Shirley Kirsten, Piano Teacher

Shirley Kirsten, Piano Teacher

5.0 (14)
1 employee
42 years in business

About this pro

A grad of the NYC H.S. of Performing Arts, Oberlin Conservatory, and NYU (Master of Arts) I have a thorough background in piano teaching and performing. My mentoring extends throughout the US and abroad, as I include ONLINE lessons in my portfolio. Being based in Berkeley CA, but having emigrated to the West Coast from my native NYC, I have a studio with two grand pianos, and multiple webcams for various keyboard views. Both my in-person students and Online pupils (by Skype and Face Time) get free supplementary videos to aid their practicing. My professional links are at you tube where I have 2,500 posted videos (incuding tutorials), and 7500 subscribers. 7 

At Wordpress I post a popular blog, Journal of a Piano Teacher from New York to California that contains my posts about teaching, learning, practicing --with embedded videos of my tutorials.

I've also recorded two CDS: works of Scarlatti, Schubert and Chopin that can be found at CD Baby (with sample tracks) You can find me as well at Linked-in, Twitter, and Facebook. My references are found at, linked in, Learnivore, with more that can be shared upon request. I strongly recommend that prospective students visit my you tube channel to sample my teaching, lessons in progress, and tutorials.  Teaching adults is my specialty and preference. Finally, my publications is music magazine, and presentation at the Music Teachers Association of California Convention in 2016, encompass my passion for teaching, exploring learning strategies, and performing.

I enjoy assisting students in realizing their full potential as they cultivate and relish the beauty of musical expression. The journey is full of shared awakenings and epiphanies.

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Berkeley, CA 94707
Email verified
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14 Reviews


  • Irma H.

    I have been studying piano with Shirley Kirsten for the past four years. She is a classically trained pianist with excellent credentials and beaucoup performance credits under her belt. What is most impressive about Shirley is her dedication to the individual student and her tailoring of the class to the students level of learning and interest. As an adult student with a very busy professional and personal life, my practice time is somewhat limited. She understands and supports my slow learning in a variety of ways. The most impressive way is by recording parts of the lesson and sending me videos with her playing to demonstrate technical points and my playing, so I may see how I can improve. She is walking encyclopedia of music theory and imparts that knowledge in the context of what I am learning. The time we spend together is both intellectually stimulating and fun. I really appreciate how she breaks down the pieces into the simplest components. While almost all my lessons have been in person I have also taken a number of make-up lessons via skype/facetime and have found those to be equally excellent. She also has great videos on her website that cover many aspects of theory, technique, and some are simply of her beautiful rendition of pieces by different composers. Her boundless energy, love of music, and interest in the students development are an unbeatable combination. As mentioned previously Shirley teaches both live and internet based classes where YES, she has seen every key I've played with the wrong finger. I am fortunate to have a fine piano teacher who inspires me both with her playing and her teaching.

  • Sherry H.

  • Sherry H.

    I grew up in a home where I was blessed to have a mother entertain the family with the piano. She played by ear beautifully but she felt frustrated that she never had the chance to study classically. I only wish we had the internet available during her lifetime. For the last year and a half I have been studying with Shirley Kirsten via FaceTime or Skype as a beginner. I can't believe how many pieces she has taught me along with learning music theory. She makes it so easy. There are so many advantages doing it this way, it's hard to list them all, but just being able to stay home tops my list. She also video tapes the lesson and sends it to you in case you should forget the finer points of her instructions. She is amazingly patient because she expects perfection. I would have not found someone of her caliber in my town. If there is the faintest desire to become a pianist don't hesitate on giving her a try, it will soon turn into a lifelong passion.

  • Marie M.

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What is your typical process for working with a new student?

I offer a free preliminary consult of 30 minutes to explore a student's particular needs, goals, etc. With Online pupils, I set up an appointment to check transmission and keyboard views.

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

Graduate of the NYC H.S. of Performing Arts (known as FAME re: the movie and TV series), Bachelor of Music, Oberlin Conservatory, Master of Arts, NYU.

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

I charge $60 per hour--with an extra 15 minutes added without charge.

Lessons offered