New Piano, Voice and Composition Instructor*
Dr. Tatiana Dutoit
Taking lessons from Tatiana is just pure FUN! We’ve been doing some major renovations at the King St. store recently so I went into my lesson feeling stressed, busy, and lifeless. After just a few minutes working with Tatiana, my attitude changed. I can’t remember the last time I laughed so much and had such a bright and uplifting lesson. Tatiana has the kind of energy that other people feed off of.
I’ve taken at least 10 keyboard crash lessons over the years as the owner of the store. In all of the lessons, most instructors ask me what level of player I am. The ones that ask me to play get to see a little rendition of the very last piece I played when I was 11 years old. I never passed that song, and it was one of the reasons why I gave up on piano so you can imagine what I sound like playing it. Tatiana was interested in hearing it anyway. I blazed through the intro, cringing at my awful timing, sound dynamics, and every other thing that makes me terrible on the keys. Usually, after playing that for other instructors, the instructor would start teaching me something new, with both of us acknowledging that no one should have to sit through that song again…
Tatiana was different. She immediately started making adjustments to my hands, wrists, and general positioning. She pointed at one of my non-engaged fingers lifting up away from the board. She encouraged me to keep my fingers down and adjusted my wrists so my fingers naturally fell to the board more easily. She started talking about sound dynamics and how one of my hands needed to play slightly louder than the other one. She sat down on the board for a second and played the exact same piece. She told me to look at her body and arms. Her movement was so different. Her body was so much more involved in playing the piece. I was all fingers. She told me to think about my body, how it felt, and that I need to loosen up and play with more than just my fingers, incorporating my arms, shoulders and even my whole body.
It was at this time that I stopped Tatiana and asked her if we could possibly change course. I thought it was super cool how much she learned from the little she saw me play, but repeatedly hearing that song from my youth was driving me crazy already. I told her what I really wanted to learn was how to do more of what I can do on the guitar on the keyboard. I showed her that I know how to play a 1/4/5 major chord progression, doing a CEG (C major), FAC (F Major), GBD (G Major), and I also showed her that I could play the pentatonic scale in C. I said,” I want to be able to jam the chords and the scale at the same time. I’ve tried before, and I struggle to do it. Any tips or advice?”
Tatiana smiled and asked me if I knew what a chord inversion was. She asked me how easy it was to jump from the C to the G chord with the way I was playing it. I told her it was kind of hard, particularly if I was focusing on my right hand playing notes from the scale (you have to jump a whole section to do it the way I knew how to). She showed me a different way of playing the G chord. I didn’t realize how simple it was. All I had to do was shift the first two notes in the C chord down (CEG – The C shifts down to a B, and the E shifts down to a D). Now the notes in the chord are BDG. Notice, I was initially playing GBD to get my G major chord. Now I was playing BDG. I didn’t shift my hand position at all to do this. All I did was move two fingers down a white key space. BDG and BGD are all the same notes, albeit in different octaves. The order doesn’t seem to matter as much when chording on a keyboard because you hit them all at the same time. On a guitar, it would sound different because of the string you start on with the down strum. Anyhow…they are called inverted chords because the notes are inverted. It is still the same chord. WHAT A GREAT TRICK!!! The way to do the inversion of the 4 (the F Major) was also very easy to do (instead of FAC it is CFA). Now, I can play the 1,4,5 and scarcely have to move my left hand anywhere. You just have to shift your fingers a little. What a breakthrough for easy jamming!
I had a blast in my lesson with Tatiana. She has great energy and enthusiasm. Her level of playing and versatility are also wonderful. She also told us that she is a great instructor for children as she is certified in two children’s teaching methods Suzuki and Kindermusik. She starts them as young as 3. If you have kids and want them to start learning piano, Tatiana is definitely the instructor for you. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up for lessons today or to inquire about lessons on other instruments like guitar, ukulele, bass and drums.
Easy Music Center
*Instructors are not employees of Easy Music Center.
Tatiana’s Professional and Academic Resume:
2008 – 2012 New Mexico Highlands University, Las Vegas, New Mexico
Chair of Music Composition and Theory
Courses taught: Seminar in Music Composition, Applied Composition and
Applied Piano – all levels, Music Theory I-IV, Piano (Group Piano I, II, III, and
Functional), Aural Skills I-III, Western Art Music (I and II), Music
Accompaniment, and Introduction to Music / Music Appreciation
2007-2008 School for the Performing Arts, Paget, Bermuda
Piano, Voice and Composition Instructor
2004-2006 Core-Age Records & Publishing, Hermosa Beach, CA
Co-owner of Independent Label
2003-2004 Arizona Conservatory for Arts and Academics, Phoenix, AZ
Piano Department Chair
2002–2003 Community College of Allegheny County, Pittsburgh, PA
Piano and Voice Instructor
1999-2002 Bermuda Conservatory of Music, Hamilton, Bermuda
Piano and Composition Instructor
1995-1998 University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA
Teaching Fellow (Basic Musicianship)
1997-1998 Chatham College, Pittsburgh, PA
Piano Ensemble Instructor
1990-1992 Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA
Piano Teaching Assistant
2001 University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA
Ph.D. in Music Philosophy, Composition and Theory
Doctoral dissertation: Two Musical Settings of “Sonnet VIII” by William
Shakespeare (Stravinsky, Dutoit-Dran: A Comparative Analysis)
1992 Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA
MFA, Composition and Theory (Minor in Voice)
1988 University of Arts in Belgrade, Belgrade, Serbia
BFA, Composition and Theory with minor in piano
Awards and Other Experience
· Founder of Composition Department at New Mexico Highlands University.
Established composer, pianist, and vocalist, frequently performing in community
· Developed several versions of curriculum and instructional materials that provide
the integration of theory and music composition lessons for various levels.
· Strong interest and practical knowledge of Finale and Pro Tools, digital recording
equipment, multimedia, and sound tracks.
· Produced five CD’s through Core-Age Records in various styles (classical and
experimental, world and film music, piano music, pop-rock, and new-age). The
latest release was “A Place under the Sun,” piano / new-age album in 2006.
· University/College teaching experience (1990 – 2010) at the University of
Pittsburgh, Chatham College, Community College of Allegheny County,
Carnegie-Mellon University, and New Mexico Highlands University.
· Summer Research Assistantship in Electronic Music in 1997 and a Teaching
Fellowship (1995 – 1998) at the University of Pittsburgh.
· Provided piano accompaniment for the Pittsburgh Playhouse Theatre in 1986 and
· Awarded October Prize in Composition in 1982 and five first-place awards for
piano performance in competitions (1978 – 1986) in Belgrade, Serbia.
· Performed original music and various classical and popular repertoire in three
countries over the past two decades: United States, Serbia and Bermuda.
· Certificates: Suzuki Piano (all levels) and Kindermusik (all levels).