Piano & Organ Instruction

Piano, Jazz Piano, Organ
Ena Bronstein Barton, Department Head

Private Lessons

Private piano and organ instruction coordinates the development of several areas, including listening skills, technique, musicality, and knowledge of repertoire written for the instrument. Students learn note reading as soon as they are ready (children are often ready when they are reading words.)

Our faculty is knowledgeable in diverse and updated pedagogical methods and will choose materials appropriate to each student, taking into consideration age, learning style, and level of ability. Instruction is given in building helpful practice habits and in preparation for performance as it pertains to each individual student.

In addition to traditional teaching methods, the Conservatory provides Suzuki instruction, which stresses the development of ability through the “mother tongue” approach. The method emphasizes learning through listening, imitation, repetition, games, and practice—with the teacher, parent, and student working as a team. Progress is made from skill to skill in carefully structured lessons that include parent participation and help for the parent who will be guiding home practice. Listening daily to recordings of the music the children will play is an essential part of the method. Each week, a Suzuki student attends a private lesson and a group class. Group classes are a very important aspect in that they stimulate interest, reinforce musical and technical development, and provide opportunities for performance.

Private jazz piano lessons are available for students interested in learning how to improvise, read lead sheets, play by ear, play solo, and play with a group.

Students are required to own or have access to a piano or organ for practice during the week in order to take private lessons. Those who do not own a piano should investigate local music stores to rent or purchase an instrument.  Organists must make arrangements to find their own instrument for practice. The Conservatory cannot provide practice space for students.

Beginning piano students may use an electronic keyboard for the first semester of study only. For those who choose this option, we recommend a touch-sensitive keyboard with at least 66 keys. The electronic keyboard should also have a stand and a music rack. Parents/students who use an electronic keyboard for beginning lessons should realize that this is a temporary solution to the need for an acoustic piano.

Families with prospective students under the minimum age* may request an interview (30-minute maximum) if they would like to be considered for private instruction. Families will be asked to complete a registration form and pay an interview fee of $30 before the interview. Upon acceptance of a student under the suggested minimum age, the registration fee and tuition deposit will be due before the student can be placed with a teacher.

*The minimum age for traditional study for piano is 6; for Suzuki, 4; for organ, 12 (2 years of prior piano study is preferred). The recommended lesson length for beginners is 30 minutes.

Group Instruction

Westminster Conservatory offers a wide range of classes and ensembles to meet the needs of every student, from the beginner to the most advanced student, regardless of age. Some classes are intended as an introduction to music, and require no previous experience. Others are designed to complement private instruction. Most classes run 32 weeks per year. Class length is based upon minimum enrollment. Some classes may be offered with a smaller enrollment by reducing the class length. In this case, the tuition remains the same.

  • Suzuki Piano Group
    Ages 4 and above
    Group classes are required for all students taking private Suzuki piano lessons. Classes are 45 minutes in length, with 32 classes in the academic year. Princeton location only.
    Number of classes: 32
    Class length: 45 minutes
    Tuition: $504 (if studying privately with a Suzuki teacher outside the Conservatory, instructor approval is necessary.)
  • Piano Lessons Plus!
    Year I: Beginners Only
    Ages 7-8 years
    This program offers children an opportunity to study piano in both group and private settings. The weekly piano class will be supervised by a piano professor from Westminster Choir College’s nationally renowned faculty. It will include group involvement in creative listening, technique, and movement activities. The group instruction will be enhanced by weekly private lessons. Both the group and private lessons will be taught by graduate students in the Master of Music program in piano pedagogy and performance at Westminster Choir College. Princeton location only.
    Tuition (includes both private lessons & group classes): $792
    Number of private lessons: 24
    Number of group classes: 24
    Length of private lessons: 30 minutes
    Length of group classes: 60 minutes (4-person minimum)
  • Piano Lessons Plus Encore!
    Year II: returning Piano Lessons Plus! students only
    This program continues piano study in both group and private settings. The weekly piano class will include group involvement in creative listening, technique, and musicianship activities. Weekly private lessons will be taught by graduate students in the Master of Music program in piano pedagogy and performance at Westminster Choir College. Princeton location only.
    Tuition (includes both private lessons & group classes): $792
    Number of private lessons: 24
    Number of group classes: 24
    Length of private lessons: 30 minutes
    Length of group classes:60 minutes (4-person minimum)
  • Piano Explorations
    Grades 1-2 (beginners only)
    In this class children will explore the world of music through the piano. No prior music training is required, but it is preferred that students be able to read words. Interaction with a small group of students encourages an enthusiasm to play and encourages quick learning of musical concepts and short pieces. Piano Explorations has proven to be a rewarding experience for both parent and child. This class is a wonderful preparation for future private lessons. Students should have access to a piano or keyboard (minimum of 66 keys) for practice and are expected to maintain a consistent practice schedule. Parents are encouraged to participate in the student’s home practice.
    Number of classes: 32
    Class length: 55 minutes (4-person minimum)
    Tuition: $640 (materials not included)
  • Pianos and Pizzicati
    Grades 1-2 (beginners only)
    This class will introduce students to keyboard, strings, and beginning music theory. Using a group-class format, students will spend 8 weeks exploring each type of instrument and setting practice goals for reinforcement at home. While the class will meet at the same time each week, the students will be divided into two groups and meet in separate rooms for each instrument. At the mid-point of the fall term, students will switch instruments—for example, piano for 8 weeks and then cello for 8 weeks. In the spring term, students will continue with more advanced activities in their rotation; the violin will replace the cello. Princeton location only.
    Number of classes: 32
    Class length: 55 minutes (8-person minimum)
    Tuition: $640
    Materials fee: $30 plus applicable instrument rental fees
  • Pianos Next Steps
    For returning Pianos and Pizzicati students only
    This class continues to develop a strong music foundation in both piano study and theory of music. Students will experience and explore the wide range of keyboard sounds and develop basic music skills, including technique, rhythm, reading, creative work, keyboard skills, and aural skills. The class also reinforces three basic elements of music: rhythm, melody, and harmony through listening, singing, playing, and movement. Together, the children learn to enjoy music making through singing, playing, creative listening and composing activities, and will develop their hearing, singing, note reading, and performance abilities. Children will have the opportunity to study piano skills in duets/trios and individual settings. Parents are encouraged to actively participate in maintaining a consistent practice schedule for the child. Princeton location only.
    Number of classes:  32
    Class length:  55 minutes (4-person minimum)
    Tuition: $640
    Materials fee:  $30
  • Jazz Explorations
    Paul Hofreiter, Instructor
    Grade 8 through Adult
    In this class, students who already have some background in jazz will take their knowledge to the next level by playing in a small group and combining jazz with other musical styles (jazz/rock, jazz/hip hop, jazz/Latin, etc.). Students will explore playing through longer forms over time-tested jazz standards, and will also be encouraged to explore different ways of playing these compositions, as well as working on their own arrangements or compositions. Music written and performed by the students will be presented at a year-end recital either on Westminster’s campus or off-campus at a live venue. An interview/audition is required for placement. Princeton Academy location only.
    Number of classes: 31
    Class length:  45 minutes (3-person minimum)
    Tuition: $682

Chamber Music

Experience the joy of making music in a small ensemble! Westminster Conservatory offers reading ensembles as well as coached chamber groups, depending on the playing goals of the student.

  • Adult Chamber Reading Ensemble
    Marjorie Selden, Coordinator
    Dedicated to the joys of sight reading, this program provides an opportunity for adult musicians to meet every other week to play together in small wind, string, piano, or mixed ensembles. New ensembles are created each week. The groups, working on their own, read through music provided by the coordinator at the beginning of each session. Westminster provides music scores, studio space, stands, and pianos. Wind and string players bring their own instruments. Participants are expected to have some sight reading and ensemble experience. Each morning session will include a coffee break with light refreshments and time to socialize. Princeton location only.
    Number of sessions: 16 (ensembles meet every other week)
    Session length: 3 hours
    Tuition: $260
  • Coached Chamber Ensemble
    Elena Panova, Coordinator
    All Ages
    Students of any age or level are matched with other musicians in a small ensemble which meets weekly for individual coaching by a Conservatory faculty member. This program will introduce students to a broader range of repertoire and provide the opportunity for interaction with other musicians at the same level. Participants are encouraged to perform in community settings. This class is open to all instruments. An interview/audition is required for placement.
    Number of sessions: 32
    Session length: 45 minutes (3-person minimum)
    Tuition: $704

Piano Teaching Certificate Program

Piano Teaching Certificate Program
Spring Semester begins January 26
More Information

Westminster Conservatory, in conjunction with Westminster Choir College, provides professional training for new as well as experienced piano teachers.

  • Westminster Professional Development Certificate Program in Piano Teaching
    Lillian Livingston, Director
    This professional certificate program is for piano teachers wishing to improve their musical skills, enhance their credentials and expand their professional development. Whether you are currently a teacher or would like to return to teaching, this program is for you.

    When is the program offered?

       Fall 2014:  September 15 – December 1, 2014
       Spring 2015:  January 26 – April 22, 2015

    Register Online

    Unique Highlights
       Convenient schedule – Monday and Wednesday, 9:30 a.m.-1 p.m.
       Nationally renowned faculty
       Generation of creative, new ideas
       Stimulating peer-to-peer conversation

    Classes and individual instruction are combined in the essential areas of repertoire, musicianship skills and performance. Instructors are faculty members from Westminster Choir College of Rider University and Westminster Conservatory of Music. Students can complete the certificate requirements in four semesters or work at their own pace.

    2014-15 Class Schedule and Completion Options
    Classes meet conveniently on Mondays and Wednesdays from 9:30 a.m. to 12:50 p.m. for 11 weeks during the regular college semesters. Each day consist of three class sessions. The program is designed to be completed in four semesters. Partial semester enrollment is also possible.

    Fall 2014 Classes
       9:30  –  10:30 a.m.
          Monday: Theory I
          Wednesday: Sightreading Skills
       10:40  – 11:40 a.m.
          Monday: Musical Styles Overview
          Wednesday: Technique I
       11:45 a.m. – 12:45 p.m.
          Monday: Partnering Pianists I
          Wednesday: Exploring Teaching Methods and Repertoire (Early to Late Elementary)

    Spring 2015 Classes
       9:30  –  10:30 a.m.
          Monday: Theory II
          Wednesday: Partnering Pianists II
       10:40  – 11:40 a.m.
          Monday: Musical Styles (Baroque & Classical)
          Wednesday: Technique II
       11:45 a.m. – 12:45 p.m.
          Monday: Duos and Trios
          Wednesday: Exploring Teaching Methods and Repertoire (Early Intermediate)

    Subject Areas
    Certificate Program curriculum includes the following subject areas:
       Musical Styles
       Ensemble Skills
       Teaching Methods
       Jazz Studies
       Repertoire for all ages up to early advanced
       Exploring Teaching Methods and Repertoire

    Number of weeks
       11 each semester (Monday and Wednesday for 22 classes) OR (Monday or Wednesday for 11 classes)*
    Class length
       3-1/2 hours
       $957 per semester for Monday and Wednesday option ($1,914 total per academic year) OR
       $528 per semester for Monday or Wednesday option ($1,056 total per academic year)*

    Our Distinguished Faculty
       Lillian Livingston, coordinator
       Ena Bronstein Barton, advisory board member
       Ingrid Clarfield, advisory board member
       Phyllis Alpert Lehrer, advisory board member
       Miriam Eley
       Patricia Landy
       Peter Lauffer
       Rose McCathran
       Esma Pasic-Filipovic
       Marvin Rosen
       Rita Shklar

Piano Faculty
Natasha Agilina
Erik Allesee
Susan Bennett Bakshi
Ena Bronstein Barton
Elena Benedict
Ben Cahill
Christine Chan
Jenny Chiou
Carol Comune
Tara Cooke-Ventresca
Elizabeth Crockett
Anna de Groot
Miriam Eley
Clipper Erickson
Inessa Gleyzerova
Michael Green
Mary Greenberg
Theodore Hendricks-Verdejo
Ikumi Hiraiwa
Janice Hofreiter
Megan Hofreiter
Eric Houghton
Michael Jacobsen
Eunju Joung Kim
Eva Kastner-Puschl
Larissa Korkina
Julia Kovalev
Patricia Landy
Mary Elizabeth Latorre
Alynn Laudenslager
Phyllis Lehrer
Suzanne Lehrer
Teresa Lim
Fang-Ting Liu
Lillian Livingston
Carmen Mateiescu
Rose McCathran
Alison Neely
Jamie Olszak
Elena Panova
Esma Pasic-Filipovic
Agnes Poltorak
Galina Prilutskaya
Cecelia Reilly
Jessica Rey-de-Castro
Kyu-Jung Rhee
Marvin Rosen
Jodi-Ann Russell
Nicholas Schidlovsky
Kathy Shanklin
Angelina Shapoval
William Sheibinger
Rita Shklar
Erica Silver
Frances Taylor
Yana Vasilyeva
Sylvie Webb
Debra Wiggins
Hendry Wijaya
Richard Woo
Marlene Yeni-Maitland
Marion Zarzeczna
Maria Zolotareff
Organ Faculty
Craig Williams  

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