sylvie and her teacher
Sylvie with her former piano teacher, Dr. Mark Birnbaum, circa 2005

From my first piano teacher, I acquired a foundation in theory and technique on which all my later musical development has been built. From my college music professors, I learned rules of harmony and voice leading— rules I didn't fully grasp until years later. Dr. Mark Birnbaum assembled these parts into a greater whole. Dr. Birnbaum's approach is less like an instructor and more like a director— like a stage director shaping his cast's enactment of a drama, he uses allusion and suggestion to guide his students to expressive and engaging renditions of pieces.

I believe all these elements— technique, analysis, performance— have their place in a musical education. In teaching beginning pianists, I hope to provide some introduction to all these aspects of playing and comprehension. For rock keyboardists who have strong performance skills but lack theoretical knowledge, I can help you to develop the reading and notation ability to play from scores and write down complicated ideas.

What you will learn

Topics covered in private piano lessons include

Time to Proficiency
A reasonable estimate of the time for a beginner to reach a moderate level of facility is eight to twelve months. Your mileage may vary.

Lessons that occur in my studio will be given on my Yamaha CP-33 digital piano. Students should have access to an acoustic piano or a digital piano with weighted action for practice. Students also may need to purchase additional items such as a music manuscript book, study or exercise books, or sheet music.


schedule a lesson or request a consultation