- Levels Taught:
- Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced
- Teaches students:
- Ages 2+ and special needs
- Teaching since:
- May 1975
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.+ Read More
Excellent lesson. Thank you!
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!
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.
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!!!
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.+ Read More
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!+ Read More
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.+ Read More
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.
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!
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.
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.+ Read More
Howard is an excellent piano instructor who has systems and structures set up that will assist you in skyrocketing towards your goals! He provides a professional environment, positive encouragement and a comfortable pace of learning. I highly recommend him to anyone looking real results; he is the real deal!+ Read More
I am an adult student -- one who came to Howard with a fair amount of personal mishegas. In short, I had poor training as a child -- I'm surprisingly good at reading notes on the page, but I never learned a scale, have little-to-no comfort with theory, and yet somehow became a competent classical player. A fraud!! As an adult, I don't want to play classical anymore, I want to play and/or accompany myself on jazz, pop, or rock tunes, and conquer any lead sheet with style and aplomb!! As a professional contractor, I have booked world-class musicians for 30 years, and expect (and presume) excellence from everyone -- including myself. My problem is: I have a very sophisticated ear and no chops! All that an important introduction to the way Howard has made me feel as a student: "SAFE" and like I can do it, and like there is NO REASON at all for me to feel ashamed. I adore Howard because he is BRILLIANT, and has a METHOD and a PHILOSOPHY and a deep understanding (and acceptance) of human foibles, especially as they relate to learning music. He has developed a method that is INGENIUS -- it works!!! He is incredibly organized within that method, and makes it seem "easy" to achieve your goals (and btw, some of those goals may very little to do with music, yet it's all intertwined!) He has quirks, but I LOVE them, and they TOTALLY work for me! I've been a student for less than a year, and have already accomplished things I never thought possible in such a short amount of time. Honestly, I could get emotional when thinking about how Howard EMPOWERS a student, especially such a crippled one like me. I just love him!+ Read More
Howard is not only an excellent teacher, very professional, honest, talented and qualified, but a WONDERFUL human being full of many virtues -hard to mention them all in such a short space-
Howard is fantastic. Any time I was having a problem, he could find another way to practice that would work for me. Highly recommended.
Howard really helped me with learning the piano. I'm a singer who wanted to learn enough piano to write songs and eventually accompany myself. Howard is gifted at discerning your learning style, strengths & weaknesses and he tailors his teaching to your needs. During my lessons with him I learned so much. Not just about the piano and composition, but I learned a lot about myself and how to recognize my obstacles and how to practically tackle and overcome them.+ Read More
Howard is a caring and focused professional, who makes learning fun. He knows what each student needs to get to the next level and I only wish I had him as my teacher many years earlier.
Howard opened up new ways to approach my playing that transformed my experience with the piano. I highly recommend him.
I have taken a couple different piano instructors and Howard is by far, the best I have worked with. He tailors the instruction to you, your goals, and frames it towards your learning style and creates a lesson plan that's fun, educational, and full of information. He also cares so much about his students and is not just a piano instructor but a friend. I have made huge gains in my piano accompaniment and theory and I owe it all to Howard. Highly recommended!+ Read More
Howard Richman is an amazing teacher. His pedagogical knowledge is quite solid.
More importantly for me was his ability to diagnose and help correct my physical issues. A great teacher who I highly recommend to any student of any age.
Although I've had some good piano teachers in the past, Howard's unique way of teaching was a very welcomed change. I had developed a few bad habits and Howard had some new ideas that I had never thought of to help improve my practicing and playing, e.g. sight-reading techniques, tips for playing faster, hand and body relaxation, body posture. He is very knowledgeable and creative in his teaching. Highly recommended.+ Read More
Howard is a terrific piano teacher. You will begin noticing improvement immediately and develop a genuine love of piano-playing. I would recommend him for adults and children of all ages.
Our 11 year old daughter, Emma, has been taking lessons with Mr. Howard now for over 4 years. Emma is the type of person that has to get things right the first time and gets very frustrated when she doesn't. Howard has always managed to help her get through her frustrations. He is the most patient person I know. He is an awesome piano teacher, Emma has learned different aspects of the piano and loves to compose with Mr. Howard. I highly recommend Howard. :)+ Read More
Howard is an incredible teacher and lets the student experience a total musical reality of his or her own comprehension.
Howard is a wonderful teacher and very knowledgeable. He is very patient with the kids. I love the fact that he is very organized in his teaching style.
He started teaching my 7 year old Fur Elise and she absolutely loved it!
My 16 year old is learning song writing and sight reading and he enjoys it so much!
He is a great teacher and very sweet!
I've had a few piano instructors over the years. I preferred them Russian and mean because I thought that would make me a better player. It didn't. Instead I ended up resenting a hobby that was supposed to be fun. Enter Howard. I met him in my adult years and is probably one of the best teachers I've ever met.
There are many reasons why and I'm sure I'll remember more after writing this review...I liked how he made music theory easy to remember. I liked his encouragement. Perhaps what I remember most is his kindness and compassion. Truly a gentle human being who wants only the best for his students and wants them to progress to the best of their ability. You would be lucky to train with him.
Howard is a great piano teacher! My daughter started taking piano lessens with him two year ago, at 7 years old. I was so trilled at how Howard really tries every angle to interest her. He shows her different styles of piano music and lets her chose songs she likes to play. Since she started lessens with Howard, practicing became a bit easier. My 6 year old son just started taking lessens with Howard six months ago and already love it. Both of my kids love going to their piano lessens every week!+ Read More
My son tried a few different piano teachers before we found Howard. I knew that my son was bored with the traditional method and was not sure he wanted to take any more lessons. I found Howard on the web and decided to give him a try. My son was hooked from that first lesson. He really enjoyed learning from Howard's unique style of teaching. Thank you, Howard, Ari really has learned so much from you and enjoyed each and every lesson he had!+ Read More
I found Howard to be a terrific teacher. He propels and inspires; never manifests negativity - which is what a great teacher should do. His pedigree and qualifications are absolutely top-notch and I very much endorse him. For anyone seeking to learn piano, music theory, ear training, or other musical skills, you will find in Howard the rare combination of heart, insight and virtuosity.+ Read More
I learned so much from Howard. His techniques are incomparable and I would not be the kind of musician that I am without him. My sight-reading skills, songwriting skills, and overall piano skills are lightyears ahead of where they would be, had I not learned piano the way I did. He is honest and patient, and always wants his students to succeed. I was able to focus on the parts of music that I really wanted to work on, and he supported me fully. I will be attending NYU for Musical Theatre next year, and part of my audition for the program was a musicianship test. I honestly don't think I would have gotten in without everything he taught me. He's wonderful!!+ Read More
Whether the yearning of a person to play the piano be as great as a grand passion or as small as a mild interest sparked from within, Howard Richman’s acumen in his piano teaching is comprehensive, ever informative, and the best of all – he makes it forever fascinating to learn.
What is singular in Howard’s approach to teaching the piano is that he incorporates his understanding of life itself into every aspect in how to play the instrument. By this it is remarkable how Howard applies his understanding of a person’s physiology to the most effective extent in order to achieve maximum technique, while always retaining and building on the nature of the player’s individual character/personality. Howard employs logic, common sense, very clear exercises in technique that even include the nature of gravity as in the physical use of the hands, wrists, fingers when playing the piano. Howard makes the learning of any aspect of playing the piano a wondrous journey of discovery and accomplishment. I cannot recommend him more.
Howard taught both me and my daughter. We started when my daughter was 3 years old, and he was wonderful with her. I had taken lessons off an on throughout my life, and he was able to meet both of our needs. Howard has a deep understanding of people and their specific needs. My daughter was very shy and he accommodated that beautifully. He is also particularly good at approaching piano lessons from many angles so that all aspects of learning are addressed. From reading music to composing original songs, Howard has the range to teach it all.+ Read More
Howard is an amazing teacher. He has a love for teaching and watching his students learn and apply their new skills and is great at communicating lessons from his extensive knowledge of all things piano. I enjoyed learning from Howard so much that I would make the 60 mile one way trip to him to take classes. I now have a child and another on the way and that makes it more difficult to make such long trips on one of the fewer and fewer free days I have, but I definitely plan to come back. Howard taught me so much and I would hate to lose what I've learned (although I'm sure Howard could pull it back out of me in short order).+ Read More
Howard is one of the most innovative teachers I've ever learned from. His method is completely original and his pure love and caring for his students goes far beyond any teacher I've ever known. He has a way to make his students feel so inspired that they never want to give up and learn so much quicker in a much shorter time. He is also a brilliant composer and in my book Howard is by far the best teacher around. I've learned so much for him and have gone on to write music that I never would have written had it not been for Howard! Thank you Howard for the years of dedication and inspiration!+ Read More
Howard is an accomplished teacher, performer and musician. He studied with two of the most famous pianists in America: Aube Tzerko at UCLA and Leonid Hambro at CalArts. I never met or heard Tzerko, but Hambro, who I studied with for many years, was a super-virtuoso performer and teacher, and was the sole reason I studied with Mr. Richman. Mr. Hambro was a shining genius, not merely talented.
What I found the most limiting about Howard was that he would impose his will and approach on a playing issue in a manner that would make the student feel uncomfortable, "getting to close, psychologically". Teachers must guide a student to come to their own conclusion, not dictate. Howard can explain a musical idea 3 or 4 different ways. Hambro could explain that same idea a hundred different ways, until the student realised an "ah-ha" moment.
In my opinion, if Howard could loosen up a bit, he'd have more long term students. As far as an advanced student goes, you know the old saying.......the teacher always learns more from the student.
I highly recommend Howard as a piano teacher. He has the knowledge and experience, but the challenge for all of us is, to be able to communicate those ideas at the highest level. Do everything in "threes".
Howard inspires excellence but has infinite patience. I was in my 50's when i started studying piano with him and I accomplished so much. First I actually played Chopin and Bach and it sounded like Chopin and Bach! i performed in a recital and learned to love music at a new level. He's a nice guy and very kind.+ Read More
Easy to understand teaching method.
Howard is a brilliant teacher who understands how to walk me through my blocks and fears to really learn. He breaks the learning process down to simple digestible segments. He then encourages me to embrace those segments by getting them into my body. Little by little I am mastering cords, composing songs and being able to play from my song book. He is a talented composer and improviser on the piano, But most of all he understands how to educate me to the mastery he has achieved by helping me understand how my mind actually learns.+ Read More
I worked with Howard on improving my sight-reading and found that his techniques worked exceptionally well. His approach focuses on learning to break apart every component of reading individually so that it can be practiced and strengthened in isolation. After spending time doing this and then putting everything back together as a whole, I was amazed at how much better I was at everything.
We also worked on some classical repertoire and he had a similar approach to breaking down complicated passages and learning to practice them with relaxation and confidence. A lot of what he taught me I went on to carry forward in my own teaching and I still go back to those philosophies in my own playing today.
Howard is an excellent piano teacher, musician, and mentor. I cannot recommend him highly enough.
I am not sure there are enough adjectives to describe Howard and his ways of teachings. Learning to play the piano is hard work,but Howard gets you to tear down any pre-conceived notions about playing and just allow yourself to believe you can succeed. It doesn't matter at what stage you are starting your piano adventures at because Howard acclimates to any skill level you are at instantly! Howard is highly recommended, especially if you are seeking a compassionate and brilliant teacher/mentor+ Read More
Howard has helped me reach skill levels on the piano I never thought possible. Although I've played pro and semi-pro trumpet for many years, I decided to ramp up my piano skills for music library and film/TV composing. Howard's lessons are like leverage. No, make that industrial strength hydraulics! His teachings (customized drills and studies, sight reading, repertoire, etc.) allow you to exponentially improve not only your piano skills, but also every aspect of your musicianship. (performance, composing, theory, improvisation, you name it!) No matter your skill level when you begin with Howard, you WILL get better than you ever dreamed by following Howard's ingenious teaching methods.+ Read More
Howard is an amazing teacher. He is intuitive, patient and has a knack for identifying just what you need to learn when you need to learn it. His tips always help accelerate the learning process. I've found that letting go of my preconceptions and following his advice is always the better way to go.
I am in my 50's and stated lessons just a few months ago - but I am playing songs and thoroughly enjoying every note along the way to achieving my goals.
I would highly recommend Howard as a teacher of piano and also of learning how to learn.
Howard Richman is a Master. Not only of Piano, Music Theory, Composition, and performance. Howard is a Master of Human Emotion. Howard is extremely intuitive. You will find him to adapt your lessons to your particular needs and desires and if you are open to the idea - he may just give you the Cosmic Short cuts to unlock your true potential. Sound Hyperbolic? Howard is the Master who removes blocks. And that sometimes brings up emotions in we mere mortals! Within a year of studying with Howard... He built my Musical confidence to the level of having one of my songs licensed by ABC for the show Cougartown! I'm grateful to have Howard as a friend and Master!+ Read More