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Piano Press Studio

Urbana, IL 61801 (map)

Lessons Offered

Composition, Guitar, Keyboard, Music, Music Theory, Piano, Singing

Where are Lessons Offered

In Teacher Studio

Online via Webcam

About Me

Elizabeth C. Axford (Liz) is an award-winning songwriter and pianist with 37 years in the music industry. Her first industry job after graduating college in 1982 was with the Mark Foster Music Company in Champaign, IL. The owner of Piano Press Studio, Liz has had over 3000 usages of her solo classical piano recordings, keyboard instrumental arrangements, and original songs in films, TV shows, videos, commercials, bumpers, transitions, and promos. Her recorded tracks have been heard during multiple episodes of 525+ TV shows and broadcasts nationally and internationally, including new episodes of network and cable TV shows, news broadcasts, syndicated TV shows, syndicated reruns, TV movies, and movies shown on TV on 50 networks. 
Film placements include The Chosen One starring Rob Schneider and Steve Buscemi, Sol LeWitt: Wall Drawings, The Sacred Bee, and numerous other independent films. Her music can be heard on CDs, digital compilations, websites, video games, apps, ringtones, greeting cards, and gift items.
Liz is an active member of ASCAP, NARAS, NSAI, NAMM, MTNA, and MTAC. She has voted on and attended The Grammys since 2000 and numerous industry events in LA, Nashville, and Miami since 1989. During her 20-year tenure as NSAI Regional Workshop Coordinator in Miami and San Diego, she was responsible for over 300 monthly songwriting workshops, songwriter showcases, and special events. She has received service awards from NSAI, songwriting awards, and seven ASCAP PLUS Awards.
Liz has a Master of Arts Degree in Music from San Diego State University and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Music from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. During her 35 years of teaching studio piano and voice, Liz has held numerous recitals with her students. Her teaching studio received the Best of Del Mar, CA award 11 years in a row for 2008-2018. She currently facilitates music and arts courses for the University of Phoenix online.
Liz is the author of Traditional World Music Influences in Contemporary Solo Piano Literature, Song Sheets to Software - A Guide to Print Music, Software, Instructional Media, and Web Sites for Musicians, and Music Apps for Musicians and Music Teachers, published by Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.

My Musical Education Background

• Master of Arts, Music, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA; studied with Dr. David Ward- Steinman, Dr. Lewis Peterman, Dr. Eddie Meadows, Dr. Conrad Bruderer, Mr. Brent Dutton, and Mr. Thomas Stauffer (1995)
• Bachelor of Arts, Music, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, IL; studied with Dr. Tony Caramia, Dr. John Melby, Dr. Sever Tipei, Mr. Scott Wyatt, Ms. Heidi Von Gunden, and Dr. Cecil Lotief (FHSU) (1982)
• Numerous songwriting, music and film/TV industry seminars, master classes, workshops, and events sponsored by NSAI, ASCAP, NARAS, NAMM, FMN, TAXI, MTNA, CAPMT, MTAC, TI:ME, The Musicians Institute, and Songu.com; studied songwriting with Jason Blume, Jai Josefs, Harriet Schock, Rick Beresford, and Marc-Alan Barnette (1989-Present)
• Writer’s Digest Correspondence Course, Writing to Sell Non-Fiction (1990)
• Introduction to the Recording Studio, Miami Dade College, Miami, FL (1989)
• State of Florida Teaching Certificate #561749, Music K-12 (1985-1988)
• Piano Performance Certificates of Merit, Duncan Music Studio, Urbana, IL; studied with Mrs. J. R. Duncan (1969-1976)
• Choir Performance Certificates, Brookens Jr. High School, Urbana, IL; studied with Mr. Willie T. Summerville (1971-1973)

Genres and Subjects Taught

Lessons Offered In:


Music Theory and Ear Training/AP® Music Theory

Voice/Audition Prep

Beginning Guitar


Computer Music Software/Recording

Music History and Literature 


Lesson Rates

Lesson Tuition is billed by the Trimester. The three 16-week Trimesters per year are: January-April (I), May-August (II), and September-December (III).

Please call 619-884-1401 for current tuition rates per Trimester.

Lesson tuition may be paid in full, or in two or four equal installments:

Option I: Lesson tuition paid in full is due the first lesson of the trimester.

Option II: Lesson tuition paid in two equal installments is due the first lesson of the first and third months of the trimester (January/March or May/July or September/November).

Option III: Lesson tuition paid in four equal installments is due the first lesson of each four-week session.

Books and lesson materials are billed separately. 

All checks for lessons should be made payable to Elizabeth C. Axford or Piano Press. Payments may also be made via cash, PayPal, Square, or Venmo.

Ages / Skill Levels Taught

Lesson Studio Mission Statement

Learning to play the piano and/or sing plays an important role in a child's development, not just as a means of learning performance repertoire, but also as a means of nurturing the student. Students have different strengths, interests, and learning styles. All these things are considered when choosing an appropriate curriculum and lesson materials for each individual student. Aspiring musicians are encouraged to develop musical artistry and personal expression in addition to the achievement of musical skills and knowledge.

Our responsibilities include helping students develop an appreciation for all styles of music, providing musical challenges, a music education, and performance opportunities, and preparing young students for college music departments as music majors and non-majors and/or professional performing careers.

Piano Press Studio has provided both private and group lessons since 1984, in music store studios, private homes, and public and private school classrooms. Our students have ranged from the very beginner (3-4 years) to the senior citizen, from the hobbyist to the professional recording artist. With a long list of alumni, we have seen our students successfully perform in recitals, talent shows, festivals and competitions, audition for and receive parts in musical theatre and opera productions, become college music majors, and pursue professional recording careers. We have worked with local public high schools to help students acquire independent study credit towards graduation, as well as home school students. Internships for course credit are available for college-level students. By providing a comprehensive music program, our students learn general musicianship as well as proficiency on the instrument.

My Certifications and Awards

Honors and Awards
• Seven ASCAP PLUS Awards
• NSAI Awards of Appreciation
• Best of Del Mar, Music Lesson Studio 2008-2018
• Numerous songwriting awards including Billboard, Unisong, VH-1, Los Angeles Music Awards, and various regional songwriting contests (1988-Present)
• Pi Kappa Lambda National Music Honor Society 1996
• Illinois State Scholarship 1976
• Listings – 2000 Notable American Women; 2000 Outstanding Intellectuals of the 21st Century; Gale Contemporary Authors; Great Minds of the 21st Century; Great Women of the 21st Century; International Who's Who of Classical and Light Classical Musicians; International Who’s Who of Professional and Business Women; Outstanding Musicians of the 20th Century; The Contemporary Who's Who; World Who’s Who of Women; Who’s Who in American Education; Who’s Who of American Women; Who's Who in America; Who's Who in Entertainment
Professional Affiliations
• ASCAP, NARAS (voting member), CMA (voting member), NSAI, NAMM, MTNA, CAPMT, MTAC, Film Music Network, TAXI

My Musical Influences

Professional Experience
• University of Phoenix Online Faculty - Facilitated 70 Online Courses including ARTS/340 and ARTS/340CA - Exploration of Western Classical Music, ARTS/100CA - Introduction to the Visual and Performing Arts, MUS/250 - Music Appreciation, and ARTS/125 - Pop Culture and the Arts (2011-Present)

• Piano Press Studio – Owner, MTAC Certificate of Merit Program, Recitals, Instructor (Piano/Voice/Theory/Songwriting/Composition/Arranging/Recording/CAI Music Software), Publisher, Author, Arranger, Composer, Songwriter, Pianist, Performer, Producer, Graphic/Web Designer; numerous sheet music publications, recordings, new media, and film/TV placements (1984-Present).

• Rowman & Littlefield Publishers – Author of five critically acclaimed music reference books found in libraries throughout the world: Music Apps for Musicians and Music Teachers (2015), Song Sheets to Software – A Guide to Print Music, Software, Instructional Media, and Web Sites for Musicians, 3rd ed., Book/CD-ROM (2009; also 1st and 2nd editions, 2001 and 2004) and Traditional World Music Influences in Contemporary Solo Piano Literature – A Selected Bibliographic Survey and Review (1997) (1996-Present)

• Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI) – Regional Workshop Coordinator, Miami, FL (1990-1992) and San Diego, CA (1992-2011); duties included running monthly workshops, maintaining the membership database and website, monthly e-newsletters, and hosting songwriters showcases and special events; conducted over 300 monthly workshops, song evaluation sessions, songwriters showcases, and special events. (1990-2011)

• Books and CDs reviewed and critically acclaimed in American Reference Books Annual, Choice, American Music Teacher, Teaching Music, Piano & Keyboard, Electronic Musician, The College Music Symposium, Book News, American Songwriter, Computer Music Journal, Muses News, Publishers Marketing Association Newsletter, Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators Bulletin, Keyboard Teacher, School Library Journal, and The New Haven Advocate (1997-Present)

• Independent Music Instructor – Contracted part-time by La Jolla Music, Torrey Pines High School, Canyon Crest Academy, San Diego State University, Gateways Summer Program, Wagner’s World of Music, California Music Studios, Miami Music Works, Suniland Music Shoppe, Kiddie Kampus, Fort Hays State University, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana High School Education II Program (1974-Present)

• Guest Speaker/Exhibitor – California Arts Expo, Northridge, CA (2003); California Music Educators Association (CMEA)/TI:ME Annual Conference, Pasadena, CA (2003); California Association of Professional Music Teachers (CAPMT) Annual State Conventions (2009, 1999); Camp SummerSongs West, Camp Whittier, Santa Barbara, CA (2004); Music Educators National Conference (MENC) National Convention, Nashville, TN (2002); Music Teachers Association of California (MTAC) Annual State Conventions (2012, 2010, 2008); The NAMM Show, Anaheim, CA (2010, 2009, 2008); Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI), Nashville, TN (2002); Sam Hinton San Diego Folk Heritage Festival (2001); San Diego Local Author's Exhibit, Downtown Library (1998-Present); San Diego, CA and Miami, FL NSAI Regional Workshops (1990-2011); Songwriters Guild of America, Nashville, TN (2003); Summer Creativity Camps, Del Mar, CA (2008-Present)

• Selected Venues Performed as a Pianist, Vocalist, Arranger, Composer, and/or Songwriter – Bella Roma, La Jolla, CA; Brookens Jr. High School, Urbana, IL; Channing Murray Foundation, Champaign, IL; Claire de Lune, San Diego, CA; Coast Vineyard Church, La Jolla, CA; Coconut Grove Bank, Coconut Grove, FL; Coral Gables Congregational Church, Coral Gables, FL; Duncan Music Studio, Urbana, IL; Florida International University, Miami, FL; Fort Hays State University, Hays, KS; Hot Java Café, San Diego, CA; House of Denmark, Balboa Park, San Diego, CA; Krannert Center, Urbana, IL; La Costa Library, La Costa, CA; La Jolla Congregational Church, La Jolla, CA; Luna Park, Los Angeles, CA; Miami Music Works, Miami, FL; Miami Dade College, Miami, FL; Mikey's, Poway, CA; Pt. Loma Nazarene College, San Diego, CA; San Diego State University, San Diego, CA; St. Peters Episcopal Church, Del Mar, CA; Stratford Inn, Del Mar, CA; Suniland Music Shoppe, Miami, FL; The Avalon Hotel, South Miami Beach, FL; The Musician's Institute, Los Angeles, CA; The News Café, South Miami Beach, FL; The Oasis Hotel, San Diego, CA; The Pannikin Cafe, Del Mar, CA; Twiggs, San Diego, CA; University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, IL; Urbana High School, Urbana, IL; Wagner’s World of Music, La Mesa, CA; Yankee Ridge School, Urbana, IL (1968-Present)

• Miami Dade College (Miami, FL) (1984)

• Craft World, Inc. (Miami, FL) (1983-1984)

• Mark Foster Music Publishers (Champaign, IL) (1982-1983)

• Follett’s College Bookstores (Champaign, IL and Hays, KS) (1978-1982)

• University of Illinois Library, Reference Department and Rare Books/Stacks (Urbana-Champaign, IL) (1979-1980)

• Thimble and Threads and Renaissance Leather (Champaign, IL) (1974-1977)

• Santa Fe Opera (Santa Fe, NM) (Summer, 1975)

Computer Skills
• Software/Internet – Online Learning System (UOPX), Gradebook, TaskStream, TurnItIn, Microsoft Office Suite, Adobe Creative Suite, Computer Assisted Instruction (CAI) for Music (Alfred’s Essentials of Music Theory, EarMaster Pro, etc.), Web Browsers, Search Engines and Social Networking Sites, Online Library Catalogs, iLife, iTunes, QuickTime, GarageBand, Logic, Finale, MasterWriter, Roxio Toast, ImageCafé Website Creator, Quicken, Metadata Standards
• Hardware – Macintosh and PC Computers, Maxtor and Lacie External Hard Drives, Brother MFC- 465CN Color/B&W Multi-Function Center, Brother Laser Printer HL-2070N, Blackberry Smart Phone, iPhone, iPad, iPod, Bose iPod Dock, Bose Wave Music System, Yamaha Digital Piano YPG-635, Yamaha and Roland Digital Piano Labs, Casio Keyboards, M-Audio StudioPro 3 Monitor Speakers, M-Audio MobilePre USB PreAmp/Audio Interface, Shure SM58 Microphone, Fostex VF80EX Digital Multitracker, Tascam MF-PO1 PortaStudio, Audio-Technica ATH-T22 Dynamic Stereo Headphones, iMic, Canon PowerShot A720 IS Digital Camera, Flash Drives, CD/DVD Burners, CD/DVD Players, Cassette Decks, Turntables, Radios

Non-Profit Volunteer Work
• The Art of Music, Inc. – President; duties include The Art of Music Biennial Writing Contest, mailing list, website, grant proposals, events, sheet music collection curator. (2008-2013)
• CAPMT District I (MTNA) – Publicity Chair (1993-1998)

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