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Alhambra, CA Piano Teacher Larry Evans
My Piano Lessons: I offer lessons Monday through Friday from 11 AM until 9 PM.
Beginners: Adults and children a 30 minute lesson once a week.
Get to know Larry better with this in-depth, informative interview.
Q: Hi Larry! Can you start by telling me for how long have
you been playing and teaching piano?
Q: For any student looking to find a music instructor, what do you feel you bring to the table that distinguishes you from other piano teachers?
A: I am very patient and approachable and love to participate in the learning process and answer any question the student has. I am very well versed in popular music, including arranging, writing and recording. I can usually sight-read and arrange or perform any piece of popular music the first time it is put in front of me. I have produced and sold over 5000 CDs which are downloaded online around the world. I've worked as a professional pianist in night clubs, hotels and cruise ships. I've been a church music director for over 10 years. I customize the lessons for each student and I am classically trained with a BA in Music Education.
Q: What are the most common challenges you've observed beginners facing in learning to play piano?
Q: What is your approach to helping students overcome these challenges? How can you help them?
Q: How much time should a beginning student be ready to devote to practicing on a weekly basis, if they want to make good progress?
A: Five to seven days per week and 30 to 40 minutes per day.
Q: What is your favorite thing about teaching piano to adults?
A: I love to teach adults. They have a great sense of humor and many of them are very committed to their lessons since it has been their dream to play for a very long time. They come prepared and interested.
Q: What is your favorite thing about teaching piano to children?
A: Children are delightful since they are so full of wonder and look at the challenges of playing in such a unique way. They are open, insightful and ready to absorb the music. You can't find a better student than that. I have a six year old who likes to sing every song she learns. She really knows how to make piano lessons fun!
Q: For parents, how long, on average, should they expect their child to need to take music lessons before they can play their first simple tune?
A: In three to four weeks they should be able to play the first tune that every kid still goes crazy to play on the piano: "Yankee Doodle".
Q: How will intermediate or advanced students benefit from coming to you for further instruction? How can you improve their musical abilities and satisfaction in playing/singing the music they love?
A: These students can refine their rhythm, improve their technique and best of all perform the great piano masterworks that they have earned the skills to be able to play. Advanced students can also branch off and learn another style since they now have the background and basics to play any style they want.
Q: What local opportunities are there for your students to play their instruments in a performance setting?
A: I am currently preparing some students for the LA County School of Music and the Arts - a progressive performance arts high school. I also offer two recitals per year on a grand piano at a local upscale retirement living complex. The city of Alhambra pays people to perform at small outdoor stages around town. My students have performed at my church and at a local jazz club where I used to perform.
Q: To take our last question a step further, are there any local musical venues where you have performed, or any local orchestras/groups with whom you have played?
A: Yes, Holly Street Jazz Club in Pasadena and with the Torrance Symphony and the Unity Church in La Crescenta.
Q: Tell us about a music student you've taught who has made you really proud.
A: My student of 14 years, Kevin Tom, is currently the music director of the Pasadena Baptist Church. Another student, Nicholas Gerpe is on the faculty of the Pasadena Conservatory of Music and is earning his Doctorate in Piano Performance at the University of Southern California. Many have gone on to study music and make money at it as well which makes me very happy!
Q: When do you know that you've succeeded with a student?
A: I know I've succeeded when the student has achieved the goals they came to achieve. Also, they can play with a relaxed, effortless technique, flowing expression and confidently perform a piece in recital - if they chose to play in recital.
Q: When did your interest in music begin?
A: My mother was a piano teacher and at seven or eight years old I went crazy hearing her. I could see her fingers brushing across the keys and the amazing music flowing forth. It seemed like magic. I had to learn to do it, too. I was absolutely captivated. From then on I played and learned every day, taught myself actually with some coaching from her for the next five years then by age 18 I was entertaining at a local restaurant.
Q: Please tell us about your formal music education and credentials.
A: I have a BA in Music Education from Michigan State University. I have studied with many great pianists including Mark Richman, a concert pianist and former music professor at UCLA.
Q: What is the style of music you love playing best, on your own time?
A: I teach classical, Jazz and popular. On my own time I would say I like to play classical music the most. It is like concentrated music, so rich and full of emotion. I also play popular and classical as well.
Q: Please share the highlights of your performance/working experience.
A: I have taught the piano for 28 years, including 18 years at the Music Teachers on Main. I have performed in restaurants, hotels, and on a cruise ship for 20 years. I have been a music director in my church and others for 10 years. I accompany singers, direct chorus and produce musical variety shows for the church.
Q: I understand you're a recording artist, Larry. Where can I buy your music?
A: I published my first piano CD in 1999 called "Magnificent Movie Love Themes." It was nationally released and is currently available on cdbaby.com. My second CD in 2001, "Moonlit Nights" (jazz combo), and my third CD very recently (Nov. '08) called: "Beautiful Broadway Love Themes." They have sold about 5000 CDs to date nationwide and countless downloads world wide. You can search for my music at www.cdbaby.com.
Q: How has music enriched your life?
A: Music is a special skill that lifts people's spirits when you share it with others. Being able to play the piano is a gift that just keeps on giving. I have met television personalities, accompanied countless vocal artists, played lavish parties in Beverly Hills, performed for the Mayor of Los Angeles, played for tourists on a cruise ship in the Bahamas and recorded music to share with people all over the world. The piano opens doors to meet people I never would have met and go places I never would have traveled to if I didn't know how to play.
Q: What do you want students to get out of getting to work with you?
A: I want my students to have the knowledge to sight-read music easily, the skill to learn any song they want to learn, the technique to perform the standard classical repertoire, the confidence to play for anyone, anywhere - and the chops to play professionally if they so desire.
Q: Can you share a free tip that prospective students can benefit from right now?
A: An easy way to start exercising your fingers right now! Put your right hand thumb on middle C and go up the keyboard playing CDE with fingers 1,2,3 (the thumb is one). Now cross your thumb under your third finger and just continue with all the fingers (1,2,3,4,5) on FGABC. Go up and down too. Try the left hand on a lower C and go up using fingers 54321, 321. Remember the pinky is 5! When you've got that, give me a call at 626-202-5194 and I'll show you how to go up and down the whole piano!
Q: What is the best age to start taking piano lessons?
A: The earliest we recommend starting piano lessons for children is 4 years old. Our Piano Toons class is specifically designed for 4 and 5 year olds. Students younger than 4 can have difficulty reaching the distance between keys because of hand size. If a child is younger than 4 and still has an interest in starting music we recommend taking one of our preschool music classes. These group classes for ages 18 months to 4 1/2 years old, give children the foundational skills of rhythm, melody and help develop the basic music competence that will give them future success in private piano lessons. You can learn about our preschool music classes by clicking here. Adults can get started at any age. We have had several beginner students in their 70's and even a few in their 80's!
Larry Evans at nine years old begged his mother, a piano teacher herself, to learn the piano and has never stopped since. At 18 he was already playing for large crowds at the Elks Club in Michigan where he grew up. He played Friday nights with a repertoire of 52 songs memorized. At 19 Larry went to audition to accompany for a full musical production of "Carnival" The director, who was new that night, thought that Larry was the regular pianist and said "okay everyone, let's run the entire show!"
Larry, being young and not knowing what an audition entailed, SIGHT READ AND PERFORMED THE ENTIRE 1 & 1/2 hour SHOW ON THE SPOT! Then when someone said to the director, "Larry just came tonight to audition," The director said "You got the job!"
At 23, Larry put himself through MSU School of Music by playing at an upscale restaurants and piano bars on the weekends after having increased his repertoire to 220 songs.
From 10 years old he showed a natural ability to improvise and arrange popular music while reading it for the first time. Finally in 1999 he released his first full length CD featuring his own piano arrangements. "Magnificent Movie Love Themes" has sold several thousand copies to date. Now in digital distribution, the CD is repeatedly downloaded by fans all over Europe.
Call 626-202-5194 or email email@example.com