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Check out some of our most popular teachers near San Francisco including Alameda, Emeryville, Sausalito, Brisbane and Daly City.

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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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Phoebe P.

San Francisco, CA

About Yu Tian (Phoebe)

M.M in Piano Performance from Manhattan School of Music B.A in Piano Performance from UCLA I have studied and worked with Arkady Aronov, Walter Ponce, Antoniette Perry, Max Levinson, Gloria Cheng, Malcolm Bilson. I currently work at The Hamlin School in Pacific Heights a Piano Instructor and am on the Piano Faculty at Community School of Music and Arts (CSMA) in Mountain View. Previously, I worked at Citibabes LLC in SoHo as well as at Brooklyn Musical Arts. In addition, I also have my own private studio in San Francisco. I have experience working with both children and adults ranging from 4-37. I also am very familiar with preparing students for different music tests: NYSSMA, ABRSM, Music Development Program, and CM. If students are interested, there are 2 recitals annually

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AJ M.

San Francisco, CA

About AJ

Hey there! My name is AJ and music is my life. Whether its composing, performing, studying, teaching or just listening, I aim to fill my days with music. Nothing makes me happier than sharing my love of music with others, especially when it means helping someone discover music making for themselves. To me, music is a source of endless joy, excitement and fun and I seek to show that to all of my students. Background - I studied jazz, classical and electronic music at UC Santa Cruz. Received a B.A. in music in 2006. I've been a professional music teacher for 10+ years, including teaching at various Bay Area music schools and acting as band director for youth rock bands. I have also been actively playing in various bands in the Bay Area for the past 10+ years. *** Lesson Details *** ...

Reviews

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Jakob W. May 13, 2014
Guitar
Verified Student
Amazing experience

AJ is a wonderful instructor. He really listens to what your goals are and what kind of music you're interested in. His teaching method is focused on practical application so you can start playing real songs quickly. I've loved the sound of guitar all my life but only as an adult have I been able to pursue learning to play. AJ shares a passion for music and it's shows in his enthusiasm during lessons. He's very patient and encouraging. I might never be a beast on the guitar like he is (he's literally has a lifetime of experience) but I'm already able to play songs I enjoy and hope to write some of my own soon.
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Robert L. August 27, 2013
Guitar
Verified Student
Overall a great experience teaching an old dog a new trick!

I really enjoyed working with and learning the guitar from AJ. He is incredible with his ear for music and ability to play a variety of guitars! He was patient with me as I started to learn guitar at the age of 49! He was very encouraging and I would highly recommend him to anyone who has never played before. AJ made the chords incredibly simple to learn and I was amazed at how quickly I could actually play something that sounded like music!
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Sandra M.

San Francisco, CA

Beginning students can expect to learn note reading and technique exercises designed to strengthen the fingers and help the student recognize common musical patterns, as well as starting to play simple songs immediately, and then songs using left hand chords.

Intermediate students can expect to learn more difficult pieces involving left hand and right hand chords, as well as basics in musical interpretation and improvisation.

Advanced students can expect a focus on the musical subtleties on more advanced works.

About Sandra

I am a classically trained pianist and trumpet player with a bachelor's degree in music education. I have taught for over 20 years, to both adults and children, with a focus on classical basics and music theory for beginners and stylistic development in various musical styles for intermediate and advanced students. I teach from a standard method, but adapt my teaching style to the personality and learning strengths of my students. I teach from my home in the Castro neighborhood. *** Lesson Details *** You can expect a calm teaching atmosphere and a generally laid back approach to your learning. I am experienced in teaching students of all musical backgrounds or none, and adjust my expectations accordingly. I teach from a standard method, but incorporate other methods as ...

Reviews

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Elisabeth G. January 29, 2013
Verified Student
Excellent in all regards

Sandy is great. She is supportive and encourages me beyond what I think I can do (and usually I can do it). I've only been working with her for 3 weeks and already my high notes (my biggest problem) are much better and I'm sight reading at a much higher level. She is helping me to have a goal (an audition about 5-6 months) which gives me the incentive to practice when the going gets tough. She is helping me to bring my love of music back into my life.
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ChristineH July 23, 2012
Sandy is extremely patient! She is very fun to work with and I am enjoying my lessons thus far. Thanks Sandy!
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BrunoO July 13, 2012
Very happy

Sandy rocks! She's just really smart and always finds a way to keep me focused and entertained. Really happy with my trumpet classes :)
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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 with 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 ...

Reviews

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Lauren D. March 6, 2015
Piano · In studio
Verified Student
Very good at reassuring me when I'm stressed out from the piece I'm learning... which is all the time. He is very helpful and really knows his stuff!!
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Gayle S. December 13, 2014
Music Theory · In studio
Verified Student
Benjamin is excellent, a music theory whisperer. In a few hours, my son went from a complete block to totally understanding and completing of all the music theory he was assigned. Most of all, he now understands the concepts and application and use. Really amazing work, incredible teacher. Can't say enough.
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Manu S. July 19, 2014
Piano · In studio
Verified Student
I'm a beginner piano player. Somehow Ben got me to actually play and read music which is amazing because I always though it was too difficult. He constantly keeps me on my toes with different songs, theory lessons, exercises, book suggestions, the list goes on. And he'll totally catch you if you try to cheat finger techniques (which is what I do constantly), but he's not harsh about it.

If you want to learn piano and theory, he's your guy.
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Jacquelyn W.

San Francisco, CA

About Jacquelyn

Hello! My name is Jackie and I am a concert pianist and singer living and working in San Francisco. I teach students of all levels and ages. I love working with children as well as adults, whether they have professional aspirations or simply want to pursue music as a hobby. I have a master's degree in piano performance, and I am currently pursuing a second Master's degree in Vocal Performance from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. I have had the privilege of performing with orchestras around the United States. I have performed in Carnegie Hall, and at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. I am a very friendly and enthusiastic teacher, and I desire to help every student develop a love of music and become the very best they can be. I believe in working toward goals that will ...

Reviews

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Rodil (Deo) D. March 23, 2015
Piano · In studio
Verified Student
Have you seen conservatory conductor-teacher Fletcher rip into jazz drummer-student Andy in the movie Whiplash? Famous quotes: "Were you rushing or dragging?", "There are no two words in the English language more harmful than 'good job'."

Thankfully, Jackie is in NO way like Fletcher. She's kind and very encouraging, though firm and exacting at the same time. She will not say 'good job' if you don't deserve it. If you've seen her youtube piano and singing videos, you know that she comes from an impeccable classical background, so understandably her standard is very high. She doesn't tolerate 'sloppy' playing. I've been studying with her for 6 months plus, and I'm still trying to earn a star on my drop-rolls. I'm also still struggling to maintain a technique that does not vacillate between legato and staccato when doing scales with a metronome.

Before coming to Jackie, I could not read sheet music, and can only 'play by ear' (improvise) the melody/accompaniment while reading lyrics and chords from sites such as ultimate-guitar. I tried all kinds of software and apps, including 'Playground Sessions' and 'Piano Marvel' but with limited success. However, I just recently tried the new 'Flowkey' webapp, and was pleasantly surprised to see that I can now handle some of the beginner and intermediate level sheet music.

Here's a youtube video of some of us, her students, performing in our piano/voice recital: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r01ElWcOVmg

There's just no substitute to a real great personal teacher like Jackie, who can not only guide you, but ultimately motivate and inspire you.
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Robert S. May 19, 2014
Piano · In home
Verified Student
Excellent professional teacher - extremely well qualified to teach and or perform - listens well and responds with easy to understand effective communication.

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Free Piano Lessons with an Expert Teacher

Learn how to play the piano in these video tutorials from a professional piano teacher!

Have you always wanted to play the piano? We’re here to help! Get started with these 20 video tutorials hosted by San Diego, CA piano teacher Jordan M, one of our expert instructors with TakeLessons.com. In this free video series, you’ll get an introduction to the instrument and learn a few easy exercises to get you reading music and understanding rhythm!

Video #1: Intro to the Piano

Intro to the Piano: Learn about the parts of the piano and how to find the all-important Middle C.

Video #2:
Piano Basics

Learn about proper posture, hand placement, and other beginner essentials.

Video #3:
Reading Piano Notes

Learn about the treble and bass clefs, and tips for remembering the notes on the piano.

Video #4:
Time and Key Signatures

Learn what all those sharps and flats really mean, and how to decode your music.

Video #5:
Understanding Rhythm

Follow along to master quarter notes, quarter rests, and half rests.

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Recent Piano Articles from the Blog

Whether you're just starting out or a seasoned pro, check out the Piano articles on our blog.

14 Common Musical Terms All Piano Players Need to Know

As you're learning how to read music on the piano, you'll come across a lot of different words and terms that will seem like a foreign language. And that's because... they are! Most sheet music terms you'll see are Italian, or have Italian roots, while others are taken from French, German, Latin, or Spanish. But don't worry -- you don't need to learn how to speak Italian fluently to be a good piano player. There are many piano terms and symbols, but the 14 listed in the infographic below are … Read More
14 Common Musical Terms All Piano Players Need to Know
As you're learning how to read music on the piano, you'll come across a lot of different words and terms that will seem like a foreign language. And that's because... they are! Most sheet music terms you'll see are Italian, or have Italian roots, while others are taken from French, German, Latin, or Spanish. But don't worry -- you don't need to learn how to speak Italian fluently to be a good piano player. There are many piano terms and symbols, but the 14 listed in the infographic below are
Learn the Piano in 9 Easy Steps
Have you decided to take piano lessons, but you don’t know where to start? In today’s guest post, you’ll learn some basic principles and tips on how to get your piano experience started in the right way: The time has come when you start to follow your piano dream. Even if you want only to play to entertain yourself or your friends, you should know some of the basic facts that will help you learn it the good way. There are many 'by ear' piano artists that don't even know how to properly read a p
How to Set Up a Piano Practice Schedule for Your Child
Is your child's piano practice falling by the wayside? Make sure he or she continues to get the most out of piano lessons with these practice scheduling tips from Saint Augustine, FL piano teacher Heather L...   The concern that I hear the most from my students' parents regarding their children's piano lessons is practicing and schedules. A parent will tell me, "She's just not practicing." The child then replies, "I had so much/many homework/sports games/club meetings that I forgo
No More Sticky Piano Keys! | How to Clean Piano Keys
Ever get "in the zone" when you're playing piano? Your fingers glide effortlessly across the keys and you feel like the music is a gentle breeze that blows through you. Suddenly, you hit a sticky key and the moment crumbles around you. Sticky piano keys can be a real pain in the butt, but with the right piano care and maintenance they can be prevented. Keys become stuck for a variety of reasons, such as changes in humidity, dirty keys, and even foreign objects lodged between the keys.
Beginner Piano Exercises: How to Tame the Flyaway Fourth Finger
When you're learning how to play the piano, finger exercises are especially important--especially if you're having trouble controlling that pesky fourth finger! Learn the steps to take in this guest post by Ann Arbor, MI teacher Amy C...   When I first began to learn piano, my fourth finger seemed bent on being anywhere but on the keys. Whenever I was not using it, the fourth finger--and by extension, the fifth finger--simply floated in midair, hovering above the ivories. This mea

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