Piano Lessons for Teens
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Piano Lessons for Teens
Piano teacher who can teach jazz to teenager?
Our teenage daughter has taken classical piano and it's become like pulling
teeth. She has lost interest and says she wants to do jazz. Is there such a
thing as a piano teacher who can teach, or even specializes in, teaching jazz?
We're in Berkeley so close by would be good, but we've been going all the way to
El Cerrito for the classical lessons so don't mind travelling a bit in either
direction as long as the teacher is in the east bay. More importantly my
daughter needs someone very patient who can encourage her to stick with it this
ou and your daughter should check out the Jazzschool in the heart of the Berkeley arts
district. The school offers training for students of all ages and skill levels, and its
founder and director, Susan Muscarella, is herself a jazz pianist. www.jazzschool.com
I would recommend Ken Berman. You can email him at email@example.com
I highly recommend a young woman named Holly Mead, who teaches privately in her home
near Lake Merritt. She is a very well-trained jazz and classical pianist as well as a
composer, young, vivacious, and a member of a recording and performing Tango Band. She
is lots of fun and has high energy. She demonstrates great dedication to her students!
I know her well because she studies classical piano with the same teacher I do and also
teaches music at a Montessori preschool, the Applegarden Montessori School in Montclair,
which I direct. I think the world of her. You may contact her at: 510-575-1446.
Sam Rudin is your man. He is a superb jazz/blues pianist. My son, now 17, has
been taking lessons from Sam for five years and gone from plunking keys to
really making music. Sam is a good guy, great musician, and is good at meeting
kids where they are. He teaches at his place (Emeryville/Oakland line) but
also will come to you. Sam's number is (510) 654-3808. Sam Fan
I don't personally know of any piano teachers in the area, but I am going to
give you some meta-advice.
When I lived in the Boston area and was looking for a jazz piano teacher for
myself, I found one through a local music school (Berklee College of Music) -- this was
before widespread Internet use, I found a posting on a physical
bulletin board. Along those lines, you might want to ask around at the
Jazzschool (http://jazzschool.org/) in downtown Berkeley. Also, BHS has an
excellent jazz program (http://www.berkeleyhighjazz.org/), and even if your
daughter isn't a student, they may be able to point you in the right direction.
My personal experience is that I took piano lessons as a kid (initially mostly
classical, later some pop), but gradually lost interest, probably around the
time I was a teenager. You can do your best to encourage your daughter, but
ultimately if it's going to work out, it's going to have to be something that
she wants to do. I wish I had stuck with it in high school and college, but I
didn't. Perhaps if I had discovered jazz sooner, I would have. If she's
interested in jazz, take her to see some live jazz performances with pianists,
and buy her some music from jazz pianists -- my personal favorites are Marcus
Roberts and Oscar Peterson.
I highly recommend my son's piano teacher, Eric Glickrieman, who teaches out of
his home in Berkeley. He teaches improvisation, blues, and jazz, as well as
classical, and has students of all ages and levels. He teaches theory and improv
from the get-go. Eric is an amazing musician -- a composer and excellent
pianist himself. He seems to somehow gently inspire kids to practice. My son
looks forward to his lessons, and I have been so gratified, as pianist myself,
to find someone who can meet my son at his level but who I feel confident will
still be a great teacher for him when he's advanced. Eric is super friendly,
kind, and fun, to boot -- and he's a parent, so he understands children. Reach
him at 510-225-5269 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our son has been taking jazz piano from Janet Somers in Rockridge for the past
several years, since losing interest in classical. This seems to be quite common
and jazz piano has been a great way to go in our case. We did try at first a
couple of the teachers I see mentioned in the digest today in response to the
query, but ended up with janet, who panned out to be the one who gets along best
with our son. Besides being very patient, she is extremely competent, effective
and rigorous (so says my wife, who has musical training herself).
As an added bonus she has subtly managed to convince our son, who had lost all
interest in classical, that continuing the classical a bit with her along with
jazz would be to his advantage in playing jazz. He really looks forward to his
lessons now. And although it was not the most important consideration for us,
her rates are also very reasonable especially in comparison with some of the
music schools not too far from her. Highly recommended, number is 510-653-6783.
I would strongly recommend Joe Baer Magnant, a wonderful music teacher who
recently moved to the Bay Area from New England and trained at the Berklee
College of Music in Boston. He has been teaching my 10 year old son and I guitar
for the past few months and we are both really enjoying it. He manages to be
both professional and playful, a combination which my son and I both enjoy. Joe
really goes out of his way to connect with my son in terms of how to practice,
choosing what to play, etc. He also teaches piano and I know he has a special
affinity for jazz. Check out his website at http://www.baersmusicservice.com/
Piano and/or guitar teachers for teenager
My 16 year old (with some music background) wants to take up piano again, and
both she and her younger sister (age 13) want to take guitar. Ideally, we
would like a teacher who can come to our El Cerrito home, OR teach on the
weekends (in your home).
Thanks for any recommendations, especially for teachers who will come to the
house (we have an upright piano in great shape and in tune).
I would like to recommend Herb Riffkin. He teaches both adults and children.
Talented and flexible, he has been able to maintain my son's interest in the
piano and in music over the years. He lives in El Cerrito but travels around
the bay area to teach in the students' homes.
Piano teacher for 17yo for theory & technique
Can anyone recommend a piano teacher who will give my 17 year old daughter a
quick but sound grounding in the basics of music theory and technique, while
keeping her engaged and feeling that she's ''doing music''? She spent
several years playing violin until age 11, and then her middle school years
playing clarinet. Now she wants to return to doing a little music, spending
her final semester of high school taking piano lessons as a grounding for
any type of music she might want to dabble in later. Ideally, this person
would live in or a short drive from Alameda. Thanks for any suggestions you
Piano playing Mom
I can highly recommend our piano teacher, Julianna Graffagna.
She has many years of experience (in voice as well) and has been
teaching my daughter and a friend of hers for a few years (and me
for a lesson too). She has a nice collection of students of all
ages, and performs vocally professionally. She is very sweet too
Julianna will work with your daughter at any musical level, and
will tailor whatever music theory and background you want as
She is in North Oakland, near 51st and Broadway. I've known
Julianna for more than 20 years, so feel free to mention my name
Her phone number is: 510.435.7844
I have a great piano teacher to recommend: Karl Goldstein. His
phone number is 848-3422. He lives in Berkeley, right next to
the North Berkeley BART station, so BART-ing to his house is
super easy. He has taught my son for nearly 7 years, and I have
to say that I have never experienced any teacher of anything who
is as gifted at positive encouragement to achieve high standards.
His way of guiding his students with enthusiasm and insight is
fairly miraculous, and his students absolutely blossom. He
teaches beginners through very advanced students, children and
adults. You can visit his website: karlgoldstein.com. I could
not recommend him more highly!!
Jazz/rock piano teacher?
HI, I am looking for a jazz piano teacher for my son in North
After seven years of classical piano lessons, my daughter switched
to lessons with Sam Rudin. He specializes in boogie, blues and jazz
and teaches at either his home or yours. She picks a song by an
artist she's taken with (by The Beatles, Erroll Garner, James
Taylor, Abba...) and he arranges it according to her ability. Her
schedule has gotten very busy now that she a freshman in high
school, but she still makes time for lessons with Sam and she
practices daily without me having to remind her. His website is
I can highly recommend Cynthia Bythell as a jazz and rock piano
teacher in Berkeley. Cynthia has a professional jazz/swing band and
she's been teaching my daughter piano/voice for about 7 years. My
daughter has gone through many stages of interest and Cynthia has
always gone beyond any expectation for each type of music. When my
daughter became interested in blues, Cynthia taught her how to turn
any song into something very bluesy. Another year, my daughter did
a lot of pop/rock tunes. Over the years, we've seen lots of
students leaving/entering her house before and after our lesson and
I can say she has students of all ages and types, all with smiles on
their faces. She's a delight to learn from. Cynthia Bythell
Happy Piano Mom
I want to recommend our amazing music teacher in North Berkeley
(near Cedar Rose park). Her name is Regina Pontillo and she is a
gifted preforming jazz musician who teaches beginners to advanced
level piano, guitar and ukulele. She has been teaching my 13 years
old son piano and my 11 year old daughter guitar for the last three
years and they adore her. She is fun, engaged, and finds the best
way to communicate with each child according to his/her temperament
and music preferences. Last summer they spent a whole month on a
summer camp she led, where the children filmed the original Willy
Wonka movie. This included learning script, preparing art work,
dancing, singing . . . It was so creative and they had so much fun
all day, and Regina was great in giving them a fun, warm,
Her phone numbers are: 510-558-8960,510-332-2150.
Need piano teacher for both jazz and classical
I'm looking for someone who may not exist: a piano teacher who can teach
both jazz to a teenager and classical to an adult (myself). We preferably
would like someone also willing to come to the house, which no doubt
further narrows it down. (But hey, I can try!:) I prefer someone with a
sense of humor, not a dour-
faced strict teacher but someone who still is serious about music.
After an extended search and trials with several teachers
who turned out to be so-so, including some at expensive
private music schools, we came across Janet Somers, a real
gem. Janet is that rare piano teacher who is strict but
funny (she has a really great sense of humor), serious but
still managing to be casual and friendly, hard driving but
so nice that I and my teenager (we both take lessons from
her) don't realize how hard she's pushing us and are both
making stupendous progress.
She is also rare in that she truly teaches a mix of both
classical and jazz piano. Some teachers, we found, claimed
to be able to teach jazz but when push came to shove,
actually were just teaching written arrangements of jazz
songs. I wanted to learn the basics of jazz improvisation
but these other teachers, who were mainly classical, really
turned out not to have a clue. We also encountered teachers
who, on the other hand, were jazz players but knew next to
nothing about classical. Janet seems to be a rare
combination. She has a degree in music and is highly
classically trained and deeply knowledgeable about music
theory, and is also a dyed in the wool jazz musician. She
teaches a mix of both genres and tailors it to your
interests. She also makes a point of taking the theory she
might be teaching you for a jazz piece and showing you how
it applies to the classical piece you might be playing,
which has really opened my eyes and ears to the connections
between the two genres. Janet may be one of the few teachers
around capable of, and also interested in, pointing out
these kinds of connections, which has made lessons with her
a real musical education - not just learning how to play an
I can't recommend her highly enough. I've also found her
rates to be very reasonable among the other teachers and
schools we tried - higher than some, but lower than others,
and she is definitely one of the top teachers around.
One caveat: she doesn't travel to your house. She's in
Rockridge and you can reach her at 510-653-6783 or
Looking for excellent in-home piano teacher
I have a 12 year old daughter who has had approx 6 months of
piano lessons until we recently moved to North Berkeley and
stopped lessons as teacher lived too far away. She also has
three years of sight singing, singing and performing with
the San Francisco Girl's Chorus, so while her piano intro
has been brief, she can sight-read. Recently, with no
teacher, she has taught herself to play Fur Elise and I now
need to find her a new teacher as soon as possible so she
can get back on track. Would like to find someone who is
highly regarded, is willing to come to our home (we have a
wonderful 1926 Steinway Grand which I love to hear someone
playing...), and who is creative and not too rigid.
Daughter is a high energy, competitive, creative person, who
needs to enjoy learning. Thanks!
Nathan Birkholz, a concert pianist and gifted teacher, has
been an excellent discovery for both me and my 7-year-old
son. Nathan just moved here from the Midwest after
completing his doctorate, and has been coming to our home in Albany
and giving lessons first to me on an advanced, college level, and
then to my 7-year-old son at the beginner's level. He's young and
energetic and funny, and has taught extremely young kids, kids with
ADD & Tourette's, adult beginners, college piano majors, etc. He
can be reached at email@example.com.
Phyllis Plotkin in North Oakland is a great piano teacher. I
know because I am a neighbor and a number of children (and a
few adults I know) on our block take lessons from her and
tell me they enjoy their sessions. She has a great website
with testimonials and a bio you can check out.
From her website:
''Each student is unique in strengths. There are visual,
aural, kinesthetic and intellectual learners, and various
combinations of all four. Lessons will promote the
strengths, already there and try to encourage and improve
the learning skills less developed.''
Teacher for 19-year-old to learn sight-reading
My 19 year old son will be home from college this summer. He wants
to learn how to read music and take a beginning jazz dance class.
Anyone know of a great flexible teacher for piano or sight reading?
Maybe one who will come to our home?
Our family has a much beloved piano teacher who used to teach at a
conservatory in St. Petersburg Russia. Her name is Dora Jibitskaya and
her telephone number is (510) 893-5454. I would highly recommend her
to anyone either wanting to start or continue piano classes. She is an
excellent pianist herself and knows everything but most importantly is
an excellent teacher and can impart that knowledge with a nice
attitude and a great sense of humor. She teaches at her home but also
through the Piedmont Piano Company. Our kids love her.
17-year-old drummer wants to learn piano
My son is a drummer and has been trying to teach himself piano. I would like to
find someone who can help him learn piano and music theory in a way that is
relevant to him. He is 17 and needs a teacher who can relate to his musical
interests (not classical) and teach in a more 'free-style' manner. I think someone
on the younger side would be best. Thanks for any suggestions. We live in El
I know the perfect match for you: my good friend ''Hurricane''
Sam Rudin, a professional working musician who has taught
piano to adults, teens, and youngsters his whole life. He's
inspirational, flexible, patient, and knowledgeable of the
whole array of ''Americana'' genres. Check out BPN
Tell'em Sharon referred you!
Mitch Schrift in Albany on Ramona Ave. is an excellent piano
teacher for boys and adolescents. 528-2827
I would suggest Bryan Dyer, vocalist and vocal percussionist with
vocal coach and piano teacher for Young Performers International. He
wonderful teacher and role model for teens, and would, I think, be
very much on
the same wave length as your son on issues of music theory, free style
alternatives to classical piano studies. He's a great person to be
around, and a
wonderful motivator. You can reach him at 510.531.3050. It might
take him a
few days to get back to you as he tours with Linda Tillery.
Try Joe Mumm 530-0264. He has a piano studio in the
Fruitvale district of Oakland. He is in a music masters'
program at CSUEB (Hayward) and his first love is jazz.
hey hey hey
14-year-old interested in jazz piano
My 14-year old son has decided he'd like to add piano to
his drum skills. I'd like to find him private lessons to
start. I know he's far more interested in jazz, say, than
classical. Got suggestions? thanks
Patrice in No. Berkeley
Two suggestions on piano instruction.
First, contact Susan Muscarella at the JazzSchool in
Berkeley. She can surely help you out. (510) 642-5062
Second, you can also try Miles Graber (510-734-8643) in
North Berkeley. Miles is a classical guy, as far as I
know, but I am sure he can make a suggestion or two.
I know an excellent jazz piano teacher. His name is Jarrett
Cherner. He teaches piano throughout the bay area and has
his own jazz band. You can view his website at
www.jarrettcherner.com or give him a call at 617.331.0079.
He is also young and good with teens.
I highly recommend Michael Rubin (again)!!! He taught
both of our kids over about 8 years. We consider him a
part of our family. He gives his all, and then some.
Always stays much longer than we pay for. Comes to our
home. Versatile. Classical, jazz, popular music. Many
instruments. Well-loved by all of us!!! One year he went
trick-or-treating with us. You gotta meet him!!! His
number is 206-6265. Mention The Longs.
If your student appears to be serious about jazz piano, contact The
Jazz Schoool in Berkeley. Our son took several lessons in jazz drumming there while he was
in high school, and learned a variety of skills, and gained the
inspiration of teachers who are workng professionals. If they determine some private lessons
to learn fundamentals would help at first, they would probably be a good place to start for
referrals. Highly recommended.
Aaron Seeman on Piedmont Ave @ has been my music teacher
for almost 2 years and he has taught me everything I know.
He teaches adults and kids and has an MA in music. He
teaches piano and accordion, but also knows at some drums
and bass guitar, so your son might find it helpful to have
a piano teacher that knows a lot of instruments in many
different styles. You can google search his name and check
out his website. I recommend him highly. His number is 510-
My good friend Sam Rubin (performance name = ''Hurricane
Sam'') is an excellent teacher of children, teens, and adults
of all ages. Depending on schedules, he can travel to you
(anywhere in the central East Bay area) or you can travel to
his studio in Oakland, near the Emeryville border. He is
amazingly talented, perceptive about students' needs and
ambitions, patient, inspiring. Testimonials from several
who connected with him via prior recommendations on the
Berkeley Parents Network can be read at
William Beatty is a fabulous jazz musician and piano
teacher. He works out of his home on the Arlington Circle
in N. Berkeley and is great with kids. His email address
I highly recommend my piano teacher, who is great with teens
also. His name is Brian Schacter and he can be reached at
510.295.7383. Brian teaches either at his home in North
Oakland or at your home. I have been studying music theory,
jazz improvization, American folk tunes, etc. for over 4
years and would be happy to answer any questions. Lainey at
piano student / mom of teen
Teen daughter wants to branch out to jazz
I have read the postings on the web, but would like a more
recent recommendation for a piano teacher in the Berkeley
area. Our teen daughter has a wonderful piano teacher, but we
are not sure that he is the one to stay with. His focus is
strictly classical training. Our daughter wants do branch out
into jazz piano. She is never going to be a concert pianist--
she just wants to continue to play piano so that she can sit
down and play a broad range of music, including Broadway tunes.
We want a good piano teacher who can understand the goals and
needs of an individual student and tailor the lessons
i am looking for a good piano teacher for my 12-year old son. does anyone
have any recommendations for someone good, not too expensive (maybe $25 - $30
per half hour) and in the rockridge, oakland area?
Ellen Hoffman is a great piano teacher for teens and adults. She teaches jazz, and is just an amazing teacher, person, choral director (she is director of The Berkeley Broadway Singers chorus), arranger, composer, etc. She'd be great for a teen who loves to play Broadway, jazz, popular music, etc. She is in Berkeley and you can easily park on her street.
Her e-mail is ellenlouisehoffman AT sbcglobal.net
Sallie Hanna Rhyne teaches piano in Berkeley. She is also in a Jazz band. I've known Sallie for about 40 years since I was a kid (she was a young teacher at my private school). Music is not my thing, but if it was, I would take lessons from Sallie. Call her at 510 843-1963
For those looking for a great piano teacher, I can highly recommend Ernie Mansfield. He is patient and also is a great flute, sax, clarinet and guitar instructor. He can be reached at (510) 524-2055 or you can e-mail him at ernie AT mansfieldmusic.com
I wanted to highly recommend our Piano Teacher, Michael O'Dell. He has been teaching my 2 Kids (6 and 7 years old) and myself for over 1 year. He is really great with kids and an accomplished musician(he writes, directs and plays in so many local musicals, concerts, etc..). He comes to our house once a week (in Walnut Creek) and lives in Berkeley but will travel anywhere in the East Bay. His rates are quite reasonable. You can e-mail him directly at dmoepheus AT yahoo.com. let me know if you have any questions. thanks valerie
I highly recommend Eric Glick Rieman for the people looking for a
piano teacher. He plays and teaches everything from classical to
jazz to improvization to new/experimental techniques. He's great
with little kids, teenagers and adults, and will adapt lessons
based on what is really interesting and motivating to the
learner. Reasonable rates, and he'll come to your house in
Berkeley, Oakland, or other places nearby. He's at 510-225-5269.
I would highly recommend Ernie Mansfield as a piano teacher. He can be reached at 510.524.2055 or:
ernie AT mansfieldmusic.com
To the parent who is looking for a piano teacher:
My 11 year-old son has been taking keyboard lessons from an excellent teacher, Leonard Sherman, for the past two years. (Len also teaches piano and the sax.) He has introduced my son to a range of musical styles (classical, jazz, even movie themes, like Star Wars and Mission Impossible) in addition to teaching my son how to compose, sight-read and do improv. Their relationship is very collaborative and I appreciate how open and responsive Len is to my son's specific interests. The result is my son has learned a great deal and enjoyed it every step of the way.
Len comes to our house (we live in Berkeley) and we pay $40 for 45 minutes, which I think is a great deal and totally convenient! His number is 510-684-6382.
I'd be happy to talk more if you'd like.
Can anyone recommend a piano teacher for a 16 year old boy? My son
has been playing guitar for about 6 years and is interested in
learning piano. I would like someone who's passionate about teaching
piano, works well with teens, is talented and knows many styles of
music. Someone who can teach him to read music as well as play by
ear. Preferably in or near Berkeley. Asking too much? I hope not.
I highly recommend Saul Kaye, 235-4977, of El Cerrito. He is a very
sensitive teacher and excellent role model for young men. He is also a
professional musician and welcomes his students to attend his performances.
I can't say enough wonderful things about William Beatty, 524-4230,
who lives along the Arlington/Marin Circle. A jazz pianist and
composer, with what seems like classical training, he teaches by ear
and or by reading music. He tunes into his students wherever they
are, and offers them a light touch to the next step along their path.
Initially, he taught our son, who has visual perception issues, by
ear, with whatever tunes, orchestral or movie themes he brought in,
until, a few months later, our son announced that he was ready to read
music. At student recitals the little ones begin the performance,
followed by a jam session among the teens. Other intsruments, like
guitar & sax, were in the recital as well.
To the person seeking piano lessons for her 16 year old son:
I am a mother of 2 teenage sons, one in Berkeley High and one just
graduated, so I'm quite familiar with the age group. I've also taught
class and private piano, voice, winds and music "fun-damentals" for 25
years in Berkeley. For most private students my emphasis is on piano
as a vehicle to a broader world of music, so I like to include many
different styles and ways of approaching music, including, if desired,
some theory and composition. My own background includes a wide variety
of teach experiences and ages. You can read more at:
http://www.creativefilms.com/Resume/music.html (scroll down the page a
bit for teaching background and education).
Please feel free to email me at bgray AT creativefilms.com
piano teacher recommendation--Amelie Mel de Fontenay 548-8936--
wonderful, but may be full
I recommend, without reservation, my good friend Sam Rudin as a wonderful
piano teacher for teens (and younger kids, and adults) in the East Bay.
He has taught all age groups for 20-plus years, and knows all musical
genres with a focus on popular styles. I've witnessed his lessons with a
number of different teens: Sam is consistently enthusiastic, alert,
knowledgeable, patient, encouraging, dedicated. Kids seem to really like
him and to grow under him. As a very talented professional performer as
well (e.g., annual appearances at the Freight & Salvage, etc.), he brings
a kind of credibility to his work that I think inspires young people to
want to do their best. Sam works from his home studio in Oakland (near
Emeryville) but will also travel to homes in surrounding cities. His
phone is 654-3808. (Tell him Sharon sent you!)
I would like to recommend Judith Meites as a piano teacher. Both my 14 year
old daughter and I have been studying with her for the last four years. She
works well with all levels, beginners as well as advanced students and is a
master at adapting to the different learning styles of her students. She covers
all bases: technique, theory, rhythm, sight reading and sight singing as well as
how to practice effectively. You can contact her at: 510/843-4541
or mewzik at home.com
Re: jazz piano teacher: If you can get your daughter in with Susan
Muscarella, probably the best known jazz piano teacher around, you
should do it. Susan founded and runs The Jazzschool, on Shattuck
between Channing and Durant (ie 5 minutes walk from BHS); she is a
really dynamic woman. Several times during the year lessons stop for
3 weeks or so while she handles the enrollment at the school, which
includes doing a lot of auditions for combos they put together. If
you can tolerate this slight disruption, it'll be well worth it. Most
of the kids in the Ensemble haved studied with her. I think the
Jazzschool is 845-5373 but if not, it's listed in the phonebook.
this page was last updated: Feb 28, 2013
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