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Tom Hill

Pittsburgh, PA 15217 (map)

Lessons Offered

Music Theory, Piano, Music

Where are Lessons Offered

In Teacher Studio

In Student Home

About Me

I offer piano lessons for children aged 6 and up and adults from beginners up to advanced level. I offer lessons at my home in Squirrel Hill, Pittsburgh. I am conveniently located close to the Squirrel Hill exit off the Parkway East, and I teach on a Steinway grand piano. For families with more than one child taking lessons, I offer lessons at your home for an extra charge covering travel time and expense.

My Musical Education Background

I have been teaching piano for eight years, since I retired from my former career as a lawyer. In 2010 I graduated from the Longy School of Music in Cambridge, Massachusetts where I earned the Undergraduate Diploma in Piano Performance.

Genres and Subjects Taught

My philosophy of piano teaching

The best way to understand and enjoy music is to learn how to make your own music, using your own skills and imagination. As you progress as a musician, you will also experience a deeper appreciation and understanding of music performed by others.

Playing the piano is not just for a few talented individuals - every child or adult can learn to play with consistent, well-directed instruction and practice.

Learning to play the piano is an endless adventure, and it gets more exciting the further you go. But every student, no matter how talented, has to work for his or her reward, consistently and seriously over an extended period.

How long does it take to learn? You’re never done learning! Even the world’s greatest musicians are constantly learning new styles and skills and trying new ideas. The desire to learn how to play, to keep getting better, to master different styles and techniques, maybe even to start composing your own music, and the willingness to do whatever it takes to acquire that knowledge, is what drives a person to become a good musician. Musicians are forever growing, and that keeps them mentally and spiritually young no matter how long they live.

Learning to play the piano isn’t just a cool thing to do – it also improves your ability to learn other subjects and skills. Playing the piano demands all your concentration - your memory, your energy, your emotions, your senses and your physical coordination. You have to be intelligent, aware, imaginative and athletic all at the same time. How many heads does that take? Just one! But with all the mental discipline that piano study demands, it should not be surprising that, as studies have shown, kids who study music, especially piano, tend to do better in school.

My teaching method

For beginners, I use several published course methods. Within the first year, I gradually begin to introduce classical and jazz pieces and music theory, including all the basic chords and scales. My emphasis is on giving the student a fundamental understanding of the elements of music – rhythm, pitch, dynamics and articulation, plus basic technique.

For more advanced students, I teach classical and popular repertoire and advanced technical skills including sight reading and improvising your own arrangement from a tune and a chord progression, and being able to play in any key. The further the student goes, the more individualized the lessons become, depending on the student's personality and musical taste.

My approach is very practical. A large part of every lesson is spent in directed practice so that the student learns how to practice effectively during the week between lessons. I continuously aim to show the student how to look at and quickly understand each new piece of music, how to solve its technical problems and move as quickly as possible from just learning notes to playing music with expression and enjoyment.

I encourage parents to attend children’s lessons so you will get to know me and how I work, how your child is progressing and what he or she should be practicing.

Lesson Rates

My basic rates are $20 for a half-hour lesson, $30 for 45 minutes and $40 for one hour. For in-home lessons, there will be an extra charge, depending on travel distance, to cover additional time and expense.

I offer two payment options:

• monthly in advance based on four weekly lessons per month. If there are five lesson days in a month, you can either take a week off, or use the extra day for any accrued make-up lessons.

• quarterly in advance based on ten lessons over a 13 week period. The three extra weeks are available for make-ups for any lessons you could not attend at your usual lesson time.

The above takes account of the fact that, in my experience, matters will arise that make it difficult or impossible for students to attend every week at the scheduled time, and it is disruptive to schedule make-ups on irregular days and times. However, if you want to preserve your entitlement to a make-up lesson, you have to notify me at least the day before except in case of a sudden illness or emergency.

If I ever have to cancel a scheduled lesson, I will give you the choice between a credit against the next periodic payment or a make-up at a mutually convenient time.

Ages / Skill Levels Taught

All ages beginner to advanced.

My Certifications and Awards

Conservatory Diploma in Piano Performance from Longy School of Music, Cambridge, MA

My Musical Influences

Classical, ragtime, jazz, boogie woogie, rock.

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