I enjoy working with complete beginners as well as seasoned professionals. I teach classical and popular styles. I specialize in teaching learning how to learn, sight-reading, technique, improvisation, chord-reading, songwriting. One of my specialties is to help you break through your most stubborn blocks. These might be the strangest things that you think no one would ever understand -- fear of playing in public, feeling like your left hand is uncoordinated, practice procrastination, pain when playing, pain when reading notation, memory issues, musical dyslexia... ANYTHING. I can help you and I will never make you feel embarrassed.
*** All Levels, All Styles ***
*** In Studio or Online ***
Of course it is more enjoyable if you can have lessons in person. But with modern technology, live online lessons come in a close second. I've been teaching for 40 years and I've been doing online lessons for about 7 years. I'm located in West Hills, which is a suburb of Los Angeles. If you are not local, using skype with a webcam works out surprisingly well. I have students in Sydney, London, Hong Kong and many cities throughout the US.
*** Use a Piano or a Keyboard for Practicing ***
I am not fussy if you use a keyboard but it needs to be a "weighted action" keyboard, so that it feels similar to a real piano. Ideally, you should also have a pedal and a stand if you are using an electronic keyboard.
*** Unconventional Approach ***
Each student is taught with a customized approach. You get to tell me what areas you want to focus on. Sometimes there may be a block or something that is a weakness that you need to bolster. Sometimes it is a narrow niche within music that you want to give your attention to. One way that I'm unconventional is that I actually have found that it is NOT better if you practice every day. I recommend that you build in about three days of rest per week. Just like people who work out at the gym learn that the off days are when the muscles regenerate, the same is true for your brain. This allows your subconscious mind to do its job and your progress will actually be faster, not slower. Another example of my unique approach is how I treat beginners. Even though you may not yet read music very well or at all, it doesn't mean that you can't start working concurrently on a more advanced piece. This is because READING notation is a comparatively slow process, but why should we restrict your ability to play something that you love to your rate of reading music? Usually, our FINGER TECHNIQUE develops much faster than our READING so I'm happy to guide you on one or two more difficult pieces and help spoon-feed it to you, bit by bit, "by rote."
*** Areas of Focus ***
-Finger Technique. How to play fast with ultimate control.
-Sight-Reading How to Read Music at Sight
-Relaxation, Removing Unnecessary Tension
-Practice-Optimization - How to learn more in less time. -How to memorize music.
-Biomechanical Efficiency - Maximum power with minimum effort.
-Improvisation and creativity development techniques
-Composition & Songwriting.
-How to create melodies for your poems and lyrics.
-How to put chords on your melodies.
-How to create “song sheets,” lead sheets and how to write music down on paper.
-How to notate your song so others can play it, without knowing how to read music!
-Chord-Reading and How to Play Lead Sheets & Fake Book
-Musical Styles and Piano Arrangements (Pop, Country, Gospel, Blues, R&B, Rock, Reggae, Hip Hop, Worship, Church, Hymns, Techno, 50s, Jazz, New Age, Folk, Broadway, Pop Ballade, etc.)
-Ear-Training (How to Play by Ear, Playing by Ear)
-Pitch Control Training
-How to Sing Harmony
-Sight-Singing (How to Hear the Notes in Your Mind)
-Self-Accompanying techniques in every style - Learn how to accompany yourself or learn how to accompany singers. (see “Musical Styles” above.)
-Audition Preparation - I will record the melody of the song for you so you can learn it.
-How to put melody to lyrics
-Performance Anxiety, Stage Fright, Fear
-Releasing Emotional Obstacles to Playing Emotional Blocks, Healing Piano Trauma and Previous Performance Disasters, Piano Therapy
-Learning Disabilities including ADD, ADHD, Dyslexia, Dysgraphia, Dyscalculia, Dyscalculea, Sensory Integration Disorder
-Motiviation Issues - Solving your procrastination and avoidance of your musical growth issues.
-How to Look Like You’ve Played Piano for Years (for Actors, Singers and Celebrities Who Have A Role Deadline and Need a Crash Course.)
*** Celebrity Piano Teacher ***
Over the years, I've taught many pro musicians and celebrities. These include: Vonda Shepard, David E. Kelley, Dick Gautier, Michelle Pfeiffer, Pray Harper, Peter Horton, Michael Goodrich, Brianna Haynes, Starr Parodi, Briana Evigan, Stuart Ross, Roger Burnley, Chris Hardin, Stu Simone and Ben Bram.
*** Howard's Teachers Go Back To Beethoven ***
I feel grateful that my own training included top teachers of both the “German School” and “Russian School” of piano technique. Generally, the German School teaches how to play with close-to-the-key hand placement preparation and fingering efficiency, and is known for great speed and accuracy. The Russian School teaches how to play with gravity and relaxation and is known for beautiful tone production. Each approach has its strengths and weaknesses. In my own playing and teaching, I have incorporated the good aspects of each and have discarded the bad. The result is a blueprint for biomechanical efficiency and beautiful sound, making it the best of both worlds. Please see the photo of the "piano lineage chart."
I began teaching piano in 1975, when I was 17 years old. I have a B.A. degree from UCLA in piano performance and an M.F.A. degree from CalArts, also in piano performance. I taught on the faculty of CalArts for 3 years. I continue to teach privately.
MTAC aspires to be the recognized leader in (1) Student Programs, which make a positive impact in the quality of music education and in the lives of music students; (2) Member Programs, which inspire quality teaching, the pursuit of ongoing teacher education and member involvement with community outreach; (3) a thriving Foundation, which funds Student Programs and member needs through its investments, donations, and grants.
· Piano · In home Howard is very caring and detailed oriented. He really knows how to inspire and encourage children to learn piano. He makes it challenging and fun!
· Piano · Online Howard's approach is patient while at the same time he actually leads my son forward - not just listening to what he practiced that week. Howard does not make the weekly lesson a "test" but rather a session to work together and my son enjoys the lessons instead of worrying if he prepared enough.
We moved from Los Angeles so we chose to transition from lessons in Howard's house to weekly lessons online - it continues to work beautifully.
Howard can accommodate any style of student - I know because I took lessons from Howard myself until my work built up too much to continue.
I recommend Howard without any reservation.
· Piano · In studio Folks, I'm excited to write this review for a true master in piano pedagogy and so many other skills! Howard is worthy of the title! In all my years that I have taken lessons from teacher at universities and privately, I've never come across someone with the genius and in-depth philosophy that Howard has. You may think this may be some fluff to help a guy out but my words will still not be enough to quantify the abilities of this man! I went from having severe arthritis in my wrists from playing with terrible technique to never having problems again and experiencing a huge leap in my playing abilities!
If you want to experience a paradigm shift in your playing, get ready to open yourself to a new way of thinking and playing that will lift you up! If your attitude to learn matches Howard's abilities to teach you will not believe the progress you will make. Its true what they say, when you are ready the master will come! I hope you are ready because Howard is the real deal!!!
Enjoy your paradigm shift!!!
· Music Theory · In studio It has been a few years since our daughter, Michaela, took piano and music theory classes from Howard Richman. However, hardly a day goes by when she is not using something that she has learned from him. Whether she is writing a song, composing music, producing a track, playing the piano, singing, rehearsing, performing, etc…it always involves some aspect of her lessons with Howard. She is always referencing material from her classes with him. The enjoyment and confidence that Howard instills in his students, through his methods of teaching, truly must last a lifetime. Going to Howard was one of the best decisions that we have made regarding Michaela's career. In fact, as it turns out, it was a life changing experience for her. Needless to say, we have the very highest recommendation for Howard Richman.
· Piano · In studio I took piano lessons from Howard for a few years. I grew up taking piano lessons and Howard has been the best piano teacher I have ever had. He loves playing the piano and teaching and has incredible and insightful techniques which really work and take you to the "next level" of understanding and playing the piano. I liked the variety of aspects we worked on -basic theory, scales, exercises, etc. which were very balanced as well as pieces-at a variety of levels. We also worked on inspiration/improvisation as well as songwriting. He can do everything! What I also like about Howard is that you can tell him what you want to work on and he accommodates that and then just guides you in that direction and gives you techniques to build and enhance in those areas. He explains things very well and is very kind and patient. Howard is a rare teacher and I highly recommend him! (The only reason I am not taking lessons now is because of work/moved). Try the lessons for yourself!
· Piano · In studio This is a guy who really understands how to teach. With Howard as a teacher how much you get out of your lessons is directly related to how hard you want to work. If you put in the time and effort to improve yourself Howard can help you progress incredibly fast. Would highly recommend to anyone at any level wanting to learn from a master.
· Piano · In studio Overwhelmingly the best piano teacher I ever had. His. Mastery of how to learn and how to teach coupled with the creativity he brings to every lesson will amaze and impress you or your child that piano is serious fun.
You can't do better than Howard.
· Piano · In studio When I moved to LA in '86, I decided I wanted to find a teacher that could help me get my left hand to be as fast and fluid as my right hand. A singer I was working with suggested I go to Howard Richman. That was almost 30 years ago. To this day, I still go to Howard every now and then for a 'touch up' lesson and...if my time allowed...I would take weekly lessons from him.
To put this in perspective...I'm a very good piano player...one of the better ones in LA. Howard has the unique ability to immediately see what was wrong with my technique and showed me how to get past that log jam I was stuck behind. He not only helped me with my left hand...but his methods of how to practice totally opened up a whole new facility for me to the point where I can now play those Oscar Peterson pieces that I have loved since I was a kid and only dreamed of playing like that. Now..thanks to Howard...I can!
I could go on and on about Howard's virtues, not only as a teacher, but also as a mensch. Let me just add one more thing here. Howard can help anybody who has the desire to play the piano...from ALL levels of proficiency...from the very beginner to the top of the professionals. Bottom line...in my book...he's the best!
· Piano · In studio Thank you Howard for sharing your great gift of teaching. I recommend that you never stop. Your instruction on technique and sight reading continue to help me improve, and increase my confidence every time I play.
· Piano · In studio I decided to take piano lessons again after having not played for a long time and with considerable apprehension due to stressful and negative music lesson experiences in my past. Howard was wonderful at listening and helping me work through my previous challenges. He gave me very clear drills and exercises for technique and mental improvement which all produced great results. His ability to provide feedback in a productive way was invaluable. I have not had a better piano teacher and recommend him very highly. Give him a try for yourself and you will see what a talented pianist and teacher he is.