Teaching music involves balancing knowledge, enthusiasm, support and patience. Most importantly, teaching involves effective and passionate communication of ideas. My attitude toward teaching is rooted in my own commitment to learning and sharing. In order to teach effectively I must humbly recognize and acknowledge my own learning style and limitations as well as the unique styles and needs of my students. I seek to instill a positive attitude and passion for the subject through my own example and work ethic. I encourage creative expression but also a deep respect for the extensive history of music. I aim to focus content in a clear, organized yet dynamic approach. My sincere hope is that my students feel supported, inspired and capable to ultimately teach themselves.
Please add your own testimonial to the guestbook or contact me with any questions! :)
"Lara is an excellent jazz piano teacher, and I would recommend her to any student--beginner or advanced. Her thorough approach always builds from the tradition of the classics, giving students the right foundation to thrive on and a focus that is necessary to approach jazz with purpose. As a great pianist who is eloquent about music, her demonstrations and explanations are clear to understand and imitate. In addition, her teaching style is very nurturing, and she works hard to give students the materials that they need to succeed."
- Matthew Doran (Northern Illinois University, Chicago IL, Jazz Pianist/Organist)
"Lara Driscoll was my teacher, arranger and accompanist for several years while she was attending the University of Illinois. She is an amazing teacher. I was an older student for Lara, in my late fifties when I began. I felt at ease with Lara immediately, and I learned so much, stretching myself farther than I had imagined was possible. Any school or student who experiences Lara will be enriched by her expertise, personality and dedication to bringing out the very best in everyone and every experience."
-Viktoria Ford (Urbana IL Jazz Vocalist)
"Her skills combined with her approach and openness, make her a highly appreciated professor, one that motivates her students in several aspects. I had the privilege of being her student during Jazz Keyboard Proficiency, and Jazz Materials (Theory) 2, at McGill University, in Montréal. Her extensive knowledge of the repertoire enables her to support all theoretical concepts covered in her many examples of jazz standards. Hence, all matter explaining the harmonic progressions, writing techniques, types of melodies, rhythms, reharmonizations, analyses, styles, etc., is reflected concretely in the standard jazz repertoire. As a teacher, Ms. Driscoll constantly demonstrates and draws a parallel between the theoretical material and its application, thereby killing two birds with one stone, in terms of students skills. We, the students, could assimilate the theoretical concepts while deepening, almost unconsciously, our knowledge of the repertoire of jazz standards. Furthermore, her approach has so many listenings (different versions of a piece, a specific treatment for a progession type, etc.) that it makes learning as fluid and natural as learning a new langage. Also, her excellent skills as a pianist makes her a popular professor for theory classes covering harmony, as she can easily demonstrate (and she does!) all imaginable progressions discussed in class. In addition, her wise analytical mind, her faith in repetition, and her ability to popularize the concepts enhance her outstanding teaching skills. Finally, Ms. Driscoll has several personal qualities that make her a deeply appreciated teacher. She pays much respect to her students, she is patient, understanding, organized and methodical in her work. She is also very demanding, which is motivating and calls for rigor and pushes one's limits, and that, notwithstanding the level at which a student begins in the class. I feel most honored and pleased to be counted amoug her students. "
-Alexandra LaPerriere (McGill University, Montreal, QC Canada, Jazz Bassist)
"I am a piano teacher and have been for about 20 years. However, being able to sit at the piano and play jazz has always inspired me. So, I decided to take jazz piano. I was given Lara Driscoll's name from another music teacher and decided to start lessons. I have to say I was a little skeptical because of her age. What could this young lady teach me. Boy was I wrong! Jazz is a whole different ballgame. The more I learned, the more I realized I knew nothing! Lara was always very very kind and always professional. She was also innovative and taught me knew ways that a piano lesson can be done, such as recording it and being able to access my lesson on the computer through Dropbox. I had a wonderful learning experience with Lara and it was such a loss when she moved away."
-Monica Pape (Urbana, IL Pianist and Piano Teacher)
"Lara Driscoll taught my second semester jazz theory course and did a very fine job, not only in explaining the material thoroughly and providing examples from records, but also answering questions I had about particular concepts and ideas outside the course. Lara was always available to address student concerns and was on time, prepared, and excited about the material. Beyond that, Lara is one of the nicest people I’ve met! And she’s a bad-ass player! "
-Matt Schultz (McGill University, Montreal, QC Canada, Jazz Guitarist)
"When taking lessons with Lara, she first asks what you wish to accomplish, then helps you create a plan and road-map to stay on course. And she always looks for ways to help you and improve as you progress. Lara has helped me to solve many of the mysteries and challenges of solo jazz piano".
-Rodney Gipson (Harold Washington College, Chicago, IL, Jazz Pianist/Guitarist)
"Lara is absolutely spectacular in the classroom. She has an excellent and structured plan, combined with an engaging and approachable manner. She makes students responsible for the learning and forward motion of the class, holding them accountable for what they’ve learned previously and what they need to know to move forward. She is unfailingly positive and deeply knowledgeable, aware of her students’ hesitancy, but committed to helping them push past it. The class has great pacing, lots of laughs, smiling students, and constant thinking and playing." - Teaching Evaluation Harold Washington College
"Lara is a phenomenal teacher and mentor! She constantly pushed me to practice and play my best. As a beginner piano player, my skills drastically improved over the course of the semester; specifically fingering and hand positions, how to read music, utilizing dynamics, and paying attention to rhythm and tone. Lara was patient and understanding while helping our small group and each of us as individuals to reach our potential. I wish I wasn't graduating so I could take more classes with her! I am beyond appreciative for all of Lara's help and guidance this semester." -Course evaluation Loyola University
"Lara Driscoll is an excellent professor with vast knowledge and expertise in her field. Apart from being a great teacher, she has been one of the most caring and understanding professors I've had during my undergraduate career at Loyola. Her goals as an educator expand outside of the classroom. Definitely one of the best faculty members in the music department." -Course evaluation Loyola University