Piano Lessons – Adults

For Rates and FAQs, please see below.

What Adult Students Are Saying

Thank you, Julie!
This is simply to say that Julie is the most patient and uplifting piano teacher I have ever had. And, I have had a few! She always listens to what I am really struggling with and gives me doable solutions that work. Julie understands the things that I struggle with as an adult student with other responsibilities, but also expects that I will put in an honest effort and try to practice if I say I am going to. I highly recommend Julie to get you going in the right direction with your love for the piano and learning to play music that really does give you a sense of accomplishment!
—Julie Oulton, Gloucester, MA

Have you tried to pick up playing the piano but not had much success? Before you give up on your dream of playing, call Julie Cleveland. Whether you are a complete novice or someone who was taught the rudiments as a child, you can benefit from Julie Cleveland’s inspiration, method, and patience. Her technique is straightforward: to progress as an adult, try using your grown-up faculties. This approach makes lessons and practice an act of discovery, something lively and fun. With Julie’s help, the satisfaction of accomplishment is possible.
—James Caviston, Essex, MA

I came back to piano lessons at the age of 56, having given up 40 years ago for a variety of reasons, including a teacher’s cruelty and my own perceived inadequacies as a pianist.

Julie is the epitome of a great teacher, expressing love for her craft in every way, encouraging patiently, and making me believe in my abilities.  Through her gentle guidance and her enthusiasm, I have also come to the discovery that it doesn’t matter that I will never be a great pianist, that I am happy just to play, to struggle through the learning of beautiful pieces like Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata, and Chopin’s mournful Preludes, and to perceive my own improvement, and be lauded for that.

I am almost addicted to playing now, as I cannot walk past the piano room without going in and sitting down to play, with pleasure and delight.

Thank you Julie!
—Anne Bouwer, Essex, MA

I began playing piano once again upon retirement, after having taken lessons until I was in my mid-teens. The idea was to pick up some old finger exercise books, some sheet music, and go. What a mistake that was!!! The playing progressed quite nicely, until I hit a wall. I could not play evenly, and progress came to a halt. This is when I began to think that perhaps I needed some professional help.

I got Julie’s name from a friend, and made contact. The very first lesson was a very pleasant introduction to Julie’s world of music. Her love of music is inspiring, her knowledge is awesome, and in her gentle way she is quite the taskmaster, who keeps me directed towards the goal of playing as well as I possibly can.

Julie quickly diagnosed my playing difficulties, and prescribed several classical music compositions, which along with a playing discipline has done wonders for my playing. Progress was initially slow since I had to unlearn many bad playing habits, which had become part of “muscle memory.” But after every lesson with Julie, I came home inspired to get back to the piano and continue. Now, after less than three months, my playing is better than it ever was, and I cannot wait to get up in the morning and sit down at the piano. Thank you, Julie. Thank you so very, very much.
—Walter Class, West Newbury, MA

I took advantage of a discount Julie offered on Election Day and couldn’t be happier! I’m enjoying both my lessons and practicing the piano–now that I’m an adult and no one (MOM!) can tell me what to do. Playing the piano is such a wonderful rest from the work I do. I think it actually engages a different part of my brain. After a good practice session I feel renewed and energized. Try it! You may find this is a wonderful gift to yourself or to someone you love.
—Ann Olson, Gloucester, MA

I am a trumpet player who decided late in life to add piano. Though I can read music well, I had never wrestled with the fingering and arm motions of piano playing, challenges that Julie has helped me with successfully.

Julie is first of all a fine musician and insists on musical integrity. But much to my happiness, she is also a superb and highly inventive teacher. She listens not only to the notes I play but also to the questions I ask, and responds with insight to both.

In addition to her individual teaching, she lets her enthusiasm for music spill over into organizing a number of musical events where her students can share their trials and successes, something very valuable for those of us not in a musical performance career.
Jay Blake, Gloucester, MA

Julie’s the best!

Julie has made the difficult—and somewhat unusual—transition for me from an accordion player to being able to play the piano a fun and challenging experience. She has the talent, experience, and patience to be able to instruct adults—and children—of any experience level at whatever speed they are comfortable at. She was able to get my left hand up to speed on the keyboard (years of playing accordion buttons with the left hand will make it seem quite alien on a keyboard) by intensive scale progressions and other exercises.

Whether you are looking to play for fun, knock the rust off of your chops, or become a classical pianist, I would not hesitate for one moment to recommend Julie. I look forward to Julie’s Adult Piano Party Soirées and a lot more instruction with her!
—Jim Capillo, Gloucester, MA

If you’re looking for a piano teacher, you won’t find a better one than Julie Cleveland. She’s not only a highly accomplished pianist, she’s an amazing teacher. I am most impressed by Julie’s versatility and spontaneity. She knows exactly what pieces and technical drills to assign to get me to the next level quickly, and with the most fun. If I want to play classical pieces, she finds the best choices for me to work on, but if I want to play popular tunes, jazz, or even gospel, that’s fine too. She encourages creativity and improvisation in her students, even beginners like me. I speak, obviously, as an adult piano student, but her young students always leave the studio with big smiles on their faces, too. They clearly enjoy her piano lessons as much as I do.
—Laura Phillips, Skype student, Boynton Beach, FL

Some of my adult students playing at Adult Piano Party Soirées

Piano Lessons for Adults

  • Private instruction for adults who are beginners, or returning to the piano after many years away
  • Adult Piano Party Soirées, which are informal get-togethers so that students can share their common interest and the pieces they’re working on for each other
  • Group classes and workshops on subjects such as music theory basics, how to improvise at the piano (non-jazz), how to play piano from lead sheets, and more


“Traditional” and Not-So-Traditional Piano Study

What Do I Teach?

I work with adult students on both “classical” tracks (“classical” here includes many periods of Western music other than the Classical period), as well as tracks geared for those who want to play pop, rock, blues, jazz, blues, Broadway, movie themes, by sight-reading arrangements, but also from learning how to read lead sheets (also known as “charts”). So whether you’re interested in learning Beethoven and Bach, or you want to begin to learn how to play from charts or lead sheets, I say, let’s do it!

Who Do I Teach?

I have singers come in who want to be able to accompany themselves, I have sightreaders come in who want to learn to read a “chart.” I have students who play at an advanced level, who want critique on performance, or who have trouble with sightreading skills. I have students who are brand new to piano and want to get started, from ages 20 to 80 and older!, working and retired, or who played as kids and are eager to get back to the piano!


45- and 60-minute lessons are offered. There are no 30-minute lessons for adult students.
The rate for a regular weekly timeslot (10 lessons in a quarter) is slightly less than for “a la carte” lessons (see below).

I also offer lessons to adults “a la carte,” that is, not a regular weekly timeslot. (A lesson every other week is also not a regular timeslot.)


Click here for a PDF of the Adult Studio Policy, which includes my rates,* and more info on lesson scheduling, calendar, group events, etc.
*All rates are subject to change.


I’m retired but have always wanted to play the piano. Is it too late?

It’s never too late! If you’ve never played piano, it’s definitely one of the easier instruments to learn. And as long as you are self-motivated and disciplined, and are able to practice a reasonable amount (even 30 minutes a day, or most days) you will see results in no time. And if you’re able to practice more than that, you will be a piano player in short order! Beginners generally are able to play an early intermediate classical piece, such as Für Elise by Beethoven, as early as one year after study, depending on how much you can practice. If you had lessons when you were young, and you’re returning to the piano, you’ll begin to see results right away.

I travel a lot and can’t make it to a regular lesson, is it possible not to come every week?

Yes, indeed! In the scheduling of my adult students, I can be more flexible. You can of course sign up for a weekly lesson, but I also offer lessons “a la carte.” No slots are available between roughly 2–6 pm for adults, which is my “prime-time” for my young students, but I have for all adult students both weekly and a la carte daytime and some evening slots available Tuesday–Friday.

What if I don’t want to work on classical, just pop or rock or jazz tunes?

Lessons for adult students are geared toward each student’s individual game plan. Some students want to learn only the classical repertoire, while others may be more interested in studying jazz harmony and improvisation to be able to play “standards.” Many want a combination of the two, and other genres of music as well. And some students want to know more about theory basics, or how to compose their own music.

Want to get started, or just want more info? Contact me here.