Whether you are an adult amateur or have a child who would like to start an instrument, contact Effinger Music Studio for high quality piano lessons in Vancouver, WA. Thomas and Kassidy help students achieve their unique goals at the piano, and they offer an exceptionally well-rounded curriculum. Students learn to play the piano and develop an advanced level of musicianship. To get started, please send us a note with some information about yourself and your goals at the piano — we'll be in touch right away.
Both Thomas and Kassidy earned Master's Degrees in Piano Performance and have taught countless lessons at the precollege and secondary levels. They have worked with young children, high schoolers, music majors, adult amateurs, and other professional piano teachers. Both play the cello at an advanced level as well, and they have performed extensively as members of the CWU Symphony Orchestra in addition to other chamber ensembles.
Their breadth of experience allows them to teach beginners, coach students auditioning for undergraduate and graduate music programs, and even offer advanced instruction in theory and composition. For more information about their backgrounds, please get in touch.
Each child is unique, and every young piano student finds a different spark to ignite their love for music. We work hard to find that spark and help your child grow into a competent, passionate musician.
We don't expect our young students to win competitions or ultimately audition for conservatory. We work with them to develop a strong foundation in music, gain technical expertise on the instrument, and learn music they love. Some students show the desire to become truly advanced pianists with lofty goals — we assign repertoire and present opportunities that will challenge and motivate them. For others, piano is more of a hobby, and that's great too! We help them grow all the same. Our desire is for them to love music and enjoy a lifetime of piano playing.
We've taught many children and teens who had no motivation to practice, and didn't express interest in music. Perhaps they resent the fact that their parents make them take lessons, or maybe they don't have any direction with music. This is a wonderful problem because it means we have the opportunity to help our students find joy in music and discover that the piano is a unique and rewarding creative outlet.
We love helping adults obtain a high level of proficiency at the keyboard. Many of our adult students are beginners, and some have prior lesson experience or even play at an advanced level. We have even had other piano teachers take lessons with us as part of their continued professional development and growth.
We listen to your goals and create a custom learning plan that will help you develop the techniques or skills you have in mind. Many of our adult students have questions about music theory, songwriting, composition, and other aspects of music. Maybe you want to get into the art of collaborative piano or improvisation. We will help you reach your goals in music, so don't hesitate to get in touch.
Since every student is different and needs focused help with different kinds of challenges, we can't predict what every lesson will look like, so here are some of the things we may cover during lessons.
It is exceedingly important to approach the piano in a healthy manner. Over time, poor technique can lead to these issues, among others:
From the very first lesson, we approach the development of a healthy technique with elements as foundational as how to set yourself up on the bench. Successful performance of different kinds of music demands the development of different kinds of techniques, and through the music you learn, we will help you develop a variety of touches and physical abilities to meet the demands of the music.
As you grow with the piano, we may suggest specific exercises to help you build the velocity and stamina to facilitate the performance of pieces with challenging scales, arpeggios, octaves, chords, and other demands presented by advanced piano music.
Did you know that many popular musicians and songwriters couldn't even read music on the staff? Eric Clapton, Eddie Van Halen, and Paul McCartney were among them. That doesn't mean they didn't create and perform great music, but it limits what one can achieve and how one can engage with music. We will help you learn to read music so you can learn notes and rhythms at home, giving us time in the lesson to help you bring the music to life, and work on other important elements of musicianship. Learning to read music also allows you to select and learn music entirely on your own, and it gives you the freedom to sit down and read through new music every day if you wish.
Learning how to read music is an essential step to learning how to “sight read”, which means to play a piece of music you have never practiced using the music. We will help you learn strategies you can use to approach a piece of music you have never seen before and play it. Like with any skill, it can take years to become an advanced sight reader, but we'll equip you with practice methods and drills that will help you learn to sight read as quickly as possible.
Learning to play the piano is about more than just learning to turn those little black dots on the page into sound. It's about learning music as a language, and just like any language, there is grammar, syntax, and vocabulary. Learning Music Theory is a way to develop the analytical tools and knowledge you need to understand the music you are playing, and to develop a shared vocabulary that enables you to talk about music with other musicians… like us!
As you learn to play the piano, we'll incorporate the relevant music theory in a structured manner. Topics we may cover include the construction of scales, how to build chords in major and minor keys, how to identify and replicate chord patterns, accidentals (sharps and flats), and more. You might also learn how to interpret musical form — in other words, you'll be able to find and label different sections in the music which can aid with memory and interpretation. Learning about form makes it much more fun to listen to music (both classical and mainstream), and it will help you break down difficult pieces of music into digestible pieces during your practice.
You've probably wondered how pianists like Yuja Wang and Evgeny Kissin play amazing music from memory in front of thousands of people. It is impressive, and you can do it too. We will teach you how to memorize music in little pieces, how to string those pieces together, how to use your music theory knowledge to aid your memory, and how to build confidence before performing in front of an audience without your music.
There's so much more we will cover in lessons, so please don't hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions about our teaching philosophy and strategies.
Our home piano studio is spacious and professional. For lessons and recitals, you will have access to a beautiful 6 foot grand piano that is tuned and regulated. We also have two stunning 9 foot Bosendorfer Concert Grands that will be joining the studio as soon as space allows.
In addition to a professional instrument, each of our students has access to our lending library. You will be able to try out new music, practice sight reading, and explore piano literature from a variety of genres and time periods.
Our studio is located at 13115 NW 39th Ave in the Felida neighborhood of Vancouver, WA. Many of our students arrive via NW 36th Ave, and we are just a few minutes from Felida Elementary School, Chinook Elementary School, Alki Middle School, Thomas Jefferson Middle School, and Skyview High School. We help students from Salmon Creek, Hazel Dell, Mt. Vista, and all of the surrounding neighborhoods.
Budgetary and space constraints prohibit many aspiring pianists from having a grand piano at home, and that's okay. If you are in the market for a grand piano, please let us know — we would be happy to help you find an excellent instrument suited for your needs and space. You can find great value in a Yamaha, Baldwin, Kawai, Boston, or other grand piano (used or new). Although Steinways hold their value better than almost any other instrument, you don't need a Steinway to have a professional playing experience. Pianos are an investment, often becoming a family heirloom, and can make an excellent centerpiece for a living room or family room. You can find high quality, well maintained instruments for less than $10,000, and many piano dealers offer financing so you can pay for your instrument over time.
For those who are unsure if they are ready for an acoustic instrument in the home, digital pianos offer an affordable and practical alternative. When selecting an electric piano, we recommend you find one with these features:
As far as upright pianos are concerned, there are numerous options for you to explore. Schimmel makes exceptional upright pianos, as does Yamaha. If you'd like help finding a piano, please let us know. Instrument selection is a fun and exciting process, and we would be happy to be a part of your family's journey to select a piano.