© 2019 by Breanna Ellison

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PIANO / HORN / ACCORDION LESSONS

Teaching Background

I've been teaching music for over ten years.  Currently, I teach all levels of piano and horn, and beginning to intermediate piano accordion lessons.  Piano lessons can range from classical to jazz to pop to alternative to folk to simply learning a song or piece that you enjoy.  Horn lessons can consist of excerpt drilling, exploring your more melodic side, developing your technical prowess, improving fundamentals, whatever you would like with whatever pieces you would like (as an added bonus, I can also accompany you in your lessons, so hiring an accompanist is not necessary!)  Accordion lessons can make you feel like you're traveling the world, from learning French zydeco to rhythmic Balkan insanity to sing-songy Irish folk to toe-tapping German polka.  It is not agenda-driven learning; music lessons can be as career-oriented and focused or as awe-inspiring and challenging as you like.  Students of all ages and levels of experience are welcome as are all genres of music.

 

Music lessons are almost never pigeonholed into different categories that must be adhered to; rather, music lessons encompass all the components that make music music.  Music theory and music history, in addition to fundamentals, technique, mental preparation, performance anxiety - there is no taboo.  Communication is key.  Therefore, learning must take place in a compassionate and professional atmosphere, where effort is not only required, but effortless as a result of full engagement of the student.  I want you to be enthralled with your learning.

I can safely say through all my experiences (as an orchestral musician, entertaining busker, teacher, accompanist, freelancing musician, concert organizer, fundraiser) that my theory of teaching and learning music is that it's all about connections. To learn music is to learn a completely new way of looking at the world. It is an inward journey of strength and discovery as much as it is an outwards one, learning to successfully and compassionately communicate with fellow musicians and anyone else who might cross your path. I have collaborated with individuals in both the instrumental and vocal realms - trumpet, trombone, tuba, (French) horn, clarinet, flute, violin, viola, bass, sopranos, mezzo-sopranos, baritones, and have taught piano, horn, and beginning/intermediate wind instruments in both private and group settings. I love music, and even more, I love teaching music!

 

In my love of music and of teaching, I follow the Artist-Teacher-Scholar model. The Artist-Teacher-Scholar (ATS) infuses the role of the artist with the curiosity of an educator, realizing that true learning is a volitional act of one’s ability to make a personally relevant connection with the art. The ATS understands that all individuals possess inborn artistry and thereby innovates and extends the cross-curriculum methodology to engage students into the act of volitional learning.

What Students Think

Breanna was very friendly and kind to my daughter. She is very knowledgeable and finds ways to make lessons fun while encouraging her students to maintain high musical standards. She can provide appropriate musical instruction to all ages and ability levels according to whatever your personal goals may be and she will deliver with a smile!

 

Dara J., mother of piano student

 

Taking piano lessons with Breanna has been a great experience. Her passion and knowledge of music is infectious, and makes learning fun. The lesson structure is not rigid or boring; theory and practice are mixed together naturally, and the student's musical goals are given respect. On top of that, Breanna takes time outside of lessons to share songs/pieces with me that are interesting and instructive. I always look forward to my next lesson!

 

- John M., piano student

 

Breanna is an excellent teacher - doesn't impose things but brings out what you are interested in and helps you develop at the pace that suits you - no pressure, but encouragement and lots of good ideas for ways of improving. I'm finding that little electric bulbs are suddenly being switched on and I know my playing is definitely improving as a result!

 

- Anne M., accordion student

 

It's been over 55 years since I've had accordion lessons. Breanna has been very patient and understanding. She's a great teacher. Wish we lived closer so that the lessons were in person.

 

- Donna W., accordion student

 

Breanna is a great teacher, and she is very patient. I'm a real challenge, but she has worked through it all with me. I highly recommend her!

 

- Arden M., accordion student

 

Working with Breanna has been wonderful. She is flexible in terms of planning lessons and adjusting times when necessary. Lessons are always energetic and encouraging even when I am struggling. She is creative with different exercises and definitely knows her stuff when it comes to reference material and choosing a piece to work on. Also, getting to hear her play in several concerts has been really cool. I came to her as a terribly rusty but fairly experienced player looking to pick my instrument back up and she has been a great help. I've learned a lot and I'd happily recommend her.

 

- Ariel K., horn student

Frequently Asked Questions

Where do you teach?

 

I currently teach throughout Bulgaria and online, using Skype, Zoom, and Google+ Hangouts.

For some students, I teach in-home (especially popular with busy moms and families); there is a travel fee depending on the distance.

 

 

How much are lessons?

 

It's $30/60 minutes, $20/45 minutes, $17/30 minutes.  As mentioned above, depending on the distance, there is a travel fee for in-home lessons (lessons where I travel to you).

 

 

Can I rent instruments from you?

 

No, at least not at the moment.  In the future, I may have accordions for rent.  Keyboards and pianos are fairly inexpensive depending on the model, and horns you can rent or buy from surrounding music stores or online.

 

 

What's the pace of learning like?

 

Completely individual.  I teach based off of what I sense from the individual I'm teaching.  There is no "one lesson plan fits all" as everyone is unique.  I  at one point had an accordion student who preferred to play the instrument upside down (left hand playing the keyboard, right with the buttons). There have been countless people throughout history who went about art or life in unconventional, "backwards" ways (DaVinci preferred to write backwards as a leftie to not smear the ink) who were incredibly successful.  If it's not bad technique that will cause problems over time, we'll learn this new way of playing together.

 

Say it's been several years since you've played, or perhaps you've never played, and you're extremely self-conscious - I won't harass you and try to force you into some mold you already intuitively know you won't fit into.  We will work with your strengths, make your strengths your weaknesses through compassionate learning based on self-love (not self-hate), and work through these wonderful opportunities together.

 

Maybe all you want to really do is play this one pop song.  No problem.  I'll scour the internet for the sheet music, and most likely, we'll just work it out by ear in the lesson (usually much easier).

 

It's whatever you want within my arena of knowledge (horn, piano, accordion).

 

 

Really?  You play accordion?!

 

Goodness, yes.  I've had this sort of love affair with the accordion ever since I first heard Balkan music in junior high.  It was so wild and raw yet sensual and enticingly non-Western that it was love at first listen.  I couldn't help but obsessively listen to bands like Fanfare Ciocarlia and the Amsterdam Klezmer Band and Taraf de Haidouks whenever I had a good internet connection out in Western Kansas (thanks, Limewire)!  I played on and off throughout high school, busked the streets of Lawrence, Kansas all through my double-major undergrad, and then in grad school, actually played at recitals (!), got asked to do gigs, and found this emerging, underground accordion fascination with a lot of young people.  It's definitely a growing scene, hipster-influenced or not, and I think the accordion will finally get the recognition it deserves.

 

 

Did I answer your questions?  Did I miss something entirely?  Let me know!  Contact me here.