Holly Thornton

Holly T.

Seattle, WA

About Holly T.

Background check: Last verified 06/20/2016
Holly passed a background check on 06/20/2016 that included the following:
  • National Criminal Record Check
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Holly teaches: Ages 5 and up
Special needs
Teaching since: February 2003
Last sign in: Yesterday


I am an enthusiastic musician with a talent for teaching. I have worked as a voice and piano teacher in Seattle for over ten years. Previously employed at The West Side Music Academy in 2003-2006, I realized my passion for individual instruction early in my career. I studied Music Education under Dr. Romana Holmes at Seattle Pacific University and furthered my knowledge in Pedagogy.

I am a huge believer in being a lifelong student! I have continued my music education throughout my adult life and have studied Jazz, Classical, Opera, Pop, Rock, Reggae, Blues, Soul, Gospel, and Folk. As a pianist I began individual instruction at age fourteen and have studied Jazz with Darius Willrich, Ryan Burns, Dan Kramlich and Mark Samson.

I began singing and playing piano at age five. I have been involved in school and community choirs including The Total Experience Gospel Choir, Seattle Pacific University Women's Choir, and The Spokane Area Children's Chorus. Musical productions including Grease, Once Upon a Mattress, Chicago, and Les Miserables. I have been a featured soloist in ensembles throughout my life. I also performed in the Jazz Ensemble at Seattle Central Community College for three years as a vocalist and pianist.

I have an extensive background as a performer in small and large bands in the Seattle area. I have played in various venues throughout the area including Key Arena, Benaroya Hall, McCall Hall, Folk Life Festival, Marymoor Park, Highway 99 Blues Club, Tula's Nightclub, and the Nectar Lounge to name a few. I have also worked as a studio musician with various funk, soul, and electronic music producers and bands.

I study African dance and other forms of dance including hip-hop, house, and have traveled to Guinea, Conakry to study dance and music with Les Ballets African a premier African dance ensemble that tours the world. I also spent the summer of 2012 working with a non-profit organization in Chiapas, Mexico teaching music and dance to kids k-12 in the Indigenous Village of Ignacio Allende. More recently I have been studying and performing with Pat Wright and The Total Experience Gospel Choir since 2014.

*** Lesson Details ***
As your teacher I can help you thrive in music. I promise to provide a fun learning experience with lots of laughs and smiles. My number one goal is to help build a love and passion for music and boost student's confidence. I understand and appreciate different levels of experience and make sure to cater the lesson to the individual. Whether my students are young or old; whether they view voice or piano lessons as a just-for-fun hobby; or whether they wish to pursue a serious music career - I am happy to facilitate all of this and more, as we work together to reach their goals.

My musical foundation is one built on proper technique and strong musicianship skills. Students will learn proper posturing, breathing, and vocal production- in addition to reading and music notation, music theory and more. As students master these techniques I will work to help them bring out their own voice and creative expression. We will explore music from a variety of genres including Jazz, Classical, Pop/Rock, and more. Each of my students will be able to perform in ways that are not only healthy and technically sound but unique to them.

*** Studio Equipment ***
In the studio I have an acoustic upright piano, shakers, tambourines, and a library of music books. The studio is also used for dance lessons and has hardwood floors and mirrors. There is also a waiting room area for parents to sit and listen in during lessons.

*** Travel Equipment ***
I provide books, metronome, and keyboard stand. Students are expected to have a piano or keyboard.

*** Specialties ***
I specialize in Jazz, Classical, Pop, Rock, RnB, and Broadway style singing. I use an eclectic approach to teaching.

Photos and Videos

Singing "Stairway To Heaven" with Heart's Ann Wilson and Peal Jam's Mike McCready.


Level 1 Kodai Certified Educator

Jul 2013 - Present
Kodaly of Seattle

The Kodaly Method is a very structured method of pedagogy invented by Zoltan Kodaly and Bela Bartok. Originally based on the Folks songs of Europe, the method has evolved to include folk songs from around the world. The concepts are taught through rhythm language, solfege hand signs, and ear training. This method is very fun and students learn music and dance with singing games.

Voice and Piano Instructor

Feb 2004 - Jun 2007
West Side Music Academy

I taught a wide age range of students at The Academy. I had the opportunity to work with adult professionals teaching them performance etiquette, proper mic technique, using a PA system in addition to teaching them how to sing and read music. I also taught piano students to accompany themselves while singing. My methods included ear training, vocalise catered to individual needs, music theory, composition, and technique.


B.A. Music Education

Sep 2012 - Present
Seattle Pacific University

Music Education

Sep 2012 - Jan 2014
Seattle Pacific University

Languages Spoken

American Sign Language

Limited Proficiency


Limited Proficiency


Level 1 Kodai Certified Educator

Jul 2013
Kodaly of Seattle


National Association for Music Education

Jan 2014

Founded in 1907, NAfME is among the world’s largest arts education organizations. NAfME advocates at the local, state, and national levels; provides resources for teachers, parents, and administrators; hosts professional development events; and offers a variety of opportunities for students and teachers.

Write a Review

9 Reviews on Holly T.

Tony E. Sep 14, 2016
Piano · In home
Verified Student
Great teacher. She was very patient with me and answered all my questions.
Also she knows the subject very well and appeared ready to help me out because I am brand new.
Howard S. Sep 12, 2016
Speaking Voice · In home
Verified Student
Great result on day 1 with technique to improve the quality of my speaking voice.
Alexander Aug 16, 2016
Speaking Voice · In studio
She helped me after one lesson, teaching me the Alexander Technique. I can't wait to take more lessons later.
Paul C. Sep 10, 2015
Piano · In studio
Verified Student
Holly turns the frustrations of learning the piano into fun. I highly recommend her as a teacher. Her instruction has greatly enhanced my enjoyment of trying to learn to play the piano as an adult. She is active in instruction, giving an excellent demonstration of the material and sometimes singing along. When she is enjoying herself teaching, I can't help but enjoy learning. She ensures that whatever is being learned, is mastered before proceeding. She gives clear directions as to what I should practice next, and even loaned out a book she though I might enjoy. I did.
Rachel S. Jun 1, 2015
Singing · In studio
Verified Student
Rachel likes it. We practiced last night. Castle in the Clouds. I think she will warm up.

Mandy S. Apr 16, 2015
Singing · In home
Verified Student
We love Holly's enthusiasm and skill as a teacher.
Xing G. Dec 7, 2014
Singing · In home
As a student, I take vocal and piano lessons from Holly. I look forward to our lessons each week and I love the kind of flexibility she gives me. I often find myself motivated by her lessons to practice on my own.
She has introduced a lot of new music to me this year--some music which I didn't think I liked!
Ly T. Dec 5, 2014
Singing · In studio
Best instructor ever, indeed!
My daughter takes lesson from Holly. My daughter who cried when I would sing to her as an infant, who begged me to stop singing when she was in elementary. My daughter who would not participate in annual caroling, who early on in her academic instructions learned to mouth "watermelon" to give the impression she sings along. Now in high school, she takes lessons from Holly. My daughter enthusiastically belts out the words to songs! Holly is helping her to find her voice- musically, and in life. My daughter will now let me sing!

Emily C. Sep 27, 2013
Verified Student
Great Teacher!

Holly goes out of her way to find music that is just right for my son on the piano. When he showed interest in a particular piece of music, she found a version that was perfect for him to learn. Holly is cheerful, flexible, and communicative. Her skill with music is wonderful! We highly recommend Holly!
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