Private Lessons

I offer private lessons for all ages in piano and cello, as well as providing a solid foundation in music theory.  I use well established classical training methods, which include technique and styling development. Contemporary approaches are also an option for the aspiring musician.   Individual lessons take place in my music studio at my home in the south Salem area (near Crossler Middle School) and are arranged to fit the student’s schedule.

Here’s some of the things I can help you with:

  • Learning to play from the very beginning

  • Improving you music reading skills

  • Developing your technical skills

  • Learning and applying music theory

  • Learning to improvise (play spontaneously and creatively)

  • Playing from lead sheets, chord charts, and fake books

  • Practicing with efficient use of your time

  • Drawing out your musicality and expression

  • Learning a variety of styles: Classical to Popular music

  • Preparing for adjudicated festivals and competitions

  • Preparing for college auditions

  • Playing hymns and church music

Private Lessons Policies: 

1.  Tuition is payable in full on the first of every month. To be more convenient, it is recommended that payment be made at the last lesson of the previous month. Alternatively, payment may be mailed and delivered by the first of the month. Cash or checks (post dated to the first of the month if preferred) are accepted. There is a service charge of $10 for students who submit payment after the first day of the month.  Tuition is to be paid at the latest by the first lesson of the month including the late fee, otherwise lessons are suspended until tuition is submitted.  At that point, lessons may resume according to lesson time availability.

2. To reserve your lesson time each month, the minimum tuition is for 3 lessons, but regular weekly lessons are the expected norm.  For extended breaks (e.g., summer vacation), you must submit a non-refundable reservation fee which is equivalent to 3 lessons per month of the break which will be applied to the tuition upon resuming lessons on an arranged specific date and time. If student doesn’t return on the specific date, then the reservation fee is forfeited and lessons may resume on a space available basis. Of course, be sure to let me know when there are special circumstances for consideration.

3. Rates:

  • 30 minutes weekly: $25 per lesson (only available to very young piano students)

  • 45* minutes weekly: $35 per lesson (for all cello and piano students)

  • 60* minutes weekly: $45 per lesson (for all cello and piano students)

*45 minute and 60 minute lessons are a minimum of 40 minutes and 55 minutes of instructional time to allow for set up and packing up time and a quick break between lessons.

4. Student is responsible to purchase recommended music from the teacher.

5. Student must commit to practicing at least 30 minutes 5 days per week between lessons.

6. Missed Lesson tuition may be credited to following month’s tuition with at least 24 hour notice or if needed due to sudden severe illness with at least 6 hour notice, however there are no tuition refunds or lesson makeups unless I am unable to teach the promised number of lessons. With ample notice, sometimes lessons can be rescheduled or traded with another student. Because specific times are set aside for specific students, a student who does not attend a lesson will simply miss the benefit of that lesson.  I will then use that time to plan for the student’s progress, locate materials, etc. Please be assured that your tuition pays for far more than the time spent with your child (see below: “Where Does My Tuition Go?”).

Please be respectful of the health of your teacher and other students in my studio. If your child is too ill to attend school, they’re too ill to have a music lesson.  Examples of appropriate reasons to cancel a lesson due to illness are: fever, vomiting, severe coughing and/or sneezing, contagious skin rashes, etc.  Please do not bring students or their siblings who are ill — I reserve the right not to teach the lesson in case of illness.

Snow Days: If you need to cancel a lesson because driving conditions are not safe, you need to notify me by 11am of the day of the lesson. If your regular lesson time is before noon, please notify me at least an hour before your lesson time.  If the Salem-Keizer school district announces that they are not having classes that day, and you follow the above notification procedure as described, then that lesson will be credited on your next month’s invoice.  If schools are still in session, but you wisely choose to not come for a lesson because the roads are unsafe for you, you will be credited for half of the lesson tuition, provided you notify me in a timely manner as described above.  There are no makeup lessons for missed lessons on snow days. Please note that in any case, there are no refunds.

7. Punctuality is essential to benefit from the entire scheduled lesson time.

Where Does My Tuition Go?

  • High quality instructional time based on my extensive training and experience.

  • Time spent in preparation for you (researching, selecting, and ordering music, lesson planning, studio readiness, etc.)

  • Recital costs and preparations (Programs, facility rental, set up and clean up)

  • Studio expenses (Bookkeeping, copying, computer hardware and software, incentive programs, instruments, tunings, repairs, cleaning, utilities, etc.)

  • Reference music library, CDs, music club memberships

  • Property taxes, self-employment taxes, insurance, business licenses, etc.

  • Continuing education, conferences, and professional journals, to keep current on new teaching materials and trends.


  1. Biannual recitals are available for performance experience.  

  2. My students are automatically a member of the National Federation of Music Clubs ( and are eligible to participate in the solo, ensemble, and music theory events at the annual Festival. (Click Festival Summary for more information about Festival.)

  3. No need to find your own accompanist – Dr. Baker may be available to provide piano accompaniment during lessons and for recitals!

What students and parents say:
Dear Dr. Baker, you’re an amazing teacher, and I’d like to thank you for what you’ve helped me learn. I have grown over the years, but I always remember how you taught me new things every lesson I came to. I have learned to have potential, and thanks to you, I know so many things about being a pianist. –Student S.
To Dr. Baker, Thank you so much for being a kind, wonderful, and inspiring teacher. I really appreciated the solid piano foundation you gave to my daughter. We really enjoyed our time in your studio. Wishing you and your family every happiness this holiday season and throughout the new year! –Aunchana

To Dr. Baker: Thank you sincerely for your consistent, caring, and professional contribution to the lives of these musicians and the families they bring along. Our lives are enriched by you, as is our community. – Recital audience member