I am a professional musician with a bachelor's degree in music education from New York University and a master's degree in piano performance from Manhattan School of Music. I have created many unique methodologies that detail how to learn and memorize music with maximum efficiency (much more information a few paragraphs down). And of course, I show my students how to conquer technical and musical difficulties in order to develop into artists with their own voices. As a result, my students often progress extremely quickly and attain high levels of playing in a fraction of the usual time required. They also seem to truly enjoy the process.
Lessons take place in my home studio in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn (somewhat near the Barclays Center and Prospect Park), where I have a new baby grand piano for use in the lessons and the environment is extremely open and supportive. Although I have the most experience teaching piano, guzheng (古箏) / Chinese harp, and music theory, I also teach voice, frame drum, clarinet, and saxophone.
I am a current Thumbtack Top Pro and Steinway Educational Partner and have between 35 and 40 students coming to me from as far away as Queens, the Bronx, and New Jersey, including some who take 2-hour lessons each week. At this point, I only accept students who will take weekly lessons. I now offer two student recitals for all ages (see my pictures!) and four studio classes for adults a year. Over 20 of my current students are adults and they have expressed that they really enjoy the sense of community they experience as a result of attending the studio classes and meeting other adult learners.
I have taught students of all ages (3 and up) and abilities for over 17 years and have prepared students for ABRSM exams, NYSSMA exams, specialized middle school and high school auditions, pre-college programs, college auditions (to major in music), other auditions, guzheng (古箏) exams, competitions, and all types of performances. Of course, I have also taught many students who are learning just for fun or just for themselves. If you are a beginner and/or don't know how to read sheet music, I can definitely help you! If you are interested in learning how to play the piano while singing, I can definitely help as well. Finally, I also welcome serious students of piano who are thinking about making classical music into a career choice.
My teaching methodology includes how to learn and memorize with maximum efficiency (I have spent the last few years specifically researching and creating many methodologies); how to solve technical / mechanical / relaxation issues (including how to achieve much greater speed and control); how to express yourself musically and connect with your inner self; how to practice physically, mentally, and emotionally; how to set and achieve goals; how to use both motivation and willpower to your advantage; and much more besides. One of the unique components of my lessons is that I teach very specifically what I like to think of as the art of practicing itself (derived from the methodologies I created). I coach students on how to logically solve all technical and musical difficulties (at least the aspects of music that CAN be logically solved) and then train them to be as independent of me as possible. This helps to unlock the door to true musical expression.
Although I was born and raised in New York, I can teach lessons in either English or Mandarin Chinese.
I have performed at such venues as Lincoln Center, WeArts Theatre (Shanghai), Parsons Music Performance Center (Shanghai), Fazioli Piano Center (Taipei), the Bitter End, the Soapbox Gallery, Flushing Town Hall, Molloy College, the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office of New York, the Tenri Cultural Institute of New York, Black Box Theatre (NYU), Frederick Loewe Theatre (NYU), the Skirball Center (NYU), Goldmark Hall (Mannes), Pforzheimer Hall (MSM), Greenfield Hall (MSM), Yamaha Piano Salon, Prague Conservatory, Jan Deyl Conservatory (Prague), the Jazz Dock (Prague), the Centro Municipal Integrado El Llano (Gijón, Spain), and the Centro Municipal Integrado Pumarín (Gijón, Spain). I have participated in both the Gijón International Piano Festival (Spain) and the International Keyboard Institute and Festival (New York), and have played in masterclasses for Robert McDonald, Yuan Sheng, José Ramos Santana, Nina Lelchuk, Gabriele Leporatti, Alexandre Moutouzkine, Amy Gustafson, Anthony de Mare, and Eduardus Halim.
Last year (2018), I gave solo piano recitals both here in New York and in Taipei. Earlier this year (2019), I was the featured performer at the Manhattan International Film Festival. And recently (June and July of 2019), I gave a solo recital in New York followed by two more solo recitals and a masterclass in Shanghai.
Lessons at my apartment are $95 for one hour, $80 for 45 minutes and $65 for half an hour.
Please feel free to message me with any questions you might have. I am genuinely passionate about teaching and sincerely care about each of my students. And if you are a part of my studio, you will find that I am very responsive and willing to help however I can. I look forward to helping you achieve your goals. Thank you!
The following are ALL 5 star reviews from Thumbtack (where I have received only 5 star reviews):
"I've been learning the piano for about a month now and was fortunate enough to cross paths with David about a week into that journey. In the 3 lessons I've had with him, my competency has progressed to the point where I can realistically tackle the first movement of the Moonlight Sonata, due largely to the comprehensive practice methods I've learned from David and the confidence I've gained from the pace of my growth because of them. Id recommend David to piano players of any level as its apparent just speaking with him that hes a master of his craft and emanates a passion for piano that helps to inspire me to really want to keep improving."
“Our 4 years old daughter started a single 30 minute piano lesson a week with David just little short of 2 months ago. After two weeks, she asked to increased to 45 minute lesson twice a week as she wanted more time with him as she found it fun and exciting. In such a short period of time from an absolute beginner, she can already play a variety of songs on her own and starting to read simple music notes. This could not have been achieved without David. David is not only friendly but extremely patient and creates such a wonderful environment that our daughter is excited to go to her next lesson with him and asks often when will she sees him next.
In addition to playing the piano, both of our daughters (the 4 year old, and our 2 year old) take 30 minute percussion lessons right after the piano lessons. David encourages our whole family to participate as he explains the concepts and methods of different instruments, followed by an improvisational drumming session. He makes both of our daughters feel very comfortable at his place, they absolutely love him!
David is extremely encouraging of learning and involvement in a very positive teaching style. Our girls are very lucky to have him!”
"I am proud to say David brought music into my life. As a former student, I'm grateful for the lessons I shared with David. He is a wonderful teacher who truly cares about his work and what his students learn from him. He pays attention to small details that have immense impacts on the execution of the music. In addition, David doesn't only care about the music played at the lesson, as he works to help students apply regular and effective practicing times and methods at home. I'm so grateful for the many years I enjoyed music with David's guidance and support. He was an excellent mentor, and I could never have asked for a more wonderful teacher to introduce me to the world of music. I hope to forever carry the knowledge and kindness David brought into my life. Thank you, David!"
“David is an impeccable instructor! He is scientific in what and how he teaches, takes great care with his students, is extremely knowledgeable, professional, inspiring, prompt, responsive, and has a wonderful demeanor conducive to learning.
I have played and received instruction on other instruments (recently and throughout the years), but I am a beginning student (piano mixed with some voice) with David. He has taught me critical skills for efficient and effective learning and practice (to me, this alone is HUGE), which are rooted in his extensive research and experience. I have learned to methodically build my ability to play a piece of music (the concept of sets, building sets, comprehensive execution on sets, interleaving, spaced repetition, to leverage inspiration and energy levels to make progress), to strictly analyze my music and playing, to journal my practice, and to approach my music in an acutely aware/focused/structured fashion geared towards achieving results. In vocal training I have applied these skills as well, and I have also learned additional methods to build my abilities (breathing, bracing, projection, to work through lyrics with a variety of tactics, how to deconstruct and then reconstruct something seemingly too complex for me).
Each lesson of mine adheres to the structure of theory, scales, and playing of pieces (both small pieces, and short-term and long-term goal pieces) that I have prepared for the week; this is just the combination for me. All time is spent wisely; and as each lessons plays out, David is acutely focused, incorporating his methodologies all along the way, testing my understanding, discussing practice and performance (how-to’s, and including mental practice, etc.), discussing health, providing reasoning for everything that we do, encouraging goal-setting (pieces that inspire including lofty ones, 40-piece challenge to encourage reading and exposure to new pieces), and encouraging me to ask any questions that I may have. I greatly appreciate that in lessons I am significantly challenged to think and work quickly (so as to improve my ability to play quickly). And should a question come up outside of lessons, David is very quick to respond and always generously provides extensive information.
In addition to the opportunities to play pieces cold at each lesson, David offers other invaluable performance opportunities in the form of studio classes (performance plus critique), recitals at a variety of venues, and the chance to come with him to play the Sing For Hope pianos. These also serve as wonderful opportunities for inspiration and exposure to pieces that one might not have heard of before. I personally walked away with pieces new to me and that have inspired me to keep striving to achieve!
I can say undoubtedly that David and his comprehensive methodologies have given me the tools to correct where I have gone wrong in the past and to quickly make progress which I otherwise would not have been able to. He provides the instruction and guidance of which I had always hoped to find, and I greatly recommend him to anyone no matter the age or the range of experience! He will make sure you know how to efficiently and effectively learn, practice, master, and perform. Nothing is left out, you just have to execute! :)”
“I am an experienced pianist, but have taken a number of years off to focus on my career. Decided to work with David as a teacher to get back into training and to prepare for a solo recital. David's lessons are very valuable and suitable for pianists at any level. I started off at 1 hour per week but have increased to 2 hours per week because of the value. More specifically, I have (within 2 months) made great process on my ability to add shaping and balance to pieces. I brought a rusty version of the Minute Waltz to him about 6-7 weeks ago that he has helped me bring to performance level. I also feel that my ability to critically listen has dramatically improved during the time. David also teaches me piano theory to get my understanding of piano up to my playing ability. Lastly, David is incredibly easy to reach by phone or text and will field questions from me about my practice throughout the week. It is incredibly helpful to have a teacher that responsive and committed to my learning.”
"We did several trial lessons for my 5-year old twins for their first piano teacher and we finally settled with David. And I am glad we made the right choice. David communicates with kids extremely well with great patience. He has a very systematic way of structuring the lessons from the very beginning. Each lesson covers a combination of elements including practice, correction, theory and fun learning, keeping kids interested and motivated. The twins are able to play Old MacDonald after only 4 lessons and they are learning dynamics (loud vs. soft) and counting. He is punctuate and easy going. His home studio is pleasant and comfortable with a baby grand piano that makes playing music a moment for enjoyment."
“I am very pleased to have David as my piano teacher. I commute 1.5 hours to my lessons with him and the long commute is worth every minute to be able to get his expert review and teaching on my piano skills. I’ve been working with David for about 6 weeks and I’ve already been able to work my through playing most of the first page of the Final Fantasy 7 Main Theme. Most instructors would not have bothered to give a complete beginner the time and patience to work through this piece. I’m really glad David has taken me up on the experience, with patience and thoughtful feedback, to learn music I’m interested in.
David has taught me the elements of good form, techniques to learn new music more efficiently, and given me the opportunity to perform in studio classes and recitals. Working with David results in a well rounded experience.”
“I was referred to David by a former student of his in Jan 2019. In the past 4 months, I have had a great experience learning from David, and I am thankful to have made the choice to learn the piano with such a stellar professional. Over the first few weeks, as a total beginner, David patiently walked me through the basics of music theory, and even helped me out with picking out an instrument that I could afford. His best quality lies in being able to understand my level of understanding, guiding me through the various pitfalls in my learning process, and providing steady and thoughtful feedback. His method is a mix of traditional music teaching coupled with tips and tricks that he's learned along the way over his career. He is approachable as a teacher, and lets me ask questions that feed my curiosity. He is open to letting me pick up classical or popular music, and works together on goals to learn a few personal favorite pieces. He even helped me think through the process of finding time to learn during my busy schedule. He is quick to notice errors in my practice, but is also quick to give positive reinforcement on things that are working well. Technique, relaxation, memorization, problem solving mindset, musicality all come naturally to him during the course of his lessons. I recommend learning from David in whichever stage of your music career you are in.”
“My 7 year old nephew started lesson with David for roughly a month now and he told me David is definitely a 5-star teacher. Before finding David on Thumbtack my nephew was learning else where for a year but the result wasn't satisfying and his interest for piano was somehow dampened. David was quick to access my nephew's skill and was able pinpointed the exact issue that had been bothering us. He did it all in the trial lesson. David is great with kids and is even a better teacher. In just 5 lessons (including the trial) , I already see my nephew enjoying piano more. He hums the pieces he just learned which had never happened with the previous teacher. We are so happy we found David on Thumbtack :)”
“David is an incredibly professional and a very knowledgable teacher, who helped structure lessons based on my own individual goals and interests related not just to piano but to music and music theory more general.
I did work on individual pieces and his unique methodologies helped me to very quickly learn and piece together my solo piano piece. But more importantly for me, his ability to teach music theory allowed me to quickly understand chords, chord progressions and jump right into composing my own small pieces, which was my main goal for the lessons.
We also spent some time working on the concept of improvisation, which was great for creating ideas in general and as an aid to composition. Something that I wouldn't have thought of on my own or known where to begin accessing resources.
Finally, he's super accessible and quick to respond to questions about music or the piano, which makes him a great resource in and out of the lesson itself. If you're looking to find an expert pianist and a fantastic teacher, you can't do better than David!”
“I began taking lessons with David after I had already been learning piano for several months. I had improved quickly at first, but it soon became apparent that without a teacher who could offer specific guidance on how to efficiently work through the challenges in the music I was learning, I'd be unable to continue to make meaningful progress. David has helped me with all of this and more—I've learned not only how to practice in a more methodical way that has yielded steady improvement, but also how to add expressiveness to my playing with a level of care and detail that I hadn't even considered before. Highly recommended.”
“We started our 3.5 year old son on piano with David and it has been great. David is extremely patient, particularly given the varying attention span of such a young student. He often mixes improvisation with more structured lessons, which our son responds to very well. Lastly, David will teach me teaching techniques to use at home during practice seasons with our son. Both my son and I enjoy the sessions and my son is steadily developing a love for music as a result. Highly recommend!”
“It’s never easy to pick your piano teacher, especially when you’re a beginner. David demonstrated a great deal of professionalism and patience in the first (trial) lesson. Before I met David, I already tried few teachers and was very uncertain about whether I should begin my piano journey or not. Not only is David experienced in performing but he’s also dedicated in teaching, and he’s passionate about finding the right method for each student.
He’s a trustworthy teacher who’s relentless on sharing his own musical experiences and teaching his methodology in great details. How to relax your arms, how to put your weight while practicing, how to read music,(as a beginner) how to overcome obstacles physically and psychologically. Through his methods, I was able to approach music more efficiently. After very few lessons, I began to feel some improvement and stated to feel the joy in solving problems. And now I’m increasing my lessons from one-hour to two-hour per week. This is definitely the best musical decision I’ve made and I’d recommend David to anyone who’s interested in learning piano and music theory.”
"I played the piano from ages 5-15, and after a 10-year gap, I was a little scared going back into it. Nevertheless working with David has been such a great experience I couldn't be happier I decided to go back to the keys. I brought him my original composition and David has helped me develop it to its full extent. On top of that, we've been working on a few classical pieces from my childhood that I've decided to relearn. Shaping, balance, critical listening, and expression are some of the things we have focused on that have really brought out the best in my playing. I'm looking forward to the recital later this month. Having gone to the first studio class, I got to meet some of David's other students, and it was a great experience. On top of all that I'm learning, I also feel part of a community. Highly recommend David as a piano teacher, whether you're just starting or getting back to it after a long break like me!"
"Dear All, My daughter is 11 years old. She has been playing piano since she was 5. After one year of piano practice, it became apparent that it is her true passion. Since then she was studying under a wonderful piano teacher, who graduated from Juilliard. We met David when my daughter's piano teacher decided to move to another state. He is a wonderful, totally committed, detailed educator. He has a very pleasant, polite personality, and is easy to relate to. My child loves having lessons with him. Since she is already playing Chopin Études and some more challenging pieces the lessons are very interesting and almost always touch on music theory topics. David would teach my daughter how to correct her posture, discuss the details in phrasing, show her how to practice effectively and much more. He sets the bar high, but is willing to give his best in order to bring the best in your child as a musician. What's most amazing about David as a piano teacher, is that he completely understands how your child feels as a student and can give ideas and tips based on how he felt when studying piano as a child and a young adult. That quality is very rare and made my daughter enjoy piano classes with David even more. I would recommend David to anyone who loves music and would like to learn the instrument and to all of those who already do know how to play it well. David has a knowledge and expertise in music, is reliable and trustworthy and willing to listen to his student's own ideas while working on their weaknesses. Piano is fun with David!"
"We couldn't be more pleased with David. His method of teaching continues to motivate my two daughters to learn. Not often you have a combination of an excellent artist and a very good teacher. He is an example."
"My 11-year-old son and I started lessons with David a few weeks ago and it has been a great experience. My son is a beginner and I re-started piano, which I played for a few years as a kid. David is teaching us challenging and helpful practicing techniques and emphasizes working on developing musical details in our pieces. He is a great, versatile teacher who motivates his students well. I highly recommend him for both kids and adults."
"The really special thing about David's teaching style is his ability to communicate with his students. During my time under his instruction, it was always a very open conversation about what I wanted to learn next or what kind of teaching style I felt would be most helpful for me (did I want to be pushed, do I want a laid back style of learning where there were less harsh deadlines, etc.) It was really refreshing to have a teacher that asked what kind of music I was interested in playing instead of just shoving a bunch of classical pieces my way like my past teachers had done. Working with David was so much fun because we were always doing something I was genuinely interested in doing--lessons were definitely the highlight of my week!"
"An artist may not be a good teacher, but David does great as both! His teaching technique is so helpful. As a total beginner, I only had 5 lessons so far (the trial plus 4 more), but I'm already playing the original version of Childhood Memory, which is a rather difficult piece with a complicated left hand part. I thought practicing might be boring but now I'm practicing a lot and really enjoy it! Pretty much because I can make surprising progress under David's guidance, that makes me confident and motivated. Although the transit is long, I already added one more session each week. It's absolutely worthy."
“David is a fantastic teacher. He cares deeply for his students and has a terrific methodology for breaking down difficult material. I came to him a beginner and he had me immediately working on one of my dream pieces. Thanks to him, I've made a surprising amount of progress on that piece within just a month, so that's pretty cool :)”
"David is an excellent teacher who uses a wide range of techniques to improve your piano playing skills. I found that my ability to play more precisely and expressively have quickly improved due to his lessons on shaping and expression. Furthermore, I found the studio class that he put on for his students was useful for getting over performance jitters. I look forward to continuing lesson with him in the future."
"I am an adult beginner who is 60 years old. I started piano lessons with David just three weeks ago. Even within such a short period of time, I have started to enjoy playing the piano. I've learned to read music and can find starting notes and check notes in my vocal music. David has also taught both of my daughters (aged 9 and 10) for some time and the improvement they've shown has been impressive. Alina's is obvious because of her piano exam preparation and Sophie's sense of rhythm and independence are showing big signs of improvement now too. We are very happy that David is our piano teacher."
"David is an excellent piano teacher and I am very happy I signed on with him. I had about 9 years of piano classes when I grew up and now I came back to it after about 15 years of a break. In the first four lessons we covered shaping, balance, voicing, pedaling, dynamic contrasts, mental practice. He also offers a free studio class with his students and a recital. It is fun and challenging at the same time and i can see my playing improve steadily."
"I've been a student of David's for a while now, and am consistently delighted by his very patient yet thorough guidance as a piano teacher. I started with almost no knowledge of the instrument and little musical education in general. David is methodical and observant--tailoring my lessons to address the fundamentals but also to develop skills (quite quickly, actually) in the areas where I specifically need help the most. I'd highly recommend David for beginners like me, and--given his obvious expertise--I'd recommend for more experienced performers too."
-Patrick Drew G.
"David is a great teacher, who is very willing to work with you. My lessons were mostly focused on music theory, but when David noticed my uncertainty on the direction the lessons were going, he made sure to help me refocus and reestablish both my long and short term goals. David is a teacher that will help you keep focus on what you're trying to achieve while also being opened minded to new possiblities if your goals ever change."
"David is an amazing teacher and my kids responded to him so well, he have an amazing way of teaching and connecting to the kids. David has lots of patient to go over to the same melody just to make it perfect, his studio is very clean and friendly, he has a grand piano which my kids love to play with. David goes over details and he is very particular. I highly recommend!"
"I started piano lessons with David as an adult beginner last year. David is not only a very skilled and passionate pianist, but also an encouraging and methodological teacher. His lessons are taught in a way that is best suited for my specific learning style and addresses any problematic areas or knowledge gaps that I have. In addition, David has helped me gain a problem-solving mindset that allows me to practice more efficiently and solve many challenging problems that arise out of piano practice on my own. Thanks to David, my piano skills have improved significantly, and I finally found a hobby that I enjoy everyday."
For more reviews, videos, and other information, please visit my Thumbtack profile: https://www.thumbtack.com/-Brooklyn-NY/service/3736296
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