Perhaps one of the following descriptions describes you:

-Just starting out the piano: you always wanted to play but never had lessons

I can answer all of your questions about starting piano lessons. Do you need a piano, or will a keyboard do? And if a keyboard will do, which of the many on the market should you get? We will discuss whether piano will be an activity of casual recreation, or something you want to pursue with dedication, and we will devise a sensible practice schedule to accommodate this goal. Either one is fine as long as we know what it will be. You may want to practice for hours to get really good really fast, or you only need to practice 10 minutes a day because that’s all you can commit to. We will be realistic but optimistic with what we can achieve, making the piano a positive aspect of your life!

-You are taking classical/traditional lessons but want to add some ‘fun pieces’ or improvisation to your lessons

Some teachers are gifted at getting a student’s technique to a very high level and interpreting classical music, but the student gets tired of the classical regimen. Why can’t they mix in a Billy Joel song, or a Regina Spektor song, or a song by The Beatles, or Stevie Wonder or anything remotely modern or jazzy? The answer is that you of course can, but even very great classical teachers may be entirely clueless about improvisation or modern music. This is through no fault of their own, but a result of the academic music path they were educated on. I see both sides of the coin, and can help you add fun and interesting pieces to your life while maintaining a respect for the classical side of your learning. I can help you track down the music you want, and if it’s not in print I can transcribe it for you and teach you how to play it. It is also very rare for classical teachers to get any experience with improvisation, or cultivating the ability to hear music and play it or play along. I have spent my life doing that and can very readily teach you how to as well. It may seem like magic but it is very teachable.

– OR….You are self taught on piano and want to learn better technique or really learn to read or play classical (the opposite of the previous point)

Maybe you have taught yourself to play by ear and can improvise but you need to get some technique on the instrument. Maybe you love classical music and want to play it and play it well, with control and phrasing and nuance. I love classical music as well and practice it every day. I would love to teach you about classical music and develop your playing through repertoire. Even if classical is not your bag, I can develop your technique if you are self taught so that you will gain facility.

-You want to play in Church: you can read music and play the piano but don’t know how to play spontaneously based on chord symbols or a lead sheet

My first gig was playing in a Catholic church in high school and I had to do exactly that. I can show you how to take a lead sheet and create an arrangement out of it that is appropriate for church. (this is similar to the method of ‘Scott the Piano Guy’, but I will help you fill in important details he does not mention) I can show you how a knowledge of chords will greatly enhance you ability to sight read any music. I would love you show you how you can play very professional sounding music based of a chord chart or lead sheet. I can also show you how to go backwards and figure out the chords from a SATB arrangement or hymnal.

-You are a singer songwriter who wants to accompany his or herself on piano or you want to write songs using the piano as a tool.

I know many vets of the L.A. and S.D. singer songwriter scenes, and I’ve helped them do just that. Sometimes one lesson is all it takes to get your understanding of the piano together enough so that you can compose with the piano. The piano is laid out so simply that if you play guitar or another instrument, it doesn’t take much to grasp what’s going on. I would love to show you several different styles that different songwriters use to accompany themselves, ranging from the very simple to the virtuosic.

-You want to learn how to play with a live rig and program your keyboards or you want to play keys in your band.

Nothing beats playing the acoustic piano, but when you have a gig at 4th and B, Lestats, or The Belly Up, you don’t have the luxury of a real piano. Furthermore as a gigging keyboard player in the modern age, you need to know more than just piano. You need to know Hammond organ, Wurly, Rhodes, and synths. Not to mention how to run the rig live and what is overkill vs. what is underkill. Maybe you’re a guitar player who wants to play keys on a couple songs that your band does and you need help crafting a part or just knowing what piece of gear will work for you. I know the keyboards of 2009 very well and stay extremely current on the latest technology (it’s my livelihood). I also know how keyboard players actually play in bands, and know what you should expect from a sound men.

-You want to learn jazz

I love jazz and play it as much as I humanly can. Jazz is a language and you can’t learn it without listening to it a lot. But I can help you with what to listen to and get you immersed in that world, and I can expose you to all kinds of great piano jazz and help you craft a voice that will be all your own. Each lesson we will listen to different music and focus on different aspects of your jazz language at the piano. There are also many great printed resources for learning jazz and I know them all and will pull from the best to teach you.

-You want to learn RnB/ 70’s soul

I held down a gig this past year at the House of Blues on Sunset Blvd. playing in the house band for a pro level RnB jam session. Heavy heavy players regularly sat in with us including Ricky Pa’geot (Madonna’s KB player), Brandon Fields (Jessica Simpson’s bass player), Tony Royster Jr. (Jay Z’s drummer) and Bobby Brown himself. As the house band we played Michael Jackson, The Meters, Jill Scott, The Gap Band, Lauryn Hill, and many more artists’ songs. I have a thorough knowledge of these styles and can show them to you.

-You want to learn reggae/ska

I have played reggae keyboards in probably 15 different countries and I have recorded it in the studio more than any other style. I know the genre very well and I am friends with many of reggae’s brightest lights (The Aggrolites, Christafari) Whatever you need to know I can show you. I currently coach an L.A. based band in how to play authentic roots reggae and can teach you the same. Just because you play other styles of music doesn’t mean that reggae is EASY. It is, and it isn’t.


  1. […] WHAT I TEACH Posted by: sdpianoteacher | July 4, 2010 […]

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