will be playing on my 5'1" Knabe grand piano! I also have electronic keyboards. On occasion you may find yourself playing on my marimba - a definite pitch percussion instrument - like a giant xylophone. We often rehearse our rhythms on my variety of world drums! There are chairs available for guests.
Also, I share my home with my pet cats - so if you are allergic, I'd be happy to consider coming to your home for your lessons.

*** Travel Equipment ***
An electronic keyboard with full-sized keys or a tuned piano must be available along with a proper height stool, bench or chair. A music stand for the books and good lighting is also needed. The family must agree that the 'lesson space' deserves to be quiet with no distractions. I can also bring one of my keyboards to use for duets, accompanying and improvising. Should there be another student (or potential student) in the home, they can use the extra keyboard with headphones for guided practice and creativity. Percussion students - primarily- mallets, would be better served at my home using my marimba. However, those who have bell kits could be taught in their home, with the possibility of using my marimba as an incentive.

*** Specialties ***
I am fortunate to have an extensive collection of piano method books and solos that I make available as part of my lending library. From it I can reinforce a concept or reward an accomplishment with an "oldie, but goodie" from John Thompson or Schaum, without having to charge the parents for another piece. For my beginning piano students of elementary school age, I have used the Robert Pace, Bastien, Faber & Faber and Schaum series. With adults, I invite them into the decision depending on what their experience is and what they would like to be able to perform one year from now. With transfer students, I have asked them to play their favorites from the lesson books they own, (and I ask them to evaluate their proficiency)- then we discuss where to go from there. Often it is positive to stay at the same level but use different literature so they can become comfortable with my style of explanations and expectations. This encourages a relationship where the student feels like they do know what they were taught and 'cements' those skills as a foundation for our moving forward together. I have a CD player handy for the books that include recorded tracks to go along with a learned piece.

Photos and Videos


Timpanist & Percussionist for Kingwood Pops Orchestra
Jan 2002 - Present

What a delightful learning experience this has been for me - mostly because of my conductor! He is patient with us, has a good sense of humor, and regularly shares information beyond just playing the music correctly. It makes me excited to drive 70 miles each week ! And even if I am spoken to directly by him in front of all my peers, I know he will not embarrass me. He gives specific pointers that I feel I can understand and produce in my performing. This is how I want my students to feel with me - safe, respected and encouraged.

Public School Music Teaching
Sep 1972 - May 2008
New Jersey, Pennsylvania & Texas

My students have ranged in age from Kindergarten to 8th Grade.
I have taught choir, band, general music, & group keyboard. I have directed musicals, put on concerts for communities and school events. We have participated in District and UIL activities.

Orchestral Timpanist & Percussionist
Jan 1978 - Jun 1999
Symphony North of Houston

My twenty-plus years with this orchestra saw numerous conductors pass through our podium. That is a learning experience, also, as I adapted myself to their different conducting styles. It helped me to learn there is often more than one way to interpret music ... and was "instrumental" in my adapting a similar approach through my teaching.

Personal Piano Studio- Teaching one-on-one, partner lessons and group lessons to elementary-ages through Adult.
Jan 1977 - May 1994
T. Piano Studio

While raising my own 'little musicians", I taught from my home and hosted recitals, ensemble performances and events with other group piano teachers.


Master of Science in Music Education
Sep 1971 - Aug 1972
University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana
Bachelor of Arts - Music Education
Sep 1967 - Jun 1971
Glassboro State College, (now Rowan University) in Glassboro, New Jersey

Languages Spoken

English and Italian for music interpretation
Professional Proficiency


Bachelor of Arts and Master of Science in Music Education
Jun 1971
Glassboro State College, Glassboro, New Jersey (B.A.), University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana (M.S.)

Four year degree program, including student teaching. Performing member of college orchestra, wind ensemble, Concert Choir, New Music Symposium, Delta Omicron (Professional Musician's Fraternity)
'71-'72 Master's Degree -One year degree program during which I also performed with the Concert Band, New Music Ensemble, and toured with the Percussion Ensemble.


Montgomery County Woman of Distinction Award 1990
Jun 1990
Montgomery County Women's League


Texas Music Educators Association
Sep 1994

Begun in 1920 as the Texas Band Teachers Association, the Texas Music Educators Association is an organization of over 10,000 school music educators dedicated to promoting excellence in music education. TMEA is comprised of five divisions: Band, Orchestra, Vocal, Elementary and College. On behalf of its members and Texas schoolchildren, TMEA carefully monitors the actions of all state decision-making bodies on issues affecting fine arts instruction in Texas. In addition to many member benefits, TMEA offers professional development opportunities for its members with Region workshops and especially with its annual Clinic/Convention. TMEA supports the future of music education by offering scholarships to music education majors and by sponsoring the Texas Future Music Educators, an organization through which high school students interested in careers in music education learn more about what to expect in their college education and future careers.

Music Teachers National Association
Sep 1972

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.

Percussive Arts Society, The
Sep 1972

We offer students and professionals opportunities to grow artistically and professionally. Students can learn have a music industry experience through the PAS Internship program or apply to receive a PAS scholarship or grant. Professionals can create new percussion programs or gain recognition through PAS grants and contests. Many individuals have significantly impacted the world of percussion through the Percussive Arts Society and they are recognized in our Hall of Fame and Awards pages.

16 Reviews on Debbie T.

Write a Review
Brant Jan 11, 2017
· Piano · In home great start
David L. Jul 8, 2016
· Piano · In home I started taking piano lessons from Debbie three months ago. I have some previous experience as a violinist, but none with piano. With her guidance, I've gotten so much farther than I would have on my own! She's a professional music teacher, and it shows - she regularly gives me tips to improve musicality of a piece, or background on the composer. She's easygoing but always encourages you to try to go further. So glad to be learning from Debbie!
Madison V. Jul 1, 2016
· Piano · In home Ms. Debbie is so patient and sweet. She works at the students pace and makes the lesson really fun! :)
Mindy T. Jun 24, 2016
· Piano · In home My son is 7 and this is his first time learning piano. We have been searching for the best piano teacher that works well with children. From reading many excellent reviews, we gave Ms. Debbie a try. And we are so glad that we have made the right choice. My son has been with Ms. Debbie for 2 months and I can see that he starts to like piano now. Ms. Debbie is very patient with my boy and always make it fun and interesting for him at every lesson. Thank you so much, Ms. Debbie.
angela Jun 6, 2016
· Piano · In studio Debbie is very personable and genuine. She is creative and skilled and I have enjoyed her instruction. I am an adult and she chose the adult advanced tract to work with me on; which has been challanging and rewarding.
Madelyne Feb 24, 2016
· Piano · In studio If you are looking for a caring and intelligent teacher, you should definitely pick Debbie! I could not be happier with her instruction.
Alex S. Feb 6, 2016
· Piano · In home My son is young and new to the piano. Debbie taught in a way that was fun for him and he really enjoyed it. He just had his first lesson and already can't wait until his next one! She is patient and clearly has a lot of experience teaching young children. Thank you!
Carol P. Jan 5, 2016
· Piano · In studio She's very patient of older adults set in their ways.
Meagan L. Sep 3, 2015
· Piano · In home My daughter has been having lessons with Debbie for over a year now and it is amazing to see how much she has learned. Debbie is great! She is very patient, has a great way of teaching and is so great with my daughter. My daughter loves her and looks forward to piano lessons each week. She always comes up with fun ways of teaching and learning, and my daughter looks forward to what her next surprise is. My daughter had never touched a piano prior to lessons with Debbie, my daughter loves it and practices between classes and always stays interested and motivated. We highly recommend her to anyone and everyone!
Amy M. Aug 15, 2015
· Piano · In studio My 10 year old football loving/playing son has been taking lessons with Ms. Debbie for just over 4 1/2 months. He loves it!!! Debbie is such an awesome music teacher, not only teaching him how to play the piano, but teaching him about music as well. I highly recommend Ms. Debbie to anyone just beginning, or even those brushing up after years of not playing piano!!! We give her many thumbs up!!!!
Debbie Tibbetts
Debbie T.

Previously Viewed