New Piano, Voice and Composition Instructor – Dr. Tatiana Dutoit

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 admin@easymusiccenter.com to sign up for lessons today or to inquire about lessons on other instruments like guitar, ukulele, bass and drums.

-Peter Dods

President

Easy Music Center

admin@easymusiccenter.com

*Instructors are not employees of Easy Music Center.

Tatiana’s Professional and Academic Resume:

 

Teaching Experience

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

Education

 

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

programs.

· 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

1991.

· 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).

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