Niki Harlafti

Niki H.

Chicago, IL

Lesson Details


Levels Taught:
Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced
If you need a versatile teacher with an Athenian (neutral) accent and clear speech, with great knowledge of Greek grammar, syntax, culture, as well as literature, we should work together. I am familiar with various European, American and Asian cultures through my students and I am acquainted with different foreign languages through my travels (I also speak french). I was born and raised in Athens, Greece. I graduated from the prestigious Arsakeion High School, where I studied intensive ancient and modern Greek, literature, Greek philosophy and Latin. I then studied musicology-pedagogy at the University of Athens, where I lived and taught music until I was 25. In addition to my private Greek tutoring studio in Chicago, I also taught Greek to second-generation Greeks (preschoolers and K1-2) at the Cathedral School of Boston.
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Niki teaches



Niki delivers an exceptional lesson experience and ranks in the top 15% of our teachers nationwide.
Teaches students:
Ages 3 to 70

Teaching since:

Your learning experience is about you. It is about personalized lesson plans, your learning style and aspirations. I look forward to working with you.

A little bit about me: I have sung and played the piano with many different professional bands (from rock and pop, to blues and ethnic). In addition, being a classical piano teacher for over a decade in preparatory schools (from pre-school to high-school), running my private piano/theory studio and currently teaching music majors in college (Northwestern University, New England Conservatory previously), I can confidently say that I have dealt with a large span of ages (3 – 45), personalities, cultural backgrounds and levels of students, especially aged 10 – 18.

My teaching style is enthusiastic, humorous and theatrical, always focused on each student’s interests and approaching learning in an interdisciplinary way, incorporating singing, composing, movement and anything the student relates to. I believe in interactive learning and in giving the students the power to create their own curriculum. I will give you a solid technical jumpstart, you will learn to read and write music and we will have cross-genre playlists because we love all music.

As for my education and current professional life, I'm a classical composer, with a bachelor's degree in classical piano and theory, currently pursuing my doctoral degree in composition at Northwestern University. I previously obtained my master's degree in composition at the New England Conservatory in Boston. I also hold a bachelor's degree in pedagogy, musicology.
On a different note,

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Aural Skills Instructor
Sep 2016 - Present
Northwestern University (Bienen School of Music)

• Deliver 3 (50’) lectures per week to undergraduate music majors, class of 15 (freshmen).
• Grade and provide constructive feedback for 45 performance diagnostics, written assignments and exams, per academic year.
• Offer individual tutoring, participate in weekly T.A. meetings, and release biweekly student progress reports.

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Music Director and Pre-School Music Teacher
Oct 2015 - Jun 2016
Boston Cathedral Greek School

• Designed and co-instructed a weekly 2-hour music course for 10 students, ages 3-5.
The course aimed at teaching the Greek language and introducing the Greek cultural heritage, in addition to developing basic music skills (singing, playing instruments, solo and ensemble improvising, understanding rhythm and pitch, creating soundscapes, playing body percussion, reading and designing graphic scores, developing music memory.)
• Led the 4-month-long “Odyssey” project; lesson plans were staged as dramatic episodes from the Odyssey, combining music-skill development, acting, games and dance with cultural knowledge.

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Piano, Theory and Musical Theatre Instructor
Jan 2006 - Jun 2016

Piano, General Theory Teacher and Voice Coach for Musical Theater
• Led active private studio of 11 students, ages 5 – 16.
• Organized student concerts and prepared students for conservatory entry exams in piano and theory.
• Prepared musical performers for auditions, focusing on ear training, solfège and interpretation.

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Keyboard Harmony Instructor
Jan 2014 - May 2015
New England Conservatory

• Delivered weekly lectures and instructed harmony on the keyboard. Coordinated communication with 80+ NEC undergraduate music students in my studio - classes of 10.
• Reported student progress, proctored exams and participated in weekly faculty meetings.
• Tutored remedial private lessons and held regular office hours.

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Doctor of Philosophy in Music (Composition and Theory)
Sep 2016 - Present
Northwestern University (Bienen School of Music)
Master's in Composition and Theory
Sep 2013 - May 2015
New England Conservatory, Boston
Diploma in Classical Piano and Theory
Jan 2006 - Jun 2013
Max Hallecker Conservatory
Bachelor in Musicology and Pedagogy
Sep 2005 - Oct 2012
Athens School of Music


Fluent / Native Proficiency
Limited Proficiency
Fluent / Native Proficiency


Certified Team and Camp Leader for minors aged 15-18
May 2009
World Association of Guides and Scouts

Over 70 hours of intensive educational programming and survival training, specialized in late teens.


Full Scholarship and Stipend
Sep 2016
Bienen School of Music, Northwestern University
Educational Grant
Oct 2014
Gerondelis Foundation, Lynn, MA.
Merit Award and Scholarship
Sep 2013
New England Conservatory
Aug 2013
A.G.Leventis Foundation, Athens, GR.
Presidential Award for 1st Place in National Exams
May 2013
Ministry of Education, Greece

Photos & Videos

The Odyssey! With my pre-school angels.

My wonderful student Natalie, a beginner at 9 y.o., after a couple of months of lessons! (no pedal on this synthesizer - hence the dryness).
Musical Theatre Variety shows (2013).

With the top musical theatre performer in Greece, Sia Koscina.

Edith Piaf tribute, Parnassos Concert Hall, Athens, Greece (2012).

Michalis Cacoyannis Foundation concert (2011).
Jordan Hall, premiere of my work "Two Flies", (2015).

Teaching music at pre-school. Boston Cathedral Greek School (2015-16).

Making Pan's flutes at pre-school (2016)!
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8 Reviews

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Shulan Apr 28, 2018
Greek · In studio

Niki is very patient with a student like me, who started with very little background in Greek while also being a non-native English speaker. Her pedagogical skill is superb and her teaching style is passionate. Niki is a very warm and empathetic person, and she taught me a great deal about Greek history and culture that comes together with the wonderful Greek language. I recommend anyone who has a serious interest in the language take lesson with Niki!

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Shila Jun 15, 2017
Greek · Online

First Greek Lesson was great with Niki! Extremely patient with you which is really key if you are a beginner. Awesome person too!

Angela W. May 12, 2017
Piano · In studio

My teenage daughter was a student of Niki's until we moved. She builds rapport with the student, and her devotion to music and the pursuit of her own education as a gifted musician made her enthusiasm infectious. She is the product of serious and intense training from a young age, but I believe her personality and approach would allow for a solid connection with students of various abilities.

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Eugi Apr 11, 2017
Piano · In home

Niki helped me re-learn everything I knew about playing the piano, she taught me to improvise and thanks to her amazing way of making everything in music seem simpler, I stopped being afraid of making mistakes, I gained confidence in playing in front of an audience and I learned to sing while playing!

I definitely recommend her!

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Themis Apr 8, 2017
Music Theory · Online

Niki is an exceptionally gifted musician with an in depth knowledge of music theory, amazing piano technique and expression not to mention perfect pitch hearing. She has the the ability to explain the most difficult concepts in a personalised and simple way that not only ensured my understanding but also helped me in incorporating it into my playing! I am highly recommending Niki as a tutor as her capabalities and knowledge will help all level of players or composers to get their work to the next level!

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Maria-Alki Apr 2, 2017
Musical Theater · In studio

Inspiring, passionate, devoted. This is what comes to mind when I think of Niki. As a school principle, I hired her to teach music and culture to prek&k students. She is an extremely charismatic person that would go many extra miles to inspire students, not just to teach them but to also ensure that they love music, culture, and life. Students adored her and altogether exceeded all expectations. Could not recommend more.

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Angie Apr 2, 2017
Music Theory · In home

Niki is a very talented musician and an incredible teacher. I highly recommend her.

Katerina Apr 2, 2017
Piano · In home

Niki is an excellent teacher! I was very lucky to be her student!

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