Meet Talc Tolchin

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Genres: All Genres
Instrument: Piano
Specialties: Classical, Play by Ear, Pop
Available Days: Tues & Wed (virtual only)
Available for online lessons Mon., Tues., Thurs. - please email to schedule

Schedule a Lesson (Virtual Zoom only)

Lesson Rates

30 min : $50 
45 min : $60
60 min : $70 

Meet Talc Tolchin

I grew up in a musical family in Brooklyn NY. My mother, played piano, and was my first teacher. My father played violin, owned a music store and ran the piano division of Universal Musical Instrument Co. He played in the Brooklyn College orchestra, and I think his main concern for me was to have me love music and be a musician. You succeeded at that, dad! Sometimes a cellist would come over and I would hear chamber music played. It was just my normal environment. He took my to Carnegie Hall and listened in one of the boxed seats over the stage. That was cool.

My rebellion to classical music came in my teens through the form of jazz. A close friend David Leibman (now a world renowned sax player ) took me to hear greats like John Coltrane, before I was even old enough to be allowed into the clubs.

One of my first jobs in college was working as a busboy at the famous Village Gate. I got to hear my all time favorite pianist Bill Evans night after night. I was eventually fired for paying too much attention to the music.

I’ve studied piano my whole life up to the present. One of my best teachers as a teenager was Mike Garson, who later became David Bowie’s arranger and pianist. I’ve taken classes at the Jazz School in Berkeley in salsa, gospel, theory and jazz with Frank Martin, who plays with Sting and works for the producer Narada Michael Walden here in San Rafael.

My greatest love is song writing and recording and producing my songs. It is a different process than learning a new piece of music. It requires using intuition and going into the unknown and giving form to something that hasn’t been before. I do rely on patterns and chords that are encoded in my hands and brain, and then I just try to come up with the right notes and chords at the right time.

I have been teaching piano for over 40 years. I’ve always tried to let students choose the music they want to learn, whenever possible. It helps them to be more motivated. Of course it requires me to learn it first and I’ve learned many hundreds of tunes.

One of the most unique aspects of my teaching method is that I offer students the opportunity to choose their own material whenever possible. This requires me to learn their songs and tailor the lessons to each individual. I have a good ear, and know the theory that supports that skill. Students are therefore more highly motivated to learn new material. I'm always changing with the times and it keeps me fresh and current. It is usually the keyboardist in a band who needs to figure out tunes and write out the charts, and it's a skill I pass on to students. Once someone has the ability to hear and figure out chords, melodies, rhythms, all the recorded music out there is a source for learning and inspiration.

I also work with synth technique, multi-track recording, sequencing, and drum programming. I love jazz and improvisation is key to that art form. My other love is song writing, which I encourage once the skills are there. Going into the unknown and creating something is a skill that can be developed.

I am not the only teacher out there doing all this. But for me, the personal connection and communication is primary.

Need help booking a lesson? Email or call us at (415) 457-7600 x 104
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