Kathy James graduated from Portland State University with a degree in piano performance and music education. Lessons with Kathy make learning good technique, musicality, and sight reading fun! She works well with students of all ages, has a calm caring demeanor, and encourages musical growth. Kathy believes music can be a lifelong joy for any learner, and as a teacher, the opportunity to pass that joy along to her students is immensely rewarding!
What age were you when you first started taking music lessons?
I was 10 years old and in 5th grade when I had my first formal lessons. But like many of my current students, I had already begun playing on my own, from my older sibling’s piano method books.
Tell us about an early music lessons experience that helped shape you as a musician or teacher:
My first piano teacher introduced me to composing music right from the very beginning. I always look back and greatly appreciate that I was given this gift of encouragement toward not just playing, but creating music!
What are your favorite bands or musicians?
My favorite musicians to listen to are the jazz giants, Bill Evans and his Trio, John Coltrane, Chet Baker with Gerry Mulligan, Miles Davis, Horace Silver, and many many more….
Do you have a highlight of your music career so far that you would like to share?
In 2009 I became involved with a small group of friends that would meet once a month for a jazz jam session. During that time I introduced them to many of my original jazz compositions. Within the year this led to me becoming a band leader of a 6 piece jazz ensemble, performing originals and jazz standards for lively and enthusiastic Portland audiences. And, loving the collaboration with like-minded creative musicians ever since.
Describe your ideal student.
It’s an honor to work with any and all students who bring their enthusiasm for learning music.
Describe what your students should expect in their first few music lessons.
I make a point in the beginning to get to know each new student’s current level, their unique goals and interests. I begin with method books at first in order to cover the basics. But then love to find what additional options may excite each individual, for example; improvising and jazz, popular music, classical, composing, playing duets, movie theme music. Or maybe just that one haunting song, the one that made you decide to pick up a musical instrument.
Why did you want to become a music teacher?
I graduated from Portland State University with a degree in Music and Music Education. From then on I’ve always loved the idea of bringing music into other peoples lives. It was many years later I realized that one-on-one private teaching was for me! I absolutely love being the support system for those perusing their own musical dreams!