Piano & Creative Music
Welcome to Department of Harmony!
Whether you are taking your first steps with music or looking to take your music to the next level, I am thrilled to offer an approach that grows with you.
Live Instruction Paired with Virtual Learning
The Department of Harmony classroom provides you with a blend of structure and self-direction that is tailored to your interests and needs. Learn how we do online lessons.
Centered On Creativity and Collaboration
Building skills for music creation and collaboration is an integral part of my piano curriculum, helping you confidently learn songs on your own, jam with friends, and more.
All Ages, Levels, and Abilities
Weekly (30-60 minutes)
Coaching (à la carte)
Classical, Jazz, Rock, Pop, Folk
Composition, Electronic Music, Production
Aaron Otheim has taught music professionally for over fifteen years and has played piano and composed music for twice that. Growing up in evergreen-speckled Bremerton, Washington, Aaron’s roots in classical piano have supported a diverse musical career as performer and recording artist primarily in Seattle and Los Angeles.
In general, I prefer to keep lessons moving, flowing between structured activities, games, and coaching as both agenda and energy dictate. Rather than dwell on mistakes, I encourage my students to engage critically and grow into ownership of their learning.
I value spontaneity and love to take focused detours to field student questions and curiosity. Fostering openness is much more a priority than maintaining a monologue. No matter the music, at Department of Harmony, we are always on the lookout for patterns that carry us to the next phrase and concepts that carry us to the next piece.
Click or tap on a topic to learn more:
Online Lesson Setup
All lessons take place on Musicology, FaceTime, or Zoom, depending on available tech as well as student needs and interests.
I am happy to work with what you've got and make recommendations on how to get the best audio, video, and overall experience.
Our Virtual Learning Tools
Weekly students receive a subscription to Musico, a stellar music education platform that functions as an assignment notebook, sheet music player, composition tool, and whiteboard.
I also incorporate Soundslice, Musescore, Bandlab, and other free learning platforms, depending on our course of study.
With all the screens in our lives right now, it's important to unplug.
To me, there is no replacement for a beautiful print edition of classical music or being able to write out musical thoughts by hand, which is why books, printable sheets, and other "analog" materials are still part of the lesson ecosystem at Department of Harmony.
Aaron is such an incredible, passionate, genuine, and fun teacher and musical coach!
Taking lessons with Aaron, I consistently looked forward to our meetings every week. His instruction is the perfect balance of technique, theory, experimentation, music creation, and freedom.
I originally started taking lessons with Aaron looking to delve into the fascinating intricacies of jazz, harmony, and improvisation. Aaron's experimental approach and depth of knowledge created the ideal environment for musical experimentation and learning. When I came to him asking to change gears and focus on orchestral composition, he gladly pivoted and offered his expertise in my new topic of choice.
I have nothing but good things to say about my experience learning from Aaron. From my lessons with him, I've gained invaluable knowledge, technique, and a license to explore, express, and create that never expires.
Aaron is a talented musician and instructor. He's patient, intuitive, creative and motivating. Both our daughters have taken lessons from Aaron over the years. I highly recommend him for both beginning musicians and experienced musicians.
Aaron is so much more than a music teacher. My daughter studied with Aaron for 8 years, in addition to skill-based lessons, he helped her write and record songs and explore many aspects of the music industry. He is an amazing mentor and collaborator!
I had the good fortune of taking lessons with Aaron for 8 years. Working with him did not only improve my piano skills, but also helped me become a better all around musician through songwriting, theory, and recording. Aaron helped strengthen my love of music by always making things fun and tailoring our lessons to what I was most interested in. I am now at the Berklee College of Music and have felt well set up to succeed here because I studied with Aaron.
Aaron is an incredibly intuitive and creative instructor. He has taught both my young boys and tailored each lesson to their attention levels and abilities. We are thankful for the effort he puts into each lesson to make it fun and engaging.
Aaron is a talented and caring piano teacher. My son took private lessons with Aaron for 2 years until Aaron moved away. At every lesson, I was impressed with the way Aaron shared his experience of being a pianist and composer to encourage an 8 year old boy. Especially, Aaron and my son played a beautiful improvised duet from a few notes my son composed at the end of each lesson. Aaron was always flexible with teaching methods, and the annual recital with his pupils was always an impressive highlight of the year.
My son started working with Aaron when he was just starting out in jazz. Aaron gave him an excellent foundation, which he was able to take to various bands and combos. My son always left his lessons with Aaron feeling inspired. Aaron’s not only a brilliant teacher, but a brilliant musician himself.
Lessons at Department of Harmony are offered as ongoing, weekly appointments that support longterm study or one-off coaching sessions that address specific topics on an as-need basis.
All prospective students receive a free, thirty- minute Meet and Greet interview, where you can experience the online lesson environment and we can see if we're a good fit for one another.
As you book your Meet and Greet, take note of my booking page, where you will also be able to manage schedule and payments.
Consistent time slot
Four lessons per month*
30m, 45m, or 60m sessions
Cost-effective, flexible billing
30m — $140/mo (4 x $35/lesson)
45m — $200/mo (4 x $50/lesson)
60m — $260/mo (4 x $65/lesson)
* Fifth week optional, available for additional or makeup lesson. Details provided on inquiry.
À la carte scheduling
Good option for special projects or challenging schedules
$75/60m flat rate
Please let me know how I can help you or someone close to you take those next musical steps.
If you are inquiring about lessons, I would love to hear about any goals, interests, or questions that we can chat about.
I'm looking forward to hearing from you!