You’ve just moved to the Hollywood Hills or Venice Beach and you’re looking for a new hobby to help build your local networks – maybe something creative, like music. And where better to learn a performing art than in the entertainment capital of the world?
Or maybe you’ve just decided that you want to get your child involved in the arts and you think having them start on a musical instrument will be just the ticket.
You’re thinking of learning to play the piano; it’s the instrument you’ve always wanted to learn.
Learning to play an instrument isn’t an easy task, and starting the keyboard even less. It generally takes quite a while to learn, and will often require some classes to learn to play properly.
As you get off the plane at LAX or pull your car into your new driveway, you ask yourself – ‘Where can I learn to play piano in LA?’
Whether you’re looking to launch yourself into a new challenge without ever having laid a finger on the piano or you’re planning to become a virtuoso, if you want to learn well and gain confidence on your new instrument, it’s a good idea to search out the right piano class for you in Los Angeles.
The sprawling city, full of actors and entertainment professionals, can be an ideal location to embark in the performing arts. With the philharmonic orchestra, Disney center, and many other venues, you have an embarrassment of art and culture at your fingertips.
You’re motivated and determined. But you don’t know how to read music, or how to fix your posture, and even less how to place your fingers. It’s for these reasons that you’ll be best off signing up for piano classes. A teacher can help you learn quickly and with good technique.
With a teacher, you’ll learn music theory, how to read sheet music, and you can choose which styles of music you want to play on the ivory keys – jazz, classical, contemporary, rock, or pop.
Where should you go, and with whom should you trust your musical future in LA? Should you look at a music school, conservatory, private piano teacher, or virtual classes? How do you pick the right teacher for you?
Here are a few of our suggestions for places to go in LA to learn to play the piano.
12 reasons to take piano classes in Los Angeles
Taking piano classes will help you develop as a person, meet new people, and explore your creative side. It’s for these reasons that music lessons are often recommended to children too.
Here are 12 good reasons to take piano classes in LA (or to learn to play the piano in New York if you live on the East coast).
- Music is a powerful social connecter that trascneds social boundaires. Whether you’re an amateur or professional pianist, it’s an art form that’s meant to be shared. With piano, you’ll be able to enter different cultural circles regardless of background.
- Taking piano classes will let you join a music group and take part in concerts and record music.
- It’s the 2nd most popular instrument at music schools after guitar. It has a noble and classy aura; learning to play the piano will give you greater self-esteem and confidence
- Learning chords, arpeggios, rhythms, melodies, scales and harmonies will all help improve your dexterity as you work on your finger placements. Playing the piano will give you a better sense of space and movement.
- Playing the keyboard is a truly fun and relaxing activity that allows you to express your feelings and emotions.
- Piano lessons will help improve your memory as well as your cognitive and mental capacity. Just as with drums or guitar classes, you’ll be working on your concentration as you indulge your love of music.
- Having a musical background and knowing how to play an instrument has also been linked in studies to a lower prevalence of illnesses such as Alzheimers, Parkinsons, and Huntington’s disease.
- Learning the piano from a young age can also help young children avoid problems like dyslexia, and improve their grasp of grammar and foreign languages.
- Working on music theory, sight-readings, and keeping both hands coordinated requires a certain level of rigor and precision, which help improve your coordination and speed at which your brain processes new information in general.
- Piano classes can also serve as an entryway to other musical instruments
- While it does take several years of courses – whether in a music school or at home taking online piano classes – to go from a beginners level to full-fledged pianist, piano will enrich your musical and cultural experiences, and give you a window through which to explore different music styles such as classical, blues, and jazz.
- Learning to master a piece of music requires regular practice. At a minimum, you’ll need to practice for 10-20 minutes every day in order to learn a piece of music and understand its nuances. When you finally get the piece right, you’ll have a great feeling of success, thankfulness, pleasure, and dopamine.
There’s no one age to start playing the piano – you can start at three years old or wait until you’re 70 for your musical awakening. However, you will learn faster if you begin as a child, thanks to a more sponge like and receptive brain.
However music isn’t a discipline exclusively reserved for budding Mozarts and Beethovens – just like cooking classes or sports teams, you just need motivation and determination to see you through playing a piece of music, breaking a song down by ear, or becoming a professional pianist.
For those in LA who want to turn playing the piano into a future career, they are lucky to have one of the absolute tops schools in the country at their disposal – the Colburn School.
A music conservatory that also doubles as a performing arts school, it’s similar to Julliard, for those looking for piano classes in New York City.
The Colburn School, the best place to learn piano in LA
The most revered music school in LA is the Colburn School, with an excellent piano staff, admitting only top students, some of who come from great distances to attend. It’s downtown, across from the famed Disney Hall, and just next to the Museum of Contemporary Art.
Originally founded in 1950 as the USC’s performing arts school, it has since formally split from the school (who continues to have a very good music program in their own right), and is now made up of a conservatory, performing arts school, music academy and dance academy. Famous alumni include David Fung and Eric Reed, and Fabio Bidini and Ory Shihor both currently serve on the faculty.
The conservatory is very much focused on training professional classical musicians, so if you’re interested in jazz piano this may not be the place for you. They offer undergraduate and graduate degrees as well as several certificate programs to serve the needs of any pianist.
Students perform in groups together, as well as with faculty and guest artists. With the formation, Colburn aims to give students a background in innovation, composition, and education, as well as a strong technical background.
The school keeps a firm eye on future career opportunities, and manages a ‘gig list’ supplying student musicians to venues around the city, as well as working with students to compile their professional portfolio.
Colburn also allows conservatory students to work as teaching fellows at its Community music school. For the non-pre-professional students, their community music school might be a more appropriate place to take lessons, similar to if you were learning piano in Boston and signed up for classes at the New England Conservatory.
Admissions to the conservatory is highly competitive - in one year it accepted only 26 out of 500 applicants. The process is long and challenging, including a pre-screening video recording, as well as the normal recommendation letters, transcripts, and essays. If you do make it through, you can be assured one of the best musical educations in the country…and all on a guaranteed scholarship!
For those taking the hobbyist route, or are just looking for an after school music class for their child, there are also plenty of other piano classes at music schools across LA.
Learning the piano in a Los Angeles music school
It isn’t hard to find a great piano teacher in LA, given the way the city attracts all kind of performing artists. Whether you’re in Burbank or Santa Monica, you can find a teacher and a music school for you.
Although given the traffic, it’s probably best to check a map and the estimated travel time before you sign up for piano classes with someone who’s hours away from you.
Here are a few of our recommendations to consider if you’re looking for piano classes in Los Angeles:
- Tiffany Piano studio http://tiffanypianostudio.com/ is one of the top destinations for budding pianists in the city. Based on Robertson Boulevard, they also offer piano lessons at home, and teach anyone from age 6 and up, 7 days a week. Tiffany specialize in unique educational games and prizes to keep children motivated as they learn how to play the piano, and hold 2 free recitals a year at the Steinway Piano Hall in Beverly Hills
- Rhodes School of Music, located centrally in Larchmont Village, is a popular and well respected music school that only uses certified teachers. They offer regular recitals, and are rightly proud of their studios, which feature high quality instruments and a comfortable waiting room for parents. Besides piano classes, they also offer lessons in guitar, voice, clarinet, flute, drums, and many others, and parents can watch as children learn how to play piano via a one way mirror.
- The Music Junction is another top-rated school, and offers classes in piano, guitar and singing for ages 4 and up. The Junction focuses on making music fun and engaging for children, and emphasizes the benefits of a musical background. If you want your child to be encouraged while still learning notation and chord progressions, this might be the place for you.
Music schools are often a relaxed and supportive environment in which to learn to play the piano. You can also find many reputable schools in cities around the country…if you want to learn to play the piano in DC, for example.
Learn to play the piano in LA with private lessons or online classes
If you’re feeling shy about playing in front of others and worried about embarrassing yourself with clumsy fingers and missed notes, signing up for classes with a private teacher who will come to you might be a solution.
How to find a private piano teacher in Los Angeles
If you’re looking for private lessons in the LA area, one of the best ways (and probably one of your first instincts) will be to check the Craigslist listings.
Craigslist offers a wide variety of experienced piano teachers and different lesson prices; you’ll need to do a bit of research on this site.
Craigslist can be a great way to learn the piano – conservatory and university students, as well as passionate players will all be very good piano instructors.
There are also several other databases:
- Red Pelican music is a database of handpicked teachers based in LA, and available in-home, via live video, or in a studio for classes. From conservatory graduates to jazz musicians, the teachers registered on the site offer piano classes for children and adults in the place that’s the most convenient for them.
- Superprof.us has several different private piano teachers signed up to our website. Many of them are former music professionals and students who live in LA and have registered their services on the website to share their love of music. Teaching everyone from beginners to advanced players, our teachers will instruct at home on a keyboard or piano, and can cover topics like improvisation, piano scales, and trebles versus sharps. Our site also hosts a selection of piano teachers available for online lessons.
- Go.TakeLessons.com is similar to Superprof and Red Pelican, offering a searchable datable of teachers for in home or in studio piano lessons. Whatever level or age you’re looking for, there will be a music teacher to help you on the piano or keyboard.
Obviously private piano lessons are available all over the United States. If you’re interested in learning to play the piano in Chicago, there are plenty of teachers there too.
Online piano classes – an alternative to visiting an LA studio?
Paying for online classes might be a good way to save some money as you try to learn the piano in LA, but the unfortunate side effect of saving a few bucks is that you’ll be all on your own.
Piano Nanny is the original free online piano class, published on the net since 1994. Each lesson is led by award winning film composer and Jazz musician Clinton S Clark, and is about 35 minutes long. From Beethoven to modern symphonies – all the piano’s secrets will be revealed to you!
All that’s left for you to do is to visit your local music stores and compare the price of the instruments for sale as you prepare to purchase your first piano.