“In the words of my daughter, ‘he has opened my eyes to a whole new world about how to play the piano.’
I want to thank you for renewing her interest in the piano. I appreciate your flexible and insightful instructional style, able to get inside of your student's head and find ways to help them overcome their personal hurdles. You are what we were looking for. Additionally, the music which flows from your fingers is inspiring and coupled with the way you help my daughter relate to what you play for her, reveals what an outstanding musician you are.
Your introductory four pronged approach (finger substitution, rhythm, chops, and goal piece/chords) is what she needed to actually make her earlier studies finally come together. Six weeks ago she would not/could not tackle a piece by herself, but last week, in just five days, she conquered two new pieces on her own. While like most kids her age, she gets impatient, frustrated, and even bored with the very passages which would make her advance, she is now learning how to become an independent learner at the keyboard and developing the (physical and mental) stamina and playing technique by which to do so.
I think she enjoys the time she spends with you…and the intellectual exchange…as much as she enjoys the music.”
“We are happy to have found a great and patient teacher for our kids! Thanks, Matt”
“Thank you for helping me grow as a musician and as a person these past few years. You have pushed me in a loving way, and I am grateful for that. You are a wonderful friend and mentor. Thank you for all that you do.”
“We are moving. Do you know any piano teachers in the Ohio area?
I need someone like you! Great musician from a playing and theory point, but also makes it fun for the kids and is able to tap into their talent. I have some big shoes to fill when it comes to a teacher for (my daughter).
There are no words that are adequate enough to describe how thankful I feel that she began her musical journey with you as her teacher. You made her fall in love with playing the piano. You were able to impart your musical knowledge on a level that she was able to grasp as well as providing her with a foundation that she will carry with her for years to come.
There have been many tears on her part regarding, and I quote, "There will never be another teacher like Mr. Matt.”
“You seem to have a way of tapping into your students inner potential that they don't know is there yet and bring it out in the most amazing ways. Too bad I didn't have a teacher like you when I was studying piano. Hopefully my daughter will continue to love the piano as she does now…and you won't retire.”
“Thank you for all you have done to nurture our daughter’s love of music and the piano.
You are an amazing teacher and I will miss watching and listening to you on the piano.”
“I worked with Matt throughout high school and know it was one of the best decisions I ever made! Before studying piano with Matt, I could only play basic songs, didn't know anything about dynamics, was not really interested in learning music and was literally dragged to lessons every week.
Thankfully, that all changed when I began working with Mr. Johnson—I actually looked forward to our weekly lessons! I now have many classical and popular pieces under my belt…songs I never dreamed I could play.
His relaxed style of teaching kept me motivated and eliminated that ‘ughhh…I have piano today’ attitude that I had with previous teachers. I loved the musical challenges I received while working with Matt and would definitely recommend him to anyone looking for a knowledgeable and fun teacher to learn from.”
“Thanks, Matt! You really ‘hit the spot’ for my daughter. She loved your laid back (yet serious) teaching style and giving her the freedom to explore the world of music with her own interests.
You are obviously quite qualified to teach any style or any level of piano, but I appreciated the fact that you cared more about your student’s interest than your own.”
“As a beginning adult student, Matt made me feel comfortable from day one. His enthusiasm and teaching style are contagious. I highly recommend Matt for students of any age.”
“After not having played for twenty years, taking lessons with Matt helped rekindle my love for the piano. I appreciated his willingness to let me choose my own music—usually a mix of classical and New Age. He also challenged me to stretch beyond my perceived limit. I never dreamed, for instance, that I’d master a Beethoven Sonata, but I did.”
“Matt taught me to look deeper into the meaning of music so that the sound of the music itself became an expression of my emotions.”
“I’ve worked with Mr. Johnson, both as a parent of his music students and as a musician who is active in church and community organizations.
What I have come to value most about Matt is his ability to sense how far an individual can reach as a musician and then to create an environment in which that goal can be achieved. For me, at least, I had no idea I could perform at the level he knew I could reach. If you had told me ten years ago that I would feel comfortable playing keyboards for church services, singing in small ensembles (including solos), and directing handbell choirs, I'd have laughed.”
“I began taking private lessons with Mr. Johnson in 2004. For the previous 10 years, my training focused on obtaining certain levels of achievement and preparing for piano competitions. I become bored and frustrated—ready to quit piano! I wanted to play more modern sounding music and wanted a fuller sound when I played.
My parents sought out Matt for lessons after they heard him play several church Christmas programs and were very impressed with his use of dynamics and how emotional his playing was. During our initial interview, he explained his philosophy of teaching his students to be thinking, performing and functional musicians, not just key pushers. He stressed the importance of looking past the written music and making it your own.
Matt’s method is to have students learn to play a piece just as it is written first. Then after he is satisfied that they understand the piece as it was written and can play it that way, he works with them to instill techniques to make the music their own and add their personal style to the piece through improvisation. He teaches his students how to apply what they have learned about theory to improvise, change keys, reharmonize chord progressions, add arpeggios, implement various rhythms, carefully use dynamics and voicing, etc.
One of the most valuable things Matt taught me was to ‘fill in’ areas of a song where there are rests. When the music leaves one hand resting for two or three beats, improvise and fill in that dead space with some notes! This is where a fuller sound comes from. All of this makes the music more modern sounding, fuller and more rewarding because you are creating your own personalized version of the song—the way you like it.
His teaching style brought back the challenge, the joy, the sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. I didn’t even know these were the things I was missing at the time.
Matt has given me the confidence to express myself on the piano, and even as an adult, I will be forever grateful to him for giving me that ability.”
“At the age of 62, I decided to begin learning how to play the piano. With good fortune, I became a student of Matt Johnson. Matt’s consistent patience, sincerity and obvious concern for my success created a positive environment. Having Mr. Johnson as an instructor and guide is the primary reason why I still love this new learning experience.”
“Although I have not remained a pianist by trade, Matt's first-rate musicianship and teaching skills not only educated me as a child, but continue to be the inspiration that drives me as a student of music throughout my adult life.”
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