Hillary Santoso

Hillary S.

Teaching Locations:
Profile-location-online Online
Teaching Locations:
Profile-location-online Online
Levels taught:
Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced
Hello all!

I am a professional musician with a Bachelor's degree in Piano Performance from San Francisco Conservatory of Music and a Master's degree in Piano Performance and Pedagogy from the University of Michigan. I have taught piano for over 8 years, in applied-music collegiate classes and privately for students of all ages, levels, learning disabilities, and backgrounds. I provide students with practice strategies and problem-solving skills during the lesson, so they can experience progress and enjoyment from mastering challenges. I want students to leave the lesson thinking: "I CAN do it!" I am always communicating and setting individual goals and expectations. I promote proper technique to support healthy practice and greater expressive ability. All the while, I strive to develop a student's critical listening skills and self-awareness. I aim to introduce students to a variety of the best piano literature so they can discover the excitement, beauty and enjoyment of playing music. My ultimate goal is to peak my students' curiosities and their desires to learn with each new piece we study. The goal is to get students to fall in love with the learning process, through music.

Lessons take place either online/remotely via Zoom/Google Meet/Bluejeans. I also teach music theory.

I currently teach full-time with a studio of adult beginners/intermediates, young beginners, and pre-college students. At least 1 hour weekly lessons are highly recommended for serious progress, but let's talk and discuss what would be the best lesson option for you/your child. I offer student recitals for all ages and examinations with ABRSM and RCM. I have prepared my students for CM, RCM, ABRSM exams, NYSSMA exams, high school auditions, pre-college programs, and college auditions (to major in music). I have also taught many students who are learning just for leisure or just for themselves. If you are a beginner and/or don't know how to read sheet music, I can definitely help you! If you are interested in learning how to play the piano to advance your technique, I can definitely help you as well.. Finally, I also welcome serious students of piano who are thinking about making classical music into a career choice.

I believe in the art of teaching...I believe in music. I know a little something about communication without words. Words are powerful, but the majority of human communication does not have to do with opening our mouths. Music is an essential part of humanity and expression; it is essential to my entire life and being. Great music grounds me, elevates me, humbles me, opens my eyes, more than anything else in the world. I know how it feels to channel the flow of music through my body and mind as the communicator. I am filled with wonder of this force that is so above us, and humbled with gratitude that we are able to tap into its power, partake in, and feel its love. I believe that is truly unfortunate that not more people are brought to a deeper relationship with great music, and I believe my contribution in this world is to create more avenues of communication between classical music and humanity. To learn, teach myself and others how to become balanced human beings, fortified by faith, hope, and truth.

Please feel free to message me with any questions you might have. I am genuinely passionate about teaching and sincerely care about each of my students. And if you are a part of my studio, you will find that I am very responsive and willing to help however I can. I look forward to helping you achieve your goals. Thank you!

About Hillary S.

Hillary has captured prizes in numerous competitions. She was recipient of the “Judges’ Award” for the American Protégé International Concerto Competition and was subsequently invited to perform in Carnegie Hall for the Gala Winners’ Concert. She was also a finalist of the National YoungArts Foundation and International Washington D.C. Competition. She received second prize in the 14th Biennial Los Angeles International Liszt Competition and a cash award, which led to a performance in the 2017 American Liszt Society Festival.

She has starred as a soloist with numerous orchestras in the United States and Europe. Her most notable concerto performance was with the Glendale Youth Orchestra, which led to a debut at the Walt Disney Concert Hall, after an audition with the LA Phil Youth Orchestra Mentorship Partners.

Hillary has presented a solo benefit recital performing piano and violin to raise a total of $3,500 in funds to benefit the American Red Cross and Tzu Chi Foundation for the Tsunami Relief Effort. Additionally, she has provided voluntary piano lessons to children with various forms of autism. She is a passionate and active teacher, with teaching experience ranging from toddler group classes to university classes, to teaching private students. She has presented her research topics at the 2019 Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) conferences at the national and collegiate level. Additionally, her students have achieved high marks at the Royal Conservatory of Music exams.


Write a Review
2 Reviews
Profile-location-online Online

Thank you for being such an inspirational teacher Hillary! The lessons with her are so fun! She talks about concepts from technique to color and pedaling and theory during our lessons. Her online setup is really great and clear. Highly recommend her!

Posted Jul 2, 2020
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

Thank you Hillary, for being so patient and positive with my kids! You are incredible at getting my kids to focus. I highly recommend Hillary for anyone who is looking to start their kids on piano!

Posted Jul 2, 2020

Photos & Videos

6 Photos & Videos


Graduate Student Instuctor
Aug 2018 - Present

University of Michigan

Teaching class piano and keyboard skills to undergraduate college students in classes setting at University of Michigan Collaborating with faculty to develop lesson plans for students Lesson planning, class structuring, grading, office hours, public speaking, group teaching Developing proficiency of basic keyboard technique, score reading and performance, sight-reading, harmonization, rhythm, and transposition for undergraduate non-piano majors Ensuring success in course exams Aiding each student through a comprehensive study of the art of keyboard performance, starting from the beginning level to late intermediate Teaching private piano lessons with pre-college students (Piano Pedagogy Laboratory Program) Preparing students for Royal Conservatory of Music examinations Presenting masterclasses, recitals, organizing concerts

Piano Teacher
Dec 2016 - Apr 2018

Russo Music School

Teaching piano lessons to students (toddlers to late adults,) of levels ranging from beginning to advanced Organized student recitals, programs


Masters of Music in Piano Performance and Pedagogy
Aug 2018 - Apr 2020

University of Michigan

Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance
Aug 2014 - May 2018

San Francisco Conservatory of Music



Fluent / Native Proficiency


2nd Place
Mar 2017

Los Angeles International Liszt Competition

May 2014

National YoungArts

May 2013

Los Angeles Philharmonic Youth Orchestra Partnership Competition

Judge's Award
Apr 2012

American Protégé International Concerto Competition


Royal Conservatory of Music of Canada Music Development Program
Aug 2018
The Royal Conservatory Music Development Program (Music Development Program) provides a recognized national standard of musical success through an effectively sequenced course of study from beginner to advanced levels.
Music Teachers National Association
Aug 2018
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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