May 2019   
Piano Instructor

Andrew Hlavinka

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Andrew Hlavinka teaches Jazz, Classical, and Contemporary Studies (Pop, Rock, R&B, Electronic, Gospel, Synth)

Listening to my first Elton John CD at nine years old, the flame was kindled and my life with piano begun!  After learning basic music reading from a voice teacher, I studied piano with classically trained Russian teacher, Ruslan Sviridov, for four years.  He exposed me to more traditional classical repertoire and some of my favorite composers - Mozart, Beethoven, Rachmaninov, Prokofiev, and Shostakovich.  Ruslan taught me not only physical piano technique and classical music language but also different methods for interpreting and feeling the music.  I also studied with Linda Hasse, a UT piano grad and ‘’rubato’’ master, before college.  Her guidance in playing Gershwin, Copland, Bach, Beethoven and many more composers deepened my passion for piano greatly.  In high school, at performing arts magnet school, NESA, I discovered how much fun it is to play piano to accompany singers, with an orchestra, and in a pit for musical theatre shows.  My love for pop, rock, and indie music grew quickly when I joined a rock band senior year and realized the awesomeness of playing a synth in a band with bass, guitar, drums, and vocals beside you.  Coldplay, The Shins, Keen, Jack Johnson, Fiona Apple, Billy Joel, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Muse, John Legend, and Radiohead were and are a big deal.

I studied at Berklee College of Music in Boston from 2010-2014 and graduated with a degree in Piano Performance and Electronic Production.  I studied with amazing jazz and classical players Kevin Harris, Bob Winter, Leo Blanco, and Laszlo Gardony and discovered my passion for jazz.  After seeing live shows with incredible musicians spontaneously communicating to each other, I knew I had to dive into this jazz world.  I learned different strategies of improvisation, ear training, transcribing, jazz theory, and was exposed to the greats: Coltrane, Monk, Evans, Parker, Jarrett, Ellington, Gillespie, Joplin, Fitzgerald, Holiday.  I love these musicians/composers, but it was also my fellow student musicians from all around the world at Berklee, playing every style you could think of, that inspired me equally.  I played in jazz, gospel, R&B, electronic, and pop ensembles and continue to try to play with as many different people and perspectives as I can.

I started teaching privately to all-ages through college in Boston; and, through Berklee, I volunteered to play for the Dorchester Boys and Girls Afterschool Club open mic nights.  The confidence that performing gave these kids was amazing.  This and my experience mentoring high school students through the Berklee City Music program demonstrated the musical and overall life benefits of teaching.  To empower a student’s belief in themselves to overcome any obstacle in their life and to pursue their dreams and develop their goals is a wonderful experience- one where the student’s perspective, experiences, obstacles, and questions teach me at least as much as I’ve taught them.