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August Music Teacher Interview

Posted by on August 2, 2020 at 10:55 PM Comments comments (0)

Meet Elizabeth!!

1. How long have you been teaching music?

Elizabeth: I decided to explore entrepreneurship skills and began Piano by Elizabeth in 2014 during graduate school. I've been teaching for the past 6 years and I love it.



2. What inspired you to teach music?


Elizabeth: Music is a creative outlet for me. Music also helps in so many unconventional ways - it strengthens confidence, creates discipline and improves cognitive skills. These are all things music provided for me during my studies and I wanted to share the art of piano playing with others. Having my own studio has granted me complete creative freedom to teach my students and watching my students succeed is fulfilling.




3. What is your favorite instrument?


Elizabeth: The piano , of course, and Chopin is my dearest composer. Although I would love to play the cello and am seriously considering lessons. I think piano/cello duets sound so beautiful.




4. Any musical tips for teachers?


Elizabeth: Every student is different and a student-teacher relationship plays a critical role in the student’s success. Adaptability is the most important thing I’ve learned while teaching piano.


Like many businesses, the piano studio has undergone some changes and we have successfully transitioned from on-site lessons to virtual learning via different platforms. We are now on Zoom, while embracing remote learning, and adapting to the ever-changing norm caused by COVID-19. Some students are thriving while others need a bit more assistance and grace, but that’s okay because with change comes the need to adapt. In fact, to keep my students motivated during the social distancing period, I developed The Quarantine Series - a group forum available to the public via Zoom every Wednesday. These 30-minute, totally free, group sessions focus on all aspects of music learning: improvisation, composition, music theory, etc. Local teachers have expressed interest in my series and I have invited them and their students to participate. It's been a success! Collaborations are important and it's rewarding when others are inspired by your work. I have even coached some of the local music teachers in ways to keep their students motivated by recommending music tools and providing music learning material to help them design their own music theory group courses.





5. Any advice for parents?


Elizabeth: Please do not force your child into lessons. It’s counterproductive. It creates unnecessary resentment towards the instrument and can possible deter children from even experimenting with other instruments. Everyone takes time to find their passion. Be patient.




6. Talk about a memorable teaching experience.


Elizabeth: There are so many. I had a student name, Areli Sujtu, who came to my studio for Guatemala - yes, Guatemala - during winter break. I taught her a few holiday pieces, she performed in my Christmas recital and returned to Guatemala. She then sent me a thank card and a gift from home to thank me for her musical experience learning to play piano. She also shared that she performed piano at her school’s talent show. That experience was so unexpected, brief and incredibly rewarding!




7. What methods or music books do you use to teach?


Elizabeth: I haven't committed to any specific methods or books. I design each lesson and tailor my teaching style to the student’s musical aptitude. I look for strengths and weakness in a student and navigate through them to create the best possible outcome. I do, however, work with the National Guild of Piano syllabus to create a program that highlights a student’s musical capabilities.




8. Who was your favorite music teacher and why?


Elizabeth: Grace Gimbel, she is based out of Montclair, NJ. I met her during my National Guild Audition; she was the adjucator that year. That was one of my best auctions. I decided to take Master lessons with her to perfect my repertoire. I remember walking into my lesson and handing her my sheet music only to meet her confused stare as to why I was handing her the music score. Lessons with her were less about technique and correct notes and more about performance and mastering the music. She emphasized the importance of musicianship and interpretation and making the music your own.




Instagram: (@pianobyelizabeth)

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July's Music Teacher Interview

Posted by on July 6, 2020 at 12:45 AM Comments comments (0)

Meet Ashley!

1. How long have you been teaching music?

Ashley: I started teaching piano and guitar the summer of 2014 and have been teaching music ever since. 6 years.

2. What inspired you to teach music?

Ashley: My inspiration for teaching music comes from surrounding myself with other great musicians and learning from them.

3. What is your favorite instrument?

Ashley: My favorite instrument(s) are drums and tenor sax. Both of which I play ;)

4. Any musical tips for teachers?

Ashley: The biggest tip I can give teachers is to become a student of the art you are teaching first. I'm a student of music before I am a music teacher.

I understand that I don't know all there is to know about music but my strength is that I am a very open-minded and adaptable person. I practice and fill my mind up with music knowledge.


5. Any advice for parents?

Ashley: The advice I would give parents is to not only be supportive but active in their child's hobbies/passion. Whether it be sports, dance, whatever it is, being there and making sure they are practicing and doing the homework efficiently is key.

6. Talk about a memorable teaching experience.

Ashley: One of my most memorable teaching experience comes from a family of four (mom, dad, son, daughter). I had to give both siblings piano lessons but, both siblings had ADHD. Being able to adjust my teaching style so that they are learning, growing and becoming the best musician they can be was amazing for me. The parents complimented on my teaching, my music and overall personality. I was then recommended to another family who's child had special needs because I worked so great with their kids.


7. What methods or music books do you use to teach?

Ashley: My methods/music books varies for each lesson because each student has a different learning style. I often find myself using the 'Bastien Piano Basics', 'Piano Pronto', 'A Dozen A Day' and 'Alfred's Basic Piano Book' for my piano lessons.

And 'Hal Leonard' and 'Modern Guitar Method' for my guitar lessons.

8. Why is music so important to you?

Ashley: Music is so important to me because it's how I express myself. I'm naturally an introverted person. Growing up, I didn't play with kids or was comfortable being around anyone other than my family, but music was my outlet and it has been very therapeutic for me.


Ashley is available for remote lessons! Kindly check out her website for more:" target="_blank">

June's Music Teacher Interview

Posted by on May 29, 2020 at 7:25 PM Comments comments (0)

Meet Rebekah! 

1. How long have you been teaching music?

Rebekah: I have been teaching music for 20 years


2. What inspired you to teach music?

Rebekah: I wanted to be just like my music teacher

Marie Sawany was my first private teacher


3. What is your favorite instrument?

Rebekah: Violin is my favorite. I do love cello but don't play. I can play the piano!



4. Any musical tips for teachers?

Rebekah: Make sure you are really listening to the student. I always say to my students "please ask any questions, If you dont understand I am willing to listen". or.." Dont be afraid to say something if I have piled on too much for you to manage."

I also often inform my students in how I much I give them. I give them a certain amount of work and have them work with it for a week and then we discuss what happened. Was it too much? Too little? Or just right? Now sometimes I still will pile it on - to challenge them. I make sure they know they have a voice. Teachers should be willing to try new methods. if you have been teaching a certin way for years and its not working for the particular student, change. Dont be afraid to try new books as well.




5. Any advice for parents?

Rebekah: Don't just think the teacher is just a sitter for 30 min or however the amount of time you have chosen for the lesson.

If it is at home, be somewhat engaged. For example, if you hear the child is misbehaving - not listening to the teacher - and heard a number of times the teacher had to repeat stop, YOU need to deal with it. It can simply be just walking in the room and not saying anything. Maybe just standing near the student. If need be tell the student to come in the kitchen for a quick word. Also maybe have the student apoloigise to the teacher after the lesson.

If you are in a music studio and just dropping the student, don't text the student to come out to the car. Be there a little before the lesson ends so the teacher can talk to you. Be open minded to listen.



6. Talk about a memorable teaching experience.

Rebekah: I had just gotten a new student. She never played violin before, she picked up the instrument and had the perfect left hand position. I was so amazed!!!! She is an amazing player, and gets better every lesson I hear her play. She is such a joy to teach, I often can't wait to have a lesson with her. Plus she's a funny student!



7. What methods or music books do you use to teach?

Rebekah: I teach from Suzuki and the Barbara Barber violin books. I mainly cater to the student. I try to see which method books works best for them.



8. Why is music so important to you?

Rebekah: It is an outlet for me, to express who I am. I also have been given this gift to give to others. It is a joy for me to play for the all generations. I love it! It is also a way for me to get to know people from all walks of life even if i dont know their language very well. Music can change people. As a musician I can bring people together from all walks of life and I love doing that!


Rebekah is available for remote violin teaching. 

Follow Her Facebook Page:" target="_blank">http://

May's Music Teacher Interview

Posted by on May 2, 2020 at 6:50 PM Comments comments (0)


Meet Edwin Lopez Villada!!

1. How long have you been teaching music?

Edwin: I've been teaching since late 2002


2. What inspired you to teach music?

Edwin: Assisting people inspires me the most to teach music.


3. What is your favorite instrument?

Edwin: Though I've always been debating between piano and violin, I chose piano!


4. Any musical tips for teachers?

Edwin: I have no musical tips for teachers because they have their own ways of teaching, but nudge your students wisely if you wish to challenge them.


5. Any advice for parents?

Edwin: Most parents must be supportive to their young children by knowing the difference between being a great supporter and vigilante. This is the main reason I would recommend parents to attend my lessons so they would be able to help their children with home assignment.


6. Talk about a memorable teaching experience.

Edwin: My memorable teaching experience was when I started to become a music tutor in Essex County College in Newark, NJ as my second year.


7. What methods or music books do you use to teach?

Edwin: I always recommend a staff notebook in order to write down notes. Alfred's piano lesson book for young students is my favorite because it explains music very clearly.


8. Why is music so important to you?

Edwin: Music is important to me because I want to inform music students that music is not just an art but also a universal language, and for me teaching them is my passion.


Edwin Lopez Villada offers his teaching services remotely during COVID-19. He currently is a music instructor at PY Rock Music School and Iza's Music Academy. He also taught at Pastore Music for 9 years.

Reach out to him for further questions!

His instagram account is @elv.raz

April's Music Teacher Interview

Posted by on April 5, 2020 at 6:05 PM Comments comments (0)

Meet Carmen Arrojo!


How long have you been teaching music?

Carmen: I have been teaching music, specializing in percussion, for five years. However, there is a long journey ahead.

What inspired you to teach music?

Carmen: When I turned 16, I started working at a place called Camp Liberty in Jersey City. During my ninth year there, the camp staff bought drums for the children. There were several children that loved playing music with me and my coworker , Sam Oliver. I loved seeing the young ones excited and determined to learn something. I loved seeing them focused in a healthy way.

What is your favorite instrument?

Carmen: It's hard to name one favorite instrument. My top five are, bass (electric and upright), acoustic guitar, cello, marimba, and all earthy percussion instruments.


Any musical tips for teachers?

Carmen: A good tip for teachers is to really listen and get to know the students for who they are. Learn their likes, their dislikes and pay attention to their personality and how they respond to the materials you offer. It will teach you how to guide them and empower them. They already have music inside of them. We just facilitate an environment in which they can cultivate that gift.

Any advice for parents?

Carmen: Parents should see if their children feel forced into music. If the student loves it, they should be on the same page with the teacher and encourage their child at home.


Talk about a memorable teaching experience.

Carmen: My oldest student went through a traumatic experience during a lockdown at her school because of a shooter on the loose in the town. When she arrived home, she wrote a chord progression on the marimba for her own song. The next day, during our lesson, we wrote a melody. This is only one small instance. There are so many more that bring so much joy and gratitude.


 What methods or music books do you use to teach?

Carmen: I use different method books. For mallet percussion, I rely heavily on the Morris Goldenberg text. For congas, I use Michael Spiro's method book and an Alfred's edition for the young ones. For cajón, I turn to YouTube and old recordings from lessons with my own teacher. I also use stories and tell my students about the folklore and traditions tied to the instruments. They are ,after all, highly based on oral traditions and spiritual journeys. It is an echo to the rich past of the Earth.

Why is music so important to you?

 Carmen: Music is the most important thing. I am music and music is me. It is what carries me home after days of arduous work. Music is what I carry home to feel home because of the people whom I have found home in. Music is the dance between silence and sound that lives in every single person's heart. It is what connects us to the intangible and shows us that we do not exist alone. It is everything.

Camen Arrojo offers her teaching services remotely. Reach out to her for questions!

Follow Carmen Arrojo on her Instagram:

She also has her education Percussion Discussion Youtube Channel:" target="_blank">