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Practice Tips and Piano Lessons in San Francisco

By Suzanna M. - San Francisco Piano Teacher

Recently, as I was finishing up a lesson, I commented to my student's mother on how well he was doing lately. She said it was all part of being a good tiger mother. Of course I had heard of Amy Chua's book Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, but I hadn't realized the immediate impact the book was having.

I began casually asking parents if they had read the book. Those who had were quite inspired to get their kids on a very ambitious practicing schedule. While I do not agree with all of Ms. Chua’s extreme parenting tactics, a strong and structured practice regimen is something I do recommend to all the students I teach during my piano lessons in San Francisco.

In the book, Chua talks about forcing her kids practice for extremely long periods of time and how it helped them become superior musicians. One thing that was stressed to me in pedagogy class is that practicing in short but frequent sessions is far more productive than sitting down for a long period of time. I usually recommend practicing for ten to twenty minutes a day, depending on the age and level of the student. It is important to build good technique, especially when the student is young. But until the student has developed a strong enough technique to handle extended playing sessions, it is better to keep the practice sessions short to avoid strain on the hands. Even students at the advanced level should only play for thirty to forty minutes at a time.

One of my favorite tips for my piano students in San Francisco is to incorporate practice into the homework schedule by using it as a break between academic subjects. Ten minutes here or twenty minutes there add up quickly and will help any student achieve their playing goals and satisfy the most demanding tiger mother.

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Steven B.

Alameda, CA

I began classical piano instruction in 1960 and took private lessons for ten years before branching out into all the other styles of music. I have taught, recorded and performed professionally since 1978, and will show you proper hand and finger technique, music theory, how to read notation and chord charts/symbols, and equally as important teach you how to play by ear. I teach all ages, all styles and all levels of piano, and will teach you how to have fun with it all along the way!

About Steven

Have you always wanted to learn how to play the piano, guitar or electric bass? Or maybe you've just felt like brushing up your musical knowledge and playing skills? Now’s your chance to fulfill those dreams!

About Me: San Francisco Bay area pianist/guitarist/bassist; I've been playing music for over 50 years. I'm classically trained with a solid foundation and knowledge of music theory, and have 35 years experience teaching, recording and performing. I have done session work and/or performed with members of Journey, Santana, Jackson Browne, Eddie Money, The Doobie Brothers and Greg Allm
an to name a few. Let me take my education and experience and pass them on to you!

My main goal as a music instructor is to pass along my love and knowledge of playing music to my students, always vigilant for sharing shortcuts that will help the student to achieve their lesson goals faster. Some teachers teach only out of books. I am not such a teacher. Books solve the problem of learning music in generalizations and by their very nature, cannot take into consideration personal issues a student will encounter.

Most students are able to learn enough of the necessary mechanics at the first lesson to actually play something before they leave that lesson. This is important because they realize that playing music IS possible. I always enjoy the look on their face when they realize they have actually “played” their instrument at their first lesson.

I am not the sort of teacher who yells and screams if the student comes in unprepared. I realize that people come to me for a variety of reasons and I work with them with whatever they bring in. I am patient and if a student is not understanding a certain aspect, I bring into play alternate approaches. Not everyone assimilates information in the same way. Learning music should be an enjoyable adventure for the student and I venture to say that my students enjoy coming to their lessons. We have fun, and we learn.

>>> FYI: I'm happy to come to your home if traveling to my studio in Alameda isn't convenient for you, and I cover most of the East Bay, including Oakland, Berkeley, San Leandro, San Lorenzo, Orinda, Lafayette, Walnut Creek and (of course) my own lovely town of Alameda. As much as I love our "City by the Bay", traveling to San Francisco, Marin, or the Peninsula just isn't cost or time effective for me; I apologize to you fine folks and potential students of the West Bay!
...

Reviews

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Billy May 17, 2016
Piano · In studio
wow amazing!
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Tim M. February 22, 2016
Piano · In studio
Verified Student
Great teacher and great time taking the lessons! I wish we could take more lessons with him but we've recently moved out of the area. Thanks for everything Steven!
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Noor A. October 18, 2015
Classical Piano · In home
Verified Student
I was, initially, unsure whether I had made the right decision in using TakeLessons to revive my piano-playing skills, but after meeting Steven, I have no doubts that it was one of the best decisions I have yet to make.

Steven is wonderful! He is inspired and inspiring, encouraging, and his passion inspires passion - I could not have asked for better! Steven is an absolute pleasure, and I would absolutely recommend him to anyone!
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Steven B.

Steven B.

Alameda, CA 94501
(16)
starting at
$40 / 30-min
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Kathryn G.

San Francisco, CA

About Kathryn

From the moment Kat was tall enough to reach the keys she made so much noise on her family's piano that they eventually bought a kid-sized version to keep in her room. When Kat turned 7 her family got her the best present ever; lessons with an amazing piano teacher.

Kat also began to study flute several years later and soon realized that music was the life for her. She majored in music in both high school and college graduating with a BA in Music from St. Norbert College in DePere, Wisconsin.

Kat has a very diverse career in music. From a full time private music teacher to the Musi
cal Director of a Burning Man Opera, to the Section Leader for a Youth Orchestra, to the keyboard player in a Theatrical Heavy Metal Band, Kat is always thrilled to stretch her wings and try new things.

*** Lesson Details ***

I teach Sundays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays in San Francisco, and the rest of the week in the Santa Cruz area!

I have a ridiculous sense of humor. I believe in stickers, high fives, and celebratory fist-bumps. And yes, that goes for the adults as well.

I always looked forward to my lessons because they were so fun, even if I knew I hadn't practiced enough. That is exactly what I try to create for every student I work with.

Besides the humor, I customize lesson plans to fit you. Not just the types of music you want to learn, but HOW you learn. My number one goal is that you completely understand what you are learning. I don't mind in the least if I need to explain a new lesson 10 different ways-€“ we will work together until you really get it! Understanding what you're doing makes it so much more fun.

Have a favorite song stuck in your head, but the sheet music is still too hard? No problem. I'm happy to write the song out for you at your own level. I want you to enjoy yourself, and if that means Lady GaGa then I'm happy to oblige. I will probably stick Mozart in when you're not looking just to make sure you're learning a lot of different things, but that's what teachers are for.

Of course we cover fundamentals and start with the basics. I typically incorporate music theory and ear training with your lessons as well . In 6 months on piano, with regular practice, you will be comfortably reading music and playing songs you enjoy with both hands AT THE SAME TIME! (Gasp!) On flute in 6 months you will also be able to read music comfortably, will no longer feel like you are about to drop the flute at any given moment, will have a solid range of notes and have a solid feeling of control while you play.

I look forward to sharing music with you!

*** Studio Equipment ***
piano, seating for parents

*** Specialties ***
My number one goal is comprehension -to make sure that all of my students really understand what they are doing. I work very hard to ensure an atmosphere where all of my students - no matter their age - can feel comfortable to say "I don't understand".
...

Reviews

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Susan June 28, 2016
Piano · In studio
Verified Student
She is very good with a returning older adult who hasn't played for years - patient and has a good way of explaining things.
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Anthony June 22, 2016
Piano · In studio
Verified Student
Kat is #1.
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Kevin A. June 22, 2016
Piano · In studio
Verified Student
Absolutely enjoyed my first experience with Kathryn! She seemed very in touch with understanding the learning styles of students which I find to be a gift that most people do not have. I am looking forward to working with Kat, and am confident I will gain the piano instructions that I am looking for.
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Kathryn G.

Kathryn G.

San Francisco, CA 94122
(27)
starting at
$31 / 30-min
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Mack R.

Oakland, CA

I have been teaching piano for 35 years. I have had several student who started with me as beginners and advanced to playing in the jazz band in school. Over the years I have developed a unique technique for getting students started as beginners.

About Mack

I have a BS in music education received at Lehman College, Bronx, NY. I am a professional musician/ composer/ arranger.I received my teaching credentials at SFSU and have been a General music teacher as well as a, band teacher. I have studied trumpet with Classical ( Wilmer Wise)and Jazz musician (Bill Hardman) and big band arranging with Frank Foster( saxophonist and arranger with Count Basie Band). At present I am retired and teaching privately.

I have been teaching music for over 50 years as well as being a professional musician/ composer and arranger. I not only know my fundamentals ins
ide and out, but also I know many tricks of the trade. Over the years I have developed special teaching techniques that enable students to make sense out of music and progress rapidly on their instruments.I love playing music and aim at stirring that same kind of excitement abut music in my students.

To each lesson I bring a unique mix, encouraging the student to pursue excellence and also have fun. I am well qualified to teach: woodwinds( oboe, flute, clarinet, all saxophones) brass(french horn, trumpet, trombone, tuba), and piano.

*** Lesson Details ***
I make music interesting to learn. I encourage students to practice daily so they can improve. The more they improve the more fun they can have with music not only alone, but with others.

I am very patient with my students especially with beginners. I know that for them it is like learning a new language. Once they begin to increase their musical vocabulary, they will enjoy what they can do with music.

*** Studio Equipment ***
Seating for parents, basement studio, piano, drum set

*** Travel Equipment ***
Students should provide their own instruments.
...

Reviews

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Asher May 16, 2016
Piano · In studio
Verified Student
Encouraging and engaging!
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Mandela D. March 31, 2016
Piano · In studio
Verified Student
My son can't wait to go back! He typically hate music lessons, but this time he was happy. I also love the fact that Mack didn't waste time with the usual useless speech that other music teachers in the past needed to go into before each lesson. Mack went straight into it, he showed my son exactly how to identify each key and that really made the first lesson better
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Gloria R. February 6, 2016
Piano · In home
Verified Student
Mr. Mack Is a very patient and great teacher.
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Mack R.

Mack R.

Oakland, CA 94607
(10)
starting at
$25 / 30-min
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Benjamin G.

San Francisco, CA

• Provide interactive and engaging private lessons to students of all ages.
• Improvise and sight-read with students to help develop a working knowledge of musicality and movement.
• Help students listen to and understand the music they know and love through musical development and ear training.

About Benjamin

I have been studying music my entire life. I first sat down at the piano at four years old and have never strayed. After attending a performing arts high school, I studied music composition and theory at San Francisco Conservatory of Music. My studies not only enhanced my passion for music, but gave me an understanding of it and the listening experience. My desire to share this love and excitement led me to become a piano teacher. Developing my own teaching practice has required intense organizational skills and independent motivation and enhanced my ability to work with others as I interact w
ith my students, their teachers, and parents. In this position, I have had the pleasure of expanding my students’ musical understanding by introducing them to new and different styles and genres of music.

*** Lesson Details ***
Provide interactive and engaging private lessons to students of all ages at my studio and their homes.
Teach piano, music theory, and composition to students of all ages and skill levels.
Develop lesson plans, practice activities, and homework assignments tailor-made for each student maintaining their interest and heightening their skill.
Improvise and sight-read with students to helping them develop a working knowledge of musicality and movement.
Arrange popular songs and simplify advanced compositions to suit my students’ skill levels.
Help students listen to and understand the music they know and love through musical development and ear training.

*** Studio Equipment ***
I have 2 upright piano's and sound proofing equipment that helps reduce the intensity of the pianos.

*** Specialties ***
I specialize in improvisation and ear training. I love teaching in the postmodernist classical genre. I also love teaching popular styles and methods where the student chooses what direction they would like to go. I do not force my students to play music they don't appreciate.
...

Reviews

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Dan Briton May 16, 2016
Piano · In studio
Verified Student
Benjamin is a wonderful teacher! I always look forward to seeing him for a lesson and my playing ability increased EXTREMELY during my time with him!
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Charlotte R. November 20, 2015
Piano · In studio
Verified Student
Benjamin is the best teacher ever, talented, nice and open to every type of music you want to learn!
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Dan Briton July 28, 2015
Piano · In studio
Verified Student
Ben is patient when I am moving slowly through exersizes, he makes sure that I really understand how to read music and he is the #1 reason for me being able to learn the piano. He is very encouraging and I'd recomend him to anybody who seriously wants to learn how to play!
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Benjamin G.

Benjamin G.

San Francisco, CA 94117
(16)
starting at
$40 / 30-min
Profile_71740_pi_WP_20141005_004

Lella L.

San Francisco, CA

I am both patient and enthusiastic as a teacher. I love music, and enjoy the opportunity to share my love of the piano with my students. Once I have determined the student's level, I find music that will help them progress towards a higher level.

About Lella

I studied Musicology and Piano Performance at the Shandong Normal University School of Music, where I graduated with my BA in 2005. I taught music and established a band at a property management institute while a student there, and established my own practice after I graduated. I came to the United States in 2013, where I have continued to play piano and have joined a local band. I am happy to continue sharing my love of music with my students here.

I began tutoring Mandarin in January 2015. As a native speaker, I can guide you to a very high level, and help you learn to speak with a proper
Chinese accent.

Please note: Online classes are available for Mandarin Chinese only. Piano lessons are only available in person.
...

Reviews

Silhouette-80
Taylor June 14, 2016
Chinese · Online
I had a wonderful experience with Lella! Great lesson!
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Diane A. June 2, 2016
Piano · In home
Verified Student
Lella is lovely and pleasant and clearly loves teaching piano. It is too early to tell if this is the right fit but I intend to continue with Lella and see how it goes.
Silhouette-80
Isreal R. May 10, 2016
Chinese · Online
Verified Student
Only had one lesson so far but she's good with kids
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Lella L.

Lella L.

San Francisco, CA 94117
(14)
starting at
$30 / 30-min

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