I offer high quality, individualized musical instruction for ages 5 and up. I strive to make learning piano, theory, and composition fun and to help students cultivate a growth mindset that will have positive flow-on effects in other areas of their lives.
I tailor my teaching approach to fit the individual needs and wants of all of my students. If students are drawn to a particular style/aspect of music (pop, jazz, classical, composition, theory, improvisation, etc.), I will support their interests as much as possible.
I like providing lots of performance opportunities for my students. In a typical year, we have one formal recital, 1-2 mini-performance opportunities at senior living homes and coffee shops in the area, and a spring/summer music party potluck!
Teaching rate: $40 per 1/2 hr, $80 per hr Location: I teach out of my home studio in Berkeley
"Holly is a rare treasure! She is both an incredibly inspiring teacher and an extremely talented performer and composer. She brings all the facets of musicianship to bear on her teaching—technique, theory, composition, performance—and she does it in a fun way. My daughter has been studying piano with Holly for five years, and I see Holly as irreplaceable. Holly has a sensitive, warm, and encouraging way of connecting with her students, and adjusting her teaching to exactly what her students need. She is gentle and creative in her approach, but brings just the right amount of focus and rigor to match the needs of her students. Holly is also very versatile. She has extensive background and experience in all genres of music and in recording. One of the many highlights of my daughter’s time with Holly was recording a piece for use in an ice skating performance. My daughter has gained confidence, technical ability, and overall musical understanding under Holly’s teaching and mentorship over the past five years. She takes joy in playing her repertoire, in composing her own pieces of music, singing along with what she is playing, and has developed a comprehensive sense of musicianship. I doubt that my daughter would have learned as much without Holly. Holly currently teaches both children and adults while maintaining an active performance schedule and composition projects. If you can get lessons with her, run don’t walk!" -Julie P.
"Holly is an outstanding, gifted, and compassionate teacher - she brings so much creativity to her approach and to every lesson. She has worked with our family to develop a unique plan for our young musician, and adjusted her approach as our daughter grew in skill and as her musical interests shifted. Holly does even more than "instruct" - with warmth, humor and dedication, she inculcates passion and appreciation for musicianship in many forms. We feel so lucky to have Holly as a teacher." -Catherine S.
"When I began taking piano lessons with Holly, I'd had extensive experience playing cello since childhood, but had reached a point of burnout in my musical journey as a touring and recording cellist. I was emotionally exhausted and feeling stuck, and turned to piano to spark new inspiration for growth, particularly for composing my own music. Holly and I set some objectives based on my musical tastes and compositional goals, and worked together to accomplish them. Based on my previous musical background and experience, Holly was able to design custom lesson plans for me that were both inspiring and effective for meeting my creative goals. We worked on technique, theory, musicality, effective practicing habits, and building repertoire in a jazz idiom. I always looked forward to our lessons each week because of the feeling of delight and possibility Holly would spark. I've since moved to another city, but have continued growing as a pianist and composer ever since! Holly helped me to heal and continue my musical journey, and I give my highest recommendation to any level piano student that seeks instruction." -Nathan B.
"I have been taking lessons from Holly for 4 years and have the highest regard for her abilities as a teacher. As an older adult beginner, my needs probably differ from the average student. Holly has found ways to adapt my lessons to keep me interested, motivated, and always looking forward to the next lesson. I always leave a lesson with renewed enthusiasm and excitement for continuing my musical journey. In addition to her teaching skills she is an amazing pianist and composter. Finally, she is also one of the warmest, kindest people I know It is a pleasure and a privilege to know her and take lessons from her." - Marcie C.
"Holly Mead, composer, performer, and teacher, works with children, teens, and adults, whatever their level of experience. Her amiable style and her passion for music create a learning experience that motivates performance with warm inspiration. She also employs her extensive knowledge of theory and technique to provide detailed and advanced instruction to her students as they become ready for it. We’ve watched her help our daughter learn Bach preludes and fugues, Joplin rags, and movie themes all with equal respect and enthusiasm. She is a perfect fit for the joyous and accomplished guidance our daughter needs, from the basics of posture and form, to music theory, to the nuance of dynamics." - Nj and Morrisa
"Holly is the best music teacher I have met. My daughter began piano with another teacher and after a couple years was ready to quit. I convinced her to try a new teacher and when we found Holly, we knew we had the right fit: young, hip, easy to talk to, great with kids, and offers lots of flexibility so the kids can play music that is meaningful to them. When studying piano with Holly, my daughter discovered her singing voice, too, and learned to play piano and sing at the same time. What a great way for a middle school girl to express herself. When my daughter ultimately decided to move on from piano, I took her place and now I am learning piano with Holly! She is a great teacher for young people and adults alike. You are never too old to learn an instrument and discover new parts of your brain and heart. Holly has made all of that possible for our family." -Maggie H.
"Holly is really nice and her teaching style is great. In fact, you could say that she’s Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!” -Katie M.
“Holly’s teaching style is relaxed yet focused. She encourages her students to push themselves while exciting them with music that’s challenging and relevant to their interests. Can’t wait to see what Holly and her students prepare for their next recital!" -Ben M.
"Holly is truly one with the piano. Her enthusiasm and respect for the piano is infectious and inspiring to students of all ages. She has the flexibility to arrange music for students at any level and the spirit to always make it fun." -Kat W.
"I am 11 years old and have had Ms. Holly as a teacher for 5 years. I think Ms. Holly is a truly incredible teacher. When I first started, she taught me with lots of patience, which is key in starting out in piano. At first we did scales and chords to build a foundation, and then did SUPER simple songs. I loved that she let me choose what songs I wanted to do, instead of choosing for me. She also taught me how to compose my own songs. Most of all she made piano playing really fun for me. More recently we have been making a repertoire of songs that I memorized, including 4 classical pieces and 2 others. She is supportive, and I consider her as a friend and teacher." -Athena A.