Contemporary Piano/Vocal Lessons

Contemporary Piano/Vocal Lessons

5.0(4 reviews)
Offers online services
Offers online services


I started playing the piano by ear when I was 11 months old. I started studying classical violin at age 3 and was performing concertos by age 6. I started my first rock band at age 14, after receiving invitations from other bands at age 12. I toured as a lead vocalist/keyboardist at age 17.

I started teaching contemporary piano/keyboard & vocal lessons in 1983 while studying studio composition and production at university, teaching teen and adult students to play & sing pop/rock music, either for their own enjoyment or to perform in rock bands.

Most of my students have either no previous musical training or were classically trained and want to expand into more contemporary types of music.

I specialize in ear-training. I help students develop their ability to hear and recognize notes, chords, and progressions - and to be able to duplicate them so that they can play a song the way it was intended - not the way it's often written on the sheet music.

I can also teach the student how to write their own charts and/or write out music note for note. I help the student to understand what they are playing/singing instead of just learning to play/sing notes on a page that they have memorized but do not understand. In that way, the student has more flexibility to arrange, re-arrange, and even compose music as they wish.

I emphasize not only style, but accuracy. Developing a great sense of pitch is very important - especially in singing, where it's not just an issue of whether you hit the right note or a different note. It is important to be able make the song appear natural and effortless, even though the technique and accuracy behind its performance has been well-trained.

Music should be enjoyed - not only by the listener, but by the performer. I believe that enjoyment is increased dramatically when the musician/singer not only has a good command of what they are doing, but also understands what they are doing.

For students who are also interested in writing their own music, I am an experienced songwriter with four Professional Certificates from Berklee College of Music. I can help students in every aspect of songwriting, and in preparing to perform their own songs.

I can teach in my home or via Skype (internet). I enjoy face-to-face instruction when possible but, due to COVID-19, I also started teaching remotely. Due to current technology, I can now accept students anywhere in the world who have access to the technology.

Being able to contribute to the improvement in a student's performance, and share in the sense of satisfaction the student feels by being able to perform a song that they really like, makes this my favorite job ever.


Hired 4 times
1 employee
40 years in business
Serves Austin , TX
Offers online services

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  • Reviews

    0 reviews

    X.J. B.

    I started taking piano lessons from Rico about ten months ago. I had zero music training and was looking for learning something new and enjoy music better, although I was not even sure it was possible to learn piano at my age (>55). Rico is patient, flexible, and caters his teaching and the pace to my level and schedule. Rico teaches not just how, but also why and also from the perspective of enjoying music. We even tried to do some voice training, which I would never have thought of trying. I have enjoyed the entire process, from lessons, to practicing myself, and to seeing myself making process. Now I am confident that I can really learn piano or even sing from Rico, and with practice, to a level that I would enjoy and look at music completely differently from when I started. And I look forward to every lesson.
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    February 29, 2020
    Hired on Lessons

    Mandee L.

    I’ve never played piano in my life but had a small level of music theory understanding. Rico had me playing and singing a song after 1 month. I love that he starts with some basics and builds theory in over time instead of starting with just theory. He loves to simplify songs to help you understand the workings of a song then add more as weeks go on, personally I love this approach and it has kept it fun and kept me wanting to push myself!
    Rico has a flexible schedule, and a great attitude. 11/10 would recommend for anyone looking to get straight to it and start singing and playing songs together in the first 1-2 months! I can’t wait to look back on our journey again in a few more months!
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    February 22, 2020
    Hired on Lessons

    X.J. B.

    February 15, 2020
    Hired on Lessons

    Corey A.

    Rico helped me to play the violin in perfect tune. I did not realize how bad it was, but he helped trainy ear, and I still play in tune to this day. I highly recommend his lessons! Thanks, Rico!
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    January 22, 2019

    Frequently asked questions

    I like to start by understanding exactly what the student hopes to accomplish by training with me.  Then, I find out what previous training & experience the student has and assess the current skill level.

    I then find out what music the student is most interested in learning/performing so that I can incoporate that type of music into the training.

    There are fundamentals that need to be learned, but student enjoyment and motivation are increased by including in the training real songs that the student actually likes.

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