Testimonials from piano students/Parents

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From Quintin (Adult piano student):

"Lydia is a wonderful teacher for aspiring pianists of all ages and all skill levels!

I started taking lessons to pursue a new hobby as an adult, and she has helped me work toward my own goals in learning musicianship, music theory, and even composition skills. Her lessons are personalized to your needs/goals, and are worth every penny."

From Mike (Adult piano student):

"I have wanted to play piano since I was about six years old, but other things kept getting in the way. Instead, I played classical guitar and taught myself composition. However, after retirement, I bought a piano and took the plunge. I've been taking lessons from Lydia for about a year now, and I highly, highly recommend her, especially for adult students.

Several things stand out to me. First Lydia has been very flexible about choice of material. For example, I came in knowing that I especially like contrapuntal music (Bach, Scarlatti, e.g.). Lydia helped me find a set of piano-method books that are very well suited to learning to play that style of music. She has also supplemented those method books with more varied material --- her own arrangements and compositions, for example.

Second, Lydia always emphasizes making *music*, rather than just hitting the right notes quickly. Concentrating on getting the phrasing and tone right has improved my overall musicianship a lot.

Finally, Lydia has always provided the right amount of motivation. I know from experience with guitar teachers that it is possible to err in both directions: being too demanding or too undemanding. For me, Lydia strikes the happy medium: she doesn't let me get sloppy, but she also doesn't make me feel like I'm a hopeless case when I don't get something right away.

Five stars! "

From Sinduri (Adult piano student):

"There is no better teacher than Ms.McCool!

I was apprehensive about taking piano lessons as an adult, but Ms.McCool's teaching has made me fall in love with the piano. She is thorough in her teaching methodology and makes learning exciting and fun. She is excellent at teaching her students the proper technique to play the piano, which is rare to find. Ms.McCool's classes are tailored to each student, depending on their interest and skill level, from basics to composing our own pieces. Her motivation has helped me continue pursuing my dream of learning the piano as an adult. Ms.McCool's professionalism is unparalleled, and I highly recommend taking lessons with her. You will enjoy every bit of it. "

From Kim (Adult Piano Student):

"Lydia took me on as an adult semi-beginner student and is helping me break some old bad habits (the results of being mostly self-taught in the past). She provides much-appreciated lessons, encouragement and advice and runs a very professional studio. Highly recommend! "

From Brandon (Adult Piano Student):

“Lydia was my piano teacher for one year while I finished school. She is a professional teacher, not a piano player who dabbles in teaching. Constantly working to improve her craft, she is expert in her topic and to provides a top notch, customized piano education to her students. As an older, but still novice, piano student she focused on developing a solid foundation in the fundamentals that is necessary to play the piano beautifully. She kept it interesting by providing context of why we were playing each piece and how the piece fits in the big picture of my progress. Since playing the piano for others to hear is a big reason most play, she focused on performance, with each lesson giving me a chance to practice performing a piece I had prepared. Overall great experience and highly recommend her to anyone who wants to not only play piano, but sound great doing it!”

Top qualities: Great Results , On Time , High Integrity

From Mark(Adult Piano Student):"

“Lydia's been my teacher for more than four years, and has helped me grow tremendously musically. Lydia values my input a lot for my lessons, and her flexibility has shaped the musical journey I've been through the last four years. The pieces we've covered have ranged from staple composers such as Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, Debussy, Brahms, Schumann, Schubert, Rachmaninoff to an entire episode exploring music from my favorite video game series -- Final Fantasy Piano Opera (all three of them), and always returning to Chopin for a refresher. Lydia has a good ear for picking out technical and lyrical aspects of a piece that require more dedicated phrasing and finger work. She also has very good work ethic. Never in my four years has she cancelled a lesson, and she always does her research on the piece we are working on. Finally, Lydia has given me ample opportunity and information for performing, an outlet that I rarely get as an adult amateur. With her encouragement, I've finally decided to give the MTAC Palo Alto Branch student's recital a try and will be performing the first movement of Chopin's 2nd Piano Concerto"

From Rennan (Adult Piano Student):

"...Thank you very much for all the piano education over these last several months! I feel like I've got a great foundation for further improvement, and I really appreciate your work in trying to accommodate the lead-sheet style that I was working towards. You are a thorough and committed tutor, and I would happily recommend your services to anyone! "

From Jimmy (Adult Piano Student):

“Lydia was my piano teacher for the 6 months before I moved cross-country for grad school. She is teacher for people who are serious about improving their skills. I chose her because I knew that she wouldn't let me get away with bad playing, and she delivered. My fundamentals greatly improved while studying under Lydia, and I regret not being able to stay for longer. I just had my first lesson with her in 3 years during a recent trip to the West Coast, and would love to be able to resume working with her when I move back."

From Alex(parent):

“Lydia has been our family piano teacher for 8+ years. Over this time she has shown great skills in teaching our child and keeping him motivated with his musical endeavors through focused teaching, attention to details, moderation when needed and adjusting lessons when needed. Her piano skills are of the highest quality and she is able to translate her knowledge from beginner to expert players.

From Donna(parent).:

“Lydia has been my daughter's piano teacher for the past 5 years and I am so grateful that we have found such a thoughtful and dedicated teacher. I am amazed at the energy and enthusiasm she puts into her lessons each week. In addition to teaching technique, she also emphasizes musicality and how to play pieces emotionally. She gives the kids opportunities to compose music and my daughter has really enjoyed this part of her lessons.

Lydia has the kids do a group lesson every month, giving them the opportunity to work on performance in a group setting. After every one of her group lessons and performances, Lydia sends us a summary of how my daughter did and what areas they are working on together. I really appreciate these as a parent. Lydia expects students to practice and work hard but she is also very compassionate and understanding about the pressures and realities of high school. Through her feedback and guidance, my daughter's technique and performance has improved tremendously. I would highly recommend Lydia as a teacher.

From KJ(parent) :

"McCool is equally an incredibly talented teacher and musician -- we feel fortunate to have both of our children learn piano from her. Over the years that Lydia has worked with them, their playing has improved dramatically. Piano can be a difficult instrument to learn, but Lydia emphasizes building a strong musical foundation, proper technique, and developing good practice habits. As a parent, I appreciate this approach because it reinforces the idea that effort and practice, applied regularly, can help you to master anything. It has been a pleasure to watch and hear my children develop as young musicians."

From Julie(parent):

"My sons (ages 15 and 12) have been taking piano lessons from Lydia McCool for 4 years now. They had previously been with another teacher before switching over so they had some music background before joining with her. Mrs. McCool focuses on the fundamentals of music- theory, technique, hand shape, playing with purpose- more than just getting a song done or “playing to a test.” Mrs. McCool emphasizes the basics and developing a good understanding of music. She believes that the rest should fall into place. Mrs. McCool is a dedicated teacher and holds monthly group lessons with all of her students. This gives them an opportunity to practice performing in front of their peers before the year-end recital. She does games with them to keep it engaging and fun. And she provides detailed feedback to parents after the group class so that you know how your child is doing and suggests areas for improvement. She has encouraged my older son to compose pieces, which he really enjoys. This has been a great creative outlet for him to discover. So far, my kids have been doing well in their lessons, and we’ve seen their technique, ear training, sight reading and other fundamentals improve since starting with Mrs. McCool. It has been fun to see them grow as musicians. Mrs. McCool is kind, patient and truly cares about her students. My kids enjoy working with her, and I would recommend her as a piano teacher. "

From Manprit(parent) :

“Lydia McCool has been my daughter's piano teacher for over a year now. She is an immensely talented, knowledgeable, patient, and absolutely committed to her students. As a mother committed to exposing my daughter to music I have been challenged to find a teacher who is a good match for my daughter. Lydia maintains a very high expectation of excellence while balancing the relationship with the student in a very caring and concerned way. She is also extremely focused on developing technical skills and making sure that her students are polished. Friendly and encouraging, and also committed and serious. She has never cancelled a class. Every week my daughter is eagerly waiting for her piano lesson. She constantly plays on the piano during her free time at home. My daughter loves singing. So Lydia encourages her to sing while playing the piano. I have seen my daughter's love for music grow every day. I highly recommend Lydia McCool as both a talented musician and teacher.”

Top qualities: Personable, Expert, On Time

From Grace(adult student & parent):

Details of the Recommendation: "Lydia has been my daughter's piano teacher for a year and a half. She is a very thoughtful, creative, engaging, knowledgeable and patient instructor. My daughter greatly enjoys her weekly lessons with Lydia and has benefited from Lydia's firm but supportive instruction. Lydia values technique above all else as she believes it is the foundation for excellence in piano performance. Lydia has a vast amount of experience as a performer, teacher and student of music. She tailors lessons for her students and maintains high expectations for her students' work. She provides a wide variety of music, games and exercises in her curricula. She can be very flexible in her offerings given a students' interests and talents. For example, my daughter likes to sing so Lydia often provides her with music pieces with lyrics. She also encourages my daughter to create her own pieces with lyrics. She has a very strict studio policy, i.e. all students must practice on an acoustic piano, however, she provides strong, pragmatic reasoning for her requirements. She offers lessons on a quarterly basis and holds formal student recitals at the end of most quarters. She is extremely punctual and reliable -- she has never canceled a lesson. She is readily available via email to answer questions or address concerns. I was so impressed with Lydia's manner of instruction and knowledge of music that I started taking lessons with her myself six months ago. It has been a joy to return to the piano with such an inspiring teacher!"

Top Qualities: Personable, Expert, Creative

From Joann(parent):

If you're searching for a talented piano teacher who is patient, able to foster a joy for playing the piano in students, and is wonderful with children - i highly recommend contacting Lydia McCool of McCool Music Studio!

Mrs. McCool has been teaching my daughter (who will soon be 5 years old) since earlier this year.

I did quite a bit of research when trying to find a piano teacher - and hoped to find someone who is not only great with children, emphasizes proper hand position, technique, piano exercises, know how to play/teach classical music - but also be comfortable and competent in teaching students how to improvise, ear training, etc. and fostering a skill in students to be able to approach all types of music and really love learning!

Mrs. McCool is all that and more! What most impressed me about Lydia McCool is her philosophy towards teaching piano and her amazing skill of really being able to be attuned with how to engage my daughter during lessons and make concepts fun, easy to learn and effective. She is incredibly patient and has a way with children that i find endearing. My daughter loves her lessons with Mrs. McCool!

Perhaps the best compliment comes from my daughter herself when I asked her what she thought of lessons with Mrs. McCool - she said, "It's fun! and I like learning new songs!"

Lydia currently has some openings at her studio - so contact her soon if you're interested in finding a wonderful piano teacher for your child (or yourself!). In addition to teaching children, Lydia also teaches adults.