John Walker

John W.

Brookings, SD
Teaching Locations:
Profile-location-online Online
Teaching Locations:
Profile-location-online Online
Levels taught:
Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced
Professor of piano at South Dakota State University since 2001. Over 40 years private teaching experience. Student of Frances Clark and Louise Goss. Published composer with Carl Fischer.

I use standard materials for beginners, and try to let students continue with their current materials. I focus on classical repertoire and some jazz. My goal is to foster musical growth and a love of the piano through well rounded lesson assignments that include both challenging and fun pieces.

About John W.

I teach piano at all levels, and music fundamentals/theory. My students enjoy working with me because, even though we work hard and accomplish a lot at each lesson, we do so with a sense of fun and adventure. I take a balanced approach to lesson assignments, always considering suggestions from the student, along with my own determination of their technical and musical needs. I do not have a fixed teaching method, but tailor my instruction to the individual student. I use my own music fundamentals text that I developed in my university career.


Write a Review
6 Reviews
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

My daughter has been learning with Dr. Walker for 2 years and 8 months. Under Dr. Walker's instruction my daughter has made significant progresses and has developed great interests in music. It's really our fortunate to have Dr. Walker as my daughter's teacher in her key ages of learning piano playing.

If you are looking for a piano teacher for you or your kids, please consider Dr. Walker seriously. Dr. Walker is a perfect piano teacher in all aspects.

Dr. Walker is good at teaching kids in a way that is adaptive to kid's different personality so that his teaching is easy for kids to understand and kids likes the lessons as well.

In addition, Dr. Walker teaches much more than piano playing technique itself. With his teaching, the student will also learn musical knowledge such as music theory, the development of classical music, the composers and their master pieces, and so on. I will not elaborate here.

And Dr. Walker always encourages his student while the student is struggling with technical difficulties or when the kids is not that careful. Special thanks to Dr. Walker for his patience and encouragement and I think this has protected my daughter's interests in learning piano and music.

You won't regret having Dr. Walker as your piano teacher.

Posted Aug 15, 2020
Profile-location-online Online

After our son's first lesson with Dr. Walker two years ago, he was excited to play the piano again. Dr. Walker brought the 'spark' back to a teenager who was beginning to lose interest in playing. Dr. Walker provides incredible background knowledge into various piano pieces, has great patience, and encourages his students. He shares a love of music that is interesting, which is so important for teenagers. He is described by our son as someone who is upbeat and always in a good mood. We are very fortunate to have him as our son's teacher.

Posted Aug 11, 2020
Rong Fan
Profile-location-home Student's Home

My daughter (11 years old) has been learning piano with Dr. John W. for more than two years. He is the best teacher that I can imagine. My daughter has been enjoying his teaching very much. We are very sorry that my daughter can not continue her study with Dr. W. soon, because he is moving to another country and can not do an in-home teach.

Based on the two years’ experience, I would recommend Dr. Walker without any reservation. He has a rich experience in teaching youth. His professionalism impresses me the most. He uses the words/expressions that my daughter can understand, even though English is not my daughter's first language. His instructions are clear, specific, and easy to follow. He knows how to encourage and inspire my daughter. That is probably the main reason that my daughter has changed her dream to be a pianist.

Meanwhile, Dr. Walker is a very patient, nice, decent, and friendly person. If you are looking for a piano teacher, you do not want to miss Dr. Walker.

Posted Aug 6, 2020
Profile-location-online Online

Dr. Walker has taught my kids both face to face and in-person for more than 5 years. He has done a fantastic job. My kids have made tremendous progress and have won a few competitions.

Posted Aug 4, 2020
Cory C.
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

I have studied classical piano under Dr. John W. for the past four years. My technical and musical growth has improved tremendously in my time spent under his instruction. Under his watch, I have learned to appreciate many different composers of various time periods. He has made sure that I have developed my own "musical ear", or intuition, which has transferred to many different instruments and styles as well. Overall a great teacher!

Posted Jul 7, 2015
Carl S.

I have had the privilege of performing with John this past year. He is an outstanding musician who continues to search for artistic moments within a piece. John is without a doubt the best pianist I've ever performed with. As a teacher, John is patient and encouraging. He works well with many different ages and talent levels.

As a composer, John is equally as talented. I had the honor of recording the solo parts to some of his original compositions. They are creative, catchy, and appropriately written for each instrument. He has a firm grasp on what it takes to be an extraordinary composer.

Book lessons with John today. You'll be glad you did!

Posted Feb 4, 2015

Photos & Videos

7 Photos & Videos


Private Piano Instructor
Sep 1982 - Present


Private piano studio, teaching students of all levels and ages, including adults. My students typically participate in our local piano festival and student recitals, and some compete on the state level. I do not insist on competitions for everyone; just for those who would benefit from the experience.

Retired Professor of Piano, Music Fundamentals, and Piano Pedagogy
Sep 2001 - May 2020

South Dakota State University

Retired Professor of Piano, teaching applied piano, piano pedagogy, and freshman level theory fundamentals.

Asst. Professor of Piano
Sep 1995 - May 2001

Adams State University

Taught applied piano, class piano, and music literature.


Doctor of Musical Arts in Piano
Sep 1993 - Jun 1995

University of Colorado at Boulder

Master of Music in Piano
Sep 1980 - May 1982

San Francisco Conservatory of Music

Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance
Sep 1974 - May 1977

University of California at Santa Barbara



Limited Proficiency


May 1977

New School for Music Study

Piano pedagogy study with Frances Clark and Louise Goss, 1977-78, Kingston, NJ.


College of Arts & Sciences Distinguished Performer Award
Feb 2010

South Dakota State University

Patrician Noethe Pierce Distinguished Artist in Residence
Mar 2009

South Dakota State University

F. O. Butler Foundation Faculty Award for Excellence in Creative Activity
Feb 2004

South Dakota State University


Music Teachers National Association
Sep 1995
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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