Hello! I'm Laurel, and I would love to help you or your child unlock your musical abilities! Complete beginners, intermediate or advanced students, even working professional performers - no matter where you are on your musical journey, I will work with you to develop and hone your skills.
I believe in a personalized approach to teaching, based on building a relationship with each student. I place equal emphasis on achieving your long-term goals and enjoying the process of learning and making progress. With my expertise and your hard work, we’ll set goals that you’ll be excited about, and we’ll work towards them together.
My lessons incorporate technical exercises, games, learning to read music and to play/sing by ear, working on both easy and challenging pieces of music, and preparation for performance. Students will also learn about theory and music history. My students present several small private group recitals per year, which are optional but highly recommended.
Who should take lessons with me?
COMPLETE BEGINNERS - KIDS AND ADULTS
It’s never too soon or too late to build up your musical abilities. If you have zero experience but want to learn, I can teach you how to use your voice or play the piano.
- Match pitch and carry a tune
- Keep a steady beat
- Play melodies and chords on the piano
- Understand how your instrument works
- Read music
- Learn to play or sing a song by ear
- Get comfortable performing in front of others
PIANISTS WITH 3+ YEARS OF EXPERIENCE
Have you been studying with another teacher who taught you the basics and you’re ready to advance to a higher level? Are you self-taught and interested in refining your skills? I will help you take your piano playing to the next level.
- Build more advanced technical skills
- Play with emotion and finesse
- Find new and challenging repertoire
- Learn to accompany a soloist
- Perform in front of audiences
- Understand music theory
- Write your own music
EXPERIENCED SOLO SINGERS
Are you ready to audition for a high school or community musical or opera? Have you performed covers or your own music at an open mic? Would you like to major in vocal performance in college or possibly become an opera singer? Do you really rock at karaoke? Are you already proficient on an instrument and want to branch out into singing? I can help you build on the foundation you’ve already developed.
- Stretch your vocal range
- Improve your tone and projection
- Develop advanced technical skills
- Work on challenging songs
- Explore a variety of genres and styles
- Develop a strong stage presence and charismatic performing style
*- Learn classical/Bel Canto technique - I specialize in classical singing, although I work with singers in many genres
Are you, or would you like to be, a choir member at your school, church, temple, or community choir? I’ve been singing in choirs for almost thirty years! I can teach you any skill you need to know, from basic skills for beginners, to advanced skills for aspiring or working professionals.
- Expand your vocal range
- Learn controlled vocal technique and how to “blend” your sound
- Read music
- Practice basic to advanced sight-singing
- Sing harmony
- Understand conductor’s directions
- Learn techniques for different styles of music
I'm college educated in both classical music performance and English literature. I began teaching and coaching both singers and pianists about fifteen years ago. In addition to teaching, I perform professionally as a singer, organist, and pianist with musical groups all over the greater L.A. area, including the Pacific Chorale, the Charles Dickens Carolers, Nova Vocal Ensemble, and many others.
I'm happy to meet my students at any location near either Pacific Palisades or North Hollywood - I can teach music at any location with a piano. Contact me for more information. I look forward to meeting you!
If you choose to take lessons at my home location, please be aware that I have cats. If you have a phobia or allergy, this location won't be suitable for you.
Laurel is great about working collaboratively with students to identify their goals, and help them reach them. Working as closely as the quarantine will allow, we've made consistent progress on a weekly basis taking me from a complete novice, to being able to read sheet music and play along with it. It's been a great experience.
Working with Laurel is low pressure and fun. She tailors your lessons to match your specific interests. I'm into Halloween and Horror movies and now I'm able to play a list of spooky themes with independent hand movement. She's also taught me to read sheet music and to recognize relative pitches as easily as picking colors out of a rainbow. Laurel's always encouraging me to push my abilities and explore new aspects of music theory. Definitely a great teacher for a student of any age or skill level.
Laurel has been a kind and wonderful teacher to my daughter who has been taking piano lessons from her for 3 years now. Laurel is an accomplished expert in many different genres of music, and an expert in music theory. My daughter has learned a tremendous amount from her in a short period of time and has become quite accomplished as a pianist and musician, and disciplined in her practice because she really enjoys music and has been greatly inspired by Laurel.
Laurel Sanders Really seems to have what it takes to keep students engaged, interested and willing to stick with it - Laurel's combination of helping students to play pieces they want, contemporary or classical, together with her own curriculum really seems to be working. My daughter actually looks forward to her lessons (something I rarely felt as a student) and is very excited to share her progress. Very cool.
During a first lesson, my two priorities are to get an idea of my new student's personality, and to assess their current level of technical ability and musical understanding. If they have studied music before, I ask them to show me what they can already sing or play. For beginners, I bring one or several lesson books that I think may be appropriate based on the student's age.
Although I begin to give instruction immediately, I also give the student a chance to tell me about themself, and I ask a lot of questions. For my teaching methods to be effective, I have to understand the student's motivation, and we have to agree on the goals we are trying to reach.
The first lesson is also a time to talk about how and when to practice. This is the most important lesson in any musical instruction! Each student should leave their first lesson with a clear idea of what I'm asking them to do and how they should go about it.
I've been training as a singer and pianist my whole life! I have sung in choirs continually since I was six. I began formal training in piano at eight. As a preteen and teenager, I won awards for piano performance and composition. My first professional performance, as an organist, was when I was sixteen, and I have been working as a church organist ever since, currently at Pacific Palisades Presbyterian Church. I have a Bachelor of Music degree in Vocal Performance from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, where I appeared publicly in many operas and opera scene performances. I have also been a professional choral singer and soloist ever since graduating from college.
I charge $90/hour. For in-home lessons, there's a travel fee of $5 - $15 depending on the student's location.
Teaching chose me! Both my parents and half my relatives are teachers of some kind. Even as a kid, I was the one all the other kids would ask for help on their homework, even before they would ask the teacher, because I not only understood the material, I could see why they didn't understand and come up with a way to explain it that made sense to them.
In college, I worked as a piano accompanist in the voice department, in addition to studying voice myself, and that's when I began coaching singers. One singer I worked with even said they made more progress in our practice sessions than they did in their lessons.
I always taught music on the side, but in 2014 I left my desk job to make music my full-time occupation, and I've never looked back!
Many of my students have started out as beginning piano or singing students between the ages of five and eleven. I've also taught intermediate piano students looking for a teacher to help them become more advanced. I've taught advanced singers preparing for college auditions. I've taught accomplished musicians who wanted to expand their understanding of music theory and develop basic piano skills. I've taught teens and adults looking to start playing piano just for fun.