Stewart Studios

Stewart Studios

5.0 (14)
7 hires on
1 employee
18 years in business

About this pro

I am a classically trained concert pianist who has performed throughout the U.S., Europe, and South America as recitalist, concerto soloist with dozens of orchestras, as well as collaborative pianist. I received a bachelor's degree in piano performance at the University of Utah, and a master's degree in piano performance and collaborative piano at Mannes Conservatory.

As a specialist of collaborative musical activities, chamber musician, and repetiteur in opera houses, I find that students benefit when they are able to make friends and experience the social component of music making firsthand. This is a priority in my studio as there are group playing classes, opportunities to perform with other pianists, instrumentalists, and singers, and get more involved in the community.

After my graduate studies in New York City, I lived in the Greater Tampa Bay area for five years, where I taught group piano classes at Manatee School for the Arts and maintained a private piano studio and freelanced as collaborative pianist and musical director for various professional choirs, theaters, and opera companies. I now teach group piano and music technology courses at Enfield High School and am looking to expand my private piano studio in New England!

I have over 16 years of experience working with students of all ages, levels, and musical interests, and I can teach classical, jazz, pop, rock, ragtime, showtunes, and the blues. Feel free to contact me for your completely FREE trial lesson either in person or via Zoom!

I love working with students of all ages and levels who are interested in exploring a new way to express themselves, discover the world around them, and develop a greater sense of awareness and empathy. It is completely gratifying to see a student acheive a challenging goal, find joy in music, and develop skills and work ethics that will serve them for the rest of their lives. Being a part of this is what keeps me teaching!

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Somers, CT 06071
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14 Reviews


  • Laura Jenkins

    Michael is not only an amazing coach but an amazing person, performer and Teacher! I am an adult pianist coming back after taking time off (20 years) to raise a family. In just tow months I feel I have learned more about my position and action than ever before.

  • Foster Barnes

    Micheal is very talented, knowledgeable, and pleasant. He is excellent at explaining technique, music, and offers plenty of helpful tips and excercises. I'm an older student returning to the piano; Michael has been patient, intuitive and insightful. I am enjoy the choice of music and exercises he has suggested and provided.

  • Debra Barrett

    Michael is always very pleasant and encouraging. Although I have only taken lessons with Michael a short while, my technique has improved dramatically and I actually enjoy my practice sessions.

  • Christine Weaver

    Michael is absolutely an outstanding teacher and I still can't believe my luck in finding him. He is an excellent motivator. He expects a lot from you but also makes you WANT to meet his expectations. I have made a lot of progress since I started studying with him 9 months ago.

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

I first meet with the student at a free trial lesson. During this time, the student is able to ask me any questions about lessons, studio expectations, performances, or other concerns. I am also able to hear what kind of experience and skill the student has acquired so that I can assign music, exercises, and other assignments that are appropriate for the student. I also ask further questions about the student's musical tastes, goals, and interests and playing the piano so that I can assign repertoire that both teaches fundamental musical knowledge and skill and also interests the student. Once a student has decided to pursue lessons further, a studio policy will be given outlining expectations of both the student and the teacher regarding attendance, payment, cancellations, among other items. 

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

Master of Music in Collaborative Piano - Mannes College 2015

Master of Music in Piano Performance - Mannes College 2015

Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance - University of Utah 2011

Professional musician and teacher for over 16 years

Laureate of numerous international piano competitions

Concerto soloist with dozens of orchestras throughout the continental United States

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

Tuition for lessons is as follows:

$45 per half hour lesson

$60 per 45-minute lesson

$75 per 1-hour lesson

All lessons within a month are paid for at the first lesson of said month to mitigate billing issues. Lessons missed due to illness, family emergencies, and vacations may be credited toward the following month (see studio policy). Acceptable forms of payment include: cash, personal check, PayPal, or Venmo. 

How did you get started teaching?

I first started working with piano students in 2004 as a "practice helper" for Dr. Susan Duehlmeier, University of Utah Piano Area chair. Since she could only work with students once per week, I was hired to help students achieve their weekly musical goals at lessons, prepare for competitions and performances, make recordings, and encourage effective and efficient practice. In this capacity, I had the unique experience of working with advanced players first on repertoire ranging from Bach to Ives, as well as observe and implement the invaluable advice given by a world-class pianist such as Dr. Duehlmeier. Since then, I have taken pedagogy courses at the University of Utah and Mannes College, which has helped me become more confident and flexible teaching students of all levels, backgrounds, and in a wide array of styles.

What types of students have you worked with?

I have worked with students in Utah, New York, New Jersey, and now in Florida, both one-on-one and in group formats. They have been young children barely able to read; retired lawyers, doctors, and IT experts; studious, straight-A high school students; college drop-outs; students who work with ADHD and autism; children of millionaires; and even children enrolled at Title One Schools, located in areas where crime, gang involvment, domestic abuse, and substance abuse are widespread.

Music has been, is, and will always be a major part of human life. It gives the soul the ability to convey messages that are too complex and elusive to convey through words alone. It is the art of sound that gives us the ability to describe the spectrum of human emotions and experiences. Regardless of background though, music is important to every person alive, and my goal as a teacher and mentor is to help each student identify what music means to him or her.

Describe a recent event you are fond of.

I recently visited the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, which was completely magical! I can't wait to go back during the fall time. 

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

I would consider how much you can invest of yourself in piano practicing and events. Just like everything else worthwhile in life, piano playing does not happen overnight. It requires many hours of practice, developing the ability to identify challenges as well as effective solutions to them, and sometimes sacrifice. Simply put, the more you invest in your lessons, the more you will get back from them - most of it depends on you. 

I would also recommend getting as many trial lessons available with multiple teachers. Regardless of the teacher's ability and experience, personality and chemistry are key in making your musical journey one that is enjoyable and enlightening. Try to find a teacher who understands your musical goals and interests as well as the way you process and work on music, and try to find what personality traits of a teacher will motivate you the most.

Do you want a teacher who is motherly and caring? One who is creative, quirky, and artistic? One who pushes you like an athletic coach, and can even be brutally honest at times? Do you want one who has copious performing experience and a varied career as performer as well as pedagogue? Or do you prefer a local teacher who has dedicated his or her entire career to being an educator?

There are so many possibilities when it comes to teaching style, and there is not one correct way to teach. However, when you leave a lesson feeling inspired, ready to work on your music, seeing your music and ability from a new and refreshing perspective, and feeling that there are so many more countless ways to grow musically, you have found a good match.  

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

Before you discuss your needs with a potential teacher, consider the following:

1) What are your current strengths?

2) What are your current challenges?

3) What are your musical goals in the next year? In the next five years? When you are an adult (in the next 10+ years)?

4) What are you trying to accomplish by taking piano lessons? What types of skills are you trying to develop?

5) What genres of music do you enjoy listening to and/or playing? 

6) How much would you trust a teacher's expertise and judgement, especially it terms of technical exercises, theory assignments, and repertoire choices? How would you react if your teacher gave you a piece that you are not particularly fond of, but that would help you hone skills that cannot be developed as easily otherwise?