10. Michael Stegner
- 19 years in business
- Serves Lawndale, CA
"One of the things I loved about taking lessons with Michael is that he really made me think outside the box and apply my knowledge in unique yet unconventional ways. For instance, I struggled with improvising at faster tempos in high school, mostly because I thought I couldn’t “hit all the changes correctly.” I remember bringing this up to Michael during a lesson one day, and instead of teaching me licks and melodies that would work over the chord changes, he put the metronome on 200 bpm (much faster than I was used to playing) and instructed me to play consistent eighth notes at that tempo but without worrying about any harmony or chord changes on the page (playing freely). This, in turn, helped train my ears to hear melodies and harmonies that weren’t in my vocabulary before.
Michael taught me that developing ones own sound or voice doesn’t come from copying others, or showing someone what’s “right” or “wrong”. It’s about providing someone with the tools necessary to be creative and explore the endless possibilities that come with being a artist. I realized, with Michael’s guidance, that I could expand my musical knowledge by utilizing the creative tools he gave me in ways that I desired. Teaching someone a song is one thing, but teaching someone how to apply musical knowledge is a whole other ballgame and Michael has seriously mastered this. I feel lucky to have been able to take piano lessons with him."