Deborah Backus
Phoenix, AZ
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Deborah Backus

Deborah B.

Phoenix, AZ
Profile-background-check Background Check
This teacher successfully passed a thorough criminal background check with SterlingBackcheck. This badge verifies trusted teacher status.
Profile-student-favorite Student Favorite
This teacher is rated in the top 15% of teachers in the specialty subject. This badge demonstrates subject mastery on a nationwide scale.
Teaching Locations:
Profile-location-online Online
Teaching Locations:
Profile-location-online Online
Levels taught:
Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced
As the award winning pianist with doctorate in piano performance, I have performed at several different nations in the world and taught at Piano Academy and a few universities over 25 years teaching from the beginners to doctorate/professional pianists. With many years of experience as a performer and piano educator, my piano lessons are customized and catered to each student's learning style and goals for the most optimal learning experience. While they will LOVE to play the piano music, they will also be building a great foundation of piano technique, music theory and performances. I teach classical music, traditional/contemporary worship songs with improvisation and accompanying. Through my years of teaching, my students have won many competitions and earned highest scores at the state piano exams and pursued music as their profession. I look forward to working with you to create the MOST BEAUTIFUL MUSIC!

About Deborah B.

I am the award winning concert pianist, piano educator and composer. I have studied and performed in the U.S., Korea, and Europe. I earned my Doctorate in Piano Performance from Arizona State University, Masters in Piano Performance from New England Conservatory and Bachelors from University of Michigan. I was the recipient of the Excellence in Piano Performance Award (created especially for me) at the University of Michigan for the first time in their history of piano department and I won many awards in piano competitions. I have a great passion for performing and teaching both classical and modern music.

With many successful years of performing and teaching, I have taught over 30 years privately and music classes at Elite Piano Academy and a few universities ranging from beginner to doctorate and professional levels. I customize individual piano lesson based on each student's interest, strength, learning ability and goals for the most optimal musical learning experience. My students will also learn to love and enjoy playing piano music while they build a great foundation of excellent piano technique, music theory and exceptional performance preparation. They will also discover the joy of learning piano music as they gain great confidence through creative, fun, individual and excellent musical learning environment.

I LOVE to teach classical and modern piano music as well as creative improvisation of traditional and contemporary worship music and accompanying. My students have won many competitions, awards and become professional musicians. It is my great joy to teach students of all ages and all levels and continually inspire them to reach their full musical potential! I look forward to meeting you and helping YOU to be the pianist you have always wanted to be.


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18 Reviews
Profile-location-online Online

Dr. Deborah Backus is an amazingly exceptional teacher! I have taken piano lessons from her for 3 years. I am so happy that I found her and that she was available. Of course, she has an incredible background, technical skills and knowledge, but she also has an ability to connect with a student. She is able to truly teach to make it fun and enjoyable, educate, help the student understand the “story” behind the music, and inspire. I spent over a month researching and interviewing piano teachers. I am so pleased to have Dr. Backus as my teacher. She has really allowed me to “connect” with the music and significantly enhanced my enjoyment of playing the piano. Her communication and understanding skills are extraordinary. In addition, she is a very high quality person in many ways with a huge heart for her students and music.

Posted Nov 10, 2021
Profile-location-online Online

I am so happy that I found Deborah! She is an amazing teacher and I have learned so much from her. She focuses on what my interests are, which is worship music, and teaches me so much technique and theory through music that I love. She has an amazing heart for worship and I come away every week feeling so blessed! I am amazed at how far I've come in the time we've been working together.

Posted Nov 9, 2021
Profile-location-online Online

Deborah is a diamond in the rough. She is a talented pianist and an excellent teacher. I spent countless hours during COVID searching for a piano instructor for my daughter, a beginner. Many veteran teachers prefer to teach intermediate-to-advanced students, and even fewer are willing to teach virtually. I'm so grateful to have found Deborah. She provides high-quality instruction to my daughter, and communicates with ease using technology. Deborah is engaging, professional, and her love of music is infectious.

Posted Oct 14, 2021
Profile-location-online Online

I’ve been learning piano with Deborah for over 6 months, and I am really surprised with my improvement. Deborah is very professional in the piano technique, style and theory. Her class is organized and content oriented, it help me progress every lessons. She is also very motivating! She likes to hear feedback from me and help with my difficulty about the practicing, understanding and everything. I had a great experience with Deborah!

Posted Oct 14, 2021
Dana -.
Profile-location-online Online

Deborah is such an excellent teacher. I've been taking lessons with Deborah for a little over 4 months now and I'm impressed with my progress. We're going at my own pace because I don't have a whole lot of time to practice due to work and other obligations, and she is understanding, incredibly patient, and encouraging.

In the lessons, she's not only teaching me theory and classical piano (my choice), but she's teaching me the joy of playing music and how to play from the soul. Our lessons and my practice never feel tedious. Often, she'll play a song for me so I can hear the melody for a piece I'm going to learn. Whenever she plays, you can see the passion and joy she has for music and piano.

She is a professional, very skilled at both piano and teaching and I'm thankful to be taking lessons with her. Whether you are taking lessons for fun or for professional reasons, Deborah is the right pick.

Posted May 16, 2021
Dan R.
Profile-location-online Online

Deborah is a great teacher! She is good at working with you at your own pace while also challenging you at an appropriate level. I have been progressing much, much faster than when I was just working through books and doing self-study.

Posted Mar 14, 2021
Keren D.
Profile-location-online Online

Very professional, amazing teacher! Thank you.

Posted Feb 18, 2021
Jose Merchan
Profile-location-online Online

Deborah is such a patience instructor! She grasps your level very quickly and goes at your pace, always with proper technique and the fundamentals in mind.
Heed my advice! Go with Deborah!

Posted Feb 5, 2021
Profile-location-online Online

Deborah is an amazing instructor who is very passionate about teaching piano. She has consistently high expectations for her students while at the same time has the ability to reach students at their current skill level and help them grow and develop as pianists. She focuses on technique that can be applied to all genres of piano music and does a fantastic job of providing specific, individualized feedback on how to improve technique. She is a master pianist, a pleasure to work with, and a compassionate teacher and motivator. The sky is the limit for any of Deborah's students.

Posted Feb 1, 2021
Wenping L.
Profile-location-online Online

We are very lucky to have Dr. Deborah as our piano teacher for our 12 year old. She is very nice, responsible, and an phenomenal pianist herself, and demonstrates during classes which is very important for young student as they intend to imitate. Her teaching for my child includes scales, basic techniques and classical music, enhanced by daily practice with at least 15 minutes on each section. My child's piano skill has been improving under Dr. Deborah's instruction. I sometimes can not tell by listening who is playing, if it is my 12 year old, or his 17 year old pianist brother.

Posted Jan 1, 2021
Lizanne P.
Profile-location-online Online

Are you looking for someone who is attentive to your ideas, and hope to bring you concrete tools to better your piano skills. Or maybe you have a child who'm you'd like them to discover the piano, or fall in love with piano lessons all over again? I'm telling you right now, this woman is worth your time and money!

First thing she asked me is... "What can I do for you?" with intrigue and passion, she asked more questions, working up a plan to achieve our goals, and she delivered!

She is always so enthusiastic, and never lacks patience! Her love for the piano shines through in her way of teaching. Deborah has a way of sharing her gift of music with deep gratifying acknowledgement that makes my boy feel good about himself and helps him progress rapidly every week.

I'm a mother of a gifted boy who practically taught himself how to play piano through videos and composing his own little songs. He struggles with ADHD but his piano is his outlet. Everything came to a stop once video games came in the picture. I know I wanted more for him and someone had suggested takelessons. After a week of extensive research and reading hundreds of profiles and reviews... Deborah's Profile seemed to be the best fit! My son may only be 10years old with only a year of experimenting with the piano, but with Deborah, he plays beautiful classical pieces. He's so happy and astonished at all he's accomplished in only 6 months! Even after a few lessons, he was eager to see her every week, and could see where she was leading him. He can now read music, compose more of his songs, and has better rhythm. And best of all... loves the piano more than Minecraft! (video games)

I wouldn't think twice! This is a chance of a lifetime for you or your family! I hope this review is convincing enough to help you start your endless research. She's truly the best, and all you got to do is try a lesson to find out!

We have a live concert everyday that resounds in our home and we just LOVE it.

All the best!

Posted Nov 3, 2020
Profile-location-online Online

Deborah is such an excellent piano instructor, because of her enthusiasm, encouragement, and skill. My daughter was able to advance quickly in her lessons, and I know it is because of Ms. Deborah’s attitude of excellence and professionalism. Thank you so much!!

Posted Oct 20, 2020
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

Deborah is amazing! She is kind, patient and has an unbelievable talent for teaching the piano. Her attention to detail is truly appreciated by my daughter and me.

Posted Oct 6, 2019
Profile-location-home Student's Home

I received classical piano lessons from Dr. Backus for almost two years before college. In those two years, I grew so much in my playing and in my love for music. Dr. Backus has a deep passion for music and her students. In my lessons, Dr. Backus incorporated extensive knowledge about music history, theory and technique. Our goal was to build knowledge and technique so that I could freely create and make a beautiful sound with each piece. After taking lessons from her, I LOVE the piano. Dr. Backus taught me how to express music from my heart, and it was a privilege to learn from her and know her. I would highly recommend her for piano lessons!

Posted Mar 15, 2018
Mary Lou

I have had the pleasure of knowing, Deborah Joy personally, for over seven years. During the years of our acquaintance, I have gotten to know Deborah in many capacities.

I have always known her to be an intelligent, capable, dedicated, and personable woman of integrity who possess an amazing warmth and compassion.

Deborah also has an excellent rapport with people of all ages. Her excellent communication skills allow her to connect with all kinds of people and to inspire them to put forth their best effort.

Deborah has shown herself to be an exemplary role model always expressing her passion in sharing her talents and creativity with others.

As a performer, I have witnessed Deborah’s ability to demonstrate a strong presence of poise and focus on stage and simultaneously elicit a warmth and charm that engages her audience.

Deborah’s dynamic performances evoke from her audiences a wonderous range of emotion as they experience a journey through her exciting and powerful musical compositions.

As a pianist, the extremes of her dynamic range which requires much refinement of technique and a depth of musical understanding to perform, confirms her excellent musicianship.

Her deep stylistic knowledge and interpretive flourishes in her program of works demonstrate a wide range of techniques and technical difficulty.

Without reservation, I highly recommend Deborah Joy!

Posted Mar 10, 2018

Deborah is a gifted teacher and pianist. She teaches and performs with deep passion. Deborah is very loving, kind and patient. She brings out the best in others and makes those in her presence feel valued and important.

Posted Mar 9, 2018
Profile-location-home Student's Home

Dr. Backus is a phenomenal music teacher. In just a few lessons we could hear the difference in the way our daughter was playing piano. We have been so impressed with Dr. Backus’ ability to teach challenging piano techniques or music theory to our daughter and to make it interesting and fun. Our daughter not only enjoys her piano lessons but she is looking forward to them. Dr. Backus is a top-level piano performer and music teacher. Dr. Backus is extremely knowledgeable in her field and she is also organized and provides a framework of study for her students that is compatible with the student’s other activities and still ensures real progress in piano performance. Dr. Backus is passionate about music and about teaching music. She demonstrates so much positive energy and confidence that she captivates her students during the lessons. We highly recommend Dr. Backus as piano/music teacher.

Posted Mar 6, 2018
Profile-location-home Student's Home

Deborah is a kind, passionate, skillful, experienced pianist and teacher!

Posted Feb 28, 2018

Photos & Videos

3 Photos & Videos


Aug 1995 - Jan 2021

Elite Piano Academy

As the founder of the Elite Piano Academy, I have many years of teaching experience, including at the university level. I've instructed classes at the University of Michigan, North Eastern University, and Arizona State University, where I also taught private lessons to music majors while working on my Doctorate in Piano Performance. I've had the pleasure of teaching children of all ages, young adults, college students, music majors, professional pianists, competition winners, and passionate music lovers. I am also a concert pianist and have performed in the U.S., Korea, and Europe. Making music is my greatest passion. Through my rich experience as a performer, I train my piano students to not only have excellent technique and a great knowledge base, but to also be wonderful, confident, and passionate performers who connect with their audience through the magnificent beauty of piano music.


Doctor of Musical Arts in Piano Performance
Sep 1995 - Dec 2006

Arizona State University

Master of Music in Piano Performance
Aug 1992 - May 1994

New England Conservatory of Music

Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance
Aug 1988 - May 1992

University of Michigan



Professional Proficiency


Professional Proficiency

Professional Proficiency

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