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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 helpe
d 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.
...
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

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 :)
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.
Ronnie W. San Francisco, CA

About Ronnie

After pursuing a bachelors degree at Miami University of Ohio in biochemistry & microbiology, I went on to work as an engineer in Silicon Valley. Throughout my years growing up middle school, high school and in college, I performed tutoring services in physics, English writing, and music (percussion, guitar, bass guitar, and piano). Music gave me the edge and freedom to express myself, make friends, and challenge my own abilities throughout the course of my life. I wouldn't be the same person without these gifts and I owe a great debt to my parents who encouraged me and the teachers who taught me. *** Studio Equipment *** Yamaha YPG-235 Keyboard Yamaha APX-5NA Classical Guitar with pickups and tuner *** Specialties *** Drum, percussion, chord theory, rock, jazz, guitar, bass and piano

Reviews

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Kathy B. January 1, 2014
Drum
Great with our kids

Ron is very good with our children, ages 7 and 10. He's taught our 10 year old drums for almost a year, and we are very pleased with how far he has come along. Our youngest really enjoys learning the piano too. Ron is like an older brother, very polite and very flexible with our busy schedules! I've recommended him to friends of ours and will continue to do so.
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Utkir M. December 10, 2013
Piano
Verified Student
You can't rely on him

I was looking for a piano teacher and I found this teacher to take lessons for my 11 y.o. son. We were so excited to start the lessons. First time we called he was out of town. Later we figured out takelessons made a mistake in schedule. Then we waited another week until scheduled time on December 7, 2013. We showed up at his home address at appointed time but he did not respond to phone calls and he wasted our time and efforts. It is sooo unprofessional of Ronnie. We will never contact him again.
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.
Jessica H. San Francisco, CA

Hi. This is Jessica H. I came from a family with strong music background. My father is a successful music educator, conductor. Currently I just graduated from San Francisco conservatory of music with Masters degree. I am a very patient person who has huge passion about working with kids.I have been teaching piano over 15 years. Since I have been teaching a quite long time. I have had students who past the highest level of ABRSM .I can be more serious and push a student to get ahead, or simply teach to have fun - to appreciate and enjoy music. I have learned, is to expect the best, pay closest attention to the students - to what they are ready for, what they want, what they are struggling with, and have a good sense of humor. Inspiring and developing students passion into music.

About Jessica

Hi. This is Jessica H. I came from a family with strong music background. My father is a successful music educator, conductor. Currently I just graduated from San Francisco conservatory of music with Masters degree. I am a very patient person who has huge passion about working with kids.I have been teaching piano over 15 years. Since I have been teaching a quite long time. I have had students who past the highest level of ABRSM exams. I can be more serious and push a student to get ahead, or simply teach to have fun - to appreciate and enjoy music. I have learned, is to expect the best, pay closest attention to the students - to what they are ready for, what they want, what they are struggling with, and have a good sense of humor. Inspiring and developing students passion into music.

Reviews

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Kevin L. August 17, 2014
Chinese · In home
Great teacher with great personality!
She speaks the most standard Mandarin I ever heard .
Very beautiful tone as well !
I enjoyed working with her .
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Tina X. August 17, 2014
I knew Jessica would be the best choice after reading her About Me section... She has been my son's piano teacher since last year. We worked very well since then. My son loves play piano . She is very sweet and patient piano teacher I ever seen.
I would like to recommend her to all my friends.
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Ken M. August 15, 2014
Piano · In home
Jessica is an awesome Music and Piano teacher! She has a lot of experience both as a musician and teacher. She is very patient, keeps things fun and challenging! I especially like how she illustrates musical concepts and dynamics. She seems to be comfortable with teaching both adults and children ( I am an adult, and she also teaches my kids). I highly recommend her!!!! You will learn a lot and be inspired!

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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.

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The ever-popular piano: with its large repertoire of songs and adaptability across many genres, it’s no wonder it's one of the most enjoyable and accessible instruments around for beginner musicians. Maybe you’ve thought about learning this instrument, but how do you know where to start? What is the easiest way to learn piano, if there is one? Maybe you have tried striking a key or two, but weren't sure where to go from there. With the advent of the Internet and the ability to communicate with … Read More
Feeling Stuck? Here's the Easiest Way to Learn Piano
The ever-popular piano: with its large repertoire of songs and adaptability across many genres, it’s no wonder it's one of the most enjoyable and accessible instruments around for beginner musicians. Maybe you’ve thought about learning this instrument, but how do you know where to start? What is the easiest way to learn piano, if there is one? Maybe you have tried striking a key or two, but weren't sure where to go from there. With the advent of the Internet and the ability to communicate with
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