Chicago Area Piano Teachers
Laura Boekeloo, originally from Kalamazoo, Michigan, recently earned her Master of Music Degree in Viola Performance from Roosevelt University's Chicago College of Performing Arts, where she studied under Roland Vamos. She previously earned her Bachelor of Music Degree in Viola Performance from Western Michigan University, where she studied under Igor Fedotov. Laura began studying viola at the age of ten and quickly became an avid member of the Kalamazoo Prep String Orchestra and the Kalamazoo Junior Symphony Orchestra. Throughout her studies, Laura performed regularly with the Western Michigan Symphony Orchestra and the Chicago College of Performing Arts Symphony Orchestra. Ensembles with which she has performed professionally include the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra, Southwest Michigan Symphony Orchestra, Holland Symphony Orchestra, and Whiting Park Symphony Orchestra. She has performed internationally in Puebla, Mexico; Casalmaggiore, Italy; and St. Petersburg, Russia.
Laura has over four years of experience teaching Violin, Viola, and Piano to students of all ages. In Kalamazoo, Laura tutored young students in Violin, Viola, and Piano through Thompson Tutoring. In Chicago, she teaches students of all ages and skill levels in Violin, Viola, and Piano. Laura strives to foster enthusiasm for learning music among all of her students.
Irene Zissis is an accomplished pianist and piano/vocalist who has performed for over 25 years in the Chicago area, Chicago suburbs and overseas. Her vast repertoire includes: jazz, light classical, pop/rock, movie themes, show tunes, wedding music, holiday & theme music, & new age. A second generation pianist and piano teacher, Irene began lessons at the age of 4 under Masters of Music DePaul graduate and longtime piano teacher, Kathryn Zissis, her mother. Irene continued her music education at the University of IL at Chicago. After graduating, Ms. Zissis studied at the American Conservatory of Music under virtuoso pianist Frank Caruso. She both perfected her musicianship and acquired further valuable teaching skills under his exceptional tutelage.
Irene Zissis has taught piano to children age 5 - adults for over 20 years and maintains both an active performance and teaching schedule. The essential goal of her teaching philosophy is to give her students the life-long joy of making music.
To accomplish this, students must first acquire competence in theory and proper technique. Artistic expression and creativity are then developed. To progress, students must practice daily. Duration of practice depends on the student's age, level and goals. Children require parental involvement to oversee daily practice and to ensure that the student is practicing assignments correctly. Irene's teaching style is encouraging, patient, nurturing, engaging, challenging and fun. Her approach is flexible and suited to the needs, abilities, interests and objectives of each student. A variety of styles are taught including classical, jazz, pop/rock, folk and New Age. Irene believes in a wellrounded teaching method which also incorporates ear-training, chording, improvisation and music history.
Irene also taught piano at Chicago's renowned Old Town School of Folk Music for 4 years. She taught both private piano to children and adults as well as group piano to young children age 4 - 7.
Along with her expansive career as both a performer and an independent music teacher, Irene studied psychology and visual arts, and earned a Certificate in Creative Arts for Young Children. She uses her psychology background to determine each student's personality and learning style. When teaching young children, she incorporates visual arts and games to enhance musical concepts. Irene has an excellent rapport with children.
Adults can choose to learn their favorite songs by playing the melody with the right hand and chords in the left hand. Those who enjoy singing and want to accompany themselves with piano chords are taught this skill.
Irene's continuing education includes seminars and Masters classes through professional associations. She is a member of Music Teachers National Association.
Natalie Finamore is a 20-year-old musician and audio engineer currently earning her bachelor’s degree in Music Composition at Columbia College Chicago. She is passionate about music and inspiring others to learn through positive lesson experience. She has been playing piano for 10 years, guitar for 8, and has also had professional vocal training for 8 years. Natalie is new to professional teaching but has been giving informal lessons to friends and family for years.
Natalie participated in musical theater and bands all through high school, and was a member of Jazz Ensemble, Choir, and Handbell Ensemble at Whitter College in Whittier, CA. She is currently a member of several bands.
Courtney Hollenbeck was born in a small town in Ohio, and has always had a love and passion for the performing arts. Whether participating in gymnastics, youth theater productions, dance classes, or piano lessons, Courtney always found her way onto a stage! This passion carried her to Anderson University in Indiana, where she studied Music Education, graduating cum laude in 2012. Throughout her time at Anderson she studied piano, voice, participated in various operas, musicals, and dance shows and sang in the top mixe voice choir for 3 years.
Throughout her college career she also participated in the Miss Ohio (Miss America system) pageant for 3 consecutive years placing as a Top Ten Semifinalist in 2011. Professionally, Courtney has been a full-time elementary music teacher, private piano and voice teacher and choir member/soprano section leader at an Indianapolis church. One of her proudest moments was in 2014 when she was selected as an Indianapolis Colts Cheerleader in the NFL, dancing for upwards of 65,000 fans on game days.
Currently, she resides in Lisle with her husband Brett and daughter Harper. In her spare time, she enjoys cooking healthy meals for her family, fitness, nature and spending time with family.
She is excited to meet and work with your child and she hopes to give them confidence both onstage and beyond!