Piano Lessons

Whether you are a beginning or returning piano student, adult or child, I am happy to share the wealth of my musical training and my 20 years of experience as a college and private music teacher to help bring out your best creative and artistic voice at the piano. 

To make each and every lesson a special event at the keyboard to be enjoyed, I work with my students to design a customized, individual curriculum based on the student's unique learning style and musical personality so that students can select and master the music that is most appealing and effective for them.  Even technical studies and exercises include music that is enjoyable to work on. 

From the start, I will teach you how to approach the musical and technical challenges in each piece of music by using techniques developed by master theorists on piano performance and pedagogy (Abby Whiteside, Alfred Cortot, and others).  These approaches will benefit the beginning as well as the advanced student and will become truly indispensable! 


Beginning Students

Because playing music is the goal, the first pieces given to beginning students use pre-notation so that they can make music at the piano from the very start.  Once students becomes comfortable with the basic mechanics of piano playing the piano, they are introduced to music notation, the basic building blocks of melodic motion (moving from note to note), and the elements of rhythm. 

As they develop their natural musical skills, students make steady and comfortable progress as they begin to explore larger pieces of music.  Working largely with familiar melodies, students work at their own pace to build a strong foundation in keyboard techniques and musical expression. 

Lessons focus on:

  • Music notation & sight reading

  • Articulation and fingering

  • Touch (legato, staccato, etc.)

  • Dynamics (use of loudness and softness)

  • Chords, arpeggios & scales

  • Pedaling

  • Interpretation and phrasing




Advanced Students

More advanced students learn how to recognize and master the unique technical and interpretive issues presented in each piece of music.

Lessons focus on:

  • Finding & mastering music that speaks to each individual student
    and inspires further development

  • Advanced technique and mechanics

  • Advanced phrasing, use of tempo, and dynamics

  • Compositional principles and improvisation

  • Confidence and artistry 

  • Exploration of various repertoires

  • Understanding historical styles and genres


Piano Lessons Improve Intellectual Development
& Lead to Greater Success in School & College

In addition to the extraordinary life-long musical benefits that flow from learning to play an instrument, the benefits of piano lessons include improvement in:

  • Math and science courses

  • Foreign language courses

  • Creativity

  • Concentration

  • Memory skills

  • Confidence

  • Self-discipline

  • Hand-eye coordination

  • Fine-motor skills  

Numerous studies have shown that steady progress toward mastering the piano can greatly further a young person's intellectual development and scholastic potential.  A 1995 study led by University of Wisconsin Psychologist Dr. Frances Rauscher and U.C. Irvine Physicist Dr. Gordon L. Shaw found that children who received music lessons demonstrated a dramatic 34% improvement in tests measuring spatial-temporal reasoning. As noted by Dr. Shaw in a later interview for Newsweek, because "[m]usic excites the inherent brain patterns and enhances their use in complex reasoning tasks," the students in the study who received music lessons dramatically improved their spatial reasoning ability over students who did not study music. 

In 1997, further research by the same team led the American Music Conference to announce that "A research team exploring the link between music and intelligence reports that music training—specifically piano instructionis far superior to computer instruction in dramatically enhancing children's abstract reasoning skills necessary for learning math and science."

More recently, in 2004 Forbes.com reported the results of a University
of Toronto study showing that
"After nine months of weekly training in piano . . . students' IQs rose nearly three points more than their untrained peers . . . lend[ing] support to the idea that musical training may do more for kids than simply teach them their scales—it exercises parts of the brain useful in mathematics, spatial intelligence and other intellectual pursuits."

Begley, Sharon and Mary Hager. "Your child's brain." Newsweek vol. 127, issue 8
     (Feb. 19, 1996). 


Demorest, Steven M. and Steven J. Morrison.  "Does Music Make You Smarter?"
     Music Educators Journal vol. 87, issue 2 (Sep. 2000).


Hassler, M., N. Birbaumer and A. Feil, A. "Musical talent and visual-spatial abilities:
     a longitudinal study." Psychology of Music vol. 13, issue 2 (1985). 


Mundell, E.J. "Sorry, Kids, Piano Lessons Make You Smarter." Forbes.com. 2004.


Rauscher, Frances H. and Mary Anne Zupan.  "Classroom keyboard instruction
     improves . . . spatial-temporal performance: A field experiment."  Early
     Childhood Research Quarterly
 vol. 15, issue 2 (2000). 


Rauscher, Frances H., Gordon L. Shaw, and Katherine N. Ky.  "Listening to Mozart

     enhances spatial-temporal reasoning: towards a neurophysiological basis."

     Neuroscience Letters vol. 185 (1995).


Rauscher, Frances H., Gordon L. Shaw, Linda J. Levine, et al.  "Music training
     causes long-term enhancement of . . . spatial-temporal reasoning." Neurological
vol. 19, no. 1 (Feb. 1997).


Schellenberg, E. Glenn. "Music Lessons Enhance IQ." Psychological Science vol.
     15, issue 8 (Aug. 2004).

 Children who received music lessons demonstrated a dramatic 34 percent improvement in tests measuring spatial-temporal reasoning.







After nine months of weekly training in piano, students' IQs rose nearly three points more
 than their untrained peers.

Copyright © 2012 Scott Johnson