Piano Lessons at St. Paul School of Music

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Quinn Zhang

Available: 3:00-8:00 Thursday and 10:00-3:00 Saturday.

Quinn Zhang, earned his master degree in piano performance at California State University, Northridge, and graduate performance diploma from Boston Conservatory at Berklee. Currently he is a candidate of DMA (Doctor of Music Arts) at University of Minnesota. His teachers include Lintao Li, Ying Yin, Minduo Li, John Perry, Michael Lewin, and Kyung Kim.

During his undergraduate study in China, Quinn got national scholarship from the education department of China, the first prize in piano competition of art colleges in Shandong, and the first prize in Changjiang piano competition in Shandong. Since he came to study at the US in 2013, Quinn had attended many music festivals, such as John Perry Academy in California, Amalfi coast music festival and Perugia music festival in Italy, Banff piano masterclass in Canada, etc. Besides performance, Quinn also enjoys teaching. He values both the techniques and artistry of playing the piano. Besides music, Quinn is also a big fan of math, science, sports, and movies.


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Brian Mehr

Available: 3:00-9:00 Mondays and Wednesdays

Brian Mehr earned his Bachelor in Music and international relations from St. Cloud State University. Brian is a classically trained pianist who also composes music on a daily basis. He has had had a life long passion for music and started studying when he was eight years old.

He was the pianist for Ballet Minnesota for 19 years, has played for the modern ballet program at Macalester College, professional classes at MDT and James Sewell Ballet, the Metropolitan Ballet, and the Children’s Theater company. Growing up he won a scholarship to study for a year with Robert Koopman at St. John’s university, collegeville, MN. He studied extensively (over 10 years) with Yakov Gelfand, Phd from St. Petersburg Conservatory. Brian also traveled to Budapest, Hungary where he studied for a year with Gulays Istvan, professor at the Franz List Conservatory in Budapest.

Brian has been teaching piano for 16 years and his students tend to advance rapidly. He works very hard with them, but tries to have fun too. When not playing or teaching music he loves learning French and riding around on vintage Motobecane mopeds.

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MOLLY HAWKINSON

Available: 4:00-8:00 Tuesdays.

Molly began piano lessons when she was seven and also loved to play by ear. After learning her favorite rock bands entire album on piano she started guitar at 16. She has private, formal, and experiential education. This includes over twelve years of private music study, university courses in music & dance, and a bachelors degree in Studio Arts from the University of Minnesota. She has studied dance privately for the past 15 years, completed a summer intensive program in Jazz Piano at Berklee College of Music, attended a year long live-in/work study position at the Esalen Institute, and holds a TEFL certificate from Hamline University. She is continually developing herself personally and professionally, both as an artist and teacher.

Molly has worked with youth as an educator in a variety of capacities over the past ten years. While living in Monterey California, she initially started teaching piano to a friend’s daughter in 2011 and has been teaching actively since at youth centers, studios, schools, and private homes for the past 8 years. She works especially well with young children, beginners, and adults whose dream has always been to learn piano, or are coming back to it after a long time. She writes songs on both guitar and piano and can help people who want to put a second instrument part to their song, or switch the song from guitar to piano, or vice versa.

Teaching Style

I want to help people be able to play the songs that they love! Creative self expression and creative freedom are two things I value tremendously and are important elements that I bring to my teaching. The creative process is also a healing process and by giving ourselves permission to fully express ourselves we become more present, alive and inspired. I encourage my students to use improvisation, write their own songs, think critically, express themselves, and practice creative freedom. At the same time I give them a solid structure and foundation in technique and music theory. In this philosophy lies a tremendous amount of freedom that I have observed to build students’ self-esteem and instill confidence. My approach combines classical technique mixed with a contemporary learning style that is applicable to modern day music making. Whether you want to learn to read notes, or just play your favorite song, I can teach both! I love all styles of music and can teach across genres.