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D'Arcy Reynolds Music Studio

Novato, CA 94945 (map)

Lessons Offered

Composition, Piano

Where are Lessons Offered

In Teacher Studio

In Student Home

Virtual / Online

About Me

Ms. Reynolds holds an M.A. in music composition, and is an award-winning composer, pianist and music educator in based in Marin County. D'Arcy has been teaching piano and composition for over 25 years, and several of her students have gone on to professonal careers in music. Her teaching style incorporates applied music theory, analysis, wide-ranging repertoire, and sight reading so students can both play paino and compose their own music.

D'Arcy has taught at the East Bay Center for the Performing Arts, the San Francisco Community Music Center, and Marin Country Day School, as well as holding composer residencies at the San Francisco School of the Arts, and several other middle and high schools in Northern California.

Ms. Reynolds' compositions are influenced by jazz, African, Cuban, Argentinian, and North Indian music, while being grounded in the traditional Classical forms. She toured South Africa with the Sontonga Quartet in 2005, and was featured in the DVD ‘Inner Landscape’ filmed in Nieu Bethesda, South Africa at Helene Martin’s Owl House. She has received commissions from the American Composers Forum, Noe Valley Chamber Music, Adesso, and Tessa Brinckman & the East/West Continuo, and has received grants and awards from the ASCAP, USIA, the American Music Center, and Meet the Composer. Her CD the Past Keeps Changing was awarded the Music Now Recording Grant in 2000.



My Musical Education Background

Reynolds earned a B.A. in piano performance with honors and an M.A. in musical composition from Mills College. She studied piano with Bernhard Abramowitch, Paul Hersh, and Katrina Krimsky, and composition with Terry Riley, Charles Shere, and Emilio Solla.

Genres and Subjects Taught

D’Arcy Reynolds teaches piano, composition, improvisation, and theory. Her private studio was founded in 1990, and she is on the piano faculty of Marin Country Day School, and has served on the faculty of the San Francisco School of the Arts, the San Francisco Community Music Center, and the East Bay Center for the Performing Arts. D’Arcy has had composer residencies in elementary, middle schools and high schools throughout Northern California. As the founding Director of the American Composers Forum’s San Francisco Chapter, she designed the Composer in the Schools program which ran in high schools in San Francisco and Berkeley for seventeen years.

Piano Teaching Methods

D’Arcy has a fun, yet rigorous approach to teaching piano to children and adults, emphasizing sight-reading, technique, keyboard harmony, improvisation, and a broad range of music that spans classical to popular genres. You will be able to learn the music that you love, and read music just like you might read a good novel!

For those interested in classical piano, we’ll emphasize sight-reading, technique, and learning repertoire from eras that you enjoy (the baroque, classical, romantic, impressionistic, and contemporary periods). We’ll analyze the music, so you’ll understand the thematic development, harmony, and structure of each piece. This applied theory will help you to integrate your playing with your theoretical knowledge of music. Theory and technique, such as scales, arpeggios, and chord progressions will be combined with the repertoire.

If you like popular music, we’ll get started with keyboard harmony, combining theory and technique simultaneously. We’ll cover triads, 7th chords, chord extensions and inversions, and begin with improvisation in the first lesson. You’ll also learn to read chord charts and standard musical notation, as we’ll use popular music collections, lead sheets, and any music you’d like to bring to the lesson.

My unique approach to teaching helps to develop students’ self-confidence and sense of mastery as they explore their own creative essence through their unique musical expression. I also include Buddhist meditation techniques, somatic awareness, and creative inquiry in a very subtle and integrated way. This enriches and deepens students' experience of music and their creative process. Students are warmly encouraged to improvise and compose, along with developingtheir pianistic abilities.

Private Composition Lessons and workshops

Composition students have enjoyed D’Arcy’s unique composition lessons and workshops for the past twenty years. Her basic composition workshop is 10 sessions, and students learn notation, analysis, melodic development, harmony, rhythmic development, and structure. All styles are welcome. In the workshops, students learn from each other, and begin to trust their inner-muse as they develop their compositional voice. Further studies include twentieth century compositional techniques, orchestration, and composing chamber music for mixed ensembles.

Lesson Rates

Rates available upon request.

Ages / Skill Levels Taught

I teach intermediate through advanced students, from the age of 10 through adults. Students will advance quickly and have a wonderful and joyful experience with regular daily practice. It’s important for us to be sure that there is good synergy, so let’s plan the first lesson as an open dialogue about the process, your goals, and how we can work together to achieve them.

My Certifications and Awards

D'Arcy holds a B.A. with honor in Music (piano performance) from Mills College , earning the Maurthea Friedberger Award for the highest attainment in music, and an M.A. in Musical Composition from Mills College, earning the Paul Henry Merritt prize for composition. She is an active member of the Music Teachers Association of California and the American Composers Forum

Prizes and Awards

ASCAPlus, Meet the Composer, Global Connections, American Composers Forum, Community Partners, Music Now, New Music Recording Grant, Meet the Composer, American Composers Forum, Community Partners, U. S. Information Agency American Music Center, Margaret Fairbank Jory Copying Assistance Program.


San Francisco Community Music Center, Four Movements in Time, The San Francisco Foundation, Post Carbon Artist, Adesso, 21 for cello, marimba, and vibes, Magnolia Intermediate, Ten Day Miner for Concert Band, Tessa Brinckmann & the East/West Continuo, Cloven Dreams, Noe Valley Chamber Music, Listening to Winter, American Composers Forum, Animal Pageant and Variations for Violin and Orchestra,



My Musical Influences

I am so fortuante to have studied with some of the most reknowned composers and pianists of our day. My work has been influenced by world music, jazz, the French impressionists, and great Tibetan Buddhist teachers from throughout the ages.


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