Deborah Fortier, Pianist & Piano Teacher (& Composer)

Deborah Fortier, Pianist & Piano Teacher (& Composer)

5.0 (4)
1 hire on Lessons.com

About this pro

I love working with students of all ages and levels. I work with my students to attain a beautiful tone and a healthy technique, meaning that I make playing as comfortable as I can for them so they can achieve the musicality they wish for. I help them understand how their pieces are put together, incorporating music theory and harmony in our lessons. I have high standards, but make sure that we have a lot of fun during the learning process. 

I enjoy everything about what I do: the piano, the music, and my students. I love learning new ways to reach each individual student, and feel both challenged and gratified as I learn how to best tackle technical and musical hurdles posed by the individual students and by the music itself.

I've taught all my life, beginning as a teenager and through conservatory and graduate school. I continue to perform often, even just for small musicales. My husband and I run the Bar Harbor Music Festival (Bar Harbor, Maine), which he founded 51 years ago, so I'm immersed in music.

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Credentials

New York, NY 10025
Email verified
Phone verified

4 Reviews

5.0

  • Danielle Kwoka

    Debby knows her craft very well and is dedicated to providing the experience you are looking for with classical piano training.

  • Peter Brest

    Debby is a truly wonderful teacher - demanding enough to motivate me to keep improving my playing, while also understanding the limitations of someone learning the piano later in life. She encourages me to take on pieces that stretch my ability and technique. Her passion for music informs her teaching and her playing, which I've been lucky to hear from time to time.

  • Mady Goldstein

    Deborah Fortier has been my piano teacher for the last 6 months....I am an adult learner. Her breadth of knowledge about classical music for the piano, her focus on technique, her joy and passion for the music and her teaching skills make every lesson better than the next. Lastly, she knows has music touches the soul in times of plenty and in times of sadness--so her motto is, keep going. Let music bring forth a period for wonderment and joy!

  • Madeleine Dobie

    Debby Fortier is an immensely patient but serious and knowledgeable teacher. An outstanding classical pianist herself she has years of experience working with kids of all ages as well as adults.



FAQs


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

I like to get to know my student and let them get to know me and my style of teaching by working with them and just generally talking. I show my new students how I would work with them so they relax and can feel comfortable expressing themselves - their goals and their concerns, and I do this by teaching them something. I like to give them a whole do-able piece, no matter how short, that they can go home and practice. 


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

I've studied piano my whole life and continue to study piano, working on new repertoire, performing at seminars and giving public performances. My education is a combination of what I've learned from my teachers and what I continue to learn from working with literally hundreds of students over the years. Bachelor of Music (piano performance) from Oberlin Conservatory; Master of Music (piano performance) at Villa Schifanoia in Florence, Italy.


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

I charge $100 for an hour for lessons at my home, and I charge $10 more when I go to my students' homes. I can be flexible, as I understand that this can be overwhelming for some families or individuals. I also work with many students for 45 minutes instead of the hour, and will modify my fee accordingly. 


How did you get started teaching?

I have always loved the piano and have also loved children, so it came to me very naturally when I was just a teenager myself.


What types of students have you worked with?

I've worked with all kinds of students, from little 3-year olds up through 85 years old, of all levels. Many of my students are not especially serious and are just trying out the piano. But I take them as seriously as I do my more focused students, as I feel learning piano teaches so many things on so many levels that one need not feel its a waste to work with kids who "don't practice enough", etc. Music is so enriching. I feel I am giving a whole new dimension to my students' lives by opening up the door to understanding and playing music.


Describe a recent event you are fond of.

Recently I started a youngster on piano who was extremely ungainly in his movements and it became clear I had my work cut out for me in helping him become comfortable and capable playing. Today he was so excited to show me how he was able to play his school's alma mater, based on the theme of Mozart's A Major Sonata.  


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

Please make sure you have a good instrument to practice on! I am ok with decent keyboards (with weighted keys), but much prefer an acoustic (non-electric) piano - no matter the size. I work a lot with technique - making a beautiful tone, which is your "voice" on the piano, so having a decent instrument will make your experience so much more rewarding. I am flexible about what music my students wish to learn, but my greatest love is classical music - including contemporary classical music. If you're interested more in pop or jazz, I'd suggest working with someone who is more inclined in that direction.


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

I think a student should really just keep an open mind. That way they will experience their lesson and their new teacher without preconceptions. If their teacher is a good teacher, I think the student will be able to eventually discuss their needs, their wishes, their goals, with their teacher and both can work together as a team to achieve and fulfill and answer all of these.