Keyboard, Music Theory, Piano, Singing, Music
Where are Lessons Offered
In Teacher Studio
Online via Webcam
I am an energetic teacher, full of life and am very passionate about making music. I believe that music should be produced with the intention to touch each person who hears it. Music has been a healing tool in my life and I have seen how it has blessed the people I'm able to come in contact with.
I greatly enjoy helping people of all ages in learning how to play the piano and/or sing well. Whatever style of music you are interested in, I would like to help you learn it correctly, painlessly, and rapidly. I understand that work or school may take up much of your time, and that the last thing you want to do is practice for hours. Perhaps you think that you don't have enough time to master an instrument.
Well, here is some good news! I strive to make piano and/or voice lessons an enjoyable weekly event for all my students, and I will help you to develop the necessary skills to practice effectively and learn your favorite music quickly. I firmly believe that the foundations of any learned skill must be solid to support it's proper growth, especially if one wishes to maintain and cultivate that skill over a lifetime.
Learning to play the piano or learning to sing is such a great skill to posses. It requires careful guidance in all stages of education to ensure healthy playing/singing habits, as poor habits learned in early stages may be difficult to correct in the future. Therefore it is paramount to me to provide my students with the best instruction possible at any level or ability with a strong foundation which will ensure great music to follow.
I hope to be able to assist you on your musical journey!
My Musical Education Background
Franchesca Retford is the president of The Ivory Keys Music Studio. She is a concert pianist & vocalist and a master teacher of both arts. She holds a Master of Music Degree in Musical Theater/Opera Performance, from Arizona State University, and holds a Bachelors degree in Piano Performance from ASU as well.
Her piano teachers include the brilliant Robert Hamilton, a pupil of Horowitz, Dr. Irene Perry-Fox, Dr. Caio Pagano, Manuela Pagano, Dr. Andrew Campbell, and Dr. Hamilton Tesscarolo.
Franchesca is also a vocalist. Her vocal teachers include one of Broadway’s finest and current artists, Tregony Shephard, Judy May, Darlene Kliewer-Britton, and Jaime Jordan.
She has participated in Musical Theater shows such as Fiddler on the Roof, Joseph and the Technicolor Dream-coat, Godspell, The Christmas Schooner, and many others.
She is a skilled accompanist, pianist and sang for the movie soundtrack Compulsive Gambling, a documentary by Rick Rabe. She was awarded the Katherine Herberger Scholarship for piano performance at ASU. She acted as an honors judge and the graduating senior’s advisor for Arizona Study Program, an honors and scholarship program sponsored by the Music Teachers National Association. She is a member of MTNA.
Franchesca has served as the Music Director for her community church. Her service included being the Choir director, accompanying for soloists, playing the organ, and planning the music for each weekly service.
Genres and Subjects Taught
My strenths are Performance, Technic, Sight-Reading, & Theory.
I have dedicated my teaching to building all-around musicians with a special emphasis on sight-reading. I want the musician to have the skills it takes to play piano as an adult. It does very little good to play difficult concertos if one lacks the skills of sight-reading & counting. As sight-reading becomes more developed, I will turn my attention to developing wonderful technic.
Fabulous Technic is mandatory for a student to progress to higher level pieces. Good technic enables the student to be more relaxed when playing difficult pieces and prevents injury (carpal tunnel). It is more than playing scales and arpeggios. It is the actual technic that is used when playing scales, arpeggios, chords, phrases, staccatos, etc.In addition to sight-reading books, I supplement with more difficult performance pieces that are performed in recitals and Master classes. It is through these pieces, that many of the different technics are taught.
I work with developing finger strength, using arm weight, relaxation, impulse, & many other gestures that help the student perform the piece with as much ease as possible. I begin teaching these technics with beginners. Transfer students that haven't developed technic can quickly adapt to these technics and experience much success. I have seen this happen over and over.
I also teach how to prepare for a performance, what to do during the performance, how to react to memory loss, and how to have an outstanding performance! This just doesn't happen. Much has to be done to prepare for that wonderful performance.
Theory is an important skill for the musician to develop, to understand what key the piece is written in, the names of the chords that are used, the form of the piece, and the style it should be played in. All these factors can enable the student to memorize more rapidly and thoroughly.
Last of all, I love to make music fun. I will work hard with students, expect the most that the student can give, and then we must laugh at the end of the lesson. Music is meant to be fun and I want the student to enjoy what they're doing.
I offer weekly lessons as well as different sets of purchased packages for those who can't have a lesson weekly.
- 30 minutes for $160 per month
- 45 minutes for $195 per month
- 60 minutes for $260 per month
- 75 minutes for $325 per month
Packages Lessons: Good for 6 months
- 4 lessons of 30 minutes for $200
- 4 lessons of 45 minutes for $225
- 4 lessons of 60 minutes for $300
- 6 lessons of 45 minutes for $325
- 6 lessons of 60 minutes for $425
Visit my personal website (above) to learn more about Me and how my studio functions.
Becoming a student in the studio is a 3 step process.
- Read Studio Policies, either studio policy or package lessons. (listed on my personal webpage)
- Register as a student
Ages / Skill Levels Taught
I teach ages as young as 5 through advanced. I have taught students as young as 4 and have had tremendous success when the parent is involved. My advanced students have graduated from major universities. I have also taught piano teachers that would like to sharpen their skills and learn to be better teachers.
I believe it is never to late to learn. If you have the desire and the willingness, you can learn to play the piano well.
My Certifications and Awards
Bachelors of Arts in Piano Performance from Arizona State University
Master of Arts in Musical Theater/Opera Performance
See above "My Musical Background"
My Musical Influences
My favorite composers include, but are not limited to, Ludwig van Beethoven, Claude Debussy, Franz Liszt, Frederic Chopin, and George Gershwin.
In my spare time I really enjoy playing love songs from the 40 and 50's. I love to sing and play anything that Frank Sinatra sang.
I also love Jazz and the personality that goes along with it.
Marina del Rey, CA
Hard to know where to begin...Franchesca’s a top notch piano instructor. What impressed me most about her is the way she connects with her students. I felt so comfortable with her instantly and could feel her genuine interest in not only my piano progress but me as a person. She’s beyond a typical teacher. You know the saying “those who can’t do, teach?” Franchesca doesn’t fit that mold. She’s unbelievably talented. You can tell she’s a teacher because she loves to teach, not because she “can’t do.” I watched her play a Rachmaninov prelude and I was blown away, almost hypnotized, :) by her technique and musicality. She’s both an excellent pianist and devoted mentor for her students. She’s very observant and intuitive as well where she knows how to help you grow and excel in your piano skills. I’m not able to take lessons anymore as my schedule won’t allow it but I so treasure the years I had working with Franchesca. Like anything, piano’s not always easy. You make mistakes, you get frustrated a lot, and sometimes you feel discouraged about your progress. That’s where Franchesca stands out. She’s not just there for a pay check. She’s so invested in you and is with you through all the good AND all the bad. And she just simply makes the whole experience of learning so enjoyable and not intimidating. If you have the chance to work with her, definitely definitely take it. I’m confident you’ll really value her as a teacher as I much as I have.
“We have enjoyed immensely studying piano with Franchesca. My eight year old son adores her and she has been wonderful in inspiring and motivating him to learn and grow. Her studio environment is professional yet fun and while her expectations are high for her students, she nurtures their talent and pushes for greatness. Franchesca is a gifted teacher and musician and we feel blessed to have been able to study with her.”
Queen Creek, AZ
“Franchesca is an incredible teacher. I have learned so much from her. She is a genuine friend, and our friendship means so much to me. She has been a fantastic teacher, and her love of music has inspired me so much. I have become such a better musician because of all the wonderful things she has taught me. She is an amazing teacher and her deep love for music really shows in the students she teaches.”
“Franchesca is the best piano teacher I could have ever asked for! She helped me to push myself and achieve goals faster than I ever imagined. With Franchesca I learned a variety of techniques and tricks that helped to make learning piano easier, faster, and more fun. She focuses on not only playing the piano, but playing the piano beautifully. She never let me get away with sloppy technique or playing without passion. Now only was she good at what she did, but she also made it fun! I will always remember Franchesca as a huge mentor and friend.”