Testimonials

Client Testimonials

"Deborah's playing added a wonderful ambiance to our holiday parties. Her performance and professionalism could not have been higher." Elaine Ferguson, Executive Assistant to the CEO of Safeco Insurance

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"Deborah played beautifully at our holiday party and created some great cheer. We look forward to working with her again at next year's party." Michelle Scapa, Foushee Inc."

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"We hired Deborah on very short notice for a company holiday party. She was very easy to work with, and she played an impressive variety of holiday-themed music with great skill and confidence. I would definitely ask Deborah to play at our next holiday party!" Marie Clark -- KBA, Inc.

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"Deborah was a great addition to our fundraising event at an artist's loft on Capitol Hill. She was extremely professional, her rate was fair, and she played beautifully. We will definitely hire her again for one of our events." Jenny Iverson -- Nordic Heritage Museum

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“Deborah was a wonderful choice as a piano soloist for a gala dinner event at my home to celebrate a milestone birthday. My guests raved about the ambiance created by Deborah’s lively and skillful playing. Deborah gave me the perfect touch to an exceptional evening of celebration.” David L. – Redmond

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"Thank you for setting just the right mood during our evening for major donors. Your professionalism, choice of music, and talent added a pleasant warmth to this event in the lovely private home and gardens of our Board member. We look forward to working with you in the future." Deb Hemingway, Arboretum Foundation

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"We are so happy that we hired Deborah to play at our corporate event to honor top performers. She added such an element of class to the evening. She went above and beyond by handling all our special requests. We would love to work with Deborah again." Janelle Larson, Whole Foods Market, Pacific Northwest Region

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"Thank you so much for the fantastic entertainment during our event with Room to Read. Your talent was enjoyed by all. We were so impressed by the variety of style you were able to perform that proved to please everyone in attendance. We will definitely be interested in your services again. I can't help think that the enjoyment of the music was an integral part of the success of the event!" Karla Ulvenes, Event Coordinator, Room to Read

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"Deborah played for the cocktail hour at our wedding, and we could not have been more pleased. She was very professional in all dealings, prompt, and her playing was superb. She is very talented and provided that classy touch we were aiming for. " Analise and Mark Hotopp

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"Deborah is a consummate performer with an excellent gift for the piano. We appreciated her versatility, broad repertoire, and elegant style. Given insufficient time to practice and rehearse, she still managed to emerge and create a solemn and romantic ambiance that everyone enjoyed. Thank you for making our wedding a quality success." Ella & Aries Soriano

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“We recently hired Deborah to play for a private reception at a client’s house and she was absolutely wonderful. Even though the house was equipped with a custom built-in audio system, the ambiance of a live piano doesn’t even compare. We highly recommend her to anyone looking to spice up the image of their party. Thanks Deborah!” Michael Orbino – The Orbino Group/John L Scott, Inc.

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"A big thank you to Deborah for helping make our wedding what it was! She did an incredible job setting the tone for our ceremony and rehearsal and my husband and I were so pleased with her playing. Thank you, thank you, thank you!" Ariel Bortles

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"Deborah added warmth and sparkle to our dinner party. Her playing really completed the mood. We couldn’t have been happier with her performance." Linda M. -- Bellevue

Student Testimonials

"I am a committed and knowledgeable classical musician who decided to take lessons again after working on my own for the past 30 years. I was frankly skeptical (as were others) about what any teacher could do for me at this stage of my life and musical development. But working with Deborah has been a welcome surprise. She has revitalized my piano playing, and with it my entire musical awareness. Through working with Deborah I’m learning to deconstruct some of the old habits that had made my playing sound mechanical and labored. She’s teaching me to get out of the way and let my natural musicianship emerge through the fog of old methods and beliefs about what constitutes good practicing. Her approach makes the learning of new pieces more enjoyable, and also leads to a greater understanding of what the music is wanting to say. While I am what most would consider an advanced student, I can see how it would have been great to start with Deborah too—and more than ever I think she’s made me a believer that adult students can learn with the same delight and discovery as any child." Jim Hessler -- Issaquah

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"I've been fortunate to connect with Deborah and learn from a true artist and a highly skilled professional. My life is full of complex tasks -- both technical and creative -- and one of my priorities is challenging my mind to continue growing so I can deliver at a high level. So, as a new challenge and creative pursuit, I started learning piano from scratch as an adult.

Deborah is simply terrific. She combines artistry and flow with method and technique in a way that keeps me moving forward, adjusting page as needed depending on my lifestyle demands. She seems to know everything there is about music theory, and, more importantly, makes it applicable and always finds a way to explain and demonstrate to make progress possible and engaging." Juliana Jade, Jadecastle Media CEO and private pilot -- Kirkland

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"I really enjoy my morning piano lessons with Deborah because it is one of the few times in the week where I have a full hour to slow down and engage in something challenging and creative. There is something about playing the piano that activates an entirely different part of my brain. After playing for just one hour I feel completely energized and have some of the most productive days in my job as a software engineer. Deborah creates a fantastic environment where I get to choose what I want to play and how much I want to practice, yet she pushes me enough where I feel progress after every single lesson. I feel very happy that I found her and look forward to many more lessons to come. " Alexander Popov -- Kirkland

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"I spent 8 months searching for a piano teacher who could make music live in me and stretch my skills, while providing me the foundation to do what I want with piano. Deborah Gandolfo is that person.

I have had four lessons with Deborah and I am already noticing that my ear is dramatically improving. I am aware of theory on a level that I have not previously experienced and even my singing is improving.

After a few lessons with Deborah, I was out with friends listening to a jazz quartet. Half way through the evening I became aware of the excitement I was experiencing because I got the relationship of the chord and scale structure of the jazz pieces. I was even able to hear the intervals and relationship of the pianists contribution in a way that I had never previously appreciated during a lifetime of listening to jazz.

Deborah is using the most modern and advanced techniques to make music fun and learning to play piano an accomplishable undertaking. I race to each lesson!" Dave Shapiro -- Seattle

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"Deborah is a fabulous guide with whom to embark on a music journey. In my case it was the continuation of an experience mostly abandoned in college. While I always kept a keyboard around, it often sat lonely on its stand. Then, about three years ago, I became inspired to acquire a grand piano and restart lessons, and began studying with Deborah on the recommendation of a friend. It has been deeply enriching to restart my musical adventure.

As a teacher, Deborah is supportive (important because even experienced players need a little bucking up from time to time). She understands music at a deep, 3D level, combining a strong background in theory with talented performance skill. Her technique is smooth and effortless, which she teaches through methods that avoid the strain that can result from rote exercise. This is consistent with her overall philosophy to learn as much as possible from the pieces one has selected, rather than exercises, which helps keep progress fun.

She also fosters a sense of camaraderie among or entire group of adult students, with occasional opportunities to play for each other in a supportive environment. It's a nice outlet for students who enjoy performing but would otherwise have limited opportunities. I hope you'll consider joining us, and enlist Deborah to be your guide on your own musical journey." Dale Blocher -- Bellevue

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"When my husband and I decided to move to the USA one year ago, my main personal concern was to be able to find a piano teacher. Of course there are plenty of piano teachers here, but I had had such a wonderful relationship with my previous teacher that I thought that nobody could ever replace her. After my being half silent at the piano for 15 years, she was the one who taught me how to speak the piano language, how to make a musical speech from what would have only been a stack of notes before I met her. So I had high expectations regarding the teacher who would come next. I found Deborah through her blog which immediately kindled my interest. After a year, I can say that she has fulfilled my expectations. I immediately felt comfortable with her and had no fear playing for her. Her supportive and focused listening help me play at my best level. And the most valuable for me is the way she helps me re-learn how to play the piano in a relaxed and more natural way. She shows me how effective and tenseless gestures produce a better sound, and how the whole body is involved in the process of playing the piano. My body is now integrating this new technique, and I have the hope that someday I can play some pieces of the repertoire that I thought were out of my reach." -- Isabelle Z., Bellevue

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"One of the most valuable lessons I have learned from Deborah is to listen to the music first, then allow my body to flow. Previously, when I would learn a new piece of music, my mind was so focused on the complexity of the task involving reading notes and playing that I neglected to fully listen to the music. Deborah has taught me how to simplify the music to its fundamental harmonies, which has allowed me to hear the music with clarity. Once my ear could hear it, I was positively surprised how my body and hands simply followed. This learning technique has helped me embrace, rather than struggle with, what I once thought were difficult passages. I am learning to play the piano in a more natural and relaxed state of mind and body than I ever did previously." -- Minami Dmyterko, Bothell

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"I decided to return to the piano after an absence of nearly 40 years. I received my undergraduate degree in music followed by an MBA and a career in finance. Shortly before I retired, I purchased a grand piano. That was the easy part. Playing the piano after so many years was both exciting and horrifying. I needed a teacher. I was intrigued by Deborah's blog and an approach to learning very different from my early training. Then I heard Deborah perform in concert and was captivated by the beauty and strength of her playing. I contacted her and the lessons began.

The intense focus on hearing, really hearing, the music is new for me. I was better at describing the melodic or harmonic structure of a piece than hearing it. I'm taking baby steps to transpose fragments of the pieces on which I'm working and have discovered a simple truth: when the mind can hear the music, the body will find a way to make it happen. In the past I worked to "get the music into my hands" through endless repetition. Now I work to get the music into my ears. I'm not there yet but this seems a journey well worth taking.

In only a few months I can hear the difference. I'm adapting to the concept of playing fast in order to play slow, of using more arm and less fingers, of striving to play long melodic lines and fewer self-important notes. I'm working to feel rhythm as the life-force and not something to be counted out or ticked off. Deborah makes the process of learning to play such an impossibly difficult instrument as the piano both energizing and completely enjoyable. I hope to study with her for many years to come." --Susan C. Ball, Redmond

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"Deborah gave me my first ever piano lesson 5 years ago. I have learned so much and now really enjoy my playing. Her teaching techniques have enabled me to play things I would've never thought I could do so quickly. Learning from her is a joy." -- Darren Loher, Kirkland

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"Deborah is wonderful pianist, musician and teacher. From day one she focuses on making music. She can make anything sound musical and that is the main goal in her mind. If you, like me, took piano lessons as a child, you may remember robotically playing scales and exercises -- not fun, and not musical. There is none of that with Deborah -- you develop those skills playing real music, which is more rewarding. I've been taking lessons with Deborah for over three years and I really look forward to the lessons and to the practicing. After many years where I didn't touch the piano, it's great to be playing again, and to be able to see and hear improvement on a regular basis." -- Steve Kahn, Bellevue

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"I have had only a few piano lessons with Deborah but already feel the benefit of her instruction. I find that my piano playing has taken on a new freedom as we have worked on outlining, full arm stroke, transposing, etc. Our time together at the piano has been fun and very encouraging. I appreciate the fact that she has taken the time to understand what my music goals are and thereby uses our lesson time to build my skills accordingly. I have been able to use her instruction to enhance my teaching with my own piano students and she has been generous with sharing her skills as a teacher as well as a pianist. She is quite thoughtful and gracious to me and I am always thankful that I made the three hour commute to Kirkland. It is well worth the drive!" -- Cynthia Wallace, Vancouver

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"Although I HAVE to play the viola at school, I play the piano with Deborah because I love it and I WANT to." -- Danny H., age 12, Redmond