Teri Heller

Teri H.

North Bend, WA
Teaching Locations:
Profile-location-online Online
Teaching Locations:
Profile-location-online Online
Levels taught:
Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced
With a background in Suzuki method and Masters degree in music composition, I use my own method and curriculum that aim to give a thorough understanding of how music works and sounds as well as training the memory of songs and exercises, technique, and improvisation.

About Teri H.

I'm a professional composer, teacher, and pianist - and I like to keep active doing all three throughout my community. On July 31, 2013 TakeLessons featured me on Seattle King 5's morning TV news program - I taught a miniature lesson and discussed the impact of piano lessons on the brain. My piano and composition lessons are very in-depth, but also very flexible. Because of my thorough knowledge and experience with music, I can teach all ages, skill levels, and an array of important subjects - including piano, ear-training, music theory, improvisation, composition, creativity, music history, ethnomusicology, and percussion. I cater to each student's interests as well as incorporate many of these subjects into my piano lessons so that every student gains a thorough understanding of music and becomes a well-rounded musician.

I started taking Suzuki piano lessons when I was 5 and quickly fell in love with the piano. Since the Suzuki method incorporates such thorough ear-training and the ability to play without sheet music, I quickly began to explore my creative side and was improvising on the piano by age 7. Naturally, this led to composition! Music was flowing through me, and I was able to both improvise and compose my inspirations on the piano. I entered and placed in the Reflections state composition contest each year. Throughout my youth, I was also very involved with the band (played trumpet), dance, drama and attended many symphonies, ballets, plays and operas - giving me a well-rounded artistic upbringing.

I pursued my passion and earned a Bachelor's degree in music composition from Mills College, followed by a Master's degree in music composition from the renowned California Institute of the Arts. My thorough education has taught me to compose for any instrument or ensemble as well as compose for film, dance, and theater. It has also taught me to understand the piano in-depth, along with theory and ear-training. Since graduating in 2006, I have scored several films, received commissions to compose for ensembles and musicians, and taught both composition and piano lessons. I also created an ensemble named SIRËoNa that I composed for, managed, and performed piano, percussion, and indigenous flutes in, and I was interviewed and featured on NPR along with local radio stations and newspapers. I have produced two CD's. Most recently, I composed a score for a silent film, premiering live with the Seattle Jazz Ensemble as part of the moisture festival in Seattle.

Do you want to learn to sit at any piano and simply play what you feel? Or turn that tune running through your head into a song that you or others can perform? Or to master every detail of a piece of music so that you can express it exactly as the composer intended? I can teach you! I encourage all ages and backgrounds to explore their creative musical passions and discover the endless possibilities of piano performance and music composition!

*** Lesson Details ***
When teaching piano, I take a similar approach to the Suzuki method. But instead of teaching from the Suzuki books, I teach my own composed exercises and pieces that I believe are more fun and accessible to today's student of any age! I create MP3 recordings of each exercise and have students listen to and memorize the exercises in their own time.This is a very important aspect of my lessons that thoroughly develops the ear - giving the student the ability to play the exercise from memory and to deeply understand the connection between their actions and the resulting sound.

I develop my exercises to progress each student through an increasing degree of technique difficulty and musical parameters - such as rhythm, melody, chords, harmony, key and range. Beginning exercises will isolate a specific musical parameter to bring thorough understanding of its possibilities, while advanced exercises and pieces will work on coordinating multiple parameters and techniques at the same time. Within 6 months, a beginner piano student will have tackled and perfected simple yet fun exercises that incorporate each major musical parameter, as well as develop correct posture and finger technique, and have developed some ear training and basic music theory skills. I also have my students do creative exercises, which develop more thorough ear training and the ability to eventually improvise and compose on the piano. More advanced piano students will perfect their ability to interpret and express each piece of music that they play and will receive thorough ear training, music theory lessons, and develop their creative abilities through piano improvisation and composition. Once they have tackled the fundamentals, intermediate and advanced piano students will learn the classics as well.

Along with piano lessons, I'm also highly qualified to teach music composition - including beginning to advanced composition, music theory, composing for any instrument or ensemble, Sibelius computer notation program, film scoring, and orchestration.

*** Studio Equipment ***
Private room, desk, professional digital piano - 88 keys fully weighted, piano bench. 2 professional cameras and iMac computer for online lessons. Percussion instruments for young students. Sibelius for composition students... Parents can sit in.

*** Travel Equipment ***
I expect students to have their own piano or keyboard when having a lesson in their home.

*** Specialties ***
Piano, Composition, Suzuki method, Classical, Contemporary, Ear Training, Memory Training, Piano Improvisation, Music Theory, Piano Ergonomics, In-depth Holistic Approach, Music History, Rhythm and Percussion. Success in teaching ages 3 and up, all backgrounds and ages.

Reviews

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4.9
13 Reviews
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Marlena A.
Profile-location-online Online

Only a few lessons in and already learning a lot! Love the theory and improv sections of the lessons.

Posted Jun 3, 2020
Viviann
Profile-location-online Online

I enjoyed my first lesson. Teri is very knowledgable and explains concepts in an engaging and easy-to-understand way.

Posted Aug 26, 2019
Sebastian
Profile-location-home Student's Home

My son has just started taking lessons with Teri and he is making good progress and is learning a lot in just a short time.

Posted Aug 4, 2018
Steve
Profile-location-home Student's Home

I chose Teri because when I looked at her profile, it screamed "TEACHER!" I've only had one lesson but I am pretty sure my instinct was on-point. Looking forward to the next lesson!

Posted May 10, 2018
Christopher
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

My son always enjoys his lessons with Teri. He likes her method of teaching and her flexibility with what they work on during a given lesson.

Posted Feb 9, 2018
yigong L.
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

Terri is very nice with my boys, especially patient with my younger son Jon who has just learnt Piano for about half-one year. Terri taught the intro music theory, how to train ears and finger skills, which Jon really enjoys. And Terri kindly email us music sheet and practice recordings after every lession, which are very helpful for kids to practice. Although we have to change schedule, we miss her!

Posted Apr 29, 2017
Megan W.
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

My daughter had her first session yeaterday with Teri and came home very impressed and wanted to practice right away.

Posted Mar 23, 2017
Tam Pham
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

She is agreat teacher. I learnt a lot within one day. Her teaching way is easy to remember and learn.

Posted Jan 7, 2016
Alejandra S.
Profile-location-online Online

Teri's lesson was fabulous. She was clear, organized and ready to teach playing by ear. Just what I had always wanted. Thanks Teri!

Posted Dec 16, 2015
Jason B.
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

Teri has been great; very patient and organized. She has simple finger exercises that sound like songs. By the third lesson of practicing and playing them, I already understand one process which I can easily create my own original music. I'm excited to learn more.

Posted Nov 10, 2015
Ron I.
Profile-location-online Online

She is patient and knowledgeable, I highly recommend her!

Posted Mar 28, 2015
Mercedes L.
Profile-location-online Online

Teri has been instrumental in bringing music back into my life. Her teaching abilities allow her to adjust to students specific needs. She takes the time to learn and understand her students which allows them to feel comfortable and move at a pace that best works for them.

Posted Jan 9, 2015
DavidM6

Enjoy Learning

Teri has a unique ability to communicate an understanding of music both by ear and theory that makes learning and appreciating synonymous. Her use of mp3's for home study and systematic/ progressive teaching method makes learning both measurable and fun.

Posted Jan 24, 2012

Photos & Videos

4 Photos & Videos

Experience

Freelance Composer and Teacher
May 2006 - Present

Teri **** ****** Music

I have my own music business as a profession. I'm a private teacher-for-hire as well as a composer-for-hire for various film projects, collaborations, and commissions.

Education

Masters Degree in Music Composition
Aug 2004 - May 2006

California Institute of the Arts

Bachelors Degree in Music Composition
Aug 2000 - May 2004

Mills College

Languages

English

Fluent / Native Proficiency

Certifications

MFA Music Composition
May 2006

CalArts

Awards

Featured on NPR
Jul 2015

WUOL classical radio

Sound of Silents composer
Apr 2013

Seattle Composers Alliance

Teacher of the Week
Jan 2013

TakeLessons

Art Amiss grant
Nov 2009

Art Amiss

Affiliations

Seattle Composers Alliance
Jan 2012
The Seattle Composers Alliance is a non-profit professional organization made up of working composers, students, and others interested in professional music composition. The SCA was created so that composers could gather with their peers in a relaxed, non-competitive atmosphere and share knowledge, experience and information. But we also have an agenda: special forums and seminars of interest to our members; expanding Seattle’s reputation as a center for musical creativity; and educational outreach to our community.
Women in Film Seattle
Jan 2012
"Women in Film Seattle promotes, supports, and mentors members by offering a busy calendar of events, programs and classes. n addition, we strive to provide valuable news and information to our members, as well as to promote our members and their projects. We do this via our website, newsletter and ongoing communiqués to our members. We also provide a forum for discussion about film through our Movie Salon and Discourse Parlor Blog, which launched in 2010."
Broadcast Music Inc.
Jan 2006
One of three United States performing rights organizations, along with ASCAP and SESAC. It collects license fees on behalf of songwriters, composers, and music publishers and distributes them as royalties to those members whose works have been performed. In FY 2013, BMI collected more than $944 million in licensing fees and distributed $814 million in royalties.

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