As a music teacher, my goals are to inspire my students to love and enjoy music, have fun playing it, and to become self-sufficient. The learning process never ends (even I continue to study!), but what we'll work toward in lessons is your being able to take a piece of music, sightread it by yourself, and add your own musicality and emotion. I will give you the tools to do this on your own. Whatever makes you special as a person will shine through when you play, once you have the proper technique. Every person is a vehicle through which music is presented. Two people could play the same piece of music correctly, and each performance would be different. This is the greatest part about music; it is an expression of one's self.
I divide the lesson into two main parts: technique study, and music pieces. For piano students, I work on finger position and posture, and exercises to create facility. For woodwinds, I focus on embouchure, tone, vibrato, and other elements specific to each instrument. I put a large emphasis on scales, chords, rhythms, and music theory, so you get a complete knowledge of how music is structured. As you learn each piece of the puzzle, you start to understand how music is structured, and better yet, that it all makes sense! I teach classical technique, but usually eventually venture into jazz, as I have extensively studied both.
The pacing of the lessons is completely individual and I tailor each one especially for the student. I push you to learn just above what is easy for you, so that learning to play is challenging, but not frustrating. I develop a personalized lesson plan that fits your unique capabilities. I will always talk to and work with the parents as well, to make sure that there is a very positive association created with music. The parents are instrumental in the lesson process, as they are helping the child learn to make time during the week to practice. And if you are an adult, it's not too late to learn. You might work differently then a child would, and that's what's exciting. Every person learns in their own unique way. My job is to find the way each person's brain operates best and teach to that.
This is the greatest part about music; it is an expression of one's self.
Stephanie's first instrument is piano. She started formal piano lessons at the age of five in Tucson, AZ. After briefly studying the violin in elementary school, at age ten, she was struck by the saxophone and began her band career. In high school she played in the Tucson High Magnet School marching, jazz, and concert bands, and served as drum major. In high school she also played oboe and English horn in the concert band and orchestra, as well as with other regional orchestras. As a high school senior, Stephanie was honored with "first in the state" in the Arizona All-State band competition, and played in the saxophone section in the Arizona All-State Jazz Band. She was also a saxophone soloist with the All-State Orchestra, and was featured as a soloist with the Arizona Symphonic Winds.
Stephanie earned a degree in Jazz Studies at the University of Arizona, where she intensely studied saxophone, flute, piccolo, clarinet, and oboe. She played in numerous wind ensembles and jazz bands, as well as marching in the Pride of Arizona Marching Band and in the select pep band. In 1997, she was chosen in a national search for the Disney-Grammy All-American College Orchestra, and lived at Disney World for a summer as a musician. Stephanie also had a successful saxophone quartet called SaxMania, which won a 1998 Downbeat Magazine award.
In 1999, Stephanie began her graduate studies in saxophone at the Hartt School of Music and studied with jazz legend Jackie McLean. It was there in Connecticut that she began playing in the Rob Zappulla Big Band. Soon she started to use her multiple woodwind capabilities in pit orchestras for musicals at the Hartt School and around Connecticut. Stephanie became a New Yorker in 2003, and enjoys being a freelance jazz and woodwind player. She's played for dozens of regional theaters in New York, Connecticut, and Massachusetts, as well as playing many summers at the Monomoy Theater on Cape Cod.
Stephanie has been teaching piano, saxophone, flute, clarinet, and oboe for over eighteen years, and loves every minute of it. The only thing that matches her love of teaching is performing, which she has done most often with her groundbreaking quintet, BIPOLAR in New York City. You can find BIPOLAR's newest album, Euphrates, Me Jane, on iTunes, or at www.bipolarjazz.com
Stephanie is a fantastic teacher! Her dedication to my daughter as an individual has endeared my daughter to her and inspires and encourages her to practice the piano and perform to the best of her ability. Stephanie is great about choosing songs for my daughter to learn that are both age appropriate and contemporary. We have seen more growth in our daughter in the one year she has been studying piano with Stephanie than in all her previous years of piano instruction combined.
— Denise, mom
Until we met Stephanie, our children generally had a tepid interest in their saxophone and clarinet classes but after a few lessons with Stephanie, their interest and love for music grew dramatically. With Stephanie’s guidance and direction, they have both advanced their technical skills as well as their musical appreciation. She is a patient, knowledgeable and also very punctual music teacher. We are thrilled with the progress our kids have made under Stephanie’s instruction. We would highly recommend her to anyone interested in discovering the magic of music.
— Sarah & Dave, parents
Stephanie has a rare ability: she not only is a talented musician, she's able to teach effectively as well. I have no doubt that those things reflect the level of her commitment to both. She engages her students with humor and her approach is unfailingly gentle. The old saying — Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach — does not apply to Stephanie.
— Steve, dad
Stephanie has been teaching my 3 kids piano for more than a year now. Previously they had taken small group lessons, and they didn’t take much pleasure in playing or practicing. They have come so far this past year and really enjoy playing now. They are always eager to please Stephanie, so when I remind them that she will know if they haven’t practiced as much as they should, they are usually willing to put in the practice time. Stephanie quickly connected with each of them and knows how to motivate them individually.
— Kathleen, mom
I am a retired CEO from a bridal gown manufacturing company. I Studied the clarinet when i was in grade school and was also in the school band. I had fooled around with the saxophone, but never took lessons on it. After 45 years I decided to take lessons on both instruments. As luck would have it, a friend of mine said that his daughter was taking lessons from a great teacher named Stephanie Schraier. It has been two years since we began and I am taking lessons on both the clarinet and tenor saxophone. If you love music and have always wanted to play piano or any woodwind instrument, I can't think of a better teacher to open up the world of music to you than Stephanie. I intend to continue my studies with her until I feel that I have reached the point when I can have family and friends listen to me without running out of the room.
— Paul, adult student
Several years ago, I decided to learn piano. I was in my mid-40's and had never had a music lesson. I wanted to play jazz piano, which, as I now understand, requires an understanding of music theory in addition to technique. Stephanie accepted the challenge. I can now create simple jazz improvisations. Amazing. I can't say that I have not had some set backs along the way, but Stephanie has been tireless in locating learning materials that work for me, and which I find interesting. Stephanie is pretty relentless at making me do things, but always with a smile and always in a way that makes me feel good about about the process.
— Liz, student
Stephanie Schraier’s musical abilities seem to have no bounds. Her excellence during rehearsals and live performances is matched only by her uncanny teaching ability as she instills in her students both the discipline and magic that are equally necessary. Anyone lucky enough to study with her will benefit in a most unusual and special way. To put it simply, Stephanie is that rarest of breeds: a natural.
— Jed Feuer, leader of BIPOLAR
My 7 year old daughter Lydia has been studying with Stephanie for a year now and both Lydia and I are thrilled with the results. Stephanie is a true professional. She teaches the fundamentals in a fun and thoughtful manner which inspires my extremely shy daughter to practice and to perform her new found talent.
— Rachel, mom
Stephanie has been teaching my sons to play piano for nearly three years. She has been a terrific teacher for my boys and connects with them through her great sense of humor and fun, whilst still maintaining discipline and a focus. They are challenged by her and encouraged to reach their potential. I would recommend Stephanie to any one looking for a talented teacher who is skilled at working with young children and guiding them on a path of musical discovery.
— Amanda, mom
Stephanie is really nice! She always stays calm-even when stuff I do might annoy her!
— Kimball, 8 yrs
Stephanie is a great piano teacher. I can play scales and chords even better than my mom now!
Stephanie has taught my daughter piano and saxophone for seven years. During this time, she has been a nurturing music educator who has helped my daughter pursue her interests in music. She has also exposed my daughter to a variety of musical styles including jazz an classical. The lessons Stephanie has provided to my daughter have been an invaluable part of her education and I would highly recommend Stephanie as a teacher who can help your child pursue their passion for learning.
— David S, father of Isabella
Stephanie is a fantastic teacher! She is patient, thoughtful and really knows how to work with kids. She makes playing the piano fun! Our daughter has made tremendous progress over the past 2 years of instruction from Stephanie. She is the best
— Elizabeth, mom
Stephanie is a great teacher. She is very nice and she makes it fun for me to play. I learned a lot and I love playing piano.
— Stella, 9
Stephanie has been teaching our 8-year-old daughter Grace saxophone for a year now. From the beginning, Stephanie has been friendly, fun and accessible. She teaches with patience and good humor, but with enough structure and authority that Grace really respects her and wants to succeed. Stephanie has proved flexible and resourceful as we adjust to the natural ebb and flow of Grace’s enthusiasm, helping to maintain a remarkable level of dedication and discipline. Stephanie has also been quite helpful giving us insights about how to guide Grace in her study of the saxophone, an instrument with which neither of us had any familiarity. Working with Stephanie has been a truly gratifying experience for us all.
— Joan and Paul, parents of Grace
Stephanie has been teaching our daughter the flute for a year — and I have been taking clarinet lessons for a year as well. Another daughter just started taking saxophone lessons from Stephanie. Clearly, our family thinks she’s terrific and we can strongly recommend her to others
— Chris, dad
In New York City, I teach lessons out of my uptown Manhattan apartment, but in most cases I come to you and teach in your home.
I will travel in Manhattan and to Westchester County. In Manhattan (NYC) I teach in many areas, such as the Upper West Side (UWS), the Upper East Side (UES), the Financial District, Chelsea, in the West Village (Greenwich Village), and surrounding neighborhoods. In Westchester county I will travel to New Rochelle, Scarsdale, Larchmont, Mamaroneck, and many surrounding areas.
I teach all levels and ages in piano, saxophone, flute & piccolo, clarinet, and oboe. Each lesson is individual.
The length of the lesson varies by student, by age, and by ability level. Lessons are always weekly. I will work with you to find the right lesson length for you or your children. I teach all ages, but would usually not recommend starting a child before the age of four. For piano, readiness for lessons is often determined by a child's ability to sit on the bench for half an hour and maintain some degree of focus and attention. Often, when I am teaching a child with a very young sibling, I might occasionally take a few minutes of the older student's lesson and spend it with the younger child. This gets them excited about music and playing the piano, and gives them something to look forward to for when they become old enough for lessons.
In general, half-hour lessons are for very young beginners. As soon as a child turns eight or nine, or reaches an intermediate level, they are ready for 45-minute lessons. In order to absorb advanced techniques and maximize our time together, teenagers and older students should take an hour-long lesson.
Please contact me and I will talk to you about my rates and answer any questions you might have. I'd love to speak with you on the phone or meet you in person, so just drop me a line!