In response to COVID-19 and the continuing need for online educational resources, we have developed classes and materials for online instruction.

You can express interest in our classes and make additional topic requests using the form below. Because most students request individual tutoring, sessions are scheduled after you contact us. A first consultation to determine your level and goals is free. Class fees range from $10 to $80 (US) per hour, depending on whether you join a group or individual session.

Music Theory classes:

Kathryn Woodard offers individual and small group tutoring that prepares students for all ABRSM grades and the AP Music Theory exam. ABRSM exams up to Grade 5 are now in an online format, making them accessible worldwide. The AP test preparation (for Advanced Placement credit in the US) can substitute for a formal class at your school. The student just needs to register for the exam through their school's AP coordinator. While class sessions focus on material geared toward each grade and level, the content is supplemented with listening and/or score study that reflects a broad range of musical styles. Kathryn is committed to offering an inclusive and diverse curriculum. Please use the form below to contact us and set up an initial conversation.

Students receive Certificates of Completion for each course whether they pursue standardized exams or not. 

Why learn Music Theory? Music theory is similar to learning grammar and spelling when learning a language. That may sound dry and somewhat boring but I'm sure you recognize the usefulness of those subjects when communicating and writing! The more advanced levels of theory provide you with tools for understanding how music is constructed, why it sounds the way it does, and how you can create your own. Just like with spoken language, you can master quite a lot as a performer without knowing the theory/grammar rules. But if you want to know more about the inner workings of what you play, then these courses are for you! The exams mentioned above focus on music written for Western instruments such as piano and those of the orchestra (violin, flute, etc.). It is a bias for sure, and similar to the bias of learning English as a current lingua franca. However,  I do like to touch on other 'languages' - other styles of music - as we learn about pitch, harmony, and rhythm. You will not become fluent in those 'languages,' but you will gain a familiarity with them - enough to find out if you want to study them further! 

A simple example of why music theory is useful:

Recently a student asked if she could learn 'Dandelions' as a piano solo. She had found a YouTube tutorial but needed sheet music to keep learning. So I went looking and lo and behold what did I find -   If you hit 'play' on the MuseScore site, this version will sound exactly like the song 'Dandelions.' "Great! Done! I'm printing it out!" thinks the student. But there is one big problem with it: the time signature is wrong. It's written in 4/4 but for anyone listening to the song the first time and who knows how to notate rhythm, the strong beats of the melody don't make sense and the chords don't line up with strong beats either. That's because the subdivisions of the song's melody should be in groups of 3 not 2. You could actually use 4/4 as a time signature for this song, but the subdivisions would have to be triplets (3 eighth notes per beat) not duplets (2 eighth notes per beat). Another way to notate this feel is to use a compound meter: 12/8, or 4 beats of 3 eighth notes each ( = 12). Notice the difference in this version:  The left hand chords are on the downbeat and the 3rd main beat in the middle of the bar, and the melody is in groups of 3 (triple subdivisions). You'll also notice the difference in key signature: 7 sharps isn't unheard of (for C-sharp major) but 5 flats (D-flat major) is going to be easier to read, even if not appropriate for beginners! In the case of the time signature the difference is not just spelling or grammar but how the player feels the beat as he/she plays. One could spend the time to learn the song from the first version, but you would constantly be telling yourself to count the beats where they are not felt in the song - an enormous waste of time and effort! 

So how was the MuseScore version created? Why is it useful at all? I don't know, but I strongly suspect it was created using a MIDI audio recognition tool where the notes and rhythms are simply transcribed from playback. It's quite a bit like an English voice recognition tool trying to transcribe a different language coming through the microphone, for example, misspelling or autocorrecting words to fit English rather the language being spoken. I wonder if simply setting the initial time signature preset to 12/8 would have solved the input problem...

~Kathryn Woodard


Past Classes: 


Listening Around the World


This class actually grew out of some of the theory classes described above. I realized students could be given listening assignments simply to broaden their awareness of styles around the world without the laser focus on theoretical concepts. The first installment is off to a great start! Check out these latest blog entries (starting on March 14) to learn more and see if this might be a good fit for you.


Piano Music From Around the World


This class provides an introduction to various styles of piano music with selections from Argentina, Costa Rica, Croatia, Turkey, Ghana, Nigeria, China, Japan and more! Students learn about the composers of the pieces, styles that influenced their compositions, and features of their culture that also inform their music. Each class begins with a geography lesson and some feature of the language that enhances the music lesson. Students do not need to play the piano in order to take the course -some students will learn to play pieces but others can complete written assignments about the course material to receive their certificate.  




A class for students of all levels! Most students learn rhythm by ear at the keyboard, and an understanding of rhythmic notation comes much later. This class embraces that approach, introducing students of all ages to simple and complex rhythm patterns through clapping and counting but adding some discussion of notation for older students. Examples range from common meters and subdivisions in classical piano music to irregular meters of the Balkans, cross-rhythms in West African drumming, North Indian tala counting and much more!




Join us in Vienna for a week-long course, Creativity at the Piano! June 24-28 & August 5-9

Explore movement, rhythm, composition and improvisation!

Click here for more info






Preview and purchase the Anthology of Turkish Piano Music (with links to video pages)


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