studio korte

lessons

teaching using techniques that work to a schedule that suits

about lessons

core principles with a proven track record

I offer in-home jazz and classical piano lessons to students of all ages and levels in the greater Boston area. 

My specialty is the Suzuki Method, an approach to early childhood music education, but I enjoy adapting my teaching style to each student’s preference. I have taught senior citizens and kindergartners, jazz fans and rappers, prodigies and dabblers.

Suzuki vs. Traditional lessons

a unique and tailored approach

To read in depth about the Suzuki Method, click here

For students/families not interested in Suzuki lessons, I teach using a more open-ended hybrid approach in which I incorporate aspects of Suzuki alongside more traditional methods such as Piano Adventures. 

Topics addressed in these lessons can include composition, improvisation, technique and tone production, music theory, sight reading, ear training, and more depending on the student’s priorities.

online lessons

learn from the comfort of your own home

While it remains true that nothing can replace in-person instruction, the pandemic has proven online lessons can be practical and even necessary. They are a valid alternative when barriers of distance, illness and other prohibitive circumstances arise. At my studio I have invested in quality A/V equipment to facilitate quality online instruction.

Contact me for more details.

Frequency and duration

Lessons are typically scheduled once or twice per week and range from 30-60 minutes in length. I recommend that students 10 and younger start with 30 minute lessons.

Location

I offer in-home lessons in Brighton, Brookline, Cambridge, Newton, Waltham, Weston, Wellesley and surrounding areas. Contact me for more info.

studio korte

Prices

$90/hr. Bulk rate negotiable for those who want more than one hour per week.

Payment

Check, cash and Venmo; cash preferred. Payment due at the end of each lesson.

Suzuki group lessons

Group lesson location and availability depends on how many students I have enrolled. Contact me for more info.

or, if you like, just leave me an email or number and i'll get back to you as soon as i can.

links and resources

for further research and learning

suzukiassociation.org

The official website of the Suzuki Association of the Americas.

audacityteam.org

Audacity, a free open-source audio recording and editing tool.

IMSLP

The Petrucci Music Library (IMSLP), a vast trove of non-copyrighted music available for free download.

noteflight

A free online music notation tool. Easy to use, customizable, and available to all.

frequently asked questions

you're not the first to have questions!
I don't have time to be heavily involved in my child's lessons. Are lessons still worth it?

The short answer is: yes. A great many parents are too busy with their jobs and other responsibilities to sit and practice with their child every day. This is not something to be ashamed of. In reality most children, provided they practice regularly, will get a good deal out of their lessons whether or not their parents are heavily involved. For students whose parents cannot commit to the parental involvement guidelines enumerated elsewhere here, I teach with a hybrid approach in which I incorporate aspects of the Suzuki Method alongside more traditional methods.

Is it too late to start lessons as a teenager or adult?

No. It is never too late to start learning an instrument. It is of course true that a small child will learn faster and more effortlessly than someone with a mortgage, and that one’s potential to achieve a very high level of ability diminishes with time, but these differentials should not discourage an older student unless their heart is set on becoming the next Horowitz or Stevie Wonder.

In reality an adult can improve greatly given discipline and time, especially since most adults have one major advantage over children: they know how to learn and how to research. A child’s memory is unparalleled, but most children do not know what questions to ask during a lesson, how to practice efficiently, nor how to locate helpful resources in a library or online. An enthusiastic adult learner who makes time to practice every day will invariably improve if they go into their practice sessions with a positive as opposed to a despairing attitude.

Remember that the make of a musician is not necessarily the sum of their powers of memory and technical prowess. Horace Parlan and Mal Waldron were not savants like Art Tatum or Keith Jarrett, but their music is not necessarily less enjoyable.

Many people have had success studying on their own. Why work with a teacher?

A good teacher watches for mistakes, describes techniques, gives practice advice, sets a good example, and otherwise speeds up the learning process. There are rare people who are so gifted that they can learn quickly on their own, but the vast majority benefit from having a teacher to help them avoid pitfalls and find their way. Moreover most students, even motivated adults, find that it is much easier to stick to a practice schedule and stay motivated when they have someone to be accountable to.

I need a piano for my child. What are your opinions on uprights vs. grands and acoustics vs. electrics?

My advice for those looking for an instrument is to buy the finest acoustic piano within your means. For most people, this means an upright piano—Yamaha, Boston, etc. Grand pianos provide the greatest dynamic range, timbral variety and sensitivity of action, but for most people they are too large and too expensive. Decent used upright pianos can often be found for cheap or even for free on websites like Facebook Marketplace.

I recommend acoustic over electric pianos because playing an acoustic requires its own skillset. Even high-end electric keyboards do not precisely replicate the action of an acoustic piano: the latter is more sensitive and thus requires more control on the part of the pianist. Moreover a piano can typically produce a subtler variety of timbres. Consequently electric pianos tend to foster habits in students that do not transfer well to acoustic pianos. For these reasons I prefer to start young students on an acoustic. Once their technique is established I encourage them to experiment with the huge variety of sounds and uses electric pianos have to offer.

Online lessons are cheap and convenient. Why study in person?

In person lessons afford numerous advantages over online lessons. An in person student for example is able to hear their teacher’s tone production clearly rather than through a computer speaker, and they are able to observe in full their teacher’s posture and poise at the piano. Conversely the teacher can observe more completely the student’s movements and tone production as well as take the student’s hand and manipulate it on the keyboard. Children (and probably most adults) also tend to be more attentive in conversation with a flesh and blood person rather than a screen.

Online lessons have their place and are certainly better than nothing, but most students will get more out of in person lessons.

I and/or my child aren't interested in classical music. Do you have alternative curriculums for people interested in jazz, pop, etc.?

The answer to this depends on the age of the student. For young students I usually insist that they start out with the Suzuki repertoire because I have not found any beginner repertoire comparable to it in quality. It is extremely useful for teaching basic technical skills, and most kids do not mind its simplicity; by the time they are old enough to yearn to play other music, they are usually well advanced technically. In general I make a point of incorporating music of the student’s choice into the curriculum as early as is reasonable. For teen and adult students I design curriculums based on their goals and interests from the get go.

I've heard that technique isn't important in playing jazz. Is that true?

No. Most jazz improvisation is not as difficult technically as the hardest classical music, but the best jazz musicians are masters of their instruments no less than the best classical musicians. It is true that some successful jazz musicians lack technical skill (in other words the ability to play very fast and with great control), but their success is in spite of this lack. The stereotype of the sloppy jazz musician is an inaccurate and rather scurrilous one.

Music theory seems boring and pointless. Why learn it? Some great musicians couldn't even read music.

The study of music theory is analogous to the study of grammar. Beyond a certain point it is probably pointless and will not help you make better art, but conversance in grammar can help you express yourself more precisely, and knowledge of music theory can help you express musical thoughts more impactfully. Great writers understand the relationships between words of a sentence, and great musicians understand the relationships between each chord in a score. Music theory is a way of symbolizing relationships that most people already grasp by intuition.