Piano And Voice Lessons

Piano And Voice Lessons


About this pro

Instruments Taught: Piano and Voice

Taught Since (Year): 1994

Ages/Levels Taught: All ages and levels


For the past 30 years I’ve been involved in music as a teacher, performer and writer. My training is as a classical pianist and composer.  As a composer and songwriter, I write music for my own performances as well as for other artists.  My writing credits include Paramount Pictures and Walt Disney Records.  For 10 years I was an artist on the Arizona Commission for the Arts Roster,  and taught and performed in schools and communities throughout Arizona.

I grew up in New Jersey and outside of Philadelphia, where I studied with concert pianists David Sokoloff and Marian Zarzeczna.  I went to school at Indiana University where I majored in piano performance and studied under Hans Boepple, a protegee of Sydney Foster, world-renowned for his technique of complete relaxation at the piano, which I now teach to all my students. I work with all ages and levels.  A number of my students have gone on to become professional musicians.  I particularly enjoy working with adults and beginners, as I believe it’s most important to get them started right.

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Phoenix, AZ 85018
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What is your typical process for working with a new student?

Piano Students: If the student is a beginner, I start with a method book and basic ear training, then move on to technique exercises and repertoire when the student is ready.  With my more advanced students I work with them either on classical repertoire or pop/jazz playing, or a combination, depending on their interest and what they want to do with their music.  Every one of my student does ear training, technique and theory, along with learning how to play pieces.

Voice Students:  Classical technique focused on proper breathing, learning how to use your instrument (voice) without strain, starting out with simple folk songs to focus on tone and phrasing, then eventually moving on to learning songs of student's choice.

What education and/or training do you have that relates to your work?

I'm a classically-trained pianist, trained at a top conservatory by some of the best piano teachers in the world (Curtis Institute and Indiana University School of Music).  I studied jazz piano with David Baker.  I've studied voice for over 10 years with various private teachers.  I've written music for film & TV and I've worked as a singer-songwriter-composer-arranger for the past 20 years.

Do you have a standard pricing system for your lessons? If so, please share the details here.

I go to my students' homes and my fee is:

$250/month for once-a-week 45-min lessons
$300/month for once-a-week 1/hr lessons

NOTE:  There is a 45-minute minimum, but I also offer 1/2 hr lessons if two people in the same household are taking. (I've worked with a lot of siblings)

How did you get started teaching?

I've been teaching on and off ever since college.

What types of students have you worked with?

ALL types, ALL ages - from beginners to advanced, youngest: 5-years-old, oldest: 85-years-old.  At this time, my practice is about 1/3 adults, and the rest school-aged kids.

Describe a recent event you are fond of.

I'm teaching a 5 year-old.  I'm usually hesitant about accepting students that young, but I'm friends with the family and they're very hands-on with their child's education, so I agreed to give it a try.  They came to my house and the first thing the child noticed was a little stuffed animal starfish I had tucked away on a shelf somewhere that I had forgotten about.  After a few lessons, he was doing ok, but very easily distractable (as 5-year olds can be.)  All he wanted to do was see with the starfish.  I was beginning to wonder if he was just too young.  He was very bright, but unable to sit still long enough to learn anything.  Then I had an idea.  I told him if he could sit still long enough to play his piece, or try something new that I showed him, then I would let him visit a few minutes with the starfish.  It worked liked a charm.  So, a new teaching strategy was born: Pay attention and play through your piece, then you get to play with the starfish.  Every lesson involves a few visits with the starfish, but he is now progressing beautifully.  

What advice would you give a student looking to hire a teacher in your area of expertise?

Don't make your decision based on price or convenience.  Some music stores and teaching studios hire high school students who may play well enough, but have no teaching experience.  And some parents think, "Well, my child is just a beginner so I'll hire the teenager down the street, and if they take to it, then I'll get a more experienced teacher."  I can't emphasize enough, it's so important to have the best teacher possible, right from the start.  Bad habits formed at the beginning are hard to unlearn, if ever.

What questions should students think through before talking to teachers about their needs?

What are your music goals?  What do you hope to accomplish from your lessons? Is there a particular kind of music you want to play (classical? jazz? what you're hearing on the radio?)