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Steve Benson Music

Oakton, VA 22124 (map)

Lessons Offered

Composition, Harpsichord, Keyboard, Music Theory, Organ, Piano, Singing

Where are Lessons Offered

In Teacher Studio

Online via Webcam

About Me

I have been a professional music teacher and performer for over 30 years in the Washington, D.C./Northern Virginia area. My teaching method is grounded in a traditional Western European pedagogical approach, with emphases on technique, musicality, theory and performance. I mix this traditional approach with modern tools (such as appropriate ios or android apps), non-competitive student performance opportunities, and participation in local music festivals sponsored by various music teachers associations. I always aim to help each student reach the most artistic and finished result possible in their playing or singing. Each lesson that I teach is notated with a practice plan clearly detailing the week's assignment. My teaching studio is equipped with two Steinway B grand pianos, a modern electronic classical organ, a Neupert French double harpsichord and a complete MIDI recording studio. I have given numerous recitals in the Washington D.C. area and in Europe and have conducted a number of fine church choirs in traditional choral literature. During the late 1990s I was asked to develop a specialized music instruction for pre-schoolers at a private company with over ten day-care centers. During the course of my tenure of teaching at these centers I enrolled over 500 youngsters in my group classes. My emphasis with voice students or those seeking vocal coaching is in proper tone production, breathing, diction and vowel equalization. You can hear examples of my playing on SoundCloud and on my personal and studio websites. I welcome your inquiry regarding private lessons, and am happy to provide references from my students or parents of my students.

My Musical Education Background

I began studying piano privately at the age of 5 and began my professional performing career at age 15. My major in college was keyboard performance, with instruction in piano and classical organ. After graduation from college I was extremely fortunate to be able to continue my study of music with two of the Washington area's most esteemed teachers, Anthony Chanaka and Dr. Conrad Bernier. The emphasis of my studies with Tony Chanaka was pedagogical method, technique and performance practice. Tony was the protegé of the performer and editor Edwin Hughes. I studied counterpoint, composition and organ performance with Dr. Conrad Bernier, who was the assistant to Joseph Bonnet at St. Eustache in Paris and then the Chair of Organ and Composition at Catholic University until his retirement.

Lesson Rates

My rates for private lessons are very competitive and are discussed in a free initial consultation/interview in the studio or via Skype. I do not discuss my teaching rates by telephone, text or email.

Ages / Skill Levels Taught

I welcome students of all ages and ability levels. I have taught students as young as three years old, and generally advise parents to begin some sort of musical instruction and experience with their child as soon as possible. For private lessons, I encourage parents to consider enrollment when their child can hold their attention during the lesson for a minimum of thirty minutes. As students progress in their studies and become more proficient they are encouraged to participate in periodic group performance opportunities (Music Parties!) held every 6-8 weeks in the studio. More advance keyboard and voice students can take advantage of my studio's complete recording facility for personal recordings or audition/competition-entry recordings. Mid-day weekday lesson times are available for adults seeking to further their musical education, technique and enjoyment.

My Certifications and Awards

I am affiliated with the Washington Music Teachers Association, the Northern Virginia Music Teachers Association, the Fairfax/Loudon Music Fellowship and the American Guild of Organists.

My Musical Influences

My experience as a performer and teacher have been influenced by a mixture of traditional Western European Classical music, jazz, popular songs, gospel and church music and 20th century classical orchestral music. While my two last teachers were primarily classical musicians, my own experience as a performer and player has included the music of ragtime, Broadway and gospel tunes, along with the traditional repertoire of classical piano, organ and church music. I am heavily involved with composing software, synthesized and electronic music and recording engineering.

Service Area

Student Reviews

Herndon, VA

My 4 daughters have been students of Mr. Steve Benson for nearly three years now and during that time, I have had occasion to observe his teaching method, manner and results. Mr. Benson is very deliberate and knowledgeable in his method, which at first may seem too slow in producing results, i.e. the student playing recognizable songs. In fact, I myself was skeptical at first since my girls seemed to be learning at a slower rate than their peers studying at different studios. However, in under 2 years, the brilliance of Mr. Benson’s way was abundantly apparent. With proper fingering, proper posture, and the proper reading of music notes, time signature and dynamics, my girls can now out-perform all of their contemporaries; and further, they can sit down to a new piece of music with confidence and work it out in no time, even if they have never heard it! I myself had taken piano lessons for 5 years beginning in middle school, and I can say Mr. Benson has inspired me, through his influence on my girls, to play again. And, more importantly, I have learned more from his method of teaching than I did in all 5 years of my own lessons put together! Finally, as a parent paying good money for lessons, I appreciate Mr. Benson’s manner with the girls, which is infinitely patient, without being soft. Every student needs to be challenged to their potential without being pushed too hard, and I have found that Mr. Benson takes the time to get to know each child’s personality, so that he can effectively teach each one in the way that that student needs. I highly recommend Mr. Steve Benson as a piano teacher and truly appreciate his dedication and professionalism in his method and instruction. I love hearing my girls making music in our home, thanks to Mr. Benson!

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