Piano teachers are a valuable part of our business and our community. This is a list of piano teachers that have attended one or more of our “Recipe Of A Good Piano” workshops as a part of their dedication to continuing education. This workshop is on the differences in piano construction and how it affects the player.
Piano Teacher List
Educated at Mount St. Mary’s College in Los Angeles, I have more than 20 years experience in vocal pedagogy, using “natural” vocal technique and singing many vocal styles from classical to modern. As a church musician for over 30 years, I’m an experienced accompanist and soloist for weddings, baptisms, funerals, and other worship services. I use an integrated method of piano teaching which incorporates technical studies, music theory, and repertoire in accordance with the student’s tastes and aspirations. Recently moved to Spokane, I am building my studio and welcome new students. I will travel to the student’s home, if preferred.
Emily Benjamin discovered a passion for music at a young age. Since then, her love of music has led her to perform in dozens of orchestras, choirs, jazz bands, string quartets, and chamber ensembles. Emily pursued her musical education and received a Bachelor of Arts in Music from the University of Idaho.
Emily spent a year teaching in Shanghai, China, as a faculty member and performer at Dynamix Performing Arts Academy. Her time there included teaching music lessons at multiple international schools and performing with professional groups on piano, violin, vocals, bass guitar and percussion. Emily has enjoyed performing in and accompanying numerous recitals, concerts, and competitions, and has played in the Jing-an Symphony of Shanghai, the Great Falls Symphony, and the Idaho-Washington Symphony, as well as serving as concertmaster for the University of Idaho Symphony Orchestra. Highlights include performing in a string quartet as part of a rock band, and playing alongside well-known performers such as the band Kansas. She has performed in venues across the Western United States and Canada as well as in China and southern France. Emily studied piano with Jodell Winter and Kristen Elgersma, voice with Mary Moore, Lexa Ferrill and Michael Murphy, and violin with Casey Hodgson, Ferenc Cseszko, and Ludovic Nicot.
Emily enjoys teaching as well as performing, and she believes that a good teacher never stops being a good learner. Emily loves connecting with students of all ages who are eager to learn. In lessons, she focuses on the expansion of musical skills and techniques by developing and fine-tuning the basics, while tailoring each lesson to the student’s aims and abilities. Emily enjoys making lessons interesting and engaging, whether the student’s goal is to progress quickly and compete, or simply to learn and have fun.
BIO for Karlyn Frost Brett, NCTM
Karlyn Frost Brett is a classically-trained pianist/soloist/accompanist who began performing with her concert-tenor father at age 10 throughout Utah, and as her church’s organist – a calling she yet holds. She began training at age six in Ogden, Utah with Maggie Gammell whose training legacy takes her back to Claude Debussy and Franz Liszt, and began concertizing throughout the Western States from age 12. She majored in Piano Performance at Weber College and Brigham Young University where shecontinued her studies with Carl Fuerstner, and later with Margaret Saunders Ott, of international acclaim, in Spokane, Washington…along the way adding extensive choral directing opportunities including The Mormon Expo Choir which performed throughtout Washington for 4 years, and performances of her original compositions including “As I Have Loved You” – an Easter Musical, and “Lost On the Way to Bethlehem”- a Christmas Musical. She has accompanied/performed with such notables asmetropolitan artist Thomas Hampson; Gail Nelson of New York Met and Broadway acclaim; Linda Caple – Met winner; Seattle and Spokane Washington Chorales and Opera Workshops under the batons of Leonard Moore (Seattle), Sister Marietta Coyle (Spokane), Donald Thulean (Spokane Symphony), and innumerable others.
Karlyn maintains a large piano studio in Spokane, Washington where she has lived for over 40 years with her husband, Jerry, and family. She is a State and Nationally Certified Teacher of Music with MTNA and a Teacher Trainer for the Suzuki Association of the Americas, teaching at multiple piano camps in the U.S. and Canada throughout the year.
Mary Chavez is a teacher and performing artist, composer, jazz singer, and jazz pianist from Seattle, Washington. She initially studied music at home with her two musician parents. She was a jazz music major at Cornish in Seattle, Bellevue Community College, and Western. She received private instruction in piano from well known jazz pianists Butch Nordal and Randy Halberstadt, and classical pianists, Linda Sieverts and Thomas Hall. She also studied voice with jazz singers, Joni Metcalf, and Rachel Bade-McMurphy. Mary teaches all ages from her studio near Whitworth College in North Spokane. She encourages students to be fluid readers of music notation and avid improvisers. You can find more information on her website marychavezmusic.com.
Ivana Cojbasic is an internationally recognized artist, equally at home as a soloist and a collaborative artist. The winner of the First International Piano Competition “Frederick Chopin” in Rome , Italy in 1990, she has performed as a soloist, with orchestras and in chamber music ensembles throughout Europe, United States and Mexico. She holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of North Texas, and was a Professor of Piano at the University of Belgrade in her native country of Serbia. She currently teaches Piano and is active as a Staff Accompanist at Whitworth University in Spokane. Ivana Cojbasic performs with Spokane Symphony, and is a sought after pedagogue and a performer nationally and internationally. More information about Ivana Cojbasic is available at her website.
• Nominated for Best New Artist of the Year by ZMR
• Her ‘Dawn of Peace’ album was considered for 7 Grammy Awards
• Her ‘The Falling Leaves’ album was nominated for Best Album of the year by EPR
• Performed, by invitation, for the King and Queen of Malaysia.
• Performed, by invitation, for the Prime Minister and other dignitaries of Malaysia.
• Accompanied the renowned choir in Malaysia and the United States.
• Arrange musical compositions for various venues including brass bands, ensembles, and chamber orchestra. This includes arranging the scores for all of the instruments.
Chie Fusco enjoys her busy life as a pianist, accompanist, and piano teacher.
Chie holds a Master of Arts degree in Contemporary Music with a piano performance focus and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music from Western Oregon University, where she met her mentor Diane Baxter. During her graduate studies, she worked as a graduate assistant, performing extensively with soloists, singers, choirs, musicals and opera productions. Her devotion to collaborative piano resulted in receiving the Excellence and Outstanding Accompanying Award. She won the 2008 and 2010 WOU Concerto competitions and performed with Western Oregon Symphony. Chie has participated in piano festivals and workshops in Europe and the US. She received the scholarship to attend a piano summer school in France in 2010 and studied with Paul Roberts and Martin Sturfält.
A native of Japan, Chie also plays taiko, Japanese drumming, and performed with Monmouth Taiko throughout Oregon, including Shakespeare Festival and World Beat Festival. With Monmouth taiko, she has given numerous performances and workshops at schools. The taiko group hosted the 2011 Tohoku Earthquake Relief Concert to donate to Minami-soma city in Fukushima. In 2014, she worked with Ryo Hitomi and performed with Taiko Lab Nishinomiya in Japan.
Chie began teaching piano lessons in 2007 and enjoys working with students of all ages. She previously taught piano at Hoffman Academy of Music in Portland, Oregon. She moved to Spokane, Washington in 2015 and is excited to meet new students and share the joy of music with them.
My name is Valina Garcia-Torres. I am a piano teacher here in Spokane Valley. I have been teaching piano lessons & music theory for the last 12 years, and I still love it!! 🙂 It brings me much joy to see how all of my students have continually progressed over the years! Some of them have gone on to play other instruments, to play in bands, to major in music in college, or to even compose their own music! I love teaching piano! It’s rewarding to see how students can learn to become accomplished piano players & musicians too! Even those students who just want to learn how to play fun songs they hear on the radio or a movie are excited when they see what they’ve accomplished! I now have a studio room to teach students in at Steinway Piano Gallery, but I usually travel to my student’s homes. I’m always eager to teach new students piano lessons!! 🙂
Jody Graves maintains an exciting, diverse and active performing career, and is recognized nationally as a distinguished artist and teacher of piano. Her recital engagements as a soloist and collaborative pianist take her across the United States and abroad. She has performed concerts in Austria, Norway, France, Scotland, Ireland, Germany, Japan, and has toured in the Persian Gulf serving as a Cultural Ambassador for the U.S. State Department. The Middle East Tour, with the Sapphire Trio, included concerts in Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. The press reviews have called their performances “exciting…imaginative and compelling.” Her work in the Middle East has continued over the past 10 years. In April, 2010, she was a judge for the National Palestinian Piano Festival in Jerusalem, and following that event toured the West Bank region with the Sapphire Trio performing concerts and giving master classes. The Sapphire Trio returned to the Middle East for a concert tour and master classes in April, 2011, and Dr. Graves returned to the Middle East to perform concerts and give master classes in March 2012.
Dr. Graves is in great demand as an adjudicator for piano competitions and festivals. Each season takes her across the country as an MTA clinician, and she has an active schedule each year as a workshop presenter for teachers. Ms. Graves has been a presenter at the National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy, and in 2015 was a Keynote Speaker in Chicago, IL. She has been a presenter and performer at numerous State and National MTNA conferences such as the National MTNA Conference (Kansas City, Milwaukee, L.A.) and was invited to present at the national MTNA Conference again in 2015 in Las Vegas. She was the guest artist for the Utah State MTA conference in 2013, and has been invited to be the guest artist for the Montana State conference in 2016. Dr. Graves has served as a judge for the International Piano Competition at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York, and also served on the faculty with Dr. Alexandra Ngyuen for the Eastman Summer Session titled ‘Plays Well With Others’, featuring sessions on collaborative arts performance. Additionally, Dr. Graves has authored articles for the American Music Teacher and Clavier magazines.
Her 4th recording project ‘ANANDA – Notes from the Heart’ was released in May 2015 featuring the music of Brahms, Liszt, Berg, Copland and others. She has performed solo and chamber recitals across the country at university guest artist series and community concert events, and has been a featured performing artist several times on public radio. Ms. Graves has been a soloist with the Spokane Symphony, the Butte Symphony and the Wenatchee Symphony and has received rave reviews of her performance of ‘Rhapsody in Blue’. Graves is the pianist with the nationally acclaimed Sapphire Trio and they have been featured guest artists at the National MTNA conference in Seattle, WA, the International Clarinet Festival in Tokyo, Los Angeles, Assisi, Italy, Baton Rouge, LA, and the International Clarinet Music Festival in Madrid, Spain in 2015.
Dr. Graves also offers the “Artists’ Retreat” seminars which focus on the “Heart of Performance” addressing everything from the issues of stage delivery, to living an artistic life. Graves is especially interested in promoting concert art music, creating unique and contemporary ways to foster a collaborative experience between artist and listener, and is dedicated to maintaining the life of music in our schools and culture. Ms. Graves is recognized for her creative ability to engage the audience during her concerts with anecdotes, historical perspectives and humor, and often uses multi-media to highlight the musical works. The press has referred to her as “Victoria Borge”.
She holds a Doctorate Degree in Piano Performance and Literature from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York and her Master degree from Catholic University in Washington D.C. Dr. Graves is currently Associate Professor of Piano at Eastern Washington University, in Cheney, WA and was recently awarded the Fosseen-Kusaka Distinguished International Exchange Scholar Award at EWU which took her to Japan as a solo artist and master class clinician in 2014.
For more detailed information: http://www.drjodygraves.com
Cheryl Green holds a bachelors degree in music studies and currently teaches private piano and composition lessons to students of various levels and ages. She is actively involved with the local chapter of Music Teachers National Association in Spokane Washington.
Ms. Green is a well sought after piano teacher, adjudicator and workshop presenter. Her high level of energy, enthusiasm and creativity in music is contagious and inspirational. In the summer of 2007, she was selected to be the music director of EAFI in Zouping, China. In the fall of 2008 the Aleutian Arts Council hosted Cheryl for a week worth of composition workshops to students of all ages. 2014 the MTNA educational committee granted Cheryl funding for continuing education in music technology.
Also a published composer! You can also find Cheryl’s current piano compositions of various levels on http://www.sheetmusicplus.com.
As a hobby, Cheryl enjoys seeking adventures in the great outdoors, traveling, gardening and reading.
Amelia Gubler has been a student of piano for 8 years and continues in her learning through personal study and practice as well as participation with Spokane Music Teachers Association. She has developed a growing piano studio in her home in Spokane Valley and finds joy in teaching others. Her focus is in technique, music reading, theory and history and making music fun to learn. She realizes each individual learns differently and looks for ways to adapt her teaching accordingly. Overall, her goal is for each student to develop a life long love of music and help them to advance in their talents of playing piano.
Marlene began private piano study at a young age under the guidance of Thelma Langdon. She continued her studies with Yvonne Kovacevich and Margaret Saunders Ott and was also privileged to receive master lessons from Bela Boszormenyi-Nagy. While in school, she was honored with membership in Mu Phi Epsilon, a professional music fraternity. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Piano Performance from Whitworth College.
Marlene has been an active member of Music Teachers National Association since 1985 and has received her State and National Teaching Accreditation. She has held various offices including President of the Local Chapter of Spokane Music Teachers Association. She is active in presenting workshops, master lessons and adjudicates students in the Pacific Northwest and Canada. Most recently, her biography was included in “Who’s Who in American Education”. Having lived abroad in Ireland for two years, she brings an added dimension to her teaching with experiences gained from performances with teachers and performers from that culture.
Mrs. Hawkins, a native of Spokane, began piano lessons at age six with Jean Batt, changed teachers at 11 years of age continuing with Karlyn Brett, NCTM, through graduation. Studied two years at Brigham Young University with Nancy Brownlee and Dr. Richard Anderson. A graduate of Eastern Washington University, studied with Dr. David Rostkowski and earned her M.A. with an emphasis in pedagogy. Mrs. Hawkins is a member of Spokane and North Idaho Music Teachers Associations, and state & national associations. Teaching method includes Suzuki Piano Method, traditional piano method. Students are required to participate in SMTA/NIMTA Musicianship Examinations and Adjudications annually.
Joyce has served in church music on organ & piano and in an advisory position since she was 12 years old. She is married to John Hawkins, a residential custom home builder/remodeler. They are proud of their 6 children and spouses and 9 grandchildren.
She continues to work as the Concert & Artist Director at Steinway Piano Gallery, Spokane, where she has worked for almost five years.
Janet Hubbard holds a Master of Music in Piano Performance from the University of Colorado where she studied with Doris Lehnert, as well as a Bachelor of Music in Piano from Pittsburg State University (Kansas) where she studied piano with John MacKay and harpsichord with Susan Marchant. She also holds a Master of Science in Education (focus on Information Media/Instructional Design) from St. Cloud State University in Minnesota, which included study of motivational theory, pedagogy (learning/teaching for children), and andragogy (learning/teaching for adults).
Janet’s experience in teaching piano began in the 1980’s teaching non-music majors at both Pittsburg State University and the University of Colorado. As Piano Faculty at the week-long PSU Summer Arts Festival during the 1980’s she worked with grade school through high school students at varying stages of artistic development. In the early 1990’s she taught through the Minnetonka Community Services Musical Offerings program in Minnetonka, Minnesota. Following her teaching in Minnetonka, she continued teaching part-time through a piano studio in her home.
Janet has a passion for teaching others and helping them explore their own artistic connections. She is interested in both solo and collaborative endeavors and encourages her students to participate in both arenas.
Returning to music as a primary focus in 2017, Janet is currently recruiting students for a full-time piano studio in the Cheney/Medical Lake area. She welcomes all ages and all levels in her studio.
BA _ San Jose State University
M. Ed._ Lesley University
NCTM: SFCC, EWU
Musical organizations: MTNA, WSMTA, SMTA, Friday Musical Club, Jody Graves’ artist gatherings, Klavier dell arte
BA In Special Education Gonzaga University 1980
ESD 101 Music Specialist 1978-1982
Spokane Parks & Recreation Funshine Specialized Day Camp Director 1980- 1984
Children’s & Youth Music Director Harvest Christian Fellowship 1980-1994
First Presbyterian Children’s Music Director 1994 to present
Spokane Parks & Recreation – Specialized Recreation Specialist and Music & Movement Specialist 1985-90 and 1993 to present
Kindermusik Early Childhood Music Instructor 2004-2010
Training with Lynn Kleiner as Mentor continues presently
Training with Simply Piano continues presently
Orff Course Work 1980- present
See website at http://www.cmurraymusic.com