Piano Lessons By Cherwyn - a solid, conservatory-trained, experienced teacher with an amiable personality. Lessons tailored to your own or your child's goals for piano-playing. Beginner to advanced.

Materials are tailored to your individual needs so that you can work at your own best pace and focus on the skills that you need to work on. Included is also music theory, technique, and rudiments to maximize confidence and comfort level at the instrument.

My teaching style is informal; I would characterize myself as an expert mentor rather than as a dictator - and each student is treated with respect and appreciation. It's important to make a comfortable connection with each student so that the student will feel at ease and not experience physical tension that can hinder the development of a technique that will enable the student to play anything they want to play.

Studio recitals are offered at least twice per year so that you/your child may have an opportunity to perform, if desired. This is encouraged but never mandatory. Some recitals are held at nursing and retirement homes to bring the joy of music to others and teach students to learn to serve others with their music. The performing skills and preparation skills I'll teach you will help make sure you feel perfectly "at home" and happy to be up there, enjoying the process of sharing your music with others. Music performance skills translate to being poised on any stage when delivering oral presentations, speeches, etc. These are an entirely different skill set than simply learning to play for one's own private pleasure. I offer instruction in how to play the piano, as well as how to manage one's practicing and practice time to produce preparedness for a set deadline, how to relate to an audience while onstage, and more. If you want your child to learn performance skills, definitely ask every teacher you're thinking of if they offer opportunities for performance in their studio. Not everyone does! Performing is optional; some of my students study simply for their own pleasure, and this is just fine!

Our piano studio takes optional piano-related field trips. Places we go include: piano concerts (including piano with jazz ensembles), a piano rebuilding factory to see how pianos are made and learn about piano care and how we can improve our pianos, the Metropolitan Museum of Art to tour the Musical Instruments Collection to trace the history of the development of the piano, etc. My goal is for the students in my studio to become well-rounded pianist-musicians who are educated about "all things piano". We live in a fantastic, cosmopolitan area with much to learn/do concerning the piano! Here's a newspaper article about a recent field trip:

Our studio currently has students ranging in age from 4 to 75 years! Teaching is tailored to the individual student. 

My training includes an M.M. in Piano Performance from the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, and a B.A. in Music from Tufts University. I'm a two-time competition winner, as well- the Tufts Concerto Competition (open to all instrumentalists in the university) and the Elizabeth V. Tischler Piano Competition. Master classes with The Tokyo String Quartet, Joseph Kalichstein (March, 2016), The Raphael Trio, Eugene Pridonoff (former student of Rudolf Serkin).

Choose my studio for the best instruction in HOW to practice the most effectively at home to maximize your learning, to solve technical problems in order to best serve your musical interpretation, and find your artistic "voice". My goal is to help you learn to teach yourself, so you can just pick up a new piece of sheet music and learn and perform it on your own.

Topics taught: sight-reading; music theory and transposition; music history including composers, eras, and movements; musical genres; performance skills; and also if desired, collaborative and accompanying skills. Choose your genre(s) that you wish to study! Learn Beatles to Beethoven; fun music, or the way to serious advancement in the classical masterworks literature. Ages 4-up; age-appropriate teaching techniques and child-friendly warmth of spirit. Special patience for children with learning disabilities or ADHD. I have successfully completed a wonderful Jazz Improvisation course from the Berklee School of Music (December, 2015) just recently.

An advantage of our studio is that, as a member of the MEA-NJ (, my students can be involved in the following opportunities not widely available to students in Sussex County: piano competitions; opportunities to perform in honors recitals and master classes; non-competitive auditions to obtain a 2nd opinion on the student's playing by another expert teacher; music theory testing; composition competitions; and I receive ongoing teacher education by participation in the teacher-only workshops and events, and participating in the teacher master classes. Our studio is beginning to use the MEA Music Theory syllabus as the foundation of our music theory study, so that we have benchmarks of what students will know and understand at each level of their development. This will provide a rigorous musical education in the foundations of harmony, compositional structure, etc. An exciting upcoming event is a ragtime celebration in November, 2017. Students will take a special, private tour of the "music machines" collection at The Morris Museum (including player pianos from ragtime's heyday!), then participate in a recital of ragtime music! (Again, completely optional to participate.) My students are beginning to prepare their ragtime pieces now for November.

My students participate actively in musical endeavors in other spheres, including school jazz band, playing keyboard at church, accompanying singer friends at the Vernon School District's annual "Artstanding" event, etc. A recent former student, at the age of 18, has just released her first-ever album of her own sung-and-played songs, "Yellow Balloon", some of which may be seen on YouTube. I actively encourage them to use their musical skills in other realms, as it reinforces everything they're learning and adds to their enjoyment of all they have accomplished with the piano! 

Contact me for a sample lesson and see if my studio is for you! Then I very much encourage you and your child to go home, think about it, and make a decision (and let me know).


* Benefits of musical study:

Piano Lessons raise IQ and - just as importantly - sharpen the ability to sense emotions

Musical study rewires the brain to make us into a better communicator, on and off the stage. And, keyboard study, specifically, is the very best instrument for doing this because of the equal treatment of left hand     and right hand!

Music Lessons may help focus children's attention, help them control their emotions, and reduce their anxiety

Music Lessons help kids with their math skills

Music Lessons boost verbal memory

Music Lessons may boost IQ and grades

Music lessons boost language skills

Two years of music lessons helped bridge the famous "achievement gap" in underprivileged kids

The following 10  benefits are supported with documentation at:

Ten Ways Musical Training Boosts Brain Power

  1. Improves verbal memory and childhood literacy 
  2. Babies who have music lessons smile more and communicate better
  3. Benefits brain plasticity throughout a lifespan
  4. Trained musicians have superior multisensory processing skills
  5. Improves white matter connectivity
  6. Increases blood flow in the brain
  7. Improves executive function
  8. Thickens gray matter of the cortex
  9. Reduces academic achievement gaps
  10. Orchestrates coordinated neuroplasticity in the aging brain

The following points are found at this well-researched brochure:

Children with musical training: 

* Score higher on the SAT

* Receive more awards and academic honors

* Have better self-esteem and less shyness (piano lessons were specifically studied with regard to self-esteem!)

* Have less school delinquency and better school attendance

* Are the most likely group to be admitted to medical school

* Piano students are better-equipped to understand scientific concepts

* Are emotionally healthier by the time they arrive at college and are less likely to grow addicted to alcohol while in college

Beyond all these benefits, music lessons will assist you or your child with growing confidence presenting in front of a group, bring lifelong enjoyment and stress release, help prevent cognitive decline during the aging process for adults (with ongoing music-learning), provide an activity in which to participate and work with others, and meaningfully enable you or your child to become part of the creative process/flow of humanity.

Look what you could do if you knew how to play the piano (below)! Consider purchasing a package of piano lessons for yourself or a loved one as a special gift...Valentine's Day, birthday, Christmas, piano lessons are always welcome and are a therapeutic relaxation for stressed adults!

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