Stephen DeCostanzo

Stephen D.

Hayesville, NC
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100% Satisfaction Guarantee

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Lesson Details


Levels Taught:
Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced
I can work with you on mallet technique (marimba, xylophone, bells, vibraphone, etc.) and help you learn from classical/orchestral, pop, and jazz literature. I can also assist you with learning orchestral snare drum technique. We can work on learning orchestral repertoire as well. A few of the books I use are the Modern School for Xylophone, Marimba, and Vibraphone (Goldenberg), Modern Method for Tympani (Goodman), and Stick Control (Stone). Please see my bio (the "About" section) for my orchestral experience.
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Stephen teaches



Stephen delivers an exceptional lesson experience and ranks in the top 15% of our teachers nationwide.
Teaches students:
Ages 8+

Teaching since:
July 1987

Hi, thanks for visiting my profile! I love teaching. I hope you find this information useful. I have over 30 years of combined education and experience performing and teaching percussion and piano. I earned a Bachelor's Degree in Percussion Performance from the University of Alabama,with Piano as my secondary instrument. I hold a Master's Degree in Percussion Performance from Indiana University, with a Cognate in Jazz Studies. I have taught private percussion, drum set, and piano lessons for over 30 years. I performed for 10 years as a contract percussionist with the Savannah Symphony Orchestra, the Charleston Symphony Orchestra, the Macon Symphony Orchestra, and the Columbus Symphony Orchestra. I have performed in orchestras with accomplished musicians including The Moody Blues (Chastain Park), Judy Collins, and Henry Mancini.

*** Lesson Details ***
I like my students to have some fun while they learn. I ask that you practice 30 minutes a day, so that you can spend your lesson time learning and moving forward. For piano, I use the Alfred series, as well as the Real Book (jazz standards), and of course sheet music for classical pieces and popular tunes. After three months, you will have learned how to play the basic scales and chords, as well as some introductory classical and popular material. On drums after six months, you will know the first thirteen rudiments and some of the basic rock beats, and you will be playing with some rock ballads. After six months on piano, you will be playing all of the major scales and chords and the basic minor chords. You will be playing some Bach and Mozart, and you will start on some basic jazz standards. On drums, you will have learned most of the 26 basic rudiments, and you will be playing along with some medium tempo rock songs. You will have learned some coordinated independence to start playing jazz and swing styles (which by the way are the building blocks for playing R&B and hip-hop). And you'll enjoy the journey! I enjoy seeing my students grow as they learn. I have had students of mine go on to play in the Spirit of Atlanta Drum and Bugle Corps, get advanced music degrees, and become recording artists. The former Percussion Instructor at the University of Alabama was my percussion student. While I know that not everyone seeks to play professionally, you will learn the tools to play well. I look forward to teaching you!

Note: I will ask for an adult to be present during the lesson for any minor child (less than 18 years of age).

*** Studio Equipment ***
Front and side entrance upright piano in living room plus drum set, electronic keyboard, seating for parents.

*** Specialties ***
Drums --- Rock, Jazz
Percussion --- Rudimental, Symphonic
Piano --- Jazz, Jazz Theory, Popular

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Percussion and Piano Instructor
Sep 1996 - May 2006
Creative Arts Guild (Dalton, GA)

Taught private percussion and piano lessons.
Assisted students to prepare for and perform in regular recitals.
Performed regularly in faculty recitals.
Performed regularly in community events sponsored by the Creative Arts Guild.

Jan 1983 - Apr 1994
Savannah Synphony Orchestra (Savannah, GA)

Prepared, rehearsed, and performed orchestral percussion parts, including but not limited to snare drum; xylophone; orchestra bells; chimes; bass drum; crash & suspended cymbals; triangle; tambourine; multiple percussion; and for pop concerts, drum set. I left employment with the SSO in 1994 due to having been hired in a job with the State of GA in Dalton, GA. (Note: The last year of the SSO was 2003.)

During this same time frame, I also performed with a number of other orchestras ( please see my bio).

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Master of Music
Sep 1979 - May 1982
Indiana University
Bachelor of Music in Performance
Aug 1972 - May 1978
University of Alabama


Fluent / Native Proficiency
Professional Proficiency


Music Scholarship
May 1972
University of Alabama

Photos & Videos

Photo by Stephen D.

Photo by Stephen D.


9 Reviews

Write a Review
Anh H. Jul 24, 2018
Piano · In home

Stephen has been a great piano teacher. Both my boys take lessons from him and they enjoy it bery much. He is very clear about what they need to learn. His lessons are well planned and he’s flexible with the learning styles of each student. Sometime we even called him and asked questions after the lessons and he’s very generous and nice to have spent the time to explain things to the boys over the phone.

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Elisha F. Jul 16, 2018
Piano · In studio

I've been studying piano with Steve for about a year. I could not be happier with my progress. Steve not only tunes right in to my needs but makes the discipline fun. He is a talented musician, and it's obvious he enjoys teaching music. I feel very fortunate to have him as my teacher.

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Elisha Aug 1, 2017
Piano · In home

I had my first lesson with Stephen today and he is an awesome teacher. I've been teaching myself for the last couple of years and was very nervous about playing in front of anyone. He made me feel very comfortable and picked up my needs quickly. He's very flexible and patient. I have full confidence that he will take me to the next level of reading, performing and theory. I'm exited to have found Stephen and look forward to my next lesson.

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Ervin C. Mar 9, 2017
Piano · In studio

Excelente maestro. Mi hija de 8 anhos siempre esta entusiasmada de llegar a clase. Steve tiene una metodologia muy entretenida y practica para llegar al alumno. Es tan bueno en lo que hace, que estoy entusismado tambien yo en empezar mis clases de piano con el. Gracias Steve.

Ervin C.

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Tina Jun 23, 2016
Piano · In studio

I was excited about starting lessons. Stephen!s teaching exceeding my expectations and I am so looking forward to my next lesson.

Eric S. Jul 6, 2015
Percussion · In home

I have enjoyed a lot of time with him. It is very great to spend time preparing my auditions . he is very helpful for what I am struggling with.
If possible, I want to give him 100 stars.
Thank you so much!!

Joseph & Irene N. Oct 20, 2014
Piano · In studio

Mr. Stephen has been a great teacher , He has been teaching my boys piano for about nine months and he knows how to teach each one of them at their level. The boys started at the same time and they are learning at a great pace. I would recommend Mr. Stephen to anyone looking for a great teacher. He is truly a blessing and my boy always look forward to going for lessons

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Pat N. Sep 4, 2014
Percussion · In studio

Steve D. is an excellent teacher! My daughter is in the band at her middle school, and she started taking lessons a few weeks before school started. She was worried about having to play a part on the bells that she did not know. Steve showed her exactly how to play it, and she was able to play the whole piece before leaving her lesson. She came worried, and she left confident! Steve is very patient, and is able to answer any question you ask him regarding percussion. He is very kind as well, and I would recommend him to anyone who needs lessons.

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Joseph & Irene N. Apr 11, 2014
Piano ·

Best Piano Teacher ever

So patient and willing to impart his expertise to the student.
Blessed to have Stephen teach my boys and they love it and don't want to miss a lesson.

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