Smart Hands And Minds

Smart Hands And Minds

4.9Exceptional(11 reviews)
Offers online services
Offers online services


Lessons are infused with creativity, a diverse curriculum, and insights I've gleaned from reading widely about teaching piano and chess. For example, during piano lessons, I might pull up a YouTube video of a song the student is working on. For younger students and others who are visual learners, I might draw on apps, such as Flashnote Derby, Dustbusters 2, and Simply Piano.

I adapt sections on the fly to help students perfect challenging sections more effortlessly. To make lessons more invigorating I also incorporate student's favorite pieces and allow students to select which areas to practice between our lessons.

I also introduce interested students to improvisation and songwriting, as well as music theory and music history.

Since I'm also passionate about and experienced with teaching chess, several of my enthusiastic students have decided to study chess with me as well.


Hired 8 times
1 employee
24 years in business
Serves Oakland , CA
Offers online services

Payment methods

Credit Card, Cash, Venmo, Zelle

Social media


Years experience

No formal training, No formal training; some self-taught experience, 0 – 2 years experience, 2 – 4 years experience, 4+ years of experience

Able to read music

Student can read music, Student cannot read music

Lesson length

30 minutes, 45 minutes, 60 minutes

Student's age

5 – 10 years old, 11 – 13 years old, 14 – 18 years old, 19 – 25 years old, 26 – 45 years old, 46 – 65 years old, Over 65 years old

Student has instrument

Students who have a piano, Students who have a keyboard, Students who have neither

Interested musical styles

Jazz, Pop, I can make recommendations

Photos and videos

  • Reviews

    0 reviews


    Rameez S.

    Marshal is a great teacher. My son is getting home lessons and I am quite happy with his progress. Marshal understands my child and tries new techniques at his level. Marshal listens to my child and talks to him which makes it easier for him to learn. Marshal is a decent man who talks less but makes sure he is working hard. Would definitely recommend him!
    ... Show more
    July 03, 2021


    Nicole S.

    Marshal is not only a gifted musician but also highly skilled at teaching. Marshal infuses music theory into his lessons, helping me understand the meaning behind the notes. He also uses personalized techniques to help with proper hand placement and reading sheet music.
    As an adult student, I was nervous about picking up an instrument but Marshal customized his curriculum to my learning style, characteristics and ability, making my journey with the piano an enjoyable yet challenging experience!
    Ive been working with Marshal for only a few months and Ive made great strides in my ability to both read sheet music and play the piano. Hes also very patient and highly personable! I highly recommend working with Marshal. Very excited for my future lessons and continued piano skills growth!
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    June 25, 2021


    Cindy G.

    Marshal is a fabulous teacher. I am 54 years old and learning piano for the first time. Marshal makes it fun, easy to understand and just challenging enough to keep me on my toes! Im surprised by how much I have learned in only a handful of lessons.
    ... Show more
    June 18, 2021


    Phuong-Mai B.

    My son had a unique school project, in that he was challenged to learn a new skill in a few months and document that journey. He decided to pick a complicated piano song to learn, despite having no prior musical experience. I knew that working with a talented and flexible instructor was going to be key to keeping him engaged with this project. I chose Marshal as a piano instructor due to his accomplished musical and educational background, and his willingness to experiment with a different teaching style. Ultimately, Marshal was the perfect choice, as he patiently and professionally worked with my son through his many moods and incessant questions, even with doing lessons over Zoom. My son got an A+ on his project, and is continues to be interested in piano lessons even though his project is over. I dont think thats a very easy feat for a teacher to keep an active kid engaged to learn the piano. Our family enjoys working with Marshal and really appreciates his intelligence and openness. If you are looking for a smart, skilled and flexible piano instructor, give Marshal a call or drop him an email!
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    June 16, 2021


    Carmen A.

    Marshal has been my piano instructor for the past couple of months, this review is long overdue. He is the best instructor Ive ever had. After experiencing a long artist block during quarantine I decided to end it. A friend recommended Marshal and I plan on going to him for as long as I can. Marshal is flexible, patient, and creative. Most importantly he helps me grow as an artist and encourages me to challenge myself. Thanks for all you do Marshal. I appreciate you.
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    June 16, 2021


    Christine I.

    My son has been taking piano lessons for ~4 months and seems to enjoy playing. I like that Marshal allows him to choose pieces he is interested in, while also assigning pieces that will teach him the basics of technique. This seems to have allowed my son to progress much quicker, and because hes playing things he likes, I dont even have to remind him to practice. Marshal is patient and seems to make an effort to connect with the student.
    ... Show more
    June 16, 2021

    Frequently asked questions

    I ask their parents and them what are their goals for working with me, what are their favorite subjects and activities, and how they enjoy learning (i.e. reading, working through questions, watching videos, computer games). 

    I also ask how much homework they have, in order to avoid overburdening them in an already challenging learning environment. 

    I hold a BA in History from Yale College, and an MS/MBA from Purdue.  I  have earned certificates in jazz piano and songwriting from the Dick Grove School of Music, along with a teaching certificate from Kaplan in Math and English.  

    To further enrich students' learning experiences, I've completed 10 courses in Psychology, including Developmental Psychology.

    Pricing is on a case-by-case basis, which depends primarily on frequency and location of sessions.

    I began tutoring in high school when the academic dean asked me to help his daughter with Math. My Freshman year in college I taught underprivileged students at a public high school in New Haven, CT.

    After graduating from music school, I began offering private piano lessons to grade and high school students, in addition to substitute teaching English and Music classes at a private school in Hillsborough.  

    I have worked with students of all diverse ages and proficiency with English-- ranging from 7 to 75 years of age;  ESL to native speakers in English. 

    Most of my piano students have ranged from beginner to intermediate levels.

    Select a teacher whose personality meshes with yours (i.e. laid back, serious, or detail-oriented)

    Try to figure out if the teacher seems interested in your progress, and isn't just teaching to supplement their income. 

    How much time they are able to commit to practicing? 

    Why do they want to learn how to play the piano (to play for themselves or friends and family; play in a band; or, to keep busy)

    Why are they choosing piano, as opposed to guitar, drums, violin, or singing? 

    What styles do they like to listen to and/or what style would they like to play?


    Services offered

    Music Theory