Piano Lessons for Children

Parent Q&A

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  • Hi, reposting this question since the last thread is several years old. Can anyone recommend a piano teacher who will come to my home to give piano lessons? I am looking for someone to teach 3 girls age 4-7, all beginners. I live in the Upper Rockridge area of Oakland. Thanks!

    We have been really happy with Ms. Zoe. She comes to our house (and did zoom during the pandemic). She is super patient and a great teacher. https://www.zbandco.com/

    You may want to contact Phyllis Plotkin (510)655-4939, her studio is in Rockridge area. My younger daughter has been gone to her for over 12 years. Phyllis is a very good teacher.  I am not sure if she will come to your home. 

    Hi Laurie, 

    I recommend Ondine Young.  She has  taught our son piano for the last 3 years and she is amazing!  Extremely gifted with children. She’s very patient and encouraging. We love her!  Here is her website:  http://Ondineyoung.com



  • We live in Berkeley and are looking for a piano teacher to give private in-person, piano lessons for child with ADHD and an ear for music. A teacher that is creative motivating a child will be a wonderful fit. Any recommendations are appreciated.


    I highly recommend Libby McLaren in Oakland. I know you said that you're in Berkeley but she's worth the drive!

    flower2mcl [at] earthlink.net



  • My son is 9 years old and he is showing an interest in piano lessons. We are located in Oakland.

    Does anyone know of a piano teacher that you can recommend in the Oakland area?

    We were very happy with the preparatory music program at Holy Names University.

    Our daughter took piano lessons from a teacher who was familiar with Suzuki method, but also provided age-appropriate music books.

    Juliana Graffagna is a wonderful piano teacher located off Piedmont Ave. I took lessons from her a few years ago and I know she teaches children as well. 

    My younger daughter loved taking lessons from Libby McLaren out of her home in the Glenview neighborhood. Her wife also does lessons with string instruments so, for a little while, I had one daughter taking fiddle with Robin and one daughter taking piano with Libby. It was fantastic! Both women are excellent teachers. 

    phone: 510.866.5431

    email: flower2mcl [at] earthlink.net

    ~Please tell them that Mailisha sent you! 

  • Our 5yo daughter is asking for piano and/or harp lessons. We live in Rockridge. Looking for recs in the area. Thanks in advance! 

    We just started piano lessons with Paulette Nichols, and my kids are having a blast! She lives in Rockridge but comes to our house for lessons: paulette [at] pauletteinternational.com.

  • Piano lessons

    (1 reply)

    I was wondering how much families pay for piano lessons and if you have recommendations for a piano teacher who is close to Berkeley. I looked for previous recommendations, but didn't see the info I was looking for. Thanks!

    I highly recommend Sarah Gettys! She's such a gentle, kind, and talented piano teacher for our child.

  • Hello, I haven’t seen any recent postings on beloved piano teachers. Given the movement during Covid I would like to reach out and see if anyone has a piano teacher they recommend for young children (ages 8,7 &5). Suzuki method or conservatory are both fine. 

    Thank you so much in advance, 

    [Moderator note]  There are quite a few recent reviews here: Piano Lessons for Children

    My daughter (13 yo) has been going to Ms Jessica Klass for piano lessons since she was 9.  We’ve been very happy with her pedagogy, her humour and her ability to connect with my daughter.   She has a studio in El Cerrito.  klasspiano [at] gmail.com

    Crowden Music Center (Berkeley) offers piano lessons as well as other string instruments.    They might be able to help you schedule simultaneous lessons (with different teachers) for all your 3 children.   crowden.org.  

    Good luck! 

    Hi, I can wholeheartedly recommend Barbie Wong (https://www.barbiewong.com/contact/)! She teaches out of her home studio in Alameda, and uses the Suzuki method. She is extremely patient and kind. She also offers support workshops to the parents to help with practice issues, which have been immensely helpful.

    Recommend Kathryn Winter, talented experienced teacher, great with children.email her at katwin3 [at] gmail.com

  • Piano teacher for 6yo near Berkeley

    (4 replies)

    Hi, seeking advice on a piano teacher for a 6 year old (for our wiggly, new to music son) in the Berkeley area.   Hopefully someone that keeps it fun, isn't too serious, and has experience with younger, new musicians.  Thanks!

    My (now 6) year old started virtual lessons in January with Ernie Mansfield of mansfieldmusic.com. It's been a really wonderful experience - Ernie strikes a great balance of fun/encouragement and manages the ipad lessons well. I do look forward to a return to in-person as I need to sit with my daughter through the whole lesson, but overall we have been super happy.

    My wiggler recently started with Kristen at Piano Everyone https://pianoeveryone.com and we could not be happier with her gentle approach. 

    Give Jimi Marks a call. Berkekey educated, trained in piano and drums for 25 years, and connects very well with young kids. DM me for his number/email. 

    Susanne Stolcke taught our boys for many years.  All levels from tiny beginners to competitive.  Has an absolutely stress-free relationship with her students and their parents.  Our 22 yo still plays every day he can.

    (510) 528-1224

    susanne_piano [at] hotmai.com

  • Moved recently to Piedmont. Looking for a piano teacher who will prepare students each year for the Certificate of Merit testing.

    My children are 10 & 8 years old. 

    Thank you for any leads in advance!

    I don't know if she is stlll teaching, but if so, try Vicki Hurd, in the phone book, in Oakland, on the Piedmont Border.  Near Beach Elementary.  My son took lessons for about 5 years from age 5 - 10.  She's great, so well trained--great teacher of technique and musicality, but it was almost 10 years ago when we were with her, and she was not young then.

    Pia Siegwart (Berkeley Academy of Music) does this. My son did several years of Certificate of Merit and played with Pia for several years. She is a great teacher.

    I believe that Kate Campbell teaches within this certificate of merit system. She is very experienced, kind, and excellent. I'd recommend contacting her. When we took with her some years ago she was on the Emeryville/Oakland border. 

    best wishes

  • I'm looking for a piano teacher that is willing to do in person lessons for my 5 year son in the Piedmont area. I don't think he will be able to do a zoom lesson. 

    I know someone great in Glenview. Not sure if that's close enough for you, though. Last I heard she was doing it via Zoom (like everyone else), but now that vaccines are available I wouldn't be surprised if she has now pivoted to in-person. My daughter worked with her for years and loved her!

    Libby McLaren

    home: 510.967.3386

    cell: 510.866.5431

    robinandlibby2017 [at] gmail.com


    You can call to see if Vicki Hurd is available for in person.  She's across the street from Piedmont.  Look her number up under the name Peter Hurd or Vicki Hurd, in Oakland.  My son took lessons from age 5-11.  Then we moved.

  • Hi, does anyone know of a way to get toddlers started on piano lessons during the pandemic? I am not sure if starting them online with be effective, as it will be their very first lessons. (My boys are 5-year old twins). We have a piano at home (not sure if we should invite a private teacher in), or if there is a music school that we could safely go to? Anyone have any thoughts/recommendations? Thanks!

    We have been working with Marianne for years. She has transitioned to zoom teaching well. She was a preschool teacher for a long time, and we think she is a kid whisperer. I'm not sure if she has openings, but please feel free to reach out. mlbarlow2 [at] gmail.com 

    Try Ben Zadan. I'm doing Zoom piano lessons with him--started after my piano-playing kid went off to college!


    We started our 7 year old in "first-ever" piano lessons a few months ago, and chose a teacher (through word-of-mouth) that is doing Zoom lessons. I wouldn't think this would be adequate for a child first starting out, but we live with my mother-in-law who has studied piano in the past, can read music, and is available to sit next to him during his Zoom lessons. She is very hands-off and mostly just listens, but is available to help him as needed, like with hand positioning or locating a specific note, which would be tricky for our teacher through the ipad. I think it's going really well. If you've ever taken piano and can just sit with the boys during their lessons, it could work. 

    Hi! My nearly 5 year old started piano and drum lessons last August via Zoom with Surya. He is a fantastic teacher and my son has learned a great deal. I highly recommend Surya and hope you reach out to him!


    I highly recommend Cynthia Bythell, https://cynthiabythellmusic.com/piano-lessons-beginning-through-early-advanced/ She gives private lessons at her home in West Berkeley, she has been teaching by Zoom very effectively during the pandemic but with our new red tier and educator vaccinations she may be opening up for in-person again. My daughter started with her at age 10 and worked with her for 6 years; she does work with children as young as yours. She is a gifted musician and an excellent teacher: patient, consistent, encouraging, but also very systematic. She focuses on helping students develop good habits and foundations while also helping them find music that interests them. She also runs a lovely recital every year which was hugely motivating for my daughter. She offers a free trial lesson.

    We started my 5 year old in virtual piano lessons with Ernie Mansfield and have been really happy. https://www.mansfieldmusic.com/

  • Online Piano Instruction

    (9 replies)

    Do you have a recommendation for a piano instructor who could teach by Zoom or some online format? Teaching 2 girls, ages 5 and 8. The piano teacher can reside anywhere, really. But should be fun, creative, patient, engaging. Or could you advise where I might search for an online piano teacher? Thank you!

    My seven year old daughter is continuing her piano lessons on Facetime with her teacher Nava Dunkleman.  You can find her here: BayAreaMusicalMentors.com.  We feel lucky to have found such a good fit for our family.  Nava is gentle, patient and fun.  She was coming to our house, but remote lessons are working well too.  My daughter, who was ready to quit the piano entirely, now practices without my reminding!

    Ronna Honigman, she is a great teacher! I don't know if she has space for new students, her email address is 88keysforkids [at] gmail.com. She's been teaching my son since 2011 @ her studio in El Cerrito and now online due to the Shelter in place order. 

    Our seven-year-old daughter takes piano with Ayden Graham - aydengraham [at] gmail.com.  Our usual lessons are after school on campus at St. Paul's Episcopal School in Oakland, but he has moved to teaching via Zoom and it has gone well for us.    I've been listening in on lessons and he is very patient and teaching her more than I remember learning when I was that age.

    Highly recommend Jamie Younger, (408) 564-2719.  She's based in San Francisco but travels to the East Bay a few days a week to teach piano lessons in her students' homes.  She has been fantastic with our 7 year old.  Since the shutdown she's transitioned to online piano lessons with Zoom or Facetime, and I know she's looking for a few new families.

    I recommend Kadie Kelly and Superpower of the Song for Piano lessons, we're doing zoom lessons now.  I'd also like to recommend a violin teacher who does kids and grown ups, violin and music theory.  Ilana the violin teacher: itzdat2002 [at] gmail.com and Kadie the piano teacher: kadiekelly [at] superpowerofthesong.com.  They are both great and teaching my kids.  Both are local for when things get back to normal.

    Look up Feisty Fingers. She's in Oakland but has started virtual lessons since the pandemic and would like to take on more students.

    Kristin Brooks-Davidman in Berkeley is doing video lessons  kdavidman [at] comcast.net

    My friend is a piano teacher at McAllister Music Studio based in San Francisco and they've converted all their lessons online. They do an amazing job with kids and adults alike. You can view more details about their school here: https://www.mcallistermusicstudiosf.com/

    Our wonderful piano teacher of over 8 years based out of Oakland, Dusan Chae, is providing online lessons.  Not only has Dusan helped our son lay a very solid foundation of piano techniques over the years, but he is now providing support and guidance as our 15 year old has begun to make his own arrangements of popular songs he likes from ear and get tremendous enjoyment from playing them.  This is the type of teacher who is a master of classic technique but open and broadminded enough to allow for the more spontaneous, "play it by the ear" type work that our child now deeply enjoys in this stage of his piano development.  Please contact Dusan at soundin2time [at] gmx.com

  • Hi,

    I am looking for a piano teacher in North Berkeley or Albany to teach my 8 year old daughter who has never played before. It would be great if the teacher could come to our place, but we could also go to the teacher. 

    I welcome your recommendations. 

    [Moderator Note: this is a frequent request and there are many reviews on the website from as recently as 3 months ago. See Piano Lessons for Children ]

    Alicia Dixon is THE BEST 707 654 5218

    I strongly recommend Dusan Chae. He's been teaching my son now for over 6 years. What makes him great: 1) very patient and kind, 2) comes TO YOUR HOUSE (huge!), 3) flexible in scheduling and music choice and 4) very reasonable fees.  Our goal was to have music be a part of my son's life and though he is in high school now he still wants to take lessons. Dusan has let him play what excites him and he can now play film scores (think Interstellar and Inception) in a way that literally mesmerizes. You can reach him at soundIn2Time [at] gmx.com

  • Piano teacher in Berkeley

    (2 replies)

    Hello - I am looking for a piano teacher who can come to our house for lessons around 5:30. My kid has taken lessons for about 6 months, so is mostly a beginner.  We live in the North Berkeley Bart area.

    [Moderator Note] View recent piano recommendations here: https://www.berkeleyparentsnetwork.org/advice/piano  and piano teachers available here: https://www.berkeleyparentsnetwork.org/tutors/search?subject[0]=443

    Both of my kids have taken piano from Scott Flemming at my house. I've recommended him on BPN before and still do! 510-849-2086

    Herb Riffkin taught both of our children for about eight years. When they stopped both my wife and I enjoyed lessons and I am taking lessons to this day. He is a wonderful teacher!

    Herb's number is 510-559-8658

  • Seeking a piano teacher for 5 year old

    (2 replies)

    We just moved to Kensington and we are looking for a patient and open-minded piano teacher for our 5 year old son. He has taught himself how to read music and the basics of music theory (key signatures, major/minor scales, types of chords). He loves to sight-read on his own and can play the piano for hours at at time when he's inspired. We are looking for a teacher who can build off of our son's existing knowledge and help him grow as a pianist and a musician, while keeping his innate love of music going.

    Susanne Stolcke is a great piano teacher and lives in Kensington.  She is originally from Germany and truly understand classic music. Not only does she teaches kids techniques, but also musicianship--how to understand, interpret and express the deeper meanings in the music.  She also has professional training in psychology and understands how kids think.  http://www.pianolessonsinberkeley.com

    Dear dshih - i know a lovely, experienced piano teacher, Kathryn Winter. She teaches out of her home in Albany very close to Kensington. Her email is: katwin3 [at] gmail.com

    You can tell Kathryn that Jan (from BCCO Berkeley Community Chorus & Orchestra) recommended her. She’s an interesting woman with quite a life history. And she’s a real musician. 

    Good luck


  • I'm looking for someone to give my daughter and a friend piano lessons who could come to our house in West Berkeley. They're six year old beginners.

    Any recommendations are appreciated! 

    We have a lovely piano teacher who comes to our home on Mondays and may have a slot for SW Berkeley area on that day, if that works.

    He’s fun, patient and serious about music at the same time, which is a great combination.

    My fidgety 8 and 6 year olds have accomplished more in 8 months than I would have ever expected for them. Give him a call!

    Peter DeWitt 

    +1 (818) 823-0269

    Good luck and sweet sounds!


  • I'm looking for a new piano teacher for my nearly 7 year old daughter. She has been playing for 3 years already and has perfect pitch. Reading has been a struggle under her current teacher and we had to involve a music therapist to get the reading up to par. Does anyone know of a teacher that has perfect pitch themselves and is open to using different teaching methods based on the students' learning style, strengths and weaknesses? The music therapist is using Alfred books. I've gone through the archives and have contacted a few teachers, but perfect pitch isn't always advertised. 

    Suzuki method uses recordings and books of music, so the child can both learn to play somewhat by ear and somewhat by reading.  Piano is a percussive instrument, so unlike strings or singing, good intonation is not necessary.  If you hit the key, it will play the right note.  I have known 2 musical prodigies in my life, one became a member of a professional string quartet, but is not famous.  The other one stopped playing, and I do not think she even plays for fun anymore.

    My first reaction to your post is that you do not need a teacher with perfect pitch to teach a child with perfect pitch. None of my teachers had perfect pitch, and they were graduates of Juilliard and Moscow. Perfect pitch does not correlate with musicality, as there are plenty of world class musicians that have an amazing relative pitch, which is truly what is necessary for musicality and also even more necessary when you play in ensemble, as perfect pitch can then become a curse. However, the point is not to argue whether perfect pitch makes a musician. I think you are asking about teaching methods, and I would venture to say that the real underlying issue is that because playing by ear comes so naturally for your daughter, there may be less motivation/desire/necessity to learn how to read music. This is because your daughter must pick up things very quickly, which is absolutely wonderful and quite a natural gift. Ask yourself - do you want your daughter to learn how to read music? If so, then find a teacher who is creative with getting kids to learn how to read the musical staff - that teacher does not need to have perfect pitch themselves, but can have had much success with teaching struggling students how to read. Maybe you need a combination of teachers - like a music reading tutor and a piano teacher, with the latter teaching your daughter the mechanics of the piano and essentials of musicality, while the music tutor helps supplement with more practice at reading. Or else, you could also think about composition teachers. She would not be too young to start learning how to compose, and you'd have to find the right one who could teach children composition. Children are naturally creative, it just takes a teacher to know how to guide that inclination. Hope that might generate some ideas for you.

    We started out with Suzuki method and found it to be a bit of a curse because she already had perfect pitch, Suzuki just made the resistance to reading music worse, so that is not a road we want to go down again. We then switched to a traditional teacher who used Faber books and kept the Suzuki song book for more difficult pieces. This teacher did not understand the struggles of someone with perfect pitch. She always talked over my daughter’s playing, interrupted her, insisted on a metronome at times even thought it was horribly distracting, wrote all over her sheet music to the point it was no longer legible (for a child who struggles to use her eyes over her ears). She didn’t get it. So yes, I’m looking for someone that is versatile and sensitive to the struggles of having perfect pitch, uses more effective learning strategies, is conscience of making noises while she’s playing, and still is able to bridge her playing abilities with her reading abilities. 

  • Hi! Looking for recommendations voice, piano (and maybe guitar) teacher for my 7 yo daughter.  She lights up when on stage so open to a Performing Arts school....she has take piano and dancing but we relocated to the East Bay so looking for recommendations?  We are away this summer (not available to attend a camp) so it would be for August 2019 but we wanted to get started and looking to meet a few teachers to find a nice fit.  Thank you so much for your help!

    I know of a fantastic piano teacher in the Glenview area of Oakland. Her name is Libby McLaren. My daughter LOVES her! I think she has a waiting list right for new students, but it'd be worth it to meet with her and, if you like her, get on her list. Her wife (Robin Flower) also teaches string instruments, so that could work great as well. They work out of their home. Contact me directly for their info. ~Mailisha Chesney


    KC Cavanagh  is an incredible piano teacher. She is full of energy and silliness and kids love to be around her.  She created a brilliant comic book series that teaches the fundamentals of piano and it is pure fun. My daughter has been playing piano with KC since she was 4 and is now almost 8. She can read music and play songs by ear. It is awesome.

    Here is her website: http://kcandfriends.com

    I would like to recommend that you reach out to Marianne http://www.mariannebarlow.com/

    Marianne is my 6 year old kid's piano teacher and was her preschool teacher. She is absolutely amazing with kids. She was a teacher for a very long time and decided to pursue music full-time, so she now does music lessons. She can teach piano, guitar and uke, among others. I think she does voice, too. I saw at least 1 kid taking singing lessons from her.  Her pedagogy is a bit different and interesting. She also plays these music games with younger kids that teaches them basics of music theory. We feel that it's been a great fit for our child. Check out her website. 

  • Seeking piano and/or math tutor for third grader in Alameda. Flexible on dates and time. 

    Oliver Miller is both a math tutor and a piano teacher. He taught my son piano for several years and is a wise, kind educator and a gentle soul. Highly recommend him. Contact info for Oliver Miller: (510) 452-7729

    I also recommend Oliver. He has tutored my son in math over the last couple of years and has been invaluable to him. My son has gained self confidence in addition to great grades. Although Oliver is not my son's music teacher (my son is a pianist) I know he has a deep appreciation for it as they often discuss music, and Oliver attended one of my son's concerts.

    I'd like to enthusiastically recommend William Beatty as a piano teacher for any age or level.  William has been teaching our son for six years, and it has been an exceptionally positive experience.  William is a terrific teacher: patient, encouraging, and challenging all in the right balance.  While of course he brings plenty of ideas from across the piano repertoire, he is also very open to following his students' interests in terms of what music they play.  He's supportive of his students' musical endeavors beyond the piano too: he regularly attends school performances to see his students playing their "other" instruments.  We have loved having William in our lives and are so appreciative of the way he is cultivating in our son both a love of music and a deep understanding of the fundamentals.  William is based in Berkeley and is willing to come to your house for lessons.  You can contact him at wbeatty [at] earthlink.net

  • Piano teacher for 9 year old

    (1 reply)


    I am looking for a piano/ keyboard tutor for my musically inclined nine year old boy in the 

    El cerrito/ Albany/ Berkeley areas.

    He has been learning from youtube but now he feels the need for a real tutor who can teach him to read sheet music and help him explore the nuances of music.

    He wants to do multiple instruments as well. We are looking for recommendations for tutors who are enthusuastic, relaxed, fun loving and will give him the freedom to explore and enjoy music.

    Thank you,


    My almost-16 year old daughter has been taking piano for about 8 years in South Berkeley from Eric Glickrieman and he's wonderful--relaxed, skilled, able to adjust to your child's style and musical interests, and he also does some guitar teaching, as well. Additionally, he's a professional keyboard improviser and if your kid likes that, he teaches them about composition and improvisation from a very early stage.

  • Hi there,

    Another request for recommendations for a piano teacher for my two kiddos (not beginners).  Need to get back on track after 6 month break.  Any recommedations for a teacher in the Berkeley area would be welcome.

    Thank you!


    My friend recommends her daughter’s previous teacher Emily Rubis in Berkeley. She just returned from living in Germany & is accepting new students. 

    Chip Brimhall, Berkeley (chipbrimhall.com). Wonderful pianist and long-time teacher whose students have gone on to musical careers or not, and all adore him.

  • We are seeking a piano teacher in Berkeley or North Oakland for our teenage daughter. Our daughter loves rock music, but also has expressed interest in musical composition. Because of this we are looking specifically for a highly educated teacher who is open to teaching rock/pop, but who has a knowledge of musical theory sufficient to expertly teach composition. We feel that our daughter would definitely be more comfortable with a female teacher. Thanks for any leads.

    Janet Somers, in Rockridge, has a degree in music and is teaching our young son improvisation, which I think is similar to composition. We found Janet after going through a handful of other teachers who did not inspire him or was not willing to work on him with the music HE likes. He is having fun improvising and learning to play pop tunes that Janet has taken off of recordings for him, and I believe that he has learned lots of music theory in the process. A caveat: Janet is very patient, but she is also what some might call a “tough” teacher. If my son has not practiced a particular exercise she has assigned, she will not hesitate to ask him why. I think this is a good thing overall, Janet virtually demands excellence, dammit, and she gets it out of our kid! Her number is 510-653-6783 and her email is janetsomersmusic [at] gmail.com

  • Piano teacher who teaches weekends

    (3 replies)

    Any recommendations for a piano teacher who teaches weekends near Berkeley & are good with kids? (Home instruction is a plus, but that may be asking too much!) My child is intermediate level. Thanks! 

    This is not a recommendation for a specific teacher, but the Crowden School (at Rose/Sacramento in Berkeley) does offer Saturday classes. There are multiple piano teachers. My kids have been taking piano lessons at Crowden for several years, and we are very happy there.

    Janet Somers in Rockridge has taught our 11-year-old daughter on Sundays for years and our daughter loves her! Her number is 510-990-2152.  I don't think she goes to houses and I'm not sure whether she teaches on Saturdays.

    We highly recommend Cynthia Bythell. She teaches piano in her home near the West Berkeley Bowl (http://cynthiabythellmusic.com/). Our daughter has been taking piano lessons with her for four years, since age 10, but she works with very young students too. She is patient and kind but also firm and has high standards -- our daughter has made great progress. We are actually giving up our very convenient 10am Saturday spot because our daughter is going to Germany for a year, so you might be able to grab it! Note: parents are required to attend the lesson. At first I thought this would be a hassle but I actually love it, it's a peaceful part of my week. You can see more reviews for Cynthia if you check her out on Yelp. Best of luck!

    Suzy Loper

  • Looking for an at-home piano teacher

    (3 replies)

    Hello parents

    I'm looking for recommendations for an enthusiastic piano teacher for my children. My daughters prefer female teachers, they seem to relate to them better. She would have the right balance of fun and firmness for a 6 and 8 year old. We would like someone who could come to our home in Albany.

    Both girls are currently in lessons but we are hoping to streamline our lives by hiring a teacher come to our home instead.

    All your recommendations gratefully received.

    Julay Brooks is a wonderful teacher.  http://www.julaybrooks.com/


    If there is any possibility that you may change your mind and be open to a male teacher (Berkeley native, Oberlin Graduate and good friend of mine for 18 years), I'll gladly give you contact info for an excellent, experienced teacher! Message me if interested.


    Michelle Lifshitz sounds like just the person you are looking for. She's been and continues to be our boys' teacher for the past several years, and we think she's great! She's a very talented pianist, and a dedicated, fabulous teacher. You can contact her via email michelle [at] pianoinberkeley.com or her facebook https://www.facebook.com/PianoWithMichelle/ 

    She's currently working out summer schedule, so it would be a good time to reach out to her.

  • Piano lessons for 6 year old

    (2 replies)


    I'm looking for some piano teacher recommendations for my 6 year old son (who has no prior music experience). I'd prefer private lessons, in the Oakland/Berkeley area. Thanks so much!

    I highly recommend Kirah Caminos kjcaminos [at] gmail.com. Kirah has been teaching  our 7 year old daughter for over a year. I love that she also works on singing and rhythm in addition to piano. Kirah is a mom of 3 boys, and has taught music and dance in schools and camps for years. My daughter adores her and looks forward to every lesson. 

    I highly recommend our piano teacher, Susan Keiter.  She has been wonderful about making piano fun for our kids, coaching them in ways that are both supportive and encourage them to push themselves.  I've seen both kids make huge strides--even though they are very different in personality and approach (my eldest is a nose to the grindstone kid, while my youngest needs to be inspired to work).  Here is the link to her site:  https://susankeitermusic.com/.

  • Seeking a christian piano teacher

    (1 reply)

    We just recently moved to the Berkeley area from Deerfield IL. My daughter is 8 and has taken private piano lessons for 4 years. Her previous teacher is a very nice christian lady and my daughter had really great time learning from her for the past three years. Can anybody recommend a christian piano teacher? Thanks.


    Erwin Vista is a Christian preschool teacher and piano teacher.  mistervista [at] mac.com  I wish we still lived in the East Bay so we could go to him.

  • We're looking for a piano teacher for our two daughters who play reasonably well and want to play modern music.

    It'd be great if the teacher does home visits.

    We live in Berkeley.

    Hilary Hecht lives in Berkeley.  Her number is 510-421-2790, she is also a phenomenal voice teacher.

  • Piano teacher in Castro Valley

    (2 replies)

    We are looking for a piano teacher for my 7 year old son in Castro Valley, our new home. Someone who isn't overly strict, as we would like to keep his enthusiasm for piano alive (he's got 2 years of lessons already) and not have him view it as drudgery. 

    THE best piano teacher is Cathy O'Conner. She is in Hayward, in the neighborhood behind the old Mervyn's building. Can't recommend her more highly. Contact her at cathoc [at] aol.com.

    I had great success finding a terrific piano teacher thru Right Start Music. I Asked for a "not too strict" teacher and the teacher assigned to us was a delight. 


  • Piano & Violin lessons for 6 yr old

    (1 reply)

    Hello everyone! My 6 yr old has had some piano lessons since last summer. (1) I am thinking about switching to Suzuki method. Should I? p.s. I am also interested in learning with her. (2) Any teacher (suzuki method) recommendations? (3) She is also interested in playing the violin. Is it at all a good idea to do them at the same time? (4) Any teacher or school recommendations to do them together? We live in southeast Berkeley. Thanks so much!

    I can only reply to your question about piano. My son took lessons from Ernie Mansfield in north Berkeley from the time he was three to about nine. It is not Suzuki but he does a wonderful job with new learners and also teaches adults. He uses a fun series of books that include music theory but also will help the student learn music of their own choosing. He holds twice yearly recitals which are always fun and low stress for the kids. He teaches piano, flute, sax, guitar, clarinet, and is himself an accomplished jazz musician. His prices were very reasonable and his house is right near the North Berkeley BART.  http://www.mansfieldmusic.com/

  • Private piano lessons at Crowden

    (3 replies)

    I'd be interested to hear about parents' experience with private piano lessons at Crowden School. Any particular teacher you'd recommend for a 11 y.o. who's been taking lessons for several years already. They mention on their website that private students get to participate in their recitals. How often does that happen, in your experience? 

    My partner and daughter, now 16, have been taking private piano lessons through Crowden, with Betsy Marvit, for a number of years now.  They've certainly played in many recitals, probably two a year -- I think it's a Crowden requirement for taking lessons there -- though I think they're separate from the Crowden school recitals.

    My daughter has been taking lessons with Robert Yamasato for several years. He's a wonderful teacher - - highly recommend. They typically have 2 recitals per year.

    My 6 year old started piano lessons at Crowden in September. So far we are very happy with the instruction. I would definitely recommend my daughter's teacher, Muza Mdzinarishvili. However, I don't think you get to choose a teacher at Crowden. The way their process works is you have to go through a placement interview with the program directors where they ask you questions. Based on that, they match you with a teacher they feel would be the best fit. 

  • Hi there BPN community,

    We are new to the area and are looking for recommendations for a piano teacher that would come home to teach my two kiddos, 6 and 8 y.o. (who have been learning for 1.5 years).  Looking to build a long relationship with somebody who can nurture a love of music and appreciation for various instruments and generally has a fun personality.  


    - A

    Our teacher who comes to the home teaches both guitar and piano and fits that bill of nurturing a love for music.  Jeremy Hatch (415) 314-9582

  • Kid's piano teacher in El Cerrito

    (2 replies)

    Hello, I'm hoping to find a piano teacher in the El Cerrito area for my 7 yr old son (who is a beginner). Any recommendations for a great teacher?

    Kristin Davidman


    She is in Berkeley with over 30 years experience.

    I highly recommend Jessica Klass. Her studio is in El Cerrito. She is a great teacher with a 40 years experience. klasspiano [at] gmail.com  (510) 233-2811

  • Piano teacher who will teach in my home

    (6 replies)

    Would love to hear recommendations for piano teacher who can come to my home in N. Oakland and teach all three of my kids (ages ranging from age 4 to 12). Thanks

    Our fabulous teacher, Dolores Shotten, works wonderfully with very young students through adults. Now that my daughter is a high school senior, they have become friends. She is kind, positive, enthusiastic, and fun. She also starts teaching music theory when students are very young. Message me for her number. 

    I recommend Scott Fleming. He's been teaching my boys for several years now. He has taught them with a great mix of classical, jazz, and pop, mixing in improvising, sight reading, and music theory along the way. He holds recitals twice a year for all his students so they get experience performing too. Patient, fun, reliable, great teacher. 510-849-2086.

    We have had Dusan Chae as a piano teacher for the past 4 years. He's been a wonderful teacher: calm and has helped my son to not only gain technical proficiency but also, more importantly, to be able to think about how to make music more than a bunch of notes. I am currently listening to beautiful renditions of moonlight sonata played by my otherwise typical teenage son (not that emotionally expressive), and it's a beautiful thing. Very easy to communicate with, very reasonable fees and accommodating. I would highly recommend him!

    Dusan Chae has been our piano teacher for 6 years for two of our children. He comes to our house and has been a great teacher. He is patient and passionate and our kids enjoyed learning with him. You can reach him at soundIn2Time [at] gmx.com

    Hello, we live in Berkeley and have loved having Dusan Chae come to our home and teach both our children for the last 5 years, our son is 12 and our daughter is 8.  Dusan has a gentle, patient yet directed and meticulous approach to teaching which works wonders in getting children of all ages, abilities and temperaments to achieve their highest potential in piano, we thoroughly enjoyed watching our children grow and blossom under his instruction.  We were so impressed with his work that we recommended him to several other families who now work with him and are equally impressed. Please contact him at: soundIn2Time [at] gmx.com.

    We would like to recommend a wonderful teacher, Dusan Chae. Our son has been taking piano lessons from Mr. Chae since 2012, and we have been impressed with his patience, musical knowledge, gentle approach, and consistency.

    It's a pleasure to hear how much he has progressed over the years, the beautiful pieces he can now play, and see how Mr. Chae's lessons have expanded his love and appreciation for music. Mr. Chae's email address is: soundin2time [at] gmx.com 

    Best of luck! :-)

  • Private piano lessons at Crowden

    (2 replies)

    My daughter is almost 6 and eager to start piano lessons. We live right next to the Crowden School and taking lessons there would be very convenient. There are, however, some wonderful independent private teachers in our area, so I am not sure which way to go. I was wondering if anyone has experience with private instrument lessons at Crowden. Any feedback is appreciated! 

    I don't have experience with independent private lessons but we love Crowden. My 4 yr old son has been taking Cello lessons since Jan. The teachers arrange recitals and the school itself hosts quarterly concerts. I am sure other teachers might do the same but I am amazed how well equipped the teachers are to deal with young children. They make up these games , challenges, jokes that keeps the kids engaged. Its also nice to meet with other families and getting to know them. Its a great community. We are part of the Suzuki Strings program so we have lessons twice a week. Once its private and the other day its a group lesson. Its designed as such to motivate kids. We attended a info session at Crowden before signing up. Maybe they have similar info session for the piano program. You should ask and def attend. 

    Whatever you do, for piano or any other lessons, just be sure to try more than one teacher! Ask for a trial lesson (not necessarily free) and don't sign a contract until you decide. Recommendations are sometimes useful, but a teacher that's perfect for one child might not be for another. And it's fine for a child to get a taste of different styles of teaching and know there are different ways to do it. Just don't tell her that she gets to pick the teacher because even if you concur with her choice it might not work out - there may be time constraints, and some teachers are choosy about students, too. Because of a move and multiple instruments, my music-loving kid got lessons from 7 different teachers between 1st and 12th grades, and we learned that the highly-recommended and the most friendly ones were not always the best at encouraging persistence, excellence, and even enjoyment. We lucked out early on, but I wish I'd known in the middle of the process that serious musical parents do shop around more. (By the same token, if your kid gets "stuck" after a while, consider trying a new teacher before giving up - too many parents don't bother.) 

    As for Crowden (which is part of what we did), if the teachers seem like a good fit, it's a great place for connecting with other kids and families that value music, and a lovely venue for recitals, which adds a lot of excitement and pleasure. 

    Happy music-making,

    A former Crowden parent

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Piano teacher for 5 year old boy (Oakland)

Aug 2014

I'm looking for a piano teacher for my 5.5 year old son. Oakland or Piedmont is preferred. There aren't any recent recs on the BPN site, so am looking for some updated information! Thank you. Oakland mom

Yes! Eric Lechner is FANTASTIC with little kids. He teaches piano, drums, guitar (and probably other instruments) from his house and allows the kids to try any number of instruments or just focus on one. My five year old LOVES him (and he has a six year old) and she's learning to play and read music. I've been very impressed. He's at eric [at] professorsludge.com Anon

My daughter loves her piano lessons with Susan Keiter and has learned a ton. She is a lovely person and has a fun, gentle approach and she really knows how to pull the best effort out of her students. She is very responsive to the students preferences in music (Star Wars theme, Sound of Music, Frozen etc.) which seems to help make the process truly enjoyable. My daughter actually sits down to practice with out me asking. Susan has recitals a couple of times a year and they are terrific. She is located in the Trestle Glenn neighborhood. You can contact her at: Susan Keiter Music Studio Piano, Voice, Fun! 510-444-4142 susankeitermusic [at] comcast.net Natalie

Playful piano teacher for 5yo beginner

July 2014

My five-year-old daughter loves playing around on the piano and is asking to take lessons. She loves coming up with her own songs and experimenting, and I'd like to find a teacher who will encourage that and follow her lead to some extent. I am classically trained but am not invested in her receiving a ''classical'' education. I'd much rather find someone who will nurture her love of music and keep things light and fun, while helping her gradually develop in keyboarding and music theory. She's a quick learner and really enjoys gaining new skills, so I'm not looking for an ''easy'' teacher--just one who's not invested in a certain kind of mastery and is instead open to ''play'' and creativity. Any teacher recommendations would be really appreciated. We could travel to the teacher's location (Berkeley would be ideal), or have lessons at home.

Try Viola Pelegrini. She totally has the touch with kids and she's an amazing musician. If you meet her once, you and your child will instantly be in love with her. She's magical that way. I believe you can find her under ''Volia's Notes'' J

Please contact Kevin Delaney at kevin [at] dcpiano.com. I could have written your email when I was looking for a piano teacher for my son. We found Kevin through this network and he is everything you are looking for and more. Our son did not want to take piano lessons and now he is into it due to Kevin's teaching style. Each lesson has three parts: scale(technique), theory (learning to read music), learning a song my son picks (we are doing Elton John) or improvise. Good luck! Piano is great

My daughter has been taking piano from a wonderful, creative and low-key teacher in South Berkeley. His name is Eric Glickreiman and his number is 225-5269.He is out of town for the whole month of July, I think, but lessons will start up again in August. He encourages improvisation, composition, and experimentation as well as covering all the basics of piano technique and theory.The recitals are always low-pressure and playful. My daughter loves it! Mom of a Musician

10 year old Son burned out on piano - fun musical alternative?

May 2014

My ten year old son, who is quite musical, has been dutifully taking piano lessons for the past 4 years but is now balking at continuing. He has had moments of enjoying it, but in the past year has been feeling burned out on practicing, telling me, ''I like being able to play a piece, but it just doesn't feel worth all the work.'' I'm looking for suggestions of how he can engage musically in a fun, more carefree way. Suggestions for classes, teachers or other concept? Anon

I'll tell you what, last time I was at Music Works, I noticed they have ukulele class and I have been meaning to sign my kids up for that! http://www.yelp.com/biz/music-works-el-cerrito plinka plinka plink

Very common. Four years? Have you discussed this with your son's teacher? It's a problem better addressed by the teacher first. Perhaps he or she has no idea your son is bored. There are lots of ways to fix this, provided the teacher has even been informed there's an issue. Experienced Piano Teacher

Would your son be more interested in another genre of music then he's currently playing? When I was a kid and took piano lessons I had to play classical. I wanted to play Broadway tunes and learn chord changes and jazz. Hence....I stopped taking lessons. Biggest mistake of my life. Now, as an adult I'm able to practice the music I really love...but a lot of years lost. Would your son prefer another instrument? Or maybe another teacher? I hope you (and he) will be willing to investigate every other opportunity before giving up. Music is so essential. I wish we realized that more as kids. anon

Hi Anon, Sounds like you have quite the talented kid! So great to hear that he's been taking lessons for such a long time. My best friend's 13 year old daughter takes guitar lessons and she absolutely loves it! It's great because she can continue cultivating her musical ability and its something that she never gets bored doing. Guitar is great because kids can learn to play songs that they actually really like! Then they can show it off to their friends, which is a huge confidence booster. She takes lessons from Aaron Asghari (http://www.asghariguitarlessons.com/) and really loves it. Aaron is very talented and super patient. Good luck! Sasha

Is it possible that your son's dutifulness includes regimented daily practice, scales, etc? If so, I would say it doesn't have to. We have a rather strict teacher, which we like since we cared about proper fingering, and our two kids' ability to play what they play as well as possible. But, since our long-term goal was that they could simply play for life-long enjoyment, (and because life is too short) we've let our kids practice as they liked, and never made a daily chore out of it. While that's not everyone's cup of tea, it seems to have kept the stress down. Of course, their needs were different from each other. For a few years we told our daughter we (and the teacher) wouldn't pressure her to perform at any recitals. That took the stress out of the thing for her, and she grudgingly kept taking lessons. We also let her pretty much give up on theory. So she's developed more slowly than she would have if she practiced a lot, and we had to be firm about keeping up lessons for a few years, but if we'd tried to force her in the parts she hated the most, she would have quit long ago. Now she plays quite beautifully. Our son started piano at 11, which some would say put him ''behind,'' but he wouldn't have been as able to sit still & focus much before that. He enjoys theory, did exams every year through high school, doesn't mind performing, and ''plays'' all the time, sometimes hours a day, but I'm pretty sure he has never ever played a scale outside of lessons. He's a composition major and basically a piano minor in college. My point is, maybe you can try leaving out the parts of learning piano that make it not fun for your son, and focus just on the things that are fun, at least for a while. You might also try the family concerts at the SF Symphony, or other places. They make hearing really good music an exciting outing, and show him that it's something you really respect. Not to mention they demonstrate a lot of other interesting instruments. The other thing, of course, is singing - the true basic instrument! Maybe there's a school choir he could try? Sorry to go on, I just really care about this topic Of course playing beautiful music requires some ''boring'' practice, but there's so much more. Sometimes of course it's much more boring just before a big leap in development, you might tell him that's a known fact, so worth sticking with it a bit more to find out. Good luck getting over the hump! Oh, last thing - no one ever says as an adult ''why did you make me stick with piano?'' (My daughter is so tired of hearing me say that ) Piano mom

Hi, I was a fellow sufferer at the same age and was furiously trying to get my parents to stop the piano lessons. I'm still playing now and I'm grateful my dad didn't give in back then but with what I know today I would look at: 1) Material he's playing - does he really LOVE those songs? I was bored because I just disliked the material my teacher chose. I started playing the Blues/some Jazz/pop and boom - huge enthusiasm for the piano. I got back to classical as well, but just being able to play a simple blues is huge because it sounds great and it's actually quite easy. Most classical pieces that sound great are also quite difficult. I would first get the material right - maybe also choose some arranged pieces that are easier than the originals if needed. Listen to piano works, let him find something he loves to listen to, there are so many composers out there...limitless. Would he like to play in a band one day? Work towards that by getting a more chord/jazz based instruction. The secret is to find a piece your son WANTS to play and not just a piece the teacher wants him to play. 2) Teacher. That relates to what the teacher likes to teach (see 1) and how it's taught and personality. Before ditching the piano, I would try a different teacher unless you're sure that's not the issue. But yes, it takes practice and persistence and there is some stuff teachers rarely tell you (I got a top-notch classical instruction but she never said that piano is ultimately about muscle memory and kind of relaxing while you play, letting your muscles do the work almost unconsciously - learning movements instead of following every note on paper; also understanding chords really helps because then what you play makes more sense and it's much easier to learn some pieces) would love to play the piano more

Group Piano Lessons for 4-7 year olds?

Jan 2014

Can anyone recommend any group piano classes for kids 4-7 years old? My friend is a single dad who's got a little boy (4) and his best friend is 6 and her sister is 7. He is trying to find a class near his neighborhood (Temescal) where all three or at least two of them can attend together and save money by attending as a group. Thank you.

As a piano teacher with 20 years' experience I can tell you definitively that group piano lessons ''to save money'' are a contradiction and a complete waste of time. I'm not even going to sign this because I'm not saying this to further my business. In two decades of teaching, every student I've ever had come to me after group lessons, whether for months or years, has had to start from scratch, and often from minus. Undoing bad or wrong things taught. I once taught a group piano class and will never do it again. It basically consists of a teacher dividing time between the students giving, or attempting to give, shorter private lessons during which the rest of the students play at their keyboards with their headsets on. I'm not being a purist when I say this is not even music. My advice: skip the group piano classes, even if you can find them. You get what you pay for.
Experienced teacher

I teach Group Piano at Musically Minded Academy. It took me over 20 years to figure out how to fit all of the pieces together to create these successful group classes. I have taught many different methods of Group Piano over the years and have combined parts of these methods with my own teaching methods to create an engaging and successful curriculum. We have three teachers offering Group Piano for three different age ranges--4-6, 7-9, and adults. We have a Group Piano room with three Grand Pianos (two of them are Steinways) and numerous teaching tools. We use method books and supplement them with our own materials.

The benefits go beyond financial. Yes, these classes are cheap considering our instructors have over 20 years of teaching experience. We are a non-profit and we have partnered with ''Restoration Pianos'' in Lafayette to offer $400 acoustic upright pianos to our students with free moving and tuning!

Why Group Piano rather than private lessons? Group Piano students motivate one another and model success and student learning in a way that teachers cannot do in private lessons alone. Students thrive in learning environments where they are surrounded by like minded, motivated peers. So many of the determining factors for successful beginning education have to do with building simple daily habits and by surrounding one's self with supportive people to help sustain motivation. Creating these successful communities is literally the mission of our non-profit. We focus on people first, and music second. Ironic as it may sound, when we focus our attention on connecting people and building habits and the mind set for successful learning, we end up growing wonderful musicians! Our community is filled with people who are dedicated to their studies and their fellow students and this makes our lessons fun!

I encourage you to check out our Group Piano classes as well as our other programs! Parent's of my group students keep telling me, ''I do not think people know that this type of education is available here! If they knew, you would have more students than you could handle.'' I do believe the word is getting out. Just last weekend, we had an overflow of students in our new Saturday class. Check us out! We have worked so many years to build what we believe is a very solid program! www.musicallyminded.org

Piano teacher for dyslexic 8 year old?

Nov 2013

Hello good people of the East Bay - I have an 8 year old daughter whom I assume is dyslexic (there are no labels given in school assessments anymore, apparently) and I want to encourage her in areas where she is skilled. She works so very hard trying to keep up in math and reading, even after repeating 2nd grade, is constantly in special ed, and it breaks my heart. She has memory recall issues, so struggles to remember the meaning of symbols when she looks at them. She is social, bright, thoughtful, artistic, funny, entertaining, and will do well in life, I'm sure, if she only does not loose confidence in herself! I am a piano teacher, but since she cannot read music, I am stumped how to teach her. She also loves strumming her dad's guitar and making up songs. If there are any music teachers out there who work with a method that is other than visual, and is good with slightly shy little girls, please let me know! We live in Albany. I have 2 other children so we won't be up to traveling far, and finances are a little tight. Thank you

Maggie Forti, an Albany resident, was so wonderful for my shy, reluctant son. He took guitar lessons from her for 2 years, and her wonderful patience with him really touched me. I think she would be a perfect teacher for any child, including one who might have a different learning style. Here is her contact info: Maggie Forti musicrivers [at] yahoo.com Good luck! -jmf

Dear Sarah, Firstly, it is great that she has a music teacher at home! I understand feeling stumped with learning styles. The internet is truly a wonderful tool for discovering new ways of teaching. You could start there! Perhaps you could go the Sound of Music (the movie) route and start with solfege syllables using the Do-Re-Mi song. It sounds like she has a good ear and probably picks things up aurally. If you just want her to have fun and appreciate music, I think its okay to simply focus on learning fun simple songs by ear or even just singing with her while you play piano or just encouraging her to play and make up her own songs. Anything to make it fun! Later one she may be more prepared to learn how to read music. On a more technical level, you could try and go back to a Primer level book. I really like Alfreds and the Piano Adventures series. Good luck and yay for supporting music! Maria

I know someone whom I can recommend for a private guitar ''tutor''/teacher. He is patient, personable, caring, very knowledgable, good with adults and children and has had a great deal of experience. His name is Khalil Kramer and he can be reached at 720-260-0832 or brotherkhalilmusic [at] gmail.com. Give him a call. I know you won't regret it. burkenli

Unique piano instructor for beginner

Sept 2013

My ten year old has tried piano lessons a while back and really couldn't stand them. She is highly creative, though, and desperately wants to compose. She has a good ear and wants to learn chord patterns, music theory and playing by ear. She had a friend come over who had found one such instructor, but he will only teach students that have had years of training. My daughter exhausted her friend's interest while composing a piece together and was pining for more. After she left she begged to go to her friend's teacher. That is when we discovered that was a dead end. We are anxious to find someone who would be willing to instruct in a nontraditional way that emphasizes creating/composong pieces starting from day one. Anyone out there like this? Mom of creatively frustrated daughter

I recommend Catherine Griffings-Morse for your child. She is teaching my son who is very musical but who is less interested in perfecting technique and doing recitals and more interested in composing and mastering generally musical knowledge. She understands that different students come to lessons seeking different experiences. That said, we still work from piano lesson books so it is more of a hybrid experience. You could give her a call at (510) 653-3670 and see whether it's a good fit. happy piano parent

You didn't mention wether your daughter was classically, jazz, or rock music inclined. I'm forwarding you my daughter's teacher (and now friend) . I don't know about the composition part, but Ayaka is an exceptional teacher. If she cannot be your child's teacher, maybe she can have recommendations? http://www.ayakaisonopiano.com/ Good luck !

I want to recommend my son's piano teacher, India Cooke. She's been absolutely terrific with my son (who needs a LOT of patience!) and teaches kids as young as 4 on up to adults. She's got a great sense of humor and really knows her stuff! She currently has openings for the Fall. Check her out: http://indiasmusicroom.com/indiasmusicroom/Welcome.html and http://www.bayimproviser.com/artistdetail.asp?artist_id=46 Stacey

I'd like to recommend our music teacher - Verna Lim / Vida Studios. My daughter has been taking lessons with Verna since she was 4 (2 years). She is exactly the kind of teacher you are looking for. What I love about Verna is that she really listens to what my daughter is passionate about, then crafts lessons so that she can master something that she is really proud of. I have heard so many stories of people who said they loved playing the piano when they were a kid, so their parents signed them up for music lessons and then they hated it. Verna is the opposite of that kind of a teacher. She really cultivates creativity and love of music. I can't recommend her highly enough. You can contact her at verna.lim [at] gmail.com or 510-684-0884. Jennifer

Singing and piano teacher in Oakland

Aug 2013

My daughter has been taking lessons from Melanie Rath for the last three years. She is located in the Dimond area of Oakland. Her number is 510-336-1652. Anna

Piano lessons for 6 and 9 year old

June 2013

Hi - We are moving to Berkeley the end of July and I'm looking for a piano instructor for our 6 and 9 year old children. We have had lessons in house and in a conservatory so I don't really care about the location, but I do care about the instructor. I'm looking for someone who enjoys working with children and is genuinely happy to teach children a lifelong love of music. Any recommendations? Thanks! D

I have a perfect recommendation for you for your piano teacher search. Moira Little, El Cerrito, is a very experienced teacher of children. Besides her private lessons, Moira teaches at Holy Names, and an elementary school. She has also taught wee little children at the Y. I have seen her elementary school concerts where she has had literally hundreds of little children in rapt joyful attention, harmonizing. She teaches piano, oboe and more. And she plays in numerous early music groups. Her # is 510-847-2608. She is at a music camp this week, but be patient, she is worth the wait. Lynn

I have a great recommendation for a piano teacher in Berkeley. Kathryn Winter has been teaching my daughter for 3 years, and with her instruction, my daughter's skills have flourished. Kathryn has a calm presence, and is very patient. She does expect a certain degree of commitment, and regular practice, so it is not surprising that she has trained some incredibly talented kids over her long career. Her style is traditional, which has worked well for my daughter. I wholeheartedly recommend her as a teacher. anon

Piano teacher that incorporates singing for 6yo

May 2013

Hi, I am looking for a new piano teacher for my six year old son who has been in private piano lessons since he was four years old. He can read music and has been developing his ear. His current music teacher is good, but doesn't seem to cater to his interests. He loves musicals and ends up teaching himself how to play the songs from musicals. He tends to fill his practice time with this and writing his own music. He is resistant to practicing the teachers lessons because he doesn't have much interest in them. I'd like to find a piano teacher that teaches him how to play songs and sing, more old time type songs. I realize that you need to learn the basics first, but in an effort to keep my son from wanting to quit, I'd like to find someone that will also help him with the things of interest to him. We are in El Cerrito but are willing to venture out if absolutely needed. Thanks. Piano mom

Call Ellen Hoffman 435-4770. Ellen will definitely incorporate singing...it's her thing...especially Broadway. She was director of The Berkeley Broadway Singers chorus for almost 15 years. She teaches kids and adults piano, performance coaching, and she performs, writes, etc. etc. AND she's really fun. She's in El Cerrito near the plaza. I wish she was my piano teacher when I was a kid. I never would have stopped taking lessons. June

Sam Rudin, aka Hurricaine Sam, is a wonderful piano teacher and performer of jazz, blues, honky tonk and some show tunes. He teaches all types of music. He will adjust his lessons to suit the student. He used to score songs i wanted to learn.he teaches all ages (kids and adults) and all levels. (510) 654-3808 Suzanne

I would go to Laura Lee in Hercules. She's an exquisite teacher and singer, and she teaches the Simply Music method, where you are supposed to sing while you play. My 12-year-old took from her and still sits down to play and belt out tunes, even though we had to switch to violin for school. Once you learn the method, Laura can support whatever yourchild loves. Make sure to tell her exactly what you're looking for. From your post, I can't imagine a teacher or method better suiting your child than Simply Music and Laura Lee. You can email her at lauraleemusic [at] gmail.com Family of Music Lovers

Seeking a piano teacher for two children, 8 and 12

Feb 2013

I am looking for a piano teacher in the El Cerrito area for two children, ages 8 and 12. I would like them to learn the basics of piano and music theory in a supportive and enjoyable atmosphere. Can anyone recommend a good teacher? Thank you. Allegretto

We have had Leonard Sherman (http://www.leonardsherman.com/) come to our house once a week to teach piano to our 8 year-old son, and recently started our 5 year- old son as well. Mr Sherman quickly developed a rapport with our boys and has been able to keep the lessons fun even as he has challenged them to try new and harder pieces. For us, a key benefit has been Mr Sherman's flexibility in accommodating to our shifting schedules. I would highly recommend him for piano lessons, and if your kids become interested in other instruments, he teaches many others besides. Ahrash - North Berkeley

I highly recommend our wonderful piano teacher Rita Varadi. The variety and amount of music she offers to her students to learn to play is incredible, and she is able to find music her students fall in love with. Rita teaches more than piano, she teaches music and she makes music part of her students\xc3\x82\xe2\x80\x99 lives. Rita teaches at her piano studio in Montclair. We live in Berkeley and go to her studio for lessons every week - would not go to any other teacher even if she lived next door. If the commute is not an issue for you, meet with Rita. You will not want to see another teacher. Her phone number is (510)482-8224. EB

We have been taking lessons for more than a year with a creative, engaged piano teacher in El Cerrito. From the very first lesson, she was able to show my son that he already had the talent for making music, just by sitting down a following a few steps. In the middle of this magical process, she slips in music theory and strong basic piano fundamentals. In the year since my son started, he's become a proficient novice who sits down to play at home without any nudging whatsoever - just because he loves the music he's able to create. After taking my own share of drugery-inducing lessons when I was a young child, it's amazing to see how the process of ''learning'' music is hidden underneath the excitement of ''playing'' music. Her name is Carolyn Magrete at pianomargrete [at] gmail.com

Hi, I would recommend Elaine Chu as a piano teacher for your kids. She teaches in her home which is in Kensington (not far from EC). My daughter has been taking piano from Elaine since she was 5 and she's now 12. Elaine has a great rapport with kids of all ages and has kept my daughter interested in piano even as she becomes a teenager! Elaine is having a recital with all her students at the end of March which might be an opportunity for you to see if it would be a good fit for your kids. Her email is egc [at] egchu.com. Good luck! Luisa

For piano lessons I highly recommend Margo Lockwood. She is located in El Cerrito. She has experience as an elementary school music teacher, choral director and piano teacher. She knows how to teach effectively and enjoys teaching piano to kids. Both of my kids took piano lessons from her and really liked her. Margo can be reached at 510 932-2799.

I'm an adult piano student and have a 12 year old who is also learning, as is my spouse. I enthusiastically recommend my teacher, Chip Brimhall. He's a truly gifted instructor and at recitals I see his students performing at very high levels, wherever they are in their training. Chip is kind and enables parents to support their child's learning while also engendering responsibility in the students themselves. One on one instruction is challenging and fun and his monthly classes give students a chance to support each others growth as performers. Chip also holds recitals of his own - he's Julliard trained - that are an inspiring part of a complete education in music. http://www.chipbrimhall.com/Site/Home.html Eric

Hi BPN Community, My daughter has been taking piano lessons from Chip Brimhall in Berkeley for the past two years. Chip has kept her learning, motivated and having fun the entire time. He comes recommended by a very serious piano playing friend. He knows how to keep the lessons and piano playing fun, interesting and challenging. I could not ask for a better teacher for my daughter. You can contact him at jcbrimhall [at] comcast.net

North Berkeley piano lessons at our home

Dec 2012

I am looking for a piano teacher who would be willing to come to my North Berkely home to give beginner piano lessons to my 8year old daughter. As a preface, she does not appear to be musically talented, but really wants to take lessons. She responds best to fun, goofy instructors with high expectations. We have a weighted key keyboard for her to practice on. Recommendations greatly appreciated. Jenn

I recommend Dusan Chae for piano lessons. He has come to our home to teach my son since he was 6. He's patient, kind and very skilled as a teacher. You can reach him at (510)375-8257. Jen happy to hear piano playing

At-Home Piano Teacher for Preschooler

Oct 2012

Can anyone recommend a piano teacher who is great with kids and who will provide in-home lessons? My daughter just turned 5. My son (who is probably too young but may want to try anyway if his sister is doing it) is 3-1/2. We live in the Montclair area of Oakland. Thank you! Tamara

My son is 4 1/2 and has been working with Billy Wolfe for about half a year. Bill is fun and not too serious, and works very well with the very young. He would come to our home if we had a piano, but we don't so we meet him in Berkeley once a week. Contact him at wolfemuse [at] gmail.com. My son loves his weekly lessons! Megan

Janet Somers is a wonderful piano teacher we've had great experience with, but I don't know if she travels to homes. We go to her place in Rockridge, where she has several pianos for the kids to play on and with her in duets, etc. You can reach her at 510-653-6783. I think she's not too far from Montclair?? Wendy

Piano teacher in Lafayette area?

Sept 2012

Does anyone have any recommendations for piano teachers in Lamorinda or Walnut Creek? Our 4.5 year old daughter has been sounding out tunes on the piano on her own and has expressed interest in lessons. Also, any opinions about the various teaching methods -- e.g., Simply Music, Suzuki, etc... Thanks! Lafayette mom

Barbara Becker in Rossmoor. http://barbarabeckerpianostudio.com/ She's great with kids, very talented.

Piano Teacher for Gifted Student

Aug 2012

While my son has only been taking piano lessons for one year now (he is 7 years old), it has become apparent that he has a natural ability. He has perfect pitch, has started composing music (it's actually quite good), and most importantly, loves playing the piano for hours a day. He is taking lessons through his elementary school, but my husband and I are wondering if we should look for another teacher who can work with him and continue to inspire his love for classical music. We are in the Walnut Creek area, and would love to stick around WC, Lafayette, Orinda, Danville, but I would certainly drive further if it was worth it. I will admit, I am clueless about music and lessons, and I want to be careful not to push my son too much, so any advice would be appreciated. Mom to a Mozart in the Making

Robbie Dunbar is a very good Piano teacher who brings life and joy into the process. He has a masters in music composition and a BA from CAL and sounds like he may be a good fit for your talented son. You can reach him on his cell: 925-323-9703 or email: robbiednbr [at] gmail.com Also, he travels to your home in lamorinda, Walnut Creek, Pleasant Hill, even Berkeley, piedmont, Oakland! ''From Bach to Beatles to Beyond...'' Good luck, Jocelyn

Piano and singing teacher near Berkeley for 8yo

Aug 2012

Can anyone recommend a good piano teacher in or very near Berkeley who might also incorporate singing into lessons? Looking for someone who will be good with a stubborn but very interested 8 year old. Thanks! Sara

We have a wonderful and loving Suzuki piano teacher off Redwood in Oakland, about 10 minutes from Berkeley. Andrea Simms has been teaching piano for over 30 years, and switched to Suzuki a few years ago because she saw kids growing to love piano more readily and deeply with the Suzuki method vs. the traditional method (i.e. Suzuki method introduces songs first by ear, and doesn't introduce sight reading until about a year into the practice. It also asks for significant parental participation, and it is the opposite of the 'tiger mom' methodology, encouraging praise over criticism). She's a very supportive and gentle teacher, and kids, even stubborn ones, take to her naturally. As she has experience with both traditional and Suzuki methods, she has tailored her lesson according to her individual students. For example, it might not make sense to take a child with years of piano experience and go back to learning beginning Suzuki songs. Both my boys, 8 and 10, have learned piano with her since they were 5, and they never complain about going to lessons, and, more surprisingly, they actually practice at home daily. You can reach Andrea at: asimms [at] sbcglobal.net - Alex

I recommend Ellen Hoffman for your daughter (she's in El Cerrito behind the plaza). Ellen is a ''genius'' pianist (been playing since she was 4). She can play anything, in any key. She's a great teacher, loves kids and the best part is she is also a singing performance coach. As an adult I studied w/ her for a fwe years, wanting to learn arrangements I could play for myself so I could sing. Her e-mail is: ehoffman88keys [at] gmail.com Her phone is: 435-4770 Good luck and have fun, June K

I would highly recommend Michele Voilluque. She is a talented and very easy going teacher. She will really put you at ease and make a comfortable environment in which to sing! You can't go wrong, http://www.mvmusik.com/mvmusik.com/Home.html Thanks Eric

Piano teacher in Oakland Piedmont area

Aug 2012

I am looking for a piano teacher for my 8yo son in the Piedmont/ Oakland area. It'll be great if the teacher can come to the house. Please send me any recommendation with personal experiences you've had with this teacher. Thank you. Mamma looking for music

We've had great success with janet Somers who is in Rockridge and very good with kids. My daughter is practicing and loving it for the first time ever and really enjoys the lessons, actually can't wait for them. Janet has a great sense of humor and seems to truly love kids and make it fun for them. She is also according to her resume highly musically educated so I know she's the real deal. Phoning 653-6783 seems like the best way to reach her (she's not much into email, I think) but you can also try her email. It might take her awhile to get back to you, she is very booked up - janetsomersmusic [at] gmail.com. Good luck! p.s. I just re-read your question, she won't come to the home (we tried, too) but she is very close to the Piedmont border so it might work for you anyway Ed

We've been extremely happy with our son's piano teacher, India Cooke. I don't know if she goes to homes though - our son goes to her, and she lives off Highland Ave in Piedmont. My husband and I are not musical, so we are poor judges on the technical side. But she was recommended to us by a musical family, so we trust their judgement. Oh, and she does teach at Mills College, so we figure they know more than us! We just love her patience and ability to really get to know our son and his strengths and weaknesses. Our son has never, ever dreaded a lesson. She knows how to work with him and keep him motivated and challenged and growing. We couldn't be happier!
India's Music Room indiasmusicroom.com 510.654.3324 Stacey

Piano and Voice Teacher for 11 year old girl

July 2012

I am looking for a piano and singing teacher for my almost-11-year-old granddaughter. She has had over 3 years piano and can read music, but wants to sing as well. She's very creative and likes to make up her own pieces on the piano, so needs a teacher who is flexible and also playful. I called a teacher (forget her name!) on Ninth or Tenth Street in Berkeley who does both and got excellent reviews here, but she only takes kids starting at age 12. Berkeley is strongly preferred, though nearby is also possible. Thanks for your suggestions. Jane

Contact Linda Gavenda, the music director at St. Clement's Episcopal Church in Berkeley. She has extensive experience in teaching keyboard and vocal music to students of all ages. My daughter was in her children's choir as an elementary student before we moved out of the area. The level of vocal performance she gained from Linda was amazing (and still amazes her choir teachers today). And she adored Linda. Linda has high performance standards but also knows how to nurture children musically with great understanding. Pleased and impressed

I highly recommend Golden Key Piano School at 1809 University ave, Berkeley, CA 94703 (510) 665-5466 GoldenKeyPianoSchool.com Katrin has a Master's degree in teaching piano to children. She also teaches voice. She has been teaching piano to my son for years and has made it so fun for him that my son spends hours on piano every week on his own, now playing classics. a mother

3 years ago, when he was 9, my son started learning piano with Kristin who teaches the Simply Music method. Last summer Kristin decided that she could also teach him singing and in a very short time - less than 2 months - he was really singing! So well that he got a great part in the school musical. She teaches in Oakland, near the Whole Foods. Contact info: Kristin Fairfield , 510 484-6932. mwg

My almost 10 year old daughter has been taking piano lessons from Kathryn Winter at her home in Berkeley, just off Solano Avenue, and her skills have really flourished. Kathryn is calm and gentle, qualities which my daughter (and I) appreciate; yet, she does demand consistent practice and a certain amount of dedication. My daughter loves Kathryn's style of teaching, and it really shows, not only in her growth technically, but in her continued enthusiasm for her lessons. I missed your post, so I am not sure if there are any particular needs, but please do give Kathryn a call. She's lovely. Her phone number is (510) 527-3839.

Keyboard (not piano) teacher for 3rd grader

July 2012

Seeking recommendations for a person who could teach my child how to play on a keyboard. We don't have a piano and my son is currently trying to teach himself how to play on a electric keyboard we own (non-weighted keys). We would be open to buying a piano in the future but want to start lessons now. A teacher convenient to North Oakland would be ideal.

My daughter has been playing with Chris Houston for about 1 year now. You might give him a call at 428-2238. He is located in Elmwood. my daughter loves him and has been using a weighted keyboard this whole time Jacques

Piano lessons for 8-year old boy

April 2012

We are looking for a piano teacher for our eight-year old son. He's very bright but also shy and tentative when trying new things. He started with one teacher but her style didn't work for him. He would do best with someone whom he can trust, who won't be overly critical, and who can make piano fun. He enjoys playing around on the piano, but we'd like for him to look forward to his lessons as well. We live in N. Berkeley. Thanks. Mom in Berkeley

Tian-Lu Ji is a great piano teacher for kids around 8 years old. He is now teaching my 8-year old son piano lesson. My son enjoys the lessons with him very much and he had made the sessions interesting enough for my son to take pleasure in practicing them repeatedly. He comes to my house to give the lesson once a week. You can reach him at 510.213.5938 Krystal

This is a late reply about an excellent piano teacher: I wholeheartedly recommend Joyce McBride, who has been teaching my 8 year old daughter for several months now. My daughter hadn't any previous lessons, and with Joyce her love for the piano has absolutely blossomed. Joyce is great with my daughter, encouraging and warm and also helping her focus. She's a great teacher, you can reach her at 541 0228. piano-happy Mom

Piano Teacher that is OK with digital keyboards

March 2012

Anyone can recommend a piano teacher in the Albany/Berkeley/El Cerrito area who doesn't mind if his/her student uses a digital keyboard? Thanks!

My son takes lessons from Ernie Mansfield in North Berkeley. Before we started, we talked to him about the pros and cons of what type of instrument to buy, and he wouldn't have had a problem with practicing on a digital piano at home. The lessons are given at his house (using non-digital piano). http://mansfieldmusic.com/academy-of-music/ Annie

Piano teacher for 6-year-old

Feb 2012

Hi, can anyone recommend a good piano teacher for my six year old daughter. We live in Alameda, we prefer the teacher to come to our home to teach. Any information is really appreciated. Lan

My son took cello for 8 years from John Bennett -- I mention this because John's wife, Karen Balabanian, teaches piano in Vallejo. We've recommended another friend to her and understand it is going very well. My son played many cello/piano recitals with Karen and there was great energy at the concerts. You can reach Karen through John at jlbenncello [at] att.net. tracy

In-home piano lessons for 6 and 8 year olds

Feb 2012

We are looking for a piano instructor to come to our home in the Lake Merritt area to teach our 6 and 8 year old children. Any Recommendations? Thanks. Albert

My 8 year old son has been taking lessons from Marlon Schmidt For well over a year. He is really great and comes to our house each week. He is dependable and knowledgable. He studied music at Bennington College. He is a composer and has performed as a jazz pianist. He can be reached at musicbymarlon [at] yahoo.com and 510-434- 6519. A mom in berkeley

Hello, My 5 1/2 year old daughter recently started taking lessons with Kadie Kelly, and so far we have been very pleased. She comes to our home once a week for 30 minutes. Kadie makes the lessons fun and has good strategies for working with my daughter, whose silliness and energy has to be creatively channeled to result in a productive piano lesson. Kadie's website is http://kadiesoaklandpianostudio.wordpress.com/ Carmen

Piano teacher for my 3 children

Jan 2012

We are looking for recommendations for an experienced piano teacher to come to our home in Berkeley to give three children piano lessons. We are hoping to start as soon as possible. Mom in Berkeley

I recommend Michael Rubin every time I get the opportunity. He is a wonderful teacher for all ages, levels, talents. His number is 510/269-4298. He will come to your home. heidi

We have been very happy with Richard Hall. He's a professional jazz pianist, and brings his love for music to his students, inviting them to think of songs they want to learn as well as ensuring they are working on the fundamentals. My two children, ages 7 and 9, have very different approaches and aptitudes for piano, and he adjusts the lessons to keep them both enthusiastic about playing and proud of their accomplishments. He is located in the Glenview neighborhood in Oakland - (510) 332-3786. Rachel

Suzuki piano teacher for 4-year-old

Jan 2012

I'm looking for a recent recommendation for a Suzuki piano teacher in Berkeley or Oakland (most of the BPN recommendations are for non-Suzuki teachers) for my 4 year old. I looked at the website for the Berkeley Academy of Music and found they charged $130 for half an hour, which seemed exorbitant to me. Are these the going rates? Thanks for any advice and reco's. Piano Lover

Vicki Hurd, north Oakland, find her phone number in the phone book under Peter or Vicki Hurd. Or go to the Holy Names University Preparatory Music Dept -- they offer suzuki violin and piano and will give you a referral to a teacher (who may teach on campus or at his/her own studio). anon

Hello Piano Lover. My daughter has been studying with Joe Mumm in Oakland for almost 3 years now. He not only teaches Suzuki with its strong emphasis on listening but also, as he says, an effortless technique that makes it easy to bring to life what you are hearing. She has really blossomed (and not just musically but skills that she can apply in her school work) under Joe's guidance and is eager to go to her weekly lessons. I like his strong emphasis on quality, not quantity, no matter what she is doing at the piano. He often reminds her that we are not learning how to type but to play beautiful music. His methods are very child friendly and tap into the way a child naturally learns. I especially like that he shows me how to guide my daughter in her daily practice. We are going to start our younger daughter soon. As for rates I think about $1 a minute is typical for the area and Joe's rates are in line with that. I highly recommend him on all levels. His studio is located in Oakland between I-580 and H-13 and his number and website are 510 530 0264, www.treetoppiano.com. Jaquay, Oakland family

My children both study at Berkeley Academy of Music and I believe that $130 per 1/2 hour is pretty normal for that type of lesson. A one on one intensive half hour requires a special kind of teacher. If your child likes piano, she has the opportunity to study for years with a community of musicians who are all working together to play amazing music. And it's fun! So the kids really want to do it, and that's really important. BAM has workshops, recitals, and a great summer camp which we plan our whole vacation around as well.

Piano lessons teach skills that can last a lifetime, and will enrich your child's music appreciation, even is she doesn't become a professional musician. I urge you to give Berkeley Academy of Music a closer look, and have your child take an introductory lesson. You can even observe a lesson and see what you think. It's been a truly rewarding experience for my family. A very satisfied parent CC

I wanted to clarify an earlier message I posted in response to a question regarding Suzuki piano instruction. The tuition at the Berkeley Academy of Music is $130/month for 4 lessons, or $32.50 for 1/2 hour,which is in line with what other places cost.

And it's well worth it. Excuse my math - still very satisfied

Dec 2011

Dear Community, My wife, son and I are moving to Berkeley from January onwards -- I am on leave. We wanted to keep up with his music pactrice. My son has been playing the piano for a little over 3 years and we were looking to continue that. He also started playing the trumpet this year in school (in the school band here in Charlottesville, Virginia) and we would like to keep this up for the rest of the year while we are in California. My son is 11 and in 5th grade. Any suggestions for how and where to find a good trumpet and/or piano teacher? Any people to recommend. We will be living not too far from downtown Berkeley. Thanks! Peter

My son studied for many years (until he went away to college) with a wonderful piano teacher in Berkeley named Kathryn Winter, who is just off Solano Avenue. She is experienced, sensitive, supportive, and an excellent teacher. She can be reached at (510)527-3839. I hope your family enjoys your time in Berkeley! rachel

Piano teacher needed in WC, Alamo, Danville area

Dec 2011

We are looking for a piano teacher to work with our young elementary school age children. We are open to lessons at home or at a designated location. We want the teacher to be warm, engaging and can make the lessons motivating. We would also appreciate input on what the going rate is for piano lessons in this area. Anonymous

I highly recommend Annette Schmidt, who teaches the Simply Music piano method. Annette loves what she does and it shows. She is absolutely fabulous with kids. Between the Simply Music system and Annette's positive energy and her encouragement, your kids will definitely be motivated because they will be playing songs right away! Annette teaches out of her lovely home in Walnut Creek and her sweet dog, Bailey is the music mascot! She can be reached at: 925.216.0381 or annette [at] silverfoxstudio.net. anon

I don't know any teachers in the Coco County area but the going rate for experienced piano teachers in the Bay Area generally is $35-50 per half hour and $65-85 per hour. ''Big name'' teachers can go as high as $100 an hour, inexperienced teachers might go less than $60. It's unusual for teachers to come to the home these days, but I've heard some teachers are willing to do it. Good luck! East Bay piano teacher

In-home piano lessons in N. Berkeley

Nov 2011

We are trying to find a piano teacher who is willing to come to our home in the North Berkeley hills to give our 7-year-old lessons. Many of the prior recommendations are for people who no longer travel to a person's home for lessons. Any new or updated recommendations appreciated! AB

I have a great piano teacher to recommend who will come to your house to teach your child. His name is Scott Fleming. He has been teaching our son for a couple of years and we think the world of him. Scott is a U.C. Berkeley graduate, has taught beginning and intermediate piano for almost 20 years and will teach in the student's home. Scott teaches all styles - from classical to popular (jazz, blues, boogie, ragtime, pop songs). We love the fact that Scott teaches theory, technique, reading and improvisation. He is patient, cheerful and makes music learning fun. He is a musician himself and plays in two bands and performs as a soloist. His rates are reasonable, he is always prompt, and is a wonderful person. You can contact Scott at 510-849-2086. A happy parent!!

We love our piano teacher! Brian Yosef Schachter-Brooks www.captainzohar.com brian [at] captainzohar.com CJ

I recommend Michael Rubin 510/269-4298 with enthusiasm! He taught my son, and I had some lessons as well, for several years and one of the first things my son does when he comes home now from college is to play the piano. Michael is a great teacher and very versatile: can teach jazz, classical, pop,......And he comes to you (although he does sometimes run late because he gets so involved that he usually extends the lesson past the time he should be out the door). You will love him as we do! heidi

African American Man Piano Teacher?

Sept 2011

I am looking for a piano teacher for my young son (age 5) and would strongly prefer an African American man. Any recommendations? Seeking a role model for my kid

Glen Pearson. Runs the music dept at College of Alameda. http://alameda.peralta.edu/apps/Comm.asp?Q=20427 anon

Piano lessons for 9 year old girl

July 2011

We are moving to Berkeley and are looking for a piano teacher for our 9 year old daughter who has been playing piano for 2 years. We are interested in finding a serious teacher who is also good with children. Currently we are considering Dusan Chae and John King. If you know anything about these teachers or know of other good teachers in the area, please let me know. Thank you. Anon

My daughter and my husband have been taking lessons with Dusan Chae for a couple of years and really appreciate his talent and teaching ability. Also he can comes to your house (and also has his own studio) so it has been very convenient.I highly recommend him Helene

I am happy to recommend Carolyn Erbele- my daughters who are now teenagers have taken lessons from her for about 6 years. She is a great teacher, and very good at keeping the kids interest by letting them select music that they are interested in. She is also a really nice person just to know! She will come to your home in North Berkeley. Carolyn's number is 845-2312. S

I highly recommend Albany Music School (510-528-4047, info [at] albanymusicschool.com). They teach all instruments and they do both group and individual classes. They do a lot of community building with kids music parties, recitals, etc. My kids love it: they have wonderful teachers (piano and violin) who are able to make the lessons fun while still conveying theory and practice. The place itself is really warm and they have free wireless internet for people waiting in the lobby. The school is on San Pablo just opposite El Cerrito Plaza. I found nothing better than this school for my kids. Jack

Joyce McBride is a fantastic piano teacher, and an accomplished and talented musician herself. She has taught students of all ages and is amazing with kids. She's also a wonderful person. I don't know her current rates, but lessons with her would be worth every penny. You know how you want to know which pediatrician doctors recommend? Well, Joyce McBride is a piano teacher that musicians recommend!! You can reach her at 510 541 0228. -DB

If you're willing to travel, I recommend Barbara Becker in Walnut Creek (Rossmoor). She's been teaching my now 8yo daughter for 2 years and she's great! Barbara Becker Studio 925-954-8808 Leslie

Richard Hall (510) 332-3786 in the Glenview neighborhood of Oakland. He's a fantastic professional piano player, father of 3 elementary-aged kids, and a great teacher. He works with your child's intersests while guiding them through the learning experience. Many of our neighbors and friends use him and are very happy with him. Richard Hall fan

When I moved from San Francisco to Oakland, someone at the Conservatory, where both my kids had been taking piano lessons, recommended Janet Somers in Rockridge. I've been ecstatic with her. Both kids, who previously had to practically be bribed to practice, now willingly practice on their own. Janet has psyched both of them out to figure out what interests and motivates them. My son is doing a sort of hip-hop music, and some improvisation as well, which he absolutely loves. At the same time I've observed Janet ''sell'' the classical and the music theory stuff to the kids, which they previously resisted - like if they want to be in a band, they need to know how to read the music and know the chords, etc. And that gets them going. She has two beautiful pianos at her house, which my kids love playing. And she makes up games to play using the two pianos - imitation, guessing games, etc., that challenge my kids. I couldn't be happier. Her email is janetsomersmusic [at] gmail.com and her phone number is 510- 653-6783. She's located in the heart of Rockridge, between College and Broadway.

Drum lessons and piano lessons in Alameda

April 2011

My son who is five has been interested in the drums for a year, and we would love to encourage his interest in playing. We are looking for a teacher who teaches in Alameda and who is great with high energy kids.

My daughter who is three would like to start taking piano lessons. We are looking for a teacher who teaches in Alameda, is great with shy kids, and very patient and gentle.

We'd love to hear from other folks about their experiences with great and not- so-great Alameda music teachers. Thank you BPN parents! Island mama

I'd highly recommend Dan Foltz for lessons. His son is a classmate of my child, so I know him from a parent perspective. I've gotten to know him this school year and he's a great musician as well as a great instructor. He's also just a flat-out super nice guy. See his website at http://www.danielfoltz.com/bio.html. He teaches both drums and piano at his home studio in Alameda. Taggart

I second the recommendation for Dan Foltz. Two of my children took piano lessons from him and he is amazing. He also teaches drums, although I wouldn't let my son play the drums...didn't think I could handle the practicing. Dan is an amazing, patient teacher and a really nice guy. http://www.danielfoltz.com/bio.html

Can't speak to the drum lessons, but Marcie Brown is the most fabulous piano teacher, ever. She also teaches violin and cello. She's extremely patient, not outcome focused at all. I recommend her through and through. Her website is marciebrown.com, and she's an Alameda local! good luck! big ol' marcie fan

Piano Teacher Recommendation-Oakland/Berkeley

March 2011

My six year old step daughter started taking piano lessons with Kadie Kelly recently, who is an adorable and energetic and really enthusiastic piano teacher. We are so happy with her way of teaching. My daughter comes home really happy and wants to talk about what she learned and practice. She is having fun and learning at the same time. If you want your child to take lessons I would recommend working with Kadie. She also teaches adults - for any of you parents out there who have yet to fulfill your life dream of being able to play.:) Her email address is kadiekelly [at] yahoo.com. Belen

I would like to recommend Dusan Chae as a piano teacher for children. He has been teaching my son for the last 4 years. Dusan is a composer and has taught my son to play beautifully and to read music. Dusan is a serious, intellectual teacher who teaches children in a sDusan charges $45 per hour and travels to your home. Dusan can be reached at soundIn2Time [at] gmx.com. Maureen B.

Judith Kramp is a wonderful piano teacher. She used to be a child therapist too so she really understands the developmental phase of your child and she teaches accordingly. Children feel so nurtured with her, and they develop a real love for music. My children are very happy with their lessons. Her phone number is 510-236-5022 Mom of a little pianist

Piano teacher for 6-year-old near Piedmont

Feb 2011

I am looking to start private piano lessons for my 6 year old in the fall and would like teacher recommendations. We live in Piedmont and would prefer to not drive too far. Thanks!

I strongly recommend you to go check The Crowden School, and the associated Crowden Music Center (in Berkeley). I am a parent of a student at Crowden. The Crowden school covers from 4th to 8th grade, but the music center does private lessons for younger musicians as well. Our 12 year old attends the school (6th grade), and has been additionally taking lessons since he was 8 (years old). Our youngest (5 years old) also takes lesson there every Saturday. I'll be happy to give you more information, do not hesitate to contact me. Nestor

Have you tried the music teacher directory on the San Francisco Classical Voice website? www.sfcv.org They can locate instructors by zip code. They also have a new feature for kids and families with information on how to choose a music teacher and other good things like that. That is how we found our piano teacher. Good luck! Mom of new pianist

If you are looking for a great piano teacher in Berkeley, you should consider VannaMaria Kalofonos. She uses the Suzuki method, and does lessons at her home near the Peet's in the Gourmet Ghetto. Our 4.5 year old daughter has been taking lessons from her for a year now, and I am just amazed at how well she is picking up the piano. So are all the parents and teachers at her school. What I'm most struck by is how much she actually ENJOYS playing. VannaMaria is very patient with her and is excellent at finding ways to motivate kids and captivate their attention. She is not a high-pressure kind of teacher. She happens to be pre-school teacher too, which helps a great deal in her understanding of kids of all ages. I highly recommend her. Her number is 510- 843-6055. North Berkeley mom of 2

Piano teacher--El Cerrito/Albany

Jan 2011

I am looking for a piano teacher for my 7 year old beginner in the Albany/El Cerrito/Kensington area (not willing to drive to Berkeley/Oakland). I'd like someone who teaches how to read music and a bit of music theory as a foundation for other instruments but mostly someone who will inspire and make it fun! Musically inclined

My (now 10yr old) daughter has been taking lessons from Elaine Chu in Kensington for 3 years now. Elaine does mix in quite a bit of music theory with teaching the basics and incorporates other games and rewards to keep young learners enthusiastic. I highly recommend her. Elaine's email is egc [at] egchu.com. She teaches from her home in Kensington so it is a relaxed setting. She holds an annual spring recital for her students which might be a good way to see how and what she teaches. Good luck. And feel free to email me back if you want more info. luisa

We just recently started piano lessons with Jacob Zimmerman and are very pleased with his instruction. Jacob plays and teaches saxophone primarily but also instructs beginner level piano as well as composition, theory and jazz improvisation for both children and adults. He makes learning about music fun and he is willing to come to your home. Here is a link to his website: http://jacobrexzimmerman.com/teaching.html happy in el cerrito

My daughter has had lessons with 2 teachers in El Cerrito:

Rebecca Bogart (had been $62.50/45 min, 292-8305)
Barb Foster ($25/30-45 min, 232-7128 )

Both women stress theory and site reading. Rebecca offers more: recitals at the Berkeley Piano Club, monthly group theory workshops for kids at the same level, online learning in her studio before the lesson, and online and workbook homework. Barb has monthly low-key ''recitals'' in her home and will stretch her 30 minute lesson to 45 minutes to help a child over a rough spot.

I know you don't want to go to Berkeley, but my daughter started lessons at the Crowden School (near Monterrey Market), and they had evening and weekend lessons and very cool recitals. Jenne

I would like to recommend my son's long time piano teacher Herb Riffkin. My son Nicky started out as a beginner about 7 years ago. We like Herb because he is a composer and an all around musician. So, there is never any forced and rigid set of instructions and expectations. He is able to let Nicky progress and explore different styles and still retain a deep interest in music. They also have interesting discussions on theory and composing. Herb lives in El Cerrito but he likes to teach at the student's home. He teaches around the Bay area as far as Marine. Feel free to call him at 510-559-8658. HC

I would recommend Dayna Shon. She is a wonderful piano teacher for both children and adults. You can reach her at 530-848-9151. anon

Female Piano Teacher in Berkeley

Jan 2011

I'd very much like to get my 5-year-old daughter started with piano lessons, and for some reason many of the names listed in the BPN archives are for male teachers. My daughter would prefer a female teacher. Does anyone know of a female teacher who is really wonderful with children? I need to find someone who is convenient to North Berkeley. Thank you! Have Piano, Need Teacher

One of my closest friends, Phyllis Plotkin, has been teaching piano lessons to kids, for over 25 years, in the Rockridge neighborhood of North Oakland near Berkeley border. Check out her web site at http://www.PhyllisPlotkinPiano.com/ Helene

My good friend, Emily Rubis, is a piano teacher out of her home in Berkeley. I know she teaches children, and really enjoys it. I know two of her students, and they say Emily makes the lessons fun and relaxed. Her email is earubis [at] msn.com. Krista M.

All the teachers at Golden Key Piano School are female and you can find a teacher whose character matches with your daughter the best. Here is the website: www.goldenkeypianoschool.com the school won the best of Berkeley in music in 2008,2009 and 2010. katrin

My 2 daughters have been taking classes with Connie Tyler (849-0788, 8th St near Bancroft) for several years and we all think she's a wonderful teacher. From day one, the kids are encouraged to improvise and actively think about music. They play music games as well as practice scales and learn songs that interest them, etc. Connie can tailor her teaching to the strengths and interests of each child. The only reservation I have in recommending her is that her house can carry the odor of her older dog and/or cat. It doesn't seem to bother my kids or my husband (who is the one who takes them to lessons) but I find it hard to endure. Happy Overall

I would recommend Dayna Shon. She is a good music teacher. He contact information is 530-848-9151. Sincerely, Adrian

2009 - 2010 Reviews

Piano Teacher for boys in Oakland

Nov 2010

We are moving to Oakland (Uptown Area) and need a piano teacher for our 9 and 6-year old boys. We are looking for someone who will come to our home, has a track record of successfully working with children, and is organized. Sonja

I know a wonderful piano teacher named Dayna. She works well with little kids. I would strongly recommend her to you. Her contact information is (530)848-9151. She is local. Adrian

Sallie Hanna-Rhyne is on Woolsey near Shattuck- so convenient to Ashby BART. She is a terrific piano teacher whose first career was as a classroom teacher and then a preschool teacher. She GETS kids. She lives and loves her music, performs jazz in her spare time.tel. 843.1963 Peter

Violin or Piano lessons for beginner

Nov 2010

I am interested in starting my daughter on violin or piano lessons & would love recommendations on teachers for private lessons and/or schools for group lessons. We live in Kensington so someone in the Berkeley/Kensington/Albany area would be good. It could be at our house or somewhere else. Our preference is for private lessons. Also, any input on starting lessons at that age? Is it too early? Are your kids into it? Other thoughts? Thanks! Miki

Hi Miki, I highly recommend Jessica Klass. Her piano studio is in El Cerrito, but it is in the hills, so it should be an easy trek from Kensington. I've been a student of hers for about 4 years, but am only one of a few 'Big Person' students she has. The majority of her students are elementary school aged. As someone who took piano lessons when I was a kid and someone returning to it as an adult with Jessica, I can really appreciate her teaching style and her varied and personal approach in comparison to the teacher I had as child. I can tell she thinks a lot about how to teach each student and I know she lectures on piano pedagogy at conferences. I spoke with her over the phone and had an introductory piano lesson before I decided to stick with Jessica and I'm really glad I did. She teaches private lessons at her studio in her home.

As for starting lessons at age 4, I don't really know. I started rather late myself at age 7, but I think it depends on the child. Give Jessica a call or shoot her an email to see what she thinks: 510-233-2811, klasspiano [at] gmail.com. Nam

I highly recommend Joe Mumm. My 6 year old daughter is very enthusiastic about her lessons with Joe, never wanting to miss one even when she is sick. In her words 'Joe is a very good teacher because he teaches me lots of things - like what hands to play on the piano and how to write songs. He plays lots of fun games with me and he knows a lot because he really practices. He's the best.'

We have seen our daughter's love for music grow even more and she now wants to become a composer and music teacher like Joe. She comes home after her lessons and attempts to teach her younger brother and sister what she has learned during her lesson. Not only is she learning how to play the piano, but she is also learning techniques and skills that she can apply in her school work.

He strongly emphasizes methods that are child friendly and tap into the way a child naturally learns. I especially like that he shows me how to guide my daughter in her daily practice.

I would recommend Joe to anyone - adult, teen or child that has a genuine desire not only to play piano but to master every aspect of it. His techniques extend beyond just playing; I never knew there was so much behind making beautiful music until my daughter began her lessons. His studio is located in Oakland and his number and website are 510 530 0264, www.treetoppiano.com. Jaquay

Piano teacher to come to our house in Albany

Sept 2010

We are looking for a piano teacher to come to a house in Albany and teach individual lessons for 4 kids in the afternoon. We will have an electric keyboard for the kids to use. If you are interested, please email me your name, phone number and lesson rate.

We love our piano teacher. Brian Schachter-Brooks. He does make house calls, and is really good with kids. Here is his e-mail: captainzohar [at] sbcglobal.net Good luck! Rachel My daughter's piano teacher Dusan Chae comes to our house. He is a great teacher. You can contact him at snailspce [at] gmail.com. Please contact me if you want more information. Helene

Piano teacher for 8 year old

Aug 2010

Looking for a piano teacher for an 8 year old who has had about one year of lessons. Ideally someone who is dynamic and can keep things interesting and fun. Thanks. In/around Berkeley

I highly recommend our wonderful piano teacher Rita Varadi. I cannot say enough good words about Rita. She teaches piano in some unique way, but above that she teaches music. The variety of music she offers to her students to learn to play is incredible, and she is able to find music her students fall in love with. She makes music part of their lives. My two daughters, aged 15 and 9, are blooming with Rita. Rita teaches at her piano studio in Montclair. Her phone number is (510)482-8224. We live in Berkeley and go to her studio every week - wouldn't consider going to a different teacher even if she lived next door. Feel free to e-mail me any questions you might have. Elena

We have a piano teacher we like a great deal - he's knowledgable, kind and extremely 'present' with our two children. They enjoy him a lot. His name is Brian Shafter-Brooks and his number is: 510-295-7383 He either travels to give lessons, or holds them in his home (North Oakland, very near the Berkeley line). Good luck! Rachel

I would like to submit a strong recommendation for Rachel Efron. She has been my 11-year-old's teacher for almost a year (and my own teacher for 5 years). I have referred several friends' children to her. Rachel is a talented teacher. She is creative, supportive and successfully approaches teaching by identifying kids' own learning styles and adapting lessons to make kids interested in and excited by piano and music. My daughter really responds to her, and has accordingly approached piano as a creative endeavor, rather than as a chore. Her musical background and talent is extensive. Please email me with any questions! Jill

July 2010

I highly recommend Joe Mumm. My 6 year old daughter has been studying with him for over a year now. She is very enthusiastic about her lessons with Joe, never wanting to miss one even when she is sick. In her words 'Joe is a very good teacher because he teaches me lots of things - like what hands to play on the piano and how to write songs. He plays lots of fun games with me and he knows a lot because he really practices. He's the best.'

During this time, we have seen our daughter's love for music grow even more and she now wants to become a composer and music teacher like Joe. She comes home after her lessons and attempts to teach her younger brother and sister what she has learned during her lesson. Not only is she learning how to play the piano, but she is also learning techniques and skills that she can apply in her school work.

I would recommend Joe to anyone - adult, teen or child that has a genuine desire not only to play piano but to master every aspect of it. His techniques extend beyond just playing; I never knew there was so much behind making beautiful music until my daughter began her lessons. His studio is located in Oakland and his number is 510 530 0264. His website is www.treetoppiano.com. Jaquay

Fun piano teacher for 7 year old

May 2010

I'm looking to start my 7-year-old on piano lessons this fall, and was hoping to get some recommendations. Here's the thing: I browsed older reviews and they are so serious! I just want him to learn strong basics, give my child the musical background, and teach the ability to read notes, not be a professional concert pianist. I want this to be a fun activity, a way to express himself, relieve stress, not create it. We're committed to practice 1/2 hour daily, but no more (unless he chooses to do so). Classical is my preference, but with a dash of pop, jazz, blues. And yes, I know there will be scales involved!

You might try Suzuki. (Holy Names Prepatory Music Dept runs a program). There are no scales for a few years at least. They usually start at 15 minute lessons until the kid learns a little more. It's less than 15 minutes practice, but almost every day. So many kids do Suzuki that I don't think many parents are under the illusion their kid is a musical genius. The teachers are trained in teaching music--they also don't think they know if they are teaching the next Horowitz. Well, the first few years it is folk songs, and easy classical mainly. With piano teachers, try out different ones if one doesn't fit with your child, really they vary greatly! anon

Not sure where you are located but Harmony Road Music School at the corner of Pleasant Valley and Piedmont in Oakland is a great resource. Call - describe what you want and they will recommend a number of teachers with openings who would be a good fit. They don't come to your home (though maybe you could arrange this), but we are very happy with the teacher we are working with after 4+ years of private lessons elsewhere. Maggie Harmon

Ernie Mansfield teaches piano to children and adults in North Berkeley. He is not just about producing little professionals, he likes his students to have a good time. He uses a variety of methods including developmentally appropriate books, learning by ear, and playing favorite songs. He has a gentle sense of humor. He gathers his students for fun recitals as well. He engages kids and adults in music, including those who thought they would not be able to learn. You can view more information at his website, (www.mansfieldmusic.com) or call (510) 524-2055. Reba

We highly recommend Ernie Mansfield of Mansfield Music for piano lessons. Our 10 year old daughter has been taking lessons with him for several years, and she thoroughly enjoys herself. I've overhead them singing together loudly and playing the piano. It's very sweet. Ernie is very low key and low stress, but our daughter is learning how to read music and play the piano. He's kind, loving, and patient -- very good with kids. He doesn't push the kids, but let's them learn and enjoy at their own pace. The students also perform at recitals -- several times a year, at places like Freight and Salvage or a local church. This is also entirely voluntary, and it teaches them preparation and discipline. In fact, our child loves her lessons so much that her grandma has started guitar lessons. Mansfield Music is located in a private home on Sacramento near Rose - - very close to N. Berk. Bart. ernie [at] mansfieldmusic.com, 510 524-2055. Check out his website. www.mansfieldmusic.com Robin K

Ernie Mansfield is a terrific piano teacher who did an excellent job teaching my son the piano. He's great at adapting to your child's attitude toward music and he knows how to make it fun. He's located in Berkeley and his phone number is 524-2055. LL

I HIGHLY recommend my children's piano teacher, Tamara Saunders, phone# 338-1215, for the serious, non-serious, young, (even very young), or old. She lives in Montclair. She has a WONDERFUL personality - kids love her. She likes to begin kids (or adults) at any age, works at their pace, doesn't expect a lot of practice if they're not ready, but moves kids along if they're motivated, so that she has students at every level. She appreciates teaching those just wanting the basic skill to those who are 'prodigies.' (Very exciting to go to her recitals and see 4 year old beginners up to the high school graduates heading for conservatory). She has my highest recommendation. Deb

Piano teacher for son with good foundation

April 2010

My son's piano teacher is moving away at the end of May. She is a wonderful teacher who our son really enjoys and has learned much from. He has a good foundation in all piano and music fundamentals and we are now looking for another piano teacher who can pick up where his current teacher leaves off. We would like to find someone who is able to continue stressing all piano fundamentals but who also likes and incorporates ''contemporary'',''popular'' music into the music repertoire, music that a music-loving ten- year old would want to play. MFW

Tamara Saunders is one of the best, most-loved piano teachers I've ever know. She is classically trained and her students often go on to Music Conservatories. Tamara teaches popular, contemporary and classical repertoire, and she'll write arrangements of current hits for her students. She is fabulous with children of all ages (and adults). She lives in the hills right above Montclair. She's the best! Tamara can be reached at 510-338-1215. Thrilled piano mom

I don't know the location you're looking for, but I HIGHLY recommend Barbara Becker in Walnut Creek. Her phone number is 925-954-8808. She's very skilled and great with kids. My daughter has been taking lessons with her for 8 months.

Our son's piano teacher, Phil Gorman, would be a great fit for your son, I think. He is classically trained but introduces popular music by showing chords and techniques that can transfer between different genres. I've been very pleased at how my rather restrained son has been rocking out on the piano--even improvising, a skill I never learned during all my years of studying classical piano. Phil is great with kids and good at finding songs and approaches that resonate with each kid. The only drawback is that he's quite busy (he also directs and plays in a lot of musicals), so it can be hard to schedule with him. Phil can be reached at phil [at] thefluxmusic.com. Mother of one of Phil's piano students

We've been very pleased with Tamara Saunders. She teaches out of her home in Montclair - her number is 384-3274. Given your son's experience and age, you may want to involve him in the decision. I'd at least meet her; once you have a lesson with her, I'd be surprised if you didn't find her to be a match. We can't speak highly enough of her. She's a wonderful musician, teacher, and great at engaging/motivating my child. Good luck! Carrie

Rebecca Trujillo (510) 472-2834 has been my almost ten year old daughter's piano teacher for the past couple of years. She can teach both conventional and Suzuki methods. Her sweet temperament and playful nature makes piano lessons fun and motivating. I can't recommend her highly enough. I'm sure she'll be fine with your sitting in on lessons so you can get a sense of her. gloria

Miss Tamara is a fabulous piano teacher in Montclair. She is classically trained, but can teach any type of music. She works really well with children (she has 6 of her own!!) Please give her a call! Miss Tamara 510-338-1215 Good luck and happy playing!! happy mom with piano player kid

I would like to recommend Joe Mumm of Tree Top Piano Studio. We feel very fortunate to have found Joe and are happy to recommend him if you are looking for a piano instructor for yourself or your child. My 11 year daughter has been studying with Joe for almost four years now and enjoys her lessons enormously, due to his unique teaching style. He is a kind and talented teacher, with kid-friendly teaching methods that she really responds to. He plays musical games and varies the format of the lesson so that the instruction is interesting and fun. The School of Easy is his motto, he always works to find the easiest way to explain and understand any concept of theory and technique, working to build a healthy and effortless technique. Joe really emphasizes quality over quantity and building the well rounded musicianship that allows expressive and artistic playing. My daughter's interest in music continues to grow, the motivation Joe inspires in her to learn to play the piano is exciting for us to watch! He is conveniently located off Lincoln Ave between I-580 & Hwy 13, and has a website, www.treetoppiano.com, where you can read other endorsements. His number is 510 530 0264. Anne.

(editor note: for an additional response to this question see Jazz piano teacher )

Piano lessons in-home in Berkeley for 9-y-o

April 2010

Please recommend a piano teacher who will come to my home in Berkeley for a nine year old girl very much wanting to learn. Thank you kindly.

I am happy to recommend Jean Stites for piano lessons. In all the years of lessons, sports, and classes for my two children, Jean is the most exceptional teacher I've ever found on any subject. She inspires and challenges and truly connects with them. She no longer travels to students homes, BUT she has a fabulously convenient studio at El Cerrito Plaza in the upstairs offices - roughly above the Junket Deli. You can shop at Trader Joe's during the lesson or relax in the sitting area of the studio. It is definitely worth the effort. Reach her at 510-260-6658. You may email me if you want more information. Becky

I'm not sure if they would teach at home, but I would definitely recommend Albany Music School (on San Pablo, just opposite El Cerrito Plaza). I have known the director for several years. She's incredibly sweet/patient with kids and she's very prepared technically. My kids simply love her: she has a wonderful way to communicate music theory and teach practice to children, while holding their attention in a fun way (so progress is fast and effortless). They teach piano, voice, flute, violin, guitar and drums and they offer group classes for small kids (age 3-5) and private lessons for everybody else (including adults). 9825 San Pablo Ave, 2nd floor (opposite El Cerrito Plaza) El Cerrito, CA 94530 Tel. 510-528-4047 web: www.albanymusicschool.com E-mail: info [at] albanymusicschool.com Jack

Piano teacher for 5 year old

Jan 2010

Hi - I'm looking for a Piano Teacher for my 5yo daughter. She's mildly interested in piano and I'd like to get her started asap. Thanks in advance for your recommendations. I've been off BPN due to malfunction and missed any recent recommendations so please repost your recs. Thanks!

Tamara Saunders is an amazing piano teacher (510) 338-1215. We live in the North Berkeley hills (where there are about 500 piano teachers), but travel over to see her in Montclair every week. She sounded so great over the phone, I couldn't resist, and honestly, while our 5 year old had been asking for piano lessons for a year, she has such a hard time sitting still and is so very silly, I didn't think it would last more than a couple of weeks.

Last Saturday however, our daughter played (part of) Beethoven's ''Ode to Joy'' in her first recital after 6 months of lessons. She has stayed with it only because Tamara has such a great sense of humor and more patience than anyone I have ever met. Tamara makes the whole experience fun, and was unfazed when our daughter would hide under her shirt or break into a song about underwear during the lessons.

I believe that Tamara has taught at Bentley and other local schools, and really seems to understand kids. For example, she has the kids give two recitals a year at the Berkeley Piano Club, which is in one of those beautiful Craftsmans we all want to live in. The recitals are very special events, and are powerful motivators for the kids. She is very warm, positive and talented. bpn fan (bpn is how I found Tamara!)

I didn't see the original request, but had to chime in after I saw the post recommending Tamara Saunders in Montclair. I wholeheartedly agree with the praise already offered for Tamara. My daughter's appreciation for piano is in no small part due to Tamara's charm, wit and enthusiasm for working with young children. She was recommended by a friend whose children were taking lessons from her, and we couldn't be more pleased. My daughter is very much the type of learner that would want to quit because it was 'too hard', but Tamara has made it fun and playful, and therefore very easy to continue.

I especially wanted to add that I've been impressed by Tamara's ability to improve my daughter's musicianship. I took lessons for many years as a child, and I have observed Tamara help my daughter learn to be a stronger note reader, with a better appreciation for dynamics, in a very age appropriate way. My daughter loves working with her, and I'm knocked out by how far she's come in the year she's been taking. What more could you ask for? Satisfied Parent and Student

Piano teacher for 9 and 7 year old

Jan 2010

Looking for a piano teacher for 9 and 7 year old who have been taking piano for the last 2 years. Would love to have a teacher who can handle artistic personality. Who would care about the children and not just drill them. And at the same time have an authority and make them work. Located in North Oakland. Thanks!! paula

I think your kids would do great with Eli Sundelson. He is a wonderful teacher, who would work great with artistic types. My daughter (8) has been working with him for about 6 months and loves him. He really emphasizes finding ways to teach kids to love music and not see it as a series of drills. He lives and works in Oakland. His number is 510-295-8998. Mary

I never tire of recommending my extraordinarily talented teacher-friend Sam Rudin (who has made quite a few Parents Network parents very happy). Please see: http://www.hurricanesam.com/content.php?file=piano -- and tell him Sharon sent you! Sharon

Ernie Mansfield (510)524-2055 is an excellent piano teacher. My son loved him. Ernie is very passionate about teaching music to children and adults and he's great. He's located in Berkeley. LL

Piano teacher for 5 year old

Jan 2010

Hi - I'm looking for a Piano Teacher for my 5yo daughter. She's mildly interested in piano and I'd like to get her started asap. Thanks in advance for your recommendations. Thanks!

Tamara Saunders is an amazing piano teacher (510) 338-1215. We live in the North Berkeley hills (where there are about 500 piano teachers), but travel over to see her in Montclair every week. She sounded so great over the phone, I couldn't resist, and honestly, while our 5 year old had been asking for piano lessons for a year, she has such a hard time sitting still and is so very silly, I didn't think it would last more than a couple of weeks.

Last Saturday however, our daughter played (part of) Beethoven's ''Ode to Joy'' in her first recital after 6 months of lessons. She has stayed with it only because Tamara has such a great sense of humor and more patience than anyone I have ever met. Tamara makes the whole experience fun, and was unfazed when our daughter would hide under her shirt or break into a song about underwear during the lessons.

I believe that Tamara has taught at Bentley and other local schools, and really seems to understand kids. For example, she has the kids give two recitals a year at the Berkeley Piano Club, which is in one of those beautiful Craftsmans we all want to live in. The recitals are very special events, and are powerful motivators for the kids. She is very warm, positive and talented. bpn fan (bpn is how I found Tamara!)

Piano teacher to come to our house for 7 year old

Jan 2010

We're looking for a piano teacher who could come to our house to teach my 6 year old girl. We're in upper Rockridge area. More classical training than casual. Kay

Both my children have learnt the piano from Babette Salamon since they were 7 years old and have enjoyed it. Babette is gentle and thorough, and teaches only classical pieces. She has always come to our home to teach, and has also accompanied us to the piano store to help us buy a new piano when we were ready. She is punctual and often stays for longer, making sure my kids understand what they are playing. Her rates are very reasonable, and I really appreciate her coming to my home to teach since it is so convenient for us. She is a wonderful teacher and a very nice person. My daughter has been playing with her for the last 12 years now, and has done very well in her piano exams. I would wholeheartedly recommend her. Babette's phone number is (510) 848-3810. Please feel free to email me if you need more information. Armin

Suzuki teacher in Lafayette area

Sept 2009

I am looking for a suzuki piano teacher in Lafayette, Orinda or Moraga for my 9 year old daughter. She has studied for several years. I am also interested in receving names of teachers who do not teach suzuki, but you consider to be very good teachers. Thanks, Sheila

A Suzuki piano teacher of some renown is Katharine Austin, in Orinda. 925 254-3935. My daughter has studied with Katharine for several years, after taking lessons for 8 years with a non- Suzuki teacher. Katharine manages to bring out wonderful qualities in playing, demanding commitment and combining high expectations with compassion and a complete love of the instrument and of music. She emphasizes that the steps required for serious playing are the same steps required to be a serious academic student, a serious citizen, a serious person (serious = committed, impassioned, engaged, striving for your utmost). While I highly recommend her, she may not have any openings (she is very much in demand; her students always win myriad awards and love to play!). Good luck. linda

I can very highly recommend Sara Van Dette in Orinda. She teaches out of her home. My daughter has been taking lessons for about 2.5 years. Sara uses Suzuki but also branches out from there. She is, for us anyway, the perfect blend of strict and fun. She keeps the kids on task but isn't a slave driver. Plus, she is open to the kids suggesting music they'd like to work on. My daughter is working on Bach pieces, but she also brings in her Beatles songbook and Sara is working with her on that. She is not very familiar with popular music, but is willing to work with kids on songs from Coldplay and the like. She says she enjoys learning from her students. I have recommended about 3 other kids to her and they are all enjoying great success. Sara also ran a music program at a private elementary school and is classically trained, so she has a wealth of experience to draw from. We absolutely love her. Sara Van Dette, 925-631-0509.

Would you consider Walnut Creek/Rossmoor? My daughter (6yo) started lessons with Barbara Becker about 2 months ago. So far she is really enjoying the lessons and learning a lot. And I am impresed with Barbara's teaching style and level of expertise. She is not a Suzuki teacher but I do think she's worth meeting to see if it's a good fit for you. Her number is 925-954-8808.

I did not read your original post but have a wonderful piano teacher to recommend. Tim Phelps has been teaching my twin 10- year old daughters for over a year. He is very laid back and patient and brings out a love of music from his students. We've recommended him to several other neighborhood kids who all just love him too. Oh, and best of all, he comes to your home! His phone number is 925-297-7563. Good luck! Laurie

Piano teacher for kids with 5 years of lessons

Sept 2009

Our beloved piano teacher of the last 5 years left us for NYC this past summer and my kids are needing a good teacher to succeed her... Someone who is creative and able to move each child along in their musical quest... any suggestions? Someone who can come to our Montclair home would be ideal. Thank you! lj

Oliver Miller has been teaching our daughter for over a year - he's amazing! He is a true gentleman, kind, thoughtful, patient and brilliant - he really pays attention to our daughter and is able to focus on exactly what she needs to succeed. He makes the lessons very enjoyable and is so supportive. She has made tremendous progress. He comes to our home to teach which is ideal. My daughter always looks forward to her lesson every week and loves her time with Oliver AND I am able to enjoy her playing (she's reading music now too!) He is also just beginning to teach our youngest (5 year old) daughter. Here's his contact info: Oliver Miller t: 452-7729 e: kmps186 [at] yahoo.com

Rita Varadi teaches at her piano studio in Montclair. Our previous piano teacher left three years ago for Oregon. She gave us a few recommendations and Rita was on top of her list. My girls have blossomed with Rita. I had never played the piano before we met Rita, but was inspired by her teaching and started taking lessons with her some two and a half years. I am still taking piano lessons and can't have enough of them. Rita's phone number is (510)482-8224. I hope she takes new students. Good luck! ebl

Check out piano teacher Phyllis Plotkin at http://www.phyllisplotkinpiano.com. She's has many, many years of experience teaching children of all ages and abilities, as well as adults. She uses the Taubman technique which helps to prevent overuse injuries and is particularly good for students who are motivated to take their playing up to the next level. Helene

I would like to recommend Joe Mumm of Tree Top Piano Studio. We feel very fortunate to have found Joe and are happy to recommend him if you are looking for a piano instructor for yourself or your child. My 11 year daughter has been studying with Joe for four years and enjoys her lessons enormously, due to his unique teaching style. He is a kind and talented teacher, with kid-friendly teaching methods that she really responds to. He plays musical games and varies the format of the class so that the instruction is interesting and fun. The \xc3\xa2\xe2\x82\xac\xc5\x93School of Easy\xc3\xa2\xe2\x82\xac\xc2\x9d is his motto, he always works to find the easiest way to explain and understand any concept of theory and technique, working to build a healthy and effortless technique. Joe really emphasizes quality over quantity and building the well rounded musicianship that allows expressive and artistic playing. My daughter\xc3\xa2\xe2\x82\xac\xe2\x84\xa2s interest in music continues to grow and her motivation to learn to play the piano is exciting for us to watch! He is conveniently located off Lincoln Ave near Macarthur and has a website, www.treetoppiano.com, where you can read other endorsements. Joe\xc3\xa2\xe2\x82\xac\xe2\x84\xa2s number is 510 530 0264. Anne (Glenview)

Piano class for 5 year old

August 2009

I am looking for a piano class for my daughter who is 5 and a half. I would like to start her with a group class, just to get her interested. I am also not sure we can afford a private class. I looked into Crowden, but their group class schedule does not work for us. Can you recommend of a group class or an affordable private teacher in the Albany/Berkeley/El Cerrito area? Most recommendations on BPN are rather old. Thank you! Tatiana

You can try the group class in Golden Key Piano School but I suggest private lessons for a 5 year old. www.goldenkeypianoschool.com piano teacher

If you are looking for an outstanding piano teacher, I highly recommend Margo Lockwood who teaches in El Cerrito near Windrush School and Prospect Sierra. I heard all of her students at the yearly recitals and they performed very expressively. She taught my daughter for nine years with beautiful results. My daughter learned theory and composition and played classical as well as jazz styles with real enjoyment and attention to detail. What is particularly wonderful about Margo's teaching is the combination of her high musical standards with a fine instinct for the individual needs of each student. She is skilled in bringing out each student's love of music while developing their artistic ability. A real treasure! I'm not sure if she is accepting students right now, but she can be reached at (510) 237-9059. Lisa

Our piano teacher is amazing. He has been teaching my son since he was 6. He comes to our home once a week. He is very patient. When my son started, he did not have any musical background whatsoever. Today he can read notes really well, play a bunch of songs and is now into composing his own song, with Michael's encouragement. After earning a degree from Oberlin College, Michael Coleman relocated to the Bay Area where he has been teaching and performing for the last 5 years. He teaches all levels of students and all ages. In his lessons, he focuses on sight reading, improvisation, music theory and body awareness so that students develop an effortless technique. Michael teaches all styles including jazz, blues, classical and pop and will create the lesson plan based on the students interests. If you are interested, you can contact Michael directly at michaelpcoleman [at] gmail.com or you can contact me. Sonny

Piano teacher for 11 year old

August 2009

We are looking for a piano teacher for our 11 year old daughter who will be starting 6th grade in the fall. She's been playing piano for five years, and has had a good teacher who provided her with a strong background in the basics and a mix of classical and jazz/blues pieces. We're looking for someone who's got an upbeat approach to teaching, good with kids this age and interested in teaching a variety of genres. If the teacher is a woman, that would be icing on the cake. Do you have a recommendation? Thank you! Eve

Sallie Hanna-Rhyne, 510-843-1963, is a very good, enthusiastic teacher for young people who want to learn blues and jazz piano. If you want an excellent classical piano teacher, I highly recommend Rebecca Bogart, 510-292-8305. Laura

Check out piano teacher Phyllis Plotkin at www.phyllisplotkinpiano.com. She's been teaching for 35 years and is great for those ready to transition to more advanced playing. She uses Taubman-influenced technique and is located in Rockridge. Helene

Check out Muscially Minded piano studio. All 3 of our kids study there (they're located in Rockridge) and the 3 teachers are all female and are great with kids. See www.musicallyminded.com for more information.

You might try Amy Valentine in Berkeley. She is currently accepting school age students. Her approach is light and joyful. Her phone # is 510-735-1796

I recommend Elena at Golden Key Piano School. She has a very strong classical music background and she plays jazz as well. Here is more about her: http://www.goldenkeypianoschool.com/studentsteachers.html#Elena katrin

My daughter has been playing piano since she was 5. She wanted to quit piano until we meet Sarah Pricilla Richardson a couple of years ago. Sarah is a dancer and musician and she is fantastic with kids! She knows how to listen to them and make piano appealing. She has her own studio in the Oakland Executive Center in Oakland (off Grand Ave.). You can contact her through e-mail stephsarahrichardson [at] mac.com. You can mention my name : Anita B.

Affordable piano lessons in San Leandro

August 2009

Could anyone give me some names of a decent, affordable piano teacher that would be willing to come to San Leandro to teach a 6 year old girl? Teri

Alex is a talented and patient teacher and will come to your house in San Leandro to teach piano, voice, and/or music theory...or you can come to his studio near Lake Merritt in Oakland. Contact him by email at Ucrazydog [at] gmail.com, or cell phone at 310-383-7694. Susan

Starting piano lessons for 7 year old

June 2009

We are thinking of starting piano lessons for our 7 year old son, who needs a firm but friendly hand. Does anyone have suggestions for someone in Berkeley/Albany/North Oakland? erica

This is the piano studio to go to: Musically Minded Piano Studio. The instruction is excellent and they're great at motivating kids to keep practicing and learning. You can contact them through the website http://www.musicallyminded.com/. The studio is located in Rockridge. Our 3 kids all study there and have really gotten very good and also enjoy playing.

I highly recommend our wonderful piano teacher Rita Varadi. I cannot say enough good words about Rita. She teaches piano in some unique way, but above that \xe2\x80\x93 she teaches music. The variety and amount of music she offers to her students to learn to play is incredible, and she is able to find music her students fall in love with. She makes music part of their lives. My two daughters, aged 14 and 9, are blooming with Rita. Rita teaches at her piano studio in Montclair. Her phone number is (510)482-8224. Feel free to e-mail or call me at (510)710-4366 with any questions. Elena

Ellen Hoffman as an excellent and friendly piano teacher. My son took lessons from her for two years age 8-10 (then switched instruments). She really pushes for mastering material before moving on, and at the same time has fun with the music and her students. Her number is 510.524.6220 Pat

Hello Erica, We would like to recommend our daughter's teacher Joe Mumm. She is 11 and has been studying with Joe for over 3 years now. She enjoys her lessons enormously due to Joe's unique teaching style. He is a kind and talented teacher, with kid-friendly teaching methods that she really responds to. He plays musical games and varies the format of the class so that the instruction is interesting and fun. My daughter's interest in music continues to grow and her motivation to learn to play the piano is exciting for us to watch! He emphasizes quality and an ergonomic technique in the context of a well rounded program. This has really paid off as she is making continual progress in not only in the level of her pieces but in theory, sight reading, ear training and technique. He teaches students of all ages and welcomes beginners and intermediate students. Joe is conveniently located off Lincoln Ave near Sequoia Elementary in the Dimond District of Oakland. You can check out his website, www.treetoppiano.com, to read other endorsements. Joe's number is 510 530 0264. Anne________Glenview

If you are looking for a great piano teacher, I know of a teacher in El Cerrito who does beautiful work with children. Her students learn composition and jazz theory in addition to reading and playing classical music and have a really great time doing it. Her name is Margo Lockwood and she teaches from her home which is near Windrush and Prospect Sierra Schools. Highly recommended! Her number is 510 932-2799. Laura

Piano teacher in Walnut Creek

May 2009

I'm considering enrolling my 6yo daughter in piano lessons, while she has the enthusiasm for it. Does anyone have a recommendation for a teacher in or around Walnut Creek? Also, what is the going rate for a piano teacher for young children? Are 30-minute weekly lessons the norm? Thank you.

I have a wonderful recommendation for you. Call Annette Schmidt at 925.216.0381. She teaches from her home in Walnut Creek and is an accredited Simply Music teacher. Her email is annette [at] silverfoxstudio.net or www.silverfoxstudio.net. She has many students who are children and she is a very warm, caring person and absolutely loves what she does! Marika

I highly recommend Marcus Hewel as a piano teacher for kids. My two daughters, ages 6 and 10, have been taking lessons with him since early March of this year. I'm so impressed and couldn't be happier with the lessons. What I like the most is that my kids are developing their senses and bodily coordination through the music. They both love practicing and the lessons are fostering their love of music. Marcus has a great way with kids, and the Simply Music piano method he teaches is outstanding. It's different than any piano class that I've ever heard of - the girls started learning to play all kinds of songs from the very beginning! They really love it. My 10 year old has already learned over 10 songs and she plays them beautifully. And my little one, who barely had the attention span to push down the keys at first, now can play 4 songs. Within a few lessons he was able to channel her energy and keep her attentive and still for the entire session!! According to their teacher, these results are normal in his classes. If you're looking for lessons for your kids, give him a call: 510-610-9729. He's located in Oakland, not far from the Grand Lake Theater. sikhgirl

Piano teacher for 8 year old in Berkeley

Feb 2009

Our 8-year old is ready to take piano lessons and I'm looking for a teacher who can come to our home in Berkeley. Karen

We just found the most amazing piano teacher. Her name is Emily Rubins. My 6 year old loves her. Do tell her Kimmi gave you her number.510 612 1177.She is really great with children. Gentle and kind. I spoke to some teachers that were scary. Emily basically charges $1 a minute. She will come to your home for additional fee. Kimmi

I highly recommend my daughter's fantastic piano teacher, Jennifer Shaw Navarrete. My daughter took lessons from her from age 8 to 18 (she just stopped because she moved to college). Jennifer has an extensive resume teaching children and adults. I do believe she has openings for adults. She teaches in her home in East Oakland. I don't know if she makes house calls. She has a very informative website you should check out: http://navarretepianostudio.com/. Her phone number is 510-530-8308 and her email is jsnav [at] aol.com. Monica

Over the past several years friends and colleagues have asked me about our kids' piano teacher, who I found on the BPN 7 years ago! Thought it would be helpful if I responded to this question for our subscribers.

A short list of why we like him:
1. my daughter started at age 5, my son at age 7. (now 12 and 10) He has always spoken to them as equals, allows them to comment on the music; if they don't like a piece they will move on to another. He allows them to be creative; e.g. to play a certain piece in a different octave if it ''sounds better'' to them!
2. He writes and brings his own music; no need to buy piano books. Will allow them to begin choosing their own pieces as they progress; he either will bring the skill-appropriate arrangements or encourage them to go to Berkeley public library.
3. he was fine with teaching on an electric keyboard in the beginning (for 2 years) until we were sure she was going to keep playing and got an upright piano.
4. he also teaches adults! I took my daughter's place when she had a wrist injury and loved it, and plan on starting up again soon.
If you need more info, please feel free to contact me. Herb Riffkin charges $50 for 45 min, but often goes over 5 minutes or so (depends on his schedule of lessons). And yes, it is so great that he comes to the house, and I can keep cooking/working etc. during their lessons. His phone number is 510-559-8658. Good Luck! Cindy C

I've missed a few newsletters so I don't know what else has been posted about piano teachers, but I want to add that Babette Salamon has been a godsend to our family. She travels to homes in Berkeley, Albany, El Cerrito or North Oakland. She teaches students from 5 yrs to adults. Our son began at 11 (we had trouble getting around to it & then finding someone) and our daughter at 7. Several years later, both are playing beautifully. Our son caught up with his age group very quickly, and our daughter, after a little early resistance, is playing happily with no complaints. Babette is a classically trained traditional piano teacher who has been teaching for 30 years in this area. Music theory is an important part of her lessons, which we believe is really important. Her qualifications are (I asked): ARCM Royal College of Music, London (Performer's & Teacher's); LRSM Royal School of Music (Performer's) and UPLM (Performer's Licentiate). In other words, as my daughter just said to me, she knows what she's doing. We were looking for a classical piano teacher whom our children would like, respect, and want to do the work for, and that's Babette. She usually holds two or so recitals a year. One or two are a low key workshop just for trying out parts of pieces or new pieces for fellow students, parents not required. The main recital has naturally been a little tense for our kids, but they've grown a lot from the experience. Babette makes sure they are well-prepared, and their pride afterwards is wonderful to see. We at first promised our daughter that she never had to perform if she didn't want to, but a year later she was fine with recitals. Our son has been taking the Certificate of Merit exams held by MTAC for a few years, as do many of Babette's students, which is a good check-in and another terrific esteem-booster. You can call Babette at 848-3810 or email her at babettec [at] sonic.net. Leah

I highly recommend Erin Downey, who lives in Alameda not too far from the Webster Tube. Erin is a patient, kind, but rigorous piano teacher who teaches lessons in her home. My 8yo son really enjoyed taking lessons from her, and we were very sad when we moved out of the area and had to leave her! She uses a wonderful mix of one-on-one lessons (3x/month) and group lessons (1x/month), and organizes one formal and one informal recital each semester. The result is that the kids get lots of time with her alone, but don't feel isolated: making and appreciating music becomes something to share. This really helped my son stay motivated. Her email: ekathleen16 [at] hotmail.com Amy

Piano teacher for 10 year old in Walnut Creek

Jan 2009

My daughter, age 10, has just expressed an interest in taking piano lessons. She has never taken any music lessons and we would certainly like to encourage this interest. She has had an electronic keyboard since kindergarten (not a baby toy one - one that we got at Costco and is on a stand and has all sorts of bells and whistles). She has asked that we look into piano lessons for her with someone who is very ''patient'' and we would like someone in Walnut Creek as that is where we live. I checked the website but would like to get recent recommendations. What else should we take into consideration regarding piano lessons for a child who might get easily frustrated? Many thanks in advance!

We have the perfect, patient piano teacher for you! My twin 9-yr-old daughters have been taking piano lessons since last summer from Tim Phelps. Not only is he in WC but he comes to your house! Tim is a musician and very good with kids (he also teaches guitar). He is incredibly laid back and very encouraging. My girls both look forward to their piano lessons every week and have improved so much in just 8 months. Your daughter will love him! You can reach Tim at 297-7563 (cell). Laurie

I've heard great things from some of my students about Red House Studios in WC. They offer private piano lessons there now. Try redhouselive.com :-) Alex T.

Teacher for 6 year old in Lamorinda or Walnut Creek

Jan 2009

Can anyone recommend a good piano teacher in Lamorinda or Walnut creek area for my 5-1/2 (soon to be 6) year old daughter? She has expressed keen interest in taking lessons. Thanks! Eng

My daughter has been taking piano lessons from Rita (phone # 925 283 7601 and 925 323 8969). Rita (who is a Happy Valley Elementary school parent) is great. She has a wide range of students from kids who play purely for pleasure to kids who participate in competitions and attend special schools for the musically gifted (Crowden music school).The students also range from kindergardeners to High schoolers. I find her kind, patient and efficient. As a mother herself she understands the limitations of young kids, the boredom of daily practise, kids having ''off'' days etc and works around all these challenges cheerfully! If you call her tell her Uma recommended her! Uma

Kid oriented teacher for beginner

Jan 2009

Do you love your child's piano teacher? We are hoping to start piano lessons for our son -- either now or in the next year or so. He's young but interested and loves his group music lessons. Any recommendations for a kid-oriented teacher who can make learning fun, teach good technique from the start, and help inspire a love of music? We're in Rockridge but any recommendation is appreciated. Thanks! Musician's Mom

Vicki Hurd in North Oakland. Her number is listed under Peter Hurd, or Peter and Vicki Hurd. But ask for her rate, it is on the higher side (she is highly qualified, masters from Stanford in music etc.) anonymous

For small & large children, as well as adults, I must always recommend Tom Wyse in Berkeley. You can have a lesson at his home in Berkeley, or he can come to you. He is patient, funny and comes at the piano from a variety of directions, including ear training, chord theory, sightreading, etc. Tom's phone number is 684-8525. Kids love him! Tell him Gabriel sent you... kim

We, both my daughter and I, love her piano teacher! She has little ones starting I think at 4, on up. She is adorable with kids (she has 6 of her own!), and as her students mature, she really gets to know their style and their needs. We just had a recital, and truly, the kids who have been with her awhile absolutely stunned the audience! She is sweet, and encouraging, and kind, and knows when to step it up too! But for a little one, truly I think you would love her. Her name is Tamara Saunders. 338-1215. loving our piano teacher

For those looking for a piano teacher, I'd like to recommend my son's teacher, Len Sherman, who has a studio in North Oakland and also makes home visits. He started teaching my son keyboard (because our apartment was not big enough for a piano!) at the age of 5 and my son, who is now, 14 is still taking lessons from Len. Len is a wonderful teacher who works well with all ages (kids, teens, and adults). His gentle, encouraging and flexible approach has helped to nourish and expand my son's love of music, which now includes multiple instruments (keyboard, drums and guitar) and experiences (jam sessions, composition and recording, and being part of an ensemble that Len frequently sets up). Len is also an outstanding musician (piano, sax, keyboard, vocals) and he teaches music at Expression College in Emeryville. He can be reached at 510-684-6382 or by email: lenners98 [at] yahoo.com. Christine

I highly recommend a wonderful piano teacher: Jennifer Shaw Navarrete. My daughter started piano with her at age 8 and continued till this year when she turned 18 & moved away to college. Jennifer really inspired my daughter, nurturing her growing enthusiasm for classical music. Jennifer provides lots of opportunities for students to get together to play with and for each other in her many fun ''piano parties''. There are also opportunities to take the ''Certificate of Merit'' where one's level of expertise is evaluated and recognized every year. Recitals are lovely and nurturing. Jennifer is extremely experienced in teaching all levels - from young children to adults. Check out her website to get lots more information: http://navarretepianostudio.com/ Her phone number is 510-530-8308 and her email address is jsnav [at] aol.com. Jennifer is a real pro and this was one of the best investments for our daughter that we made. Monica

I would recommend Kathryn Winter. She works with younger children as well as adults, is fun and playful, very experienced, but does require that children practice. She is in N. Berkeley near Solano Ave. #527-3839 Gina

I would like to strongly second the recommendation for Kathryn Winter as a piano teacher for children of any age (or adults). She's a wonderful teacher, thoughtful and very skilled - my son studied with her until he graduated from high school, and I very much enjoyed my relationship with her as the mother of one of her students. Rachel

Piano lessons in N. Oakland/Alameda for precocious 9-y-o

Jan 2009

I would like to hear current recommendations for a piano teacher in North Oakland or Alameda for our precocious 9 year old song-writing daughter. We need someone who will see beyond our daughter's ability to ear-play and focus on teaching her to read music. Someone who is not too traditional would be a good fit for her personality. No group lessons. Thanks! amy

Tamara Saunders in Montclair is a wonderful piano teacher. She is amazingly patient, makes learning fun for kids and emphasizes learning to read music. I have recommended her to several people and know three other children who are her students. I hear nothing but glowing reports. She can be reached 338-1215. joyce

We have a piano teacher that is remarkable, and I think just who you need! Our then 10 yr. old daughter started a year ago and is inspired and reading music like she's been doing it for many years! Her teacher's name is Tamara Sanders at 338-1215. She ''gets'' kids and their individual needs and abilities. Give her a call! impressed mom

If you are looking for a Piano Teacher I would like to recommend Joe Mumm of Tree Top Piano Studio. We feel very fortunate to have found Joe and are happy to recommend him if you are looking for a piano instructor for yourself or your child. My 9 year daughter has been studying with Joe for three years and enjoys her lessons enormously, due to his unique teaching style. He is a kind and talented teacher, with kid-friendly teaching methods that Juliet really responds to. He plays musical games and varies the format of the class so that the instruction is interesting and fun. Joe really emphasizes quality over quantity and building the well rounded musicianship that allows expressive and artistic playing. My daughterbselkow [at] msn.coms interest in music continues to grow and her motivation to learn to play the piano is exciting for us to watch! He is conveniently located off Lincoln Ave near Sequoia Elementary and has a website, www.treetoppiano.com, where you can read other endorsements. Anne Glenview Parent

2007 - 2008 Reviews

Oct 2008

Any recommendations for piano teachers for an enthusiastic beginner (8 years old) in the Rockridge or Temescal area? Or teacher who can come to our home? We're not particular about which methodology (Simply Music, Suzuki, good old fashioned read the music, etc.), though appreciate insights about various approaches. Thanks for any leads! lisa

Angie Spinelli works at Musically Minded Piano Studio in Rockridge. She was classically trained before she studied for an additional 10 years to become the professional jazz pianist that she is today. She teaches many styles of music. Musically Minded is a school-like studio with an annual tuition that covers weekly private lessons, monthly group classes/performances/parties. There is a lot of great technology at the studio to enhance the learning process--recording equipment, educational computer programs, thousands of CD's, a large sheet music library, and even a Diskclavier piano that plays itself--great for demonstrating new pieces. The studio successfully tailors lessons for the individual needs of each student while also balancing the community support that is beneficial for all musicians. See the website or e-mail me for more details www.musicallyminded.com Anna

piano teacher in the Lamorinda area

Sept 2008

We are looking for a piano teacher in the Lamorinda area (Walnut Creek and Concord are also fine) for a very shy eight-year-old girl. The past recommendations are quite old. berkomax

I know a great piano teacher in Walnut Creek! Her name is Gerri Levitas and she can be reached at 925.935.2502 or gerri [at] bayhealing.com She has been teaching music to kids for many years and is a really skilled musician, but more than that someone who is compassionate, caring and connects really well with kids. She's a mom, too and knows how to inspire kids to enjoy playing the piano. marika

August 2008

My kids 7 and 9 are with Chip Brimhall. Chip used to be at Crowden but now runs his own studio for adults and children. He is an incredible teacher with amazing patience. He starts children and adults on the best classical repertoire, with theory, ear training, technique and composition as part of every lesson. (My 9 year old is working on Beethoven and the 7 year old is playing Bartok this month.) Every month he brings his students together in a class to perform for one another (separated by age and by level) and then twice a year he does a recital (at Crowden) where everyone gets to play for one another. To keep the kids motivated, and inspire the adult students and parents he performs a monthly house concert. Last year he committed to playing all of the Beethoven Sonatas, so we get one sonata and then he fills out the program with other great pieces. The whole family looks forward to these recitals.

My wife went to conservatory and she confirms that Chip is truly a gifted teacher who instills a love of music and solid pedagogy in every lesson. Feel free to call my wife for more info (Kirsten at 510-207-6346) or check out Chip's website: www.chipbrimhall.com. Joseph

July 2008

Unfortunately our great piano teacher is moving away. Starting in November we are looking for a new piano teacher in the Berkeley/Albany/El Cerrito area. My daughter,6, (beginning level) and me (intermediate level) want to be taught by the same teacher. Anybody knows a great teacher who wants to teach a mother/daughter team ? alexandra

Check Golden Key Piano School in Berkeley. You can have your lessons at the same time with two teachers. www.goldenkeypianoschool.com .

Hello Alexandra, For the El Cerrito area I would highly recommend my teacher Rebecca Bogart. You can find out more about her at her website, including my and others recommendations. http://rebeccabogartpianostudio.com/ . Joe

March 2008

Can anybody recommend a music teacher that can teach piano (to an 8 and 11 yr. old) and saxophone lessons (to an 11 yr, old) in Berkeley (or close to) or in my home. Thanks Mary

Both of my kids took piano with Ian Willson, near Solano in Albany. He is a working musician and plays and teaches piano, sax, flute, and clarinet. Instead of a serious piano recital, he had his students jointly perform in a band, along with some of his own band mates. It was fabulous. He is young in spirit, very personable, and a very competent teacher. 527-3665. Barbara

March 2008

I need a new piano teacher in Albany/El Cerrito/ Kensington area for advanced intermediate (12) and advanced beginner (7) kids. Need kind, skilled, communicative teacher with good musicianship. Able to be accepting of kids studying other instruments besides piano. anon

I would recommend ELaine Chu in Kensington-- she teaches out of her home, and is a patient, low-stress teacher. You can reach her at Elaine Chu egc [at] egchu.com -- she charges $36/lesson I think. Good luck. anon

We have an excellent piano teacher - Rita Varadi. She lives and gives piano lessons at her studio in Montclair. We live in North Berkeley and go to her studio for lessons every week. My two daughters, aged 13 and 8, are blooming with Rita. She teaches piano in some unique way, but above that \xe2\x80\x93 she teaches music. She is simply amazing. If the commute is not an issue for you, meet with Rita. You will not want to see another teacher. Her phone number is (510)482-8224. Elena

My son has been studying with a wonderful piano teacher (who lives just off Solano on the Albany/Berkeley border) for several years. Her name is Kathryn Winter, and I would highly recommend her. She is an excellent and very experienced teacher, kind, skilled at bringing out the best in her students, and supportive of their various musical interests. She has a graduate degree from the Manhattan School of Music, and has taught for years in the Young Musicians Program at UC Berkeley. Her phone number is 527-3839. Feel free to email me if you have questions. Rachel

Group Classes for 7-year-old

Jan 2008

I'm looking for Group Piano Lesson for beginner 7 year old, in Berkeley. How does it work ? Folks have told me it may be a cheaper way to introduce it and find out if we will pursue it, before we sign up for the $1.00/ hour type of rates being paid for privates. Any leads / links / advice are greatly appreciated.

Crowden Music Center in Berkeley offers fun and affordable beginning piano group classes for students ages 7-10. Students learn note-reading, rhythmic notation and ear training through singing, musical games, and exercises. Students spend time at the piano keyboard and improve basic music literacy, pitch awareness, rhythmic competency and develop appreciation for musical expression. Class culminates in a casual recital at the end of the semester. For more information, visit http://www.crowden.org/CCMC/Programs/fall_spring.htm#BeginningPiano or email ccmc[at]crowden.org. Crowden Music Center 1475 Rose Street ([at] Sacramento) Berkeley, CA 94702 Crowden is wheelchair accessible and just two blocks from North Berkeley BART!

Call this 24 hour recorded massage info line 510-848-5824. I hope it helps... a 7-year-old can not learn how to play any instrument in a group class. You might find a chorus or some other music classes that works well in a group, but not piano. katrin

I am the director of Musically Minded Piano Studio in Oakland and we have semi-private lessons. Two students of the same level may study simultaneously. Students who study this way get the benefits of working with a peer and getting a lot of individual attention from our experienced teachers. Parents pay less than they would for private lessons and still receive benefits similar to private lessons. Call 510 428 4094 for more information and see our website at www.musicallyminded.com. Anna

Jan 2008

I'm looking for piano lessons for myself and my child. Does anyone have recommendations for a good teacher near the Glenview/Park Blvd. area of Oakland? Gina

If Berkeley is not too far from you I recommend Golden Key Piano School on University ave. They are good for both children and adults. You can both take lesson at the same time with 2 teachers.It is a very nice and different atmosphere. You can find them online. Good luck

My two daughters and I have taken piano lessons from Leslie Perelman for 10 years. She is very kind and patient but managed to keep us all on task. Leslie can be reached at 510-524-3858 Karen M

Musically Minded Piano Studio is a great place to take piano lessons. It is a non-profit organization in a residential location in Rockridge near the Rockridge Bart Station and Chabot School. There are student testimonials on the website: www.musicallyminded.com. There are monthly events focusing on different subjects. On Feb. 11, the children's groups will have the focus of piano technique and the adult group will talk about minimizing performance anxiety. There is a wonderful sense of community in this studio! Call studio director, Anna Orias for more information or to set up a time to meet the teachers and see the space: 510 428 4094 anon

I highly recommend our wonderful piano teacher Rita Varadi. My three children, all playing piano, were always lucky to have very good piano teachers. But the teacher we have now is extraordinary. She was recommended to us by our previous piano teacher who left California a year a half ago. Rita is in fact a music teacher who happens to teach piano. I have seen amazing changes in the piano playing of my two daughters. Rita finds music the girls fall in love with. The variety and amount of music she has and offers to her students to choose from is incredible. She learns about what kids do and like, she knows about their activities and vacations \xe2\x80\x93 and finds music for every occasion. She simply makes music part of your lives. I took a few lessons from Rita to be able to help my young daughter with her practices and got inspired by her teaching. I became her student. I had never taken piano lessons before, fell in love with them, and have been taking piano lessons from Rita for over a year now. Call me at with any questions you might have \xe2\x80\x93 I will be happy to answer them. Rita teaches at her piano studio in Montclair. Her phone number is (510)482-8224. I hope you are lucky and she has a spot for you. Elena

Our daughters take lessons from Catherine Griffing-Morse in Rockridge on Kales. She's a terrific teachers and the girls look forward to their piano lessons. She's at 653-3670. Christine

If you are looking for a Piano Teacher I would like to recommend Joe Mumm of Tree Top Piano Studio. We feel very fortunate to have found Joe and are happy to recommend him if you are looking for a piano instructor for yourself or your child. My 9 year daughter has been studying with Joe for two years and enjoys her lessons enormously, due to his unique teaching style. He is a kind and talented teacher, with kid-friendly teaching methods that Juliet really responds to. He plays musical games and varies the format of the class so that the instruction is interesting and fun. My daughter's interest in music continues to grow and her motivation to learn to play the piano is exciting for us to watch! He is conveniently located off Lincoln Ave near Sequoia Elementary and has a website, www.treetoppiano.com, where you can read other endorsements. Joe's number is 510 530 0264. Anne Glenview

Musically Minded is a great piano studio. The private lessons are wonderful and the monthly events are really inspiring. There are three teachers that each have their own individual students but work together to plan events and improve the studio. What a wonderful sense of community!

I am late to this post, but I really cannot recommend my daughter's and our neighbors' piano teacher highly enough! Her name is Tamara Sanders, and she is in Montclair..easy to get to. Her # is 338-1215. Now, why do I recommend her? She is the warmest woman, and both caring and fun. She also ''gets'' kids. Each individual kid. She has an amazing intuitiveness on how to work with your child. And I have never met a student of hers that did not LOVE to go to piano with her! Her student recitals really reflect her gift, and her ability to inspire children of all ages. She is a great teacher for adults as well...someone who will add to your life, as well as teach you piano! leela

Oct 2007

Hello all- I am looking for a teacher for my two children. One has had some lessons already, and the other is a beginner. I want a teacher that is well educated and has high standards, but will not take the joy out learning music. Please email me any suggestions. Thanks! Rosemary

I can highly recommend Kate Stitt as a piano teacher. She teaches both children and adults, but I think has focused more on teaching children. She very much fits your description - well educated, has high standards, but will not take the joy out of learning. I've been taking lessons with her since last year (I'm a beginner reg. both playing and reading music), and have very much enjoyed her teaching style and progressed a lot. She teaches out of her home in North Berkeley. You can reach Kate at (510) 559-9353. Good luck! Anke

If you are willing to travel Marcie Zinn runs a unique program in Dublin. She has a BS in piano performance and pedagogy and a PhD in psychology. She runs a high tech piano school with a computer room where kids can work on theory before or after lessons. She trains the whole musician, ear training, sight reading, performance, composition. She is great at nurturing creativity (my daughter at age 7 composed a piece by recording several Halloween pieces over each other which she called Halloween Catastrophe. It sounded just as awful as you might think, but Marcie loved it, encouraged her to explore the work of Charles Ives, and invited her to play it at the Halloween recital). Here is a link to her website: http://www.pianoweb.net/ Susan

Hello, I noticed you are interested in piano lessons for a young student. Although I am not familiar with Seongmin Nam, I am happy to recommend a teacher that 2 of my children have studied with. Her name is Rebecca Bogart, and she has a studio in El Cerrito. We have known Rebecca for over 10 years, and she is a gifted teacher with extensive training and expertise. Most important, she cares deeply about what is best for each child. My son is now 16, and plays jazz professionally around the Bay Area. My daughter is the lead piano player in the Albany Middle School Jazz Band. While they are both involved in jazz, I feel they owe their ability to play a variety of music to a solid classical foundation. Rebecca is personable and professional, and I highly recommend her as a teacher. Please feel free to contact me if I can provide any further information. You may beinterested in her website: www.RebeccaBogartPianoStudio.com I hope this was helpful! Sue

Dear Rosemary, We feel very fortunate to have found Joe Mumm of Tree Top Piano Studio and are happy to recommend him if you are looking for piano lessons for yourself or your child. My 9 year daughter has been studying with Joe for two years and enjoys her lessons enormously, due to his unique teaching style. He is a kind and talented teacher, with kid-friendly teaching methods that Juliet really responds to. He plays musical games and varies the format of the class so that the instruction is interesting and fun. My daughter's interest in music continues to grow and her motivation to learn to play the piano is exciting for us to watch! He is conveniently located off Lincoln Ave near Sequoia Elementary in the Dimond District of Oakland. You can visit his website, www.treetoppiano.com, to read other endorsements. Joe's number is 510 530 0264. Anne Glenview District

I highly recommend Erika Lee-Uribe. Her piano studio is near the Mormon Temple and Head Royce School. My daughter hated piano and begged to quit.. then we found Erika and now my daughter really enjoys playing and does it for her own enjoyment... now, of course this miracle did not happen overnight, but I credit Erika with bringing the love of music and playing piano to my daugher who is now 15. Her contact info. is below.. tell her Kate Drew recommended her, Erika = Work: 510-530-0842 E-Mail: erikaleeuribe [at] yahoo.com Mobile: 917-0993

Tom Wyse of Berkeley is completely wonderful, especially with kids, approaches music from classical sight-reading, chord theory and ear-training all at once, and encourages composition and exploration. He will come to your house, or can give lessons in his North Berkeley home. His number is 510.684.8525. He is also great for adults!! kim

If you are looking for a piano teacher in the N. Berkeley-Richmond area I highly recommend Rebecca Bogart. I can't say enough good things about Rebecca. Not only is she an accomplished player herself (check out her beautiful CD American Retrospectives at cdbaby.com/cd/rbogart) but a very experienced and effective teacher. Her knowledge of the repertoire, styles of playing, performance and a healthy, effortless, ergonomic technique are extensive. She has transformed my approach to the piano and level of playing. Rebecca is very imaginative and has a great knack for focusing right in on what are the most important things for me to prioritize in my practice. She has also helped me a great deal in the art of teaching (especially children) which I use extensively in my private piano studio. The icing on the cake is she has a warm and friendly personality and great sense of humor. I always greatly enjoy my lessons on all levels. She can be reached at 510 526-1787. Her website is www.rebeccabogartpianostudio.com Joe

My daughter's classical piano teacher, Annie Nalezny, has openings in Berkeley. She's in the hills off Marin Ave. Annie has been wonderful with my daughter and over 2 1/2 years we've been thrilled with the relationship and with my daughter's development as a classical musician. Annie has facilitated confidence and poise at the piano for my daughter.

Annie is consistent and nurturing with high standards. She is responsive to the needs of her students. The lessons are focused and Annie is specific in her expectations and with her generous feedback. The weekly lessons are meticulously recorded in the student's notebook and provide an invaluable guide for the week's practices and a reference for later on. She is prompt and reliable about lesson times and has always been accommodating when we have occasional needs for flexibility. She provides plenty of opportunities for recitals according to the child's abilities.

She is looking for motivated students at any level (and any age) who have a desire to improve.

My 11yo daughter's description of her is ''Strict in a warm and loving way and very kind.''

Annie is French, with a wide array of credentials and awards and a wealth of experience as a teacher and a performer. She can be reached at 510 528 4657. maria

Oct 2007

I'm looking for a recommendation for a piano teacher for my 6 year old beginner, preferrably someone who could come to our house. We live in Alameda.

If you can come to Oakland I highly recommend Joe Mumm of Tree Top Piano Studio. We feel very fortunate to have found Joe. My 9 year daughter has been studying with him for two years and enjoys her lessons enormously, due to his unique teaching style. He is a kind and talented teacher, with kid-friendly teaching methods that Juliet really responds to. He plays musical games and varies the format of the class so that the instruction is interesting and fun. My daughter's interest in music continues to grow and her motivation to learn to play the piano is exciting for us to watch! He is conveniently located off Lincoln Ave near Sequoia Elementary in the Dimond District of Oakland. You can visit his website, www.treetoppiano.com, to read other endorsements. Joe's number is 510 530 0264. Anne Glenview District

I'd like to recommend Colin Hamilton as a fantastic piano instructor. I just started lessons earlier this year because I wanted to learn some of the jazz music I've been listening to for the last dozen years or so. This is my first instrument and Colin's got me playing Ellington and Bill Evans already. He's been the perfect instructor for me (both personality and background). He is well studied in all piano music and teaches a wide age range (adult to younger). He's enthusiastic, flexible, committed, and a pleasure to work with. Colin Hamilton (510) 468-4490 Joshua

Feb 2007

Does anyone have a recommendation for a group piano lesson for a 6-year old beginner? We prefer a weekend class somewhere near Rockridge area. We looked into Piedmont Piano Company but there was no offering of a group lesson on weekends right now.

Our son had a great experience with Lori Boyd (lboydcage[at]yahoo.com). She's in El Cerrito (not exactly Rockridge), but her group lessons were great! They combined basic piano concepts with ear training, theory, and rhythm exercises. I'm a musician myself and was really pleased with the broad scope, rather than just focusing on scales, etc. My son has since moved on to clarinet, but he still plays his keyboard often, and uses both instruments in musical ''problem solving'' when trying to learn a song. I'm convinced that Lori's approach helped him learn how to do this. Jeff

Feb 2007

I have a six year old daughter and would love to find a great piano teacher in the North Berkeley area. I would prefer to find someone who makes learning fun for children and who teaches fun recognizable music in addition to the classics. Any recommendations will be welcome! Thanks, Colleen

I would reccommend Susanne Stolcke at 528-1224. She is a wonderful teacher and a warm, kind human being as well. Rebecca

2005 - 2006 Reviews

Nov 2006

Looking for piano teacher for my 5-year-old daughter in Albany, El Cerrito area. Any recommendations. Appreciate your help. Maksuda

Sam Rudin, my daughter's amazing piano teacher, will inspire your child (he is wonderful with adults too!) to love playing the piano. Sam works with each student's preferences and musical ability, teaching classical, jazz, popular, and improv. Check out other references to Sam on the website archives or www.hurricanesam.com. Email Sam at sam[at]hurricanesam.com happy piano student

I can recommend Bill Polits [billpolits[at]comcast.net] as a music teacher in your area. He is a really nice guy and excellent teacher. I believe he teaches piano as well as other instruments. My son took bass guitar lessons and enjoyed them very much. Bill has a lot of experience. gay

The Crowden Music Center, located at the corner of Rose and Sacramento Streets in North Berkeley, offers private piano lessons and other great introductory music classes for kids. We would be happy to place your 5-year-old with a dynamic and experienced piano teacher! You can contact us at ccmc[at]crowden.org, or 510.559.2941. Crowden Music Center

We've been very happy with the Golden Key Piano School (www.goldenkeypianoschool.com). We think our son's teacher, Katrin Arefy is just fantastic (attuned, encouraging, structured) and the curriculum is nicely thought out, with fun pieces to play, a good balance of technique and theory, and a very kid-friendly approach. Heather

I know this is a bit out of your way, but I think it's worth it for you to meet Laura Lee at Simply Music in Hercules. My daughter goes there and loves it! (I even wrote an article about her that will be out in December's Marketplace Magazine.) Here's an excerpt: ''(She) uses the Simply Music methodology, based on a unique multi-sensory, didactic program - beginning students quickly play real music with both hands from the start. The key? This program understands and incorporates the brain's inate ability to ''see'' patterns, and integrates movement, one of the most effective avenues to memory retention and learning. It's a bit unusual, but I can see first-hand how effective it is. The result is that songs are more akin to being ''absorbed'' than sight-read from printed music. As some of their own materials refer to, (essentially) ''we don't learn to read and spell before we learn to talk''. Same with learning to play the piano.

Reading music is learned eventually, after building up a repertoire of 30 or so songs, but what is most important is the sense of mastery and self-confidence. My daughter plays the piano for fun, and loves doing it! Instead of plucking out ''twinkle, twinkle little star'', my now eight-year-old is playing classical pieces, popular songs and belting out the blues with panache!'' Please check out her website (www.musikwithlaura.com, (510) 724-0818) and give her a call. I think you and your daughter will love her too! Carol

Sept 2006

We are new in town, and our 9 year old son started learning Piano in Connecticut with the Faber ''Piano Adventures'' method. Does anyone know of a teacher or school who uses this method? We live in North Berkeley. Thanks!

Susan Waterfall (studio on Oxford Street in N. Berkeley, you'll find her number in the phone book) uses the Faber books and is a terrific musician and teacher. My 10-year-old daughter has been taking lessons with her for years and enjoys them very much.

May 2006

Hello, can anyone recommend a piano teacher in Alameda, for a 6 year old girl? Thanks! anon

I'd like to highly recommend our piano teacher. He's wonderful with kids. We've been through two other teachers, and somehow he knows how to get through to them. He is very cordial and passionate about what he does. He drives to our house which makes things convenient with our hectic schedules. I've misplaced his number, but got his email it's bobby4208[at]hotmail.com Tracy

Piano teacher in Danville area

May 2006

I moved to the Danville area almost two years ago. I would like to continue piano lessons for my kids, and possibly me. The kids have had 1-4 years of lessons, but have not had a lesson since we moved. They have ''dabbled '' on the piano at home, but need to get back to real lessons. Can anyone recommend a teacher to me in the Blackhawk-Danville area? Either a studio-based teacher, or a teacher who will come to our home is OK. miss the music

I can highly recommend our piano teachers Marcie and Mark Zinn. You can read all about their program on their website. http://www.pianoweb.artsnova.net/ They have a thoroughly thought-out curriculum. They are a ''lab school'' and conduct research and adapt their program according to the results. They teach musicianship, not just how to play a few pieces on the piano, but music theory, sight reading, ear training, performance and technique. My 7yo likes to transpose her pieces into other keys, for example. They give a printed assignment each week, so it is easy to remember what needs to be done. I suggest you have a look around the website and see if you like what you see susan

May 2006

We are looking for a piano teacher who can come to our house in Berkeley and teach our 5 and 8 year old children. They are both beginners. Judy

Eric Glickrieman is a great piano teacher, especially for kids, though he teaches adults too. He is really good with kids and keeps them interested and entertained. He also pays close attention to what they are interested in, and varies his curriculum based on what is exciting to the student. He can come to your house. I highly recommend him - 510-225-5269 anon

I would like to recommend Sarah Cappelli. She moved here from Chicago last year and is building up a new piano studio here. She is enthusiastic, kind, supportive and has over 14 years of teaching experience. She teaches in Rockridge near College Ave. and Chabot Rd. Check out the website for Musically Minded Piano Studio: www.musicallyminded.com

April 2006

Does any one know of sliding scale or other way a very low income, but very bright six year old boy can get piano lessons, or even exposure? He is just bursting with curiosity about the world and is intent on discovering all the wonders it has to give. Unfortunately the world doesn't ''give'' much in the way of music for low income children - but sometimes it's just a matter of knowing what is out there and taking advantage of the opportunities. Any information is welcome.
Determined to keep the bright eyes bright.

Check out the East Bay Center for the Performing Arts in Richmond. They're committed to providing arts education to the community. They have a great faculty, and private lessons and group classes priced well below the market rate. There may be some additional scholalrship opportunities as well. EBCPA is near the Richmond Bart Station at 339 11th St. 510-234-5634. Mara

I asked my son's piano teacher, who is involved with the Young Musician's Program at UC Berkeley - a fantastic program for older low income kids - if she had any advice. Here is her reply:

The only place I know that gives financial aid based on need for private lessons is the East Bay Center for the Performing Arts in Richmond. In SF, Capp Street Community Center has a similar aid program. These places are the only places I know of in the area, though there may be many more.

The challenge facing a low-income family that wants piano lessons for a kid is more that the kid needs an instrument to practice on. So, even if the lessons are obtainable with the help of financial aid, there still is an instrument problem. I think Capp St requires students to own the instrument they study. They have a limited number of instruments for loan, but everyone is on their own. Lucy

April 2006

Can anyone recommend a good piano teacher? I've already called a couple of teachers (Chip Brimhall, Anna Miller) but they have waiting lists. UC Berkeley music students? Anyone? HELP! lisa

If you're leaning more toward learning jazz piano I can highly recommend Ellen Hoffman. Her e-mail is ellenlouisehoffman[at]sbcglobal.net Ellen has been teaching, arranging, composing, directing, performing for well over 30 years. She is a FUN, patient and fabulous teacher....but probably not if your interest is classical. She's definately in the jazz realm. Good luck. (Chip Brimhall is great too...he was my teacher years ago when I was studying classical). June

Our 7 year old daughter has been taking lessons with Connie Tyler for 2 years. A very skilled teacher, warm & engaging, she teaches music theory and composition too if they're interested. Our daughter has really blossomed, has solid skills, great technique and loves the piano! Connie lives by Rosa Parks school and she has cats who shed. Her tel: 849-0788 K. Hazen

I strongly recommend Ariel Litzsky 865-3943 for children's beginning piano lessons. Although she lives in Alameda, she used to come to our home in Albany (she has many clients here)! She is reliable and extremely patient and gentle. She teaches children from 2nd grade up into middle school that I know of. Some of her students whom I know are fairly advanced.

My husband who doesn't want to learn to play piano has been taking music theory lessons from Joe Mumm 530-0264, who has a piano studio above the Dimond District in Oakland. This is Joe's second or third career-- he used to work as a tech for a local TV station, then got a degree in music from Cal State Hayward and was a student at the Berkeley Jazz School for years. He does some group lessons for kids and might be a good choice for boys. anonymous

Hello, I am the Associate Director of the Crowden Center for Music in the Community, located at 1475 Rose Street (at Sacramento) in Berkeley. We have wonderful teachers for piano (as well as other instruments) after school and on Saturdays for all ages and levels. If you would like more information, please visit our web site (www.crowden.org), call me at 510-559-2941, or email me.
Marion Atherton

Ernie Mansfield of Mansfield Music is a great piano teacher. He's very patient and has a great rapport with kids of all ages. He's very centrally located near North Berkeley BART. He can be reached at 510-524-0906.

Please contact Ernie Mansfield. He is a gifted piano teacher. His students are all thrilled with him. Ernie Mansfield Mansfield Music http://www.mansfieldmusic.com ernie[at]mansfieldmusic.com

Sept 2005

We're interested in finding a good Suzuki teacher for our child. Any recommendations? magargee

Julia Ishimaru is a very experienced Suzuki piano teacher who is wonderful with children. She is also an amazing musician. Her studio is on Jordan Road (right in your neighborhood). You can contact her at 530-6940. Portia

Aug 2005

I am looking for a piano teacer for my musically talented 8 yr old daughter. Could someone recommend an effective teacher who can make learning piano fun, who is available either one afternoon a week after 4:00 (Wed or Thurs) or Saturday? I prefer the class to take place at Berkeley, Albany or El Cerrito. Thanks! claudia

Eric Glick Rieman is a great piano teacher, and he'll go to your house to teach. He teaches classical, jazz, improvisation - whatever the child shows interest in. His focus is not on making a concert pianist out of the kid, but on making sure they love playing music. He's really great with kids. Contact him at ooglick AT yahoo.com, or 510-225-5269. anon

Our 8-year-old daughter has been taking lessons this past year from *Laura Cheung* in Hercules, and we highly recommend her. Laura teaches a non-traditional Australian method called ''Simply Music,'' which we had not heard of before, but are now quite impressed with. Students learn to play fairly advanced pieces--in a variety of musical styles (classical, blues, contemporary)--right away, without learning to read music at first. They learn to sing while playing accompaniment. They are encouraged to learn different variations of songs, and to improvise their own variations. They learn in a small group, with parents sitting in on the lessons, so they are comfortably ''performing'' in front of a small audience every week. Our group of 3 girls is very lively and fun, and they really motivate one another. Laura is a great teacher--young and enthusiastic, and very skilled. The girls love her, and we are thrilled to see our daughter so engaged and excited about piano. We live in El Cerrito, and find that the drive to Hercules is not at all onerous. Laura teaches adult piano classes also, and also teaches Kindermusic for young children. To contact her: Laura Cheung, (510)724-0818, laura AT musikwithlaura.com. To learn more about Simply Music: http://www.simplymusic.net/ Lori

I highly recommend contacting Laura Cheung who teaches a piano method called Simply Music in Hercules. She is great with children. The classes are lots of fun and they learn to play a wide variety of music from the beginning. Laura can be reached at (510) 724-0818. portia

July 2005

Help! Our 9 year old takes 4 piano lessons a month for 1/2 hour time slots for $130. It has been a struggle to keep this going and we were just informed the rates are going up and our younger child would like to begin lessons soon. Does anyone have a recommendation for a more affordable piano teacher in the Berkeley/Oakland/Albany/El Cerrito area? (can you tell I'm flexible)

Our daughter has had lessons with Erwin Vista (ph 387-5987) for a couple of years, and we highly recommend him. We like his teaching style/approach for our child. He is a UCB alum who majored in music at Cal. His rates are $100/month for four 1/2 hour lessons. He is based in Berkeley. Phil

I recommend my piano teacher - Jean Stites. 510-558-0271. Jean teachs both children and adults. Her rates are less than you indicated you are currently paying - and she comes to your home. She is teaching one of the girls at my daughter's school whose mother seems quite happy with the lessons. I'll start my girls with Jean once they're ready. maureen

My 7-year-old just had her first two private piano lessons with Chip Brimhall, who's a wonderful teacher and very experienced in teaching children. He prefers 2 lessons per week, 30 min. each, and charges $60 for the 60-min. weekly lessons. He teaches at the Crowden School and charges a monthly flat rate (regardless of # of lessons) when the school is in session.

I heard $1/minute was pretty much the going rate for piano and violin -- for a skilled and exprienced teacher -- and I think my kid's piano lessons are money well spent. By the way, I was told that group rates (such as the Piedmont Piano Company) range from $22-$25 for a 30-min lesson. I'm also interested in learning how much other parents pay. Chris

I can recommend James Upp, a friend of mine who teaches piano and has many young students. He charges $40 per hour and has slots open throughout the week in the East Bay areas mentioned. He can be reached at (510) 410-1919. Jeannine Jeannine

Try Eric Glick Rieman (510-848-3159). He's a great piano teacher who will teach improvisation as well as the basics, and is very flexible as far as teaching what the child (or adult) is really interested in learning. He charges $25 for a 1/2 hour lesson. anon

I would recommend Ernie Mansfield. He is an experienced musician, and knowledgeable on many instruments (incl. flute, sax, clarinet, piano, and guitar) which gives learning music from him a bit more flavor. He has spent over 30 years as a professional musician & he will work with both children and adults - so you could take lessons with your kids!!! I have been to his performances and to his group teaching sessions and would highly recommend him to anyone who is interested in private music instruction. You can reach him at 510-524-2055, or ernie AT mansfieldmusic.com Jonathan

Ernie Mansfield is a gifted piano teacher. He can be reached at: 510.524.2055 or ernie AT mansfieldmusic.com Tom

I think you should try Ernie Mansfield. He teaches piano and has some very satisfied students of all ages. He is a wonderful musician with years of experience. His number is 510-524-2055 Priscilla

March 2005

I am looking for a piano teacher for my two kids, 10 and 12. They have been taking piano and know their basics, how to read, some theory. The piano teacher they have had is an older woman who has been great but I think they are ready for a little more energy in their lessons and someone more inspiring and cool. I would love for the teacher to be able to come to our home for the lessons. Also, we have an electric keyboard rather than a piano and have taken quite a lot of guff from our current instructor how we really need to get a real piano for them to learn. Unfortunately, we can't really accomodate a piano in our budget now so someone who is willing to work with a keyboard would be great. I would appreciate any recommendations. Sharon

Sam Rudin, who performs around the Bay Area as ''Hurricane Sam,'' is a wonderful, energetic piano teacher who will inspire your kids to play all types of music. He comes to our house because we have 2 students, like you. He doesn't mind an electronic keyboard (as long as it is a decent one). He teaches pieces from books and theory, and also creates arrangements of Broadway show tunes and pop songs that are appropriate for my daughter's and my levels (she is far more advanced than I am). Contact Sam at www.hurricanesam.com or email sam AT hurricanesam.com or 654- 3808. He usually likes kids to start at 6 years old, but will bend this rule for kids who are very motivated or already learning piano. Suzanne

I am giving my recommedation for John Partridge. 235-9259 He is a great guy and is very talented. He is very fun to be around. b3rkl33m0m

Julia Bordenaro is a fantastic piano teacher, musician, songwriter and performer. She currently works full time but does some in home piano lessons occasionally and sounds like exactly the person you are looking for. I know her schedule is tight, but it is worth checking to see if she has an opening. She used to teach music full time in various schools in Marin and definitely has the ability to work with kids in a way that is relevant and exciting to them. Her number is 510-590-2154. al30sh

Betty Wu is an energetic, patient and fun teacher for all ages. She is great and loves kids. Her number is 510-386-4463 and I am sure she will be happy to learn more about your kid. Cindy

Jan 2005

I'm looking for a really good piano teacher for my son to begin lessons. Specifically I want someone who prioritizes a love of music over and above being overly serious and strict. At the same time, I want my son to learn to read music and proper technique etc -- but with someone who is engaging and relates well to children. If this person could come to our house it would be ideal -- but if they are somewhere relatively near our home that would be okay too. We're in central Berkeley. Any recommendations?

Jacqueline Divenyi is very kid-friendly and would seem to fit your criteria. She can be strict, but not overly so, and definitely instills a love of music. Teaches only at her house, I think, but she's on San Ramon in North Berkeley, just below the Arlington, and not hard to get to. Phone is 526-1595.

This may not work for you, but since you mentioned that you have a boy I thought I'd recommend Mary Triest. She is in Oakland and you have to go to her house (off the Grand Ave exit). She used to teach music at an all boys school. A young friend of mine, male, age 21, took voice from her (she teaches both voice & piano) and is like her son now. My teenage daughter decided to start piano and loves Mary. Mary is one of those people you hope your child becomes involved with. She sees the ''person.'' She makes a difference in your child's life, cares about what they are doing, supports their self esteem. She knows the self empowerment that music can bring to a child (or adult, she teaches adults too). I don't know if she has room on her schedule, she's often pretty booked, but she is WAY more than a music teacher. Her number is 510-836-0295 and feel free to tell her that I said to call. dawn

As a piano teacher who enjoys working with children, my idea of a successful lesson is one where the child's innate curiousity leads the way. I have a repertoire of musical games in which children learn the concepts of dynamics, pitch, rhythm and timbre while having fun. I get to know my students well and tailor lessons to their interests, e.g. train songs, lullabies or dances. In addition to playing the piano, beginners spend part of their lesson picking out tunes on the glockenspiel, which gives them the satisfaction of playing entire songs without having to worry about fingering, dynamics and form. I give my students a choice as to which songs they wish to play. Most melodies for beginners are songs with words, which they can easily remember and sing to themselves even when they're not at the piano. Listening is a part of the lesson my students especially enjoy. They can choose from an extensive collection of classical, folk and children's music from around the world, including stories interspersed with music. I have a library of a few hundred CD's which students are welcome to borrow from.

If you would like to arrange a meeting, I can be reached at 510-526-4689. wholenotes

Erwin Vista has taught our 11 year-old daughter for about a year, and we've been extremely pleased with his approach and the results. He teaches kids exclusively, and will come to your house. His phone is 387.5987. Phil

Jean Stites has been my daughter's piano teacher since October 2004. Her phone number is 558-0271. She lives in Kensington and will go to your house. I think she is great. I wanted a teacher who would teach my kid to love music and to like playing piano (or keyboards in our case -- we want to make sure that our daughter likes it before we buy the piano.) When I was calling different teachers to ask how they teach little kids (my daughter just turned 6 at the time), Jean was the only teacher who addressed this question as follows,''I'm sorry, but I don't know how I would teach your daughter. I have to get to know her first to understand who she is and what she likes and how I can best relate to her.'' I was so grateful for that response that I asked her to come by and teach my daughter. So far, our experience with Jean has been very positive. Kensington Mom

2004 & Earlier Reviews

Sept 2004

I'm looking for a private piano teacher, based in Contra Costa County, who is experienced with working with young children, hopefully someone upbeat and fun, with the kind of attitude that will nurture and encourage my son's cuurent fascination with the piano. I appreciate any help you can provide. DeAnne

Hi, our son started piano when he was around 5 years old and played until he was 16. His teacher was Koko Yee, who lives near the El Cerrito/Richmond border (near Barrett Ave.). She teaches the Suzuki method, which is very kid-friendly, in that it goes by ear training first, note-reading second (which some people like and some don't). Anyway, our son excelled under her tutelage, that is, until he discovered cars and girls-- but, who can argue with 11 good years of piano instruction? :-) Koko's phone number: 510.215.8288. One other note- Suzuki training is rather disciplined/rigorous, but Koko tries to make it fun and interesting, and she is very warm and friendly. Jim

Beginning teacher for 11 year old in the Martinez area

May 2004

I'm looking for a beginning piano teacher for my 11 year old daughter, preferably a teacher who would come teach at my house. I have already seen the previous recommendations and didn't see many listings for piano teachers who are willing to come to you. I'm also open to bringing my daughter to the teacher but need someone in the Martinez, Pleasant Hill, Concord, Walnut Creek area since my work schedule is not too flexible. Any recommendations would be appreciated. Donna

We love our Suzuki teacher! My son takes violin from her, but we have referred her to others that practice the piano. Louise Sayer will come to your home (She lives in Concord, we live in Alamo). She is fairly priced, and the kids love her. Contact Louise at 825-7265 and tell her I referred you! Karen

May 2004

Our piano teacher, Jean Stites, lives in Kensington and comes to our house in Richmond to give both my son and I lessons. We absolutely love her! I think she is looking for new students. Her number is 558-0271 Ruth

March 2004

We have a fabulous piano teacher who could use more students. His name is Tom Wyse, and although he is in North Berkeley, he will come to your home if you prefer. He is fairly young and rather zany, and although he will teach plenty of technique and sight-reading, he also gives his students a sense of mastery over the instument by showing them the inner workings and the relationships between sounds. He is very good at developing their ears- My son was playing songs by ear within the first 3 lessons! I think he is particularly good with boys as he understands their energy. He goes way above and beyond the usual piano teacher's commitment. Kids think he's really fun, but he is also quite serious about music,and accomplishes near miracles! He can be reached at 528-2945. kim

Feb 2004

Nasus Aransu,510-531-1524, off Fruitvale in Oakland -- has turned our 8 year old son (who is very active and low focus) into an Enthusiastic! pianist in one year. For the last two months he has been running into his lessons and even takes them at his school by himself. Can you imagine an 8 year old boy leaving playtime by himself and marching into a piano lesson? My partner Amy has a lot to do with it -- when the acting out starts at home because he is learning something new-- she just grins and bears it becuase she understands his process. Once he gains skill he is okay with the practising. We talked this through with Nasus and also explained we were okay with some lessons being just ''music appreciation'' and that for right now 2-3 days of home practise plus a lesson was a lot for our family each week. Nasus adjusted to our needs and worked with our son's mis behaving smoke screen which sources from his fear of failure and after a year of patience and innovative ways of inspiring our son (one lesson she used the piano like a drum) we have a pianist on his way. We are thrilled. Nasus is a composer and brings a disciplined method complemented by an appreciation of the unique voice we all have. Allison

Nov 2003

Ken Durling is an excellent teacher - kdurling AT earthlink.net or 843-4419. He teaches classical and jazz clarinet, flute, sax, and piano. He was our son's sax teacher for many years, and our son is now a music major in college - a testimony to Ken!

Piano Teacher in the North Berkeley Hills -- We can heartily recommend our 8-year-old daughter's piano teacher, Annie Nalezny (528-4657), for children or adults, beginner to the most advanced. She imparts a very solid technical foundation, has good variety within the lesson, and comes from a strong classical tradition. gorjance

I would like to recommend my son's piano teacher, Ernie Mansfield, to anyone who is looking for an excellent teacher for their child. My son (10 years old) has been taking piano lessons from Ernie for about a year and loves it. He also teaches sax, flute and other instruments. He is patient, engaging, creative and flexible. He is happy to play the ''Heart and Soul'' duet with my son at the beginning of every lesson (they also play other duets, sometimes with Ernie on sax), and has him totally jazzed about doing scales! Ernie teaches in North Berkeley. His number is 510-524-2055. Feel free to contact me for more information. lisa

We highly recommend the piano teacher who is teaching our two boys, ages 7 & 9. Her name is Hannah Carlisle. Her tel# is 532-4911. She is in Oakland and gives the lessons (approx. 50 minutes each) in our home. The price is very standard. Hannah brings a wealth of experience and love of music to the lessons. She is a working musician as well and a grad student in advanced musical studies. But best of all, she is great with kids, exposing them to all types of music, and has gotten our boys real excited about taking lessons. They started in Sept 2002, and are already up to speed on chords, different tempos, and a little bit of blues improvisation. Give her a call, you won't be sorry you did. Billy

I enthusiastically recommend Sam Rudin, phone number 510-654- 3808, sam AT hurricanesam.com. Sam teaches out of his studio in Oakland generally, but will travel to your home, depending on the circumstances. I first learned about Sam from other recommendations posted here. For about six months now, after having been taught classical piano by another teacher, I have been learning jazz and blue piano from Sam, while he also is teaching my two children, a girl age 7 and boy age 9, classical piano. A performing musician (go to his website, www.hurricanesam.com to hear him play and for much more information about him), Sam can teach you not only how to play the music, but also how to perform music. He teaches music theory as well, knows the history of music, particularly jazz and blues, and is easy-going and adaptable to the different abilities and personalities of at least this adult and my two children. Feel free to contact me, should you want to know more about Sam from me. Richard Gentry, ricgen AT hotmail.com. Kate Gentry

Piano teacher in Castro Valley

Aug 2003

We need a piano teacher in Castro Valley for our 11 year old daughter (beginner, but very talented. She's had 2 years of violin). Also, we need to rent a piano. Any suggestions? Thanks. Brad

Try Pat Mijalski in Castro Valley. She taught my son from 1st to 7th grade, and he did very well with her. She has lots of students, so I don't know if she's booked right now. Her focus is on classical. Her phone number is 510-582-3511. Jeanne

Aug 2003

I am looking for a piano teacher for my seven year old daughter. She has been studying the Suzuki method for the last year and a half. Her wonderful teacher is leaving the area, so we are looking for someone with whom she can continue. I have read the previous listings, but am interested in someone who uses the Suzuki or modified Suzuki method. Thanks!

Why don't you give the Berkeley Academy of Music (415-794-3260) a call? They use the Suzuki method and in fact took on many students of a retiring Suzuki method teacher. They also teach traditional piano, organ, woodwinds and strings. My kids (6 and 9) really enjoy it and are progressing well. They are great at teaching children, teens and adults.

Hi, Our son studied Suzuki method piano with Koko Yee, who teaches out of her home near the El Cerrito/Richmond border (south of Barrett Ave.). He went from the age of 5 up through 16 (when his male hormones told him piano playing was no longer 'cool'). Koko is great with children, though somewhat strict, and adheres rigidly to the Suzuki standards. Even though he no longer plays competitively, our son has developed a great ear for playing just about any music he chooses-- which is one of the great benefits of Suzuki training. As a side note, Koko's students are largely, but not all, Asian American, as she herself is. Her phone number is 510.215.8288. Jim

You could call Holy Names College Preparatory Music Department for a recommendation: 510-436-1224. The music department has an extensive music program for children, including Suzuki strings and piano. Lessons are conducted privately, and performances sometimes take place at HNC. For years, both my sons have studied Suzuki violin with a teacher affiliated with this program.

Dec 2002

We are two parents looking for a wonderful piano teacher for my two kids (6 and 5), and her son (6). They are in a beginner keyboard program right now, but both of the adults are having a real hard time with some of the ''punishment rewards'' the current teacher. We are hoping we can do better: we are looking for someone comfortable doing small group teaching, and has an uncanny knack at keeping the children occupied in a gentle, respectful way. And, of course, teach them the piano in a fun, engaging way. It would be great if this person lived in the El Cerrito to Pinole corridor, but we're willing to travel for the right person. We've checked the website, and even called a few, but no luck. Thanks so much! ect

I recommend Linda Schneider of Albany highly. I have listened to a number of her piano lessons with pupils from age 5 on up. The children are serious about their work and practice and work hard for her. They are also unfailing polite in meeting me as an adult! I think alot of this is the way she works with them. She is a Montessori teacher. I think she has a couple openings as a pupil just moved away. I would move my son over to her, but I think he is still too much of a ''dabbler'' in piano. When he wants to get serious, Linda will be excellent for him. Her email is lndSchneid AT aol.com or phone 510-527-6202. kathryn

A FANTASTIC, WARM AND TALENTED PIANO TEACHER FOR KIDS WITH 25 YEARS OF EXPERIENCE has just moved to the East Bay in the Elmwood area of Berkeley. Zoryia Persidsky is now taking on new students-- children as well as adults-- at her new home in the East Bay. I studied with her for 10 years myself growing up in San Francisco and can say that her love of music is contagious and perhaps only equal to her love of kids, even the squirmiest. She is a professional who emphasizes sight reading, technique and interpretation. Lessons cost $25 a half hour. Call: 549-8375. Christine

There is a great studio for 4yr olds and up called DO RE MI. After the winter break she is moving from Hayward to Castro Valley. My daughter has been taking group lessons since September and is doing very well. The children seem to like the class and all of them are advancing very nicely. They just had their Winter concert and all of the children (believe it or not) got up and performed for a rather large audience. The new number will be 886-8449 or maybe you can try her at 888-458- 2208. The web site is at www.doremiforkids.com. Gordona (the teacher) might let you sit in on a class and see how it works, but better yet would be if you could attend one of the performances. Good luck! Julie

Our fabulous piano teacher, Michael Rubin, has openings for new students. He's extremely versatile: teaches beginners and more advanced, classical and jazz, kids and adults. At the moment my son has a broken leg, and he's teaching him guitar because he can't sit on the piano bench. This is a guy who loves teaching and totally gives himself over to each lesson. We pay him for 45 minutes but the lessons go much longer because Michael is so enthusiastic about the process of providing a musical education. He is technically very proficient and he definitely challenges kids to push their limits, but he manages not to discourage them by being too exacting. He's become a friend to our entire family (he comes to our house for lessons). You can reach him at 482-5179. Heidi

Sept 2002

We are looking for a child-oriented piano teacher for my 6 and 8 year olds in the Walnut Creek area. We would prefer to have someone come to our home, but would also be willing to travel. Any recommendations would be appreciated. Thanks. mwarner

Carolyn Denham (925) 946-1746 teaches out of her home in Walnut Creek (near Larkey). She is a grandma and a good blend of firm and friendly. My son took lessons with her for two years from age 9-11, but she has many younger students too. He's on an extended ''break'' from piano right now :( but not because of her. Deborah

My son Wyatt took harp lesons from Jessica but she also teaches piano. We both found her to be excellent. She is in Walnut Creek between Ignacio and Treat on the Iron Horse train. Her info is: Jessica Seigel 925-939-9130 hotharp AT pacbell.net

Sept 2002

For anyone who is considering or looking for a piano teacher for kids or adults, let me reccommend Herb Riffkin 510 559-8658. He comes to YOUR house and will teach on a keyboard if you don't have a piano. He taught my squirmy 7yr old daughter for a year and was very patient and relaxed. Victoria

April 2002

Greetings - Would love recommendations for a piano teacher for a beginning student (our eight year old daughter), particularly in El Cerrito (near school) or North Oakland (near home - College/Claremont area). Have checked the archives but am hoping for further suggestions. Many thanks, Deborah

Christyna Kozel is my child's piano teacher, and we are quite happy with her. Christyna is a talented pianist and an enthusiastic, fun, positive teacher. She teaches out of her Kensington home (telephone 524-9588). anon.

Jim Carmichael is a wonderful piano teacher with lots of experience teaching children. He is located near College and Claremont. I no longer have his contact information; I'm sure he is listed in the phone book. Kimberly

My son takes a piano class with Mrs. Leung, at 510/234-3840. She is located right near the El Cerrito Del Norte BART station. The afterschool care for my 6 year old arranged these piano lessons, so I don't see Mrs. Leung often. My impression of her, through my son's comments and behavior, is that she is very gentle and positive. I currently pay $11 for a 15 minute shared lesson (2 children total), but may up him to $20/30 minute lesson. I don't have any experience with piano, but I think the homework she assigns is very tedious, ie play this song 10 or 20 times. At this point, that is my only complaint. Otherwise my son really enjoys learning piano, and I think Mrs Leung's attitude is part of it. jennifer

I live in El Sobrante and there is a flute and piano teacher a couple doors away from me. Her name is Valerie Morris, 510-222- 8442. If you can't make the drive to her place she may know someone closer to you. Larry


My son enjoyed taking piano lessons from Fran Smith for almost 10 years. She is the most capable, perceptive and kind music and piano teacher I can imagine. Recently I asked my son if there was anyting I could send him from home. (He's on a summer internship in Chicago) He asked for his CD of Sibelius' symphonies. My response was, What? And then I smiled and thought of Fran Smith. At my urging she wrote the following: Music teacher, located near North Berkeley BART. I have a Master's degree in Music Education and 20 years experience teaching piano as well as classroom music based on the Kodaly principles. I enjoy teaching both children and adults. In particular, I like working with beginning students. My aim is for students to enjoy musicmaking, to understand musical concepts and to enhance their creativity. Fran Smith Singsmith1 at aol.com
-- Jane

I highly recommend Judith Meites as a wonderful piano teacher-- particularly for children. I believe that she may be full for individual classes, but she just started a small group lesson that currently only has two other students in it. Judith teaches out her home in west Berkeley. She can be reached at (510) 843-4541. -- Linda

my friend Delia van der Plas is a great piano teacher in the Elmwood district. Call her at 649-7848. --Tal

Oct 2001

Looking for a good/creative piano teacher that teaches at her/his studio in Berkeley, Albany or North Oakland. The classes are for a beginner, 7-year old boy. Rosa

Chip Brimhall is a fabulous piano teacher. He teaches in his home on Milvia and Parker in Bkly. His number is 549-0657. He's an experienced teacher, teaches kids and adults.Kids love him. He's a very fine pianist, teacher and human being. June

My daughter's piano teacher, Chip Brimhall, has his own studio with two baby grands in Berkeley (near Alta Herrick campus). He's wonderful, but I am not sure about his availability, as he just got a position teaching at the Crowden School. But here is his number just in case: 549-0657 Sarah

I listed Arlene Sagan earlier as having a couple of openings for teaching piano. She works with all ages, using the person's interest as a guide in identifying the most motivating music. For a child, connecting to his desire to play, what he is willing to work on, and how he learns best are all important. I think Arlene does this really well. She teaches in her studio in North Berkeley. 510-525-5393. She has one opening at this time. Incidentally, she is also the director of the BCCO and Bella Musica, two choruses that draw a wide range of talent, from the novice to those from auditioned choruses. Her teaching gift is amazing as she offers something special to such a wide spectrum. Perhaps you can catch one of the upcoming concerts in December. Nori

April 2000

We are interested in starting piano lessons for our five year-old daughter. Any recommendations for the Berkeley area for an enthusiastic, child-oriented teacher would be much appreciated! Linda

Julie Tanenbaum from Music together- music class for children- is also a piano teacher. I know her through the music class and I can say that she is very good with children and has a lot of energy. You will find her phone number in the last 2 announcement letters. Paolo

I would like to second the recommendation for Julie Tannenabum. She was my piano teacher some 15-20 years ago when i was a child. I remember her as one of the best ones that I had. As I remember she had me work on theory, as well as technical skills but also assigned fun pieces. She provided encouragement and feed back that were appropriate for my age level. (Something other teachers did not). I never dreaded going to lessons when I was a student with her. I was pleasantly surprised when I saw her name in the Music Together postings, and am pleased to hear that she is still teaching.


Highly experienced and gifted music teacher, having 30 years experience working with adults and children, has openings for piano, recorder, voice, and theory. A graduate of Cal and a Master's Candidate of Hayward State, she has taught in the Young Musicians' Program (Cal), Berkeley Music Camp at Cazadero, SF Boys' Chorus, and the American Recorder Society. She currently directs the Berkeley Community Chorus and Orchestra as well at the Bella Musica Chorus and orchestra. For more information, call Arlene Sagan at (510)525-5393 or email at bellamusic at aol.com. --Nori

My co-worker, Hadley McCarroll , Bay Area pianist and president of the East Bay Chapter , Association of Professional Music Teachers of California, is now accepting new students for private piano lessons at her Oakland Studio near Grand ave/Piedmont border. She is warm, kind, talented, gracious, and patient.

Parents of students 5 years and older are invited to call for a free consultation. (But all ages are taught, parents too!) Students learn a progressive piano technique, including theory, sight-reading and ear-training,with an emphasis on creativity and fun. Lessons are 30 minutes a week. Tuition is $100 month for 4 half hour classes per month, once a week (payment due beginning of month) or $25/half-hour, pro-rated per class. Call Hadley at 510-444-3595 or email: hadley at MirageEnsemble.com for more information. (email address updated March 2002)

Roger Stoll is a gifted lawyer who gave it up for his truer passions: music, and kids. He's been teaching piano in Marin for a couple of years now, and his students get his warm attention, encouragement to experiment and truly learn and know their instrument. I'm thrilled that he's teaching my son -- I learned what little piano I know by drudgery -- my son will have a completely different connection to music thanks to Roger. And hey, believe it or not, it's good to get out of Berkeley once in a while....Phone him at (415)454-1750 --Jennifer

I'm sure it's on the web page but I highly recommend Ian Willson for piano. He's teaching both of my kids, each with a slightly different technique to fit their fun-quotient. He is on the Albany/Berkeley border or teaches at Tupper and Reed on Shattuck. 527-3665. Barbara

To the parent looking for Associated Board of Royal Schools of Music piano and theory teacher -- Try Clarion Music School in SF Chinatown. The number should be in the phone book. Annie


A wonderful music teacher (and father of youngsters himself!) is Robbie Dunbar. He's in Berkeley and can be reached at 527-1718. He teaches both guitar and piano, has a gentle yet enthusiastic way about him, and has years of experience as a musician and teacher. Tampine

I highly recommend Ian WIllson (510-763-1773) for piano lessons for your daughter. He has an excellent way with kids, was my teacher, and I can't wait til my son is old enough to study piano with him, as we have a piano in the home. He teaches privately and at Tupper and Reed on Shattuck in Berkeley (can't think of the name right now) and lives in Albany, so coming to your home is no problem. His studio is in Oakland. Wrndy

A piano (and guitar) teacher in north Berkeley who has a good reputation is Robbie Dunbar, 527-1718. I haven't taken any lessons from him but I know him as a dad at my son's preschool. Betsy

I'd like to recommend a piano teacher. Marla Mues, located in North Oakland, not far from MacArthur BART, is a VERY fine musician, and also has a very nice way with children. She is gentle and respectful and kind. She is well-trained musically, but also has a sense of lightness and humor which children find refreshing. She gives lessons in her home, and can be reached by calling 654-1849. Mary Carol

I'd recommend Diana Perry. She's taught my 8yr old son for over a year and we both think she's great. She comes to our home, and she also teaches at Berkeley High. Email me if you'd like her phone #. I think she's also listed in the white pages. Tom


You know that guy that plays piano on upper Sproul noontimes? His name is Scott Fleming, and he is a Cal graduate (French) and also a pre-school and after-school care teacher! He's really terrific with kids and gives piano lessons. He came to our house in Berkeley to give my daughter lessons (before she switched to clarinet), and also was (and, I think, still is) a teacher when she went to The New School. Scott can be reached at 849-2086. Stop by and say Hi when you see him on campus and put some money in the jar! Becky

My son (8 years old) just started taking lessons from an instructor who comes to our home. She's a recent graduate of Cal (music major) and is in the process of building up a clientele--MWF on the Berkeley side of the hills and TuTh on the Lamorinda side. She came to me with recommendations from established piano teachers in Berkeley and Lamorinda. We've only know her for a couple weeks, but she seems to connect really well with my son. Another plus for me is that she was willing to start David on a tabletop keyboard, which some instructors won't do (I realize I'll have to rent a piano soon, but this gives me some breathing space). She welcomed my suggestion of posting her name and number to the uc-parents list, so here goes: Ashlinn Quinn, 665-9061.




  Here is a summary of the responses I received to my inquiry about piano lessons. Thanks to everyone who replied.   ------------------------ Can anyone recommend a good piano teacher for a 10-yr-old beginner who has taken a sudden & unexpected interest in music?  I would prefer someone who'd come to my home in Berkeley. Also I wouldn't mind taking a lesson or two myself as long as the kid is taking them. What is the going rate for piano teachers these days?  -------------------------  My daughter's teacher was Katherine,Winter           TELEPHONE  510.527-3839 834 Nielson Albany She was very musically talented but did not manage to inspire the love for piano in my daughter. After 3 years my daughter quit playing. She is considered to be a very good piano teacher. I don't know if she does home visits.  Good luck!  -----------------------------  Piedmont Piano/Yamaha Music school gives group lessons, and also has a number of teachers that they recommend for private lessons.  A new session of the group lessons will be starting in February. Fee is around $60/mo. for 1-hr/week lessons.  My oldest child takes private lessons from one of their teachers; it's $65/mo for 30-min lesson/week.  -----------------------------  We pay $68/month for weekly lessons at the teacher's house.  A couple of times a year the teacher takes a one or two week vacation and we still pay $68.  I have mixed feelings about the method being taught (Suzuki, I believe), so won't make a recommendation at this time.  ------------------------------ I'm currently taking guitar lessons at Los Medanos College and we have a couple of youngsters (possibly 10 or 11) in our class.  Maybe there is a way you & your child can sign up for piano lessons at your local community college?  When my child was younger she took lessons at the hilltop mall (some piano store up there)  the lessons for $14.00 per session.  That was 6 yrs ago. Churches are also excellent places to find teachers.   ----------------------------------  My daughter (5 years old) has been taking  music lessons with emphasis on keyboard at the Harmony Road Music School in Piedmont and Orinda. It was formerly called  Yamaha music school and includes ear training, music reading, and rhythm instruments. The teacher, Lori Boyd holds group lessons (more fun for kids) that require parent participation. The cost is around $40 per month. There are classes for all age groups, 3 years old to adult, and all skill groups. My daughter and I both love it.