If you would like further assurance that this is the right piano studio for you, a collection of testimonials have been collected for your convenience.

Marty and Rosalie Klatt write:

Hi Norman, ...we truly appreciate your efforts on our daughter Angelyn's behalf. What can I say; the proof is before us. Angelyn is succeeding beautifully as a piano student (3rd year) and of course it's because of your considerable skills. My wife Rosalie had you as her teacher for four or five years also. You also share our love of exotic pets. I keep coming back to it but truly the best thing I can say is your skills are reflected in what I hear Angelyn playing. She is demonstrating how well you're informing her consistently, if not always joyfully. Keep up the good work Norman. We love you, the Klatts, et al

From Silvia Teran:

My sons have been taking piano lessons over the past 2 years with Mr. Ortiz, and we have been extremely happy with his teaching. He has an excellent teaching manner that has led my sons to enjoy and appreciate piano (and music in general). Best of all, a foundation is being laid for their musical experience for the rest of their lives!

From Elna Clark:

Our daughter, Ann, has been taking lessons from Mr. Ortiz until the last half year. We have been so happy with him as a piano teacher. It was a very difficult decision for Ann to stop - other musical reasons required us to have a little more time. Mr. Ortiz is a very serious piano teacher. He has expectations of his students and hopes that the students will follow his suggestions so that they will achieve. At the same time he is very fun, friendly and engaging.

Mr. Ortiz is very good at preparing students in all the different periods of music. Annie was involved in the Certificate of Merit program which requires students to prepare pieces in three or four of the periods. Mr. Ortiz is great at helping the student choose appropriate repertoire for their skill level and also for what they have interest in. Pieces that are Baroque would be played differently than those pieces written in the Romantic period - Mr. Ortiz understands the differences and is able to help students play in each style correctly.

Students are encouraged to play with feeling - and he helps the student try to begin recognizing how to play with warmth and feeling within themselves. Mr. Ortiz is excellent at trying to figure out the best way to connect and teach his students. If one teaching method doesn't work or one example doesn't seem to click, he will try other things to try to make his point. One time Ann was not "getting" what he was trying to explain. Mr. Ortiz took Ann outside and they played "catch" so that she would "feel" what he was trying to explain.

Mr. Ortiz understands that his students are busy people outside of piano. He encourages them in all that they are doing. He often shows up at things for his students that have nothing to do with piano. He is very supportive and interested in his student's lives. Mr. Ortiz teaches and understands music theory and also teaches technique - both are important to a well-prepared pianist. Mr. Ortiz encourages, but does not force, his students to participate in piano recitals. He is very mindful that the experience will be more positive if the student is really prepared so he doesn't have them play unprepared.

We have had many teachers and Mr. Ortiz has been most remarkable. We cheerfully and wholeheartedly endorse him as a wonderful piano teacher and person.

From Theresa Chen:

My son, Victor has been practicing piano for seven years. He is currently in 8th grade. Victor started learning piano with Mr. Ortiz since September 2006. According to my observations from the past eight months, Mr. Ortiz is an A++ piano instructor. As a piano teacher, Mr. Ortiz has a lot of patience and is very gentle. He not only teaches students piano but also guides students to the right direction of music. His fee is reasonable and he is not like other piano teachers who just want to use the piano to make a fortune. He is willing to go extra miles for his students. I highly recommend contacting Mr. Ortiz. It does not matter if your child is a beginner or if your child is in a higher level. Mr. Ortiz is your #1 choice.

From Chialing Liu:

After two years piano lessons with a different teacher, both of my sons had to discontinue lessons because we moved. One year later they started piano lessons with Mr. Ortiz, and there was a dramatic difference in their playing. Their articulation and musicality flourished while under the guidance of Mr. Ortiz in contrast to their flat and unmusical style while under the guidance of their previous teacher.

Mr. Ortiz, in addition to focusing on technique, skill, and theory, emphasizes and nourishes the artistic sense in his students focusing on small nuances in order to make a more beautiful bigger picture. He is very patient and funny, both of my sons had fun in playing as well. He also encouraged my sons to participate recitals and competitions so they could learn and meet their peers. No matter the outcome, Mr. Ortiz was always supportive to each of his students during these nerve wracking times.

My sons took lessons with Mr. Ortiz for about eight years, they both are in college now. My husband and I miss the beautiful music that flowed through the house as a result of Mr. Ortiz's teachings. Although my sons don't play as smooth and skillfully as before due to lack of practice, they have a very solid foundation and technique. We always feel lucky that we found Mr. Ortiz to be our sons' piano teacher.

From a student. A random student.

To Mr./Mrs. Average Parent, looking for a piano teacher for his or her child, or Mr./Mrs. Other Average Adult, who always had a burning desire to learn how to play the piano, but did not have aforesaid Mr./Mrs. Average Parent (or both) to realize this particular dream. Let's not forget Extraordinary Kid who also does not have the benefit of aforesaid Mr./Mrs. Average Parent, but does not want to end up like Mr./Mrs. Other Average Adult. whom it may concern.

I was told to make this succinct and effective. Obviously, I have failed at the first, but I am also determined not to crumble at the second. Norman Ortiz's piano studio is the finest in the Bay Area. This is not a hyperbole. The location is convenient, and the teaching is superior. Mr. Ortiz is a patient, caring, and knowledgeable teacher. So, if you are looking for a piano teacher, I suggest you pick Mr. Ortiz, otherwise things will probably come crashing down on your head later. That was a hyperbole.

From an equally random parent:

If you are looking for a piano teacher, look no further. We are so lucky to have Mr. Ortiz piano studio right here in our neighborhood. Mr. Ortiz is the finest in his profession: every recital/competition outcome can attest to that. He is also very patient, personal, and knows how to motivate students to realize their potential. Our children have been studying with him since we moved here in 1999. They have reached a level beyond our expectance because of Mr. Ortiz's expert guidance. We have nothing but gratitude towards him for bringing music to our lives.

From Joy Kelley:

...outstanding, one-of-a-kind many wonderfully clever ways of helping kids learn to play correctly. He is so patient and kind. He listens to their concerns and struggles, and encourages them on.

From An Anonymous Adult Student:

I've learned a lot from Norman. I took years of piano lessons growing up, but after college stopped taking lessons. I have always had a piano in my home, but only played it occasionally. In the 2 years I've taken lessons from Norm, he has encouraged me and developed my technique and ear for music, although I don't have the patience to practice as much as I should (or Norm tells me I should). I even can begin to "sing" what I play! What I also like is that he tries to make sure I can play solidly and with confidence.

From Peter Tan:

Mr. Ortiz has been teaching our 9 year old son piano for about 4 years now. We chose Mr. Ortiz to teach our son because he is not a plumber or an electrician by day and a piano teacher at night. In other words, teaching piano is not a "side job." He is a consummate professional and it really shows in his teaching skills. It shows in my son's progression of piano skills and in his patience with the children. My son, however is not intimidated by Mr. Ortiz's professionalism. He just sees a tall, quirky and friendly guy, who gives piano lessons. And that's just fine by me. Full marks and a hearty recommendation for Mr. Ortiz!

From Eleanor Prouty:

Norman Ortiz is an exceptional teacher, dedicated to his students' complete learning of music through piano studies. He helps students choose music that they will enjoy - his students play a wide variety of music at recitals. He teaches music theory as students go along. He goes well beyond correct notes and rhythyms to teach expression and musicality. And what makes all of this work when teaching children is that Mr. Ortiz is patient, understands how children learn, and makes it fun for them.". - Eleanor Prouty, Benicia Parent of 2 students, started with Mr. Ortiz in 2003.

From Eric Watabayashi:

Norman has been teaching our older son for nine and younger for five years, so we are obviously extremely satisfied with him. He has not only enhanced their musical talents but reinforced learning practices and behavioral standards that we instill at home. He treats students as individuals and is sensitive to their personalities, but he always expects their best efforts. His approach has helped enrich our sons’ music experience. He stresses technique and theory, even with young students, accelerating their understanding of music.

From Durell Normandin:

Dear Norman,

I would like to thank you for the years you spent with Jeremy teaching him piano. You were a great force in his life. I know the piano kept him more focused in school and in his life.

Although by eighth grade he had other activities, he still sits down at his piano and has even composed two wonderful piano pieces which are really good. He says playing gives him peace and serenity. You were a teacher, both patient and kind, and Jeremy will always remember you and your gift.


Durell Normandin

From Bronwen, a student:

I am so very lucky that Mr. Ortiz was willing to take me on as a student when my mom and I began looking for piano instructors when I was just five years old. From my very first year of lessons to those I’ve taken as a teenager, I cannot remember a moment in which his guidance was less than exemplary. Mr. Ortiz uses a wide variety of techniques to help his students both learn to play piano and to practice effectively. He made me a well-rounded student, not only focusing on playing pieces and learning theory but also working on my scales, arpeggios, polyrhythms, and other techniques I would not have done otherwise. Mr. Ortiz stresses musicality in his students, and this is evident in any recital in which I’ve seen his students perform. I can tell who studies with Mr. Ortiz, because they are the students who perform with a sense of the story the music tells. Dynamically and emotionally their performances are more mature. What’s especially impressive about this is that it is true for students at every level – from the eight-year-old to the eighteen-year-old. Though Mr. Ortiz is a fabulous teacher, he is also a wonderful person. Some of my fondest memories involve lessons at Mr. Ortiz’s. When I was a much younger student I remember calling his written directions in my assignment book “messy.” Of course, they weren’t (he was simply writing in cursive), but, after a frank discussion about different kinds of handwriting, he began printing my assignments. I was never condescended to, but Mr. Ortiz was always happy to work things out. Dealing with situations as varied as schedule changes and the mercurial behavior of young children, Mr. Ortiz is always professional. But, best of all, he is a good friend.

From Conor, a student:

Mr.Ortiz is a very nice man who takes interest and care in his students. Not only does he provide stupendous piano education for all levels of students, but he also is very informal (in a good way) and not condescending to lower level students. When I was younger, I always enjoyed talking to Mr. Ortiz during my lesson, and I enjoyed his house and his pets. His studio is in a home, so it creates a very relaxed and comfortable atmosphere for students who are shy or uneasy. Never did I feel that I was a burden (which in retrospect I probably was) or a nuisance, and Mr. Ortiz realized the extent at which I wanted to learn piano. Now I have moved on to play the trumpet as a focus, but the skills I learned while playing piano are still here. The ability to stand in front of and audience and say, “Hello my name is Conor Beseda O’Herin; I shall play…” was a great tool in expressing myself and also becoming an individual that was comfortable. As I progress through life, the years I spent having lessons with Mr. Ortiz will stay with me, and though I may never play the piano again, I shall relish the relationship I formed with my now friend and former teacher Mr. Norman Ortiz.

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