Overview

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.

Instruction is open to students of all ages, and 

Read more about different lesson types, scheduling, and rates at the bottom of this page.

Basic Policies

  • In-person and online lessons are interchangeable.

  • Lessons may be rescheduled to later in the week with more than 24 hours' notice.

My Teaching Approach

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.

For details on my approach, scroll down or jump to any of the following sections:

Approach by
Experience

I like to think of piano lessons in terms of flying:

 

When we're inexperienced, we need to stay close to the ground to keep the conversation more concrete and tuned into our senses, and as we progress, we can soar into more conceptual places, though still occasionally coming in for a landing when needed...

Takeoff

Beginning from the ground up, no prior lesson experience  —

 

  • Simplified staff (Stegner Method)

  • Solfege / Scale Numbers

  • Rhythm syllables

  • Intervals

  • Hand positions

  • Note and Chord Names

Open Sky

Experienced beginner to intermediate, looking to pick back up or level up —

  • Full staff reading

  • Scales & Arpeggios

  • Chord Progressions

  • Compositional Analysis

  • Ear-training & Transcription

  • Music Theory

  • Repertoire building

Outer Space

Advanced, mostly self-sufficient, and looking to excel or specialize  —

  • Project-based: Competitive Classical, Advanced Jazz Improv, Digital Audio Production

  • Special composition topics: arrangement, orchestration, counterpoint, part-writing

  • College audition prep

  • Professional coaching
     

 

Approach to
Genres & Styles

The language of the piano provides common ground from which to approach playing many kinds of music.

 

A foundational understanding of harmony, texture, and technique can both reveal connections between what we may think of as separate disciplines and give deeper insight into what sets a particular genre apart.

Classical Piano

In addition to addressing standard learning targets such as fingering, phrasing, tone production, and interpretation, we will learn how to apply common sense and critical thinking to practice smarter, not harder.

Jazz & Improvised Music

That jazz has influenced virtually all popular music genres speaks of its essence as more than a style; rather, an approach.

While I incorporate elements of jazz pedagogy — transcription, structured improvisation, chart reading, ear training, comping — into all lessons, jazz piano students will, through listening and emulation, study the stylistic contributions of different jazz innovators.

Pop, Rock...

...folk, country, funk, R&B, soundtrack, indie, hiphop, EDM, etc...

We may use sheet music, fake books, chord charts, but always, our ears, to make solo piano arrangements.

For students interested in composition or production, we will also take on more ambitious projects, copying or covering pop songs in a digital audio workstation (DAW) to learn techniques.

 

Approach to
Music Creation

I greatly enjoy bringing in music creation to lessons of any level. Often, the crafts of writing and production overlap quite a bit, but these are some basic subject areas: 

Composition & Songwriting

  • Options of Classical, Jazz, or Pop emphasis

  • Discussion of harmonic techniques, voice-leading, counterpoint

  • Improvising piano textures; using the piano as a compositional sketchpad

  • The idea of form: basic classical forms, pop song form, experimental forms

  • Arrangement, orchestration, and sonic color
     

Electronic Music & Production

  • How to use DAWs as a compositional tool

  • Mixing techniques: both technical and aesthetic

  • Intro to Synthesizers and Sampling Instruments; their use in orchestration and production

  • Workflow and goal-setting

 

Scheduling & Pricing

Lessons at Department of Harmony are offered as recurring appointments that support longterm study or one-off coaching sessions that address specific topics on an as-need basis.

All prices are sliding scale. I will gladly consider individual situations when it comes to financial or scheduling needs.

Recurring Lessons

  • Consistent weekly appointment time

  • Available Monday through Friday

  • Access to Musico and all tutorials

Weekdays

30 min ........ $50/lesson

45 min ........ $75/lesson

Schedule a free Meet and Greet

Coaching Session

  • Drop-in, à la carte scheduling

  • One hour minimum

  • Receive customized materials 

Weekdays or Weekends

$125/hour

Contact for availability