I have been making music my whole life, and teaching piano for over 40 years. I hold a master's degree in musicology and a doctorate in piano performance from the University of Colorado, Boulder; I perform regularly as a soloist and chamber musician, and I continue to research and write about my special interest, the music and times of the early-20th-century French avant garde.
My philosophy of music education is two-fold. First, music lessons teach problem-solving skills that can be applied to all of life’s challenges: clear thinking, a step-by-step approach, discipline and perseverance applied to a highly-detailed goal. Second, becoming a musician cultivates a sensitivity that seems to be rarer and rarer in today’s world. Our culture prizes empty production values over content, but classical music is just the opposite: no slick packaging, just inherent beauty and excellence. And music students are audiences as well as performers –we are all stewards of a precious cultural legacy. I feel a deep responsibility to pass on this legacy, and find my greatest joy in helping kids and adults discover the ineffable delights of classical music.
Making music is emotionally, intellectually, physically and spiritually enriching. And classical music has unlimited depths of detail and richness to plumb. Helping students experience the enchantment I feel when I play the piano is my mission in life. I love inspiring my students to listen with mindful attention, find physical ease at the keyboard, and to shape every phrase with intention and feeling.
I've worked with four teachers in the past, and Lisa is the best teacher I've ever had. Yes, she has a PhD in music performance, and she's taught for 35 years, and she herself is a concert pianist, but her real gift is being able to teach you how to play the very best you can, how to see behind the dynamics of the sheet music to the very essence of what these classical composers wanted to to share with the world. They are a gift from the past to us, and Lisa Harrington is a gift in the present for those of us who are lucky enough to study with her.
For an experienced student, they play me a piece or two from their past work, and we use that music as material to work on together for the first lesson. I can get a sense of areas of potential technical and musical growth, and my feedback on relaxed hand/arm/body placement and musical details like voicing, articulation, phrasing and expression can give the new student a good sense of how I can bring them to the next artistic level. We talk about which pieces they'd like to learn next, and how I can best help them with their practice routine. I show specific tricks on how to practice effectively, and give lots of positive inspiration!
For beginners, I introduce the keyboard and hand placement, and we start note-reading with the Leila Fletcher piano method. I make an assignment chart so they know exactly what to practice when they get home.
Doctorate in piano performance; Master in musicology
$100/hour for adults and advanced teens. This includes communication in between lessons, via texting questions/andswers and exchanging demonstration/practice videos, which allows for constant feedback and progress between in-person lessons.
$75/45 minutes for intermediate children/teens
$60/30 minutes for beginners (age 9-13)
(Also includes communication in between lessons)
I started piano lessons at age 5, and when I was 16 my piano teacher asked me to teach her younger students while she was out of town. While still in high school, I started teaching kids in my neighborhood, and even my high school English teacher! I've been teaching piano ever since.
I've worked with children and adults of all ages and levels of experience, and currently teach kids 9 and older, and adults of all ages.
...sitting outside Chautauqua Auditorium peeking at and listening to the Colorado Music Festival orchestra with my three-year-old grandson.
My advice is always to take one lesson from a few different teachers to see if the teaching style and personal chemistry is a good fit.
Students should be realistic about their practice commitment. They should figure out their schedule so that they can fit in a minimum of 30 minutes of piano practice every day. Daily practice becomes more enjoyable (a stress-reducing escape, or a stimulating brain pick-me-up!) the more regular it is, and getting up to 1-2 hours/day (or more) can really transform their playing and their life!