Melanie Ida Chopko
Voice | PianoRequest lessons
I am a pianist & singer-songwriter who believes in the incredible power of music to create happiness! I teach piano and songwriting to children, teens & adults ages 6 and up. We primarily use the fantastic Piano Safari curriculum, a mix of learning songs by ear, free improvisation, reading & writing music. Together we’ve also written a parade of hits, including Sad Sad Jellyfish, I’m Just a Friendly Monster, It’s a Killer Whale! and Daisies Smell Like the Sunset.
As a teacher, I bring the Julie Andrews spirit: affirming, structured and playful. My professional experience includes working with institutions like Oakland’s Acme House of Music, Tunelark and Berkeley’s Freight & Salvage, where I led “Singing Outside the Shower” for adult beginners. In 2020, I also collaborated with Chapter510 & The Dept. Of Make Believe to co-write “Memory of Sky” with Maya, age 8, for the album “Freedom Is.”
For adults, I fold in some of my favorite books on creativity, including Julia Cameron’s “The Artist Way,” Austin Kleon’s “Keep Going” & Elizabeth Gilbert’s “Big Magic.”
LESSONS WITH MELANIE
I took piano lessons as a kid but for much of college I hung around musicians without playing a note – I felt scared (and frankly, jealous) that I had missed the boat on being able to play music like they could. When I started taking lessons again at 27, I often felt frustrated after just 10 minutes – there was such a long way to go!
I am profoundly grateful I found teachers who supported me to lighten up, to play around and take pleasure in my practice. I began to love the process of playing and learning, and now spend hours and hours making music, recording and performing. Learning music has changed me – and it is my greatest joy to be that type of teacher for someone else.
“The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago,
the second best time is now.” – proverb
“It’s piano – it seems boring! – but you make it fun. I like that it’s easy level to hardest, and when you practice more it’s actually really easy. And it’s funny how you forget stuff at my house.”
– Riley, age 7
“We were considering starting piano lessons for our 6-year-old daughter, but we didn’t want to turn piano into a chore. Fortunately, we found Melanie! She has been working with our daughter for a year, and it’s a perfect fit.
“Melanie is enthusiastic, patient, and infinitely flexible. She makes piano fun while still managing to teach fundamentals. She even managed to keep our daughter engaged in Zoom lessons when we were all sheltering-in-place!”
– parents of Joslyn, age 6