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I offer lessons in:

  • Adult Piano Methods
  • Choral Performance
  • Choral Conducting
  • Ear Training
  • Basic Music Theory
  • Intermediate Music Theory
  • Advanced Music Theory
  • Classical Piano
  • Early Childhood Piano
  • Intermediate Piano
  • Beginning Piano
  • Sight Singing
  • Songwriting
  • Vocal Coaching
  • Classical Voice

    I also have these skills:

    • Accompanying
    • Classical Flute
    • Acoustic Guitar
    • Lever Harp
    Interested in taking lessons with Tess?

    Click the button below to send a private message.

    Tess OrozcoOffering private lessons in
    Seattle, Washington
    About MeContact Me

    About Miss Tess' Music Studio

    Miss Tess' Music Studio is a place for music-making, serious study, and much creativity. Since 2003, Miss Tess has taught private piano, voice, composition, conducting, Latin, visual art, and music theory lessons from her studio in Seattle. Miss Tess and her studio continue to develop and grow with each new year. Her studio is in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle, near Golden Gardens.

    Lessons are open to all ages and all levels. Miss Tess carefully structures her sessions and assignments to the precise needs of the individual. Her areas of focus for weekly lessons are geared to the goals of each student. Miss Tess has worked with students ages 3 to 77.

    Studying music is good for the brain and good for the heart. Being fluent in the language of music develops artistic independence, and Miss Tess' students learn to read music well. Understanding how to listen is also a priority. Her students learn music, and they also learn the discipline of learning music. There are many variations to the word "fun" -- easy fun, silly fun, but also challenging fun and intensely focused fun. Experiences in the studio help guide and support all that is involved with becoming proficient in a new ability. With time and dedication, students are able to become talented musicians and skilled learners.

    Miss Tess is able to work with many types of thinking and perception. She has worked with shy kids, noisy kids, smart, eccentric, and extraordinary kids. She has had students with autism, Tourette's syndrome, Asperger's, and ADHD. She has worked with ESL students and students with unique learning styles. Miss Tess encourages students to bring out their brilliance. She knows that art and music transcend many boundaries.

    Miss Tess' Music Studio provides a safe and positive space for students to study music, make art, compose original works, and practice independent thinking.

    "I am very happy to have found Miss Tess as a piano teacher! After many years of lessons as a child I decided to come back as an adult to recapture the skills I had lost. I have been pleasantly surprised by her style of teaching which has allowed me to experience the piano in a new way. She has a very organic approach which is much different than my tedious piano lessons of the past. Miss Tess has also tailored the pace of her teaching to fit my schedule where we can progress steadily without intense pressure. She is by far the best teacher I have had and I would recommend her to all ages and skill levels!"

    Erinn, adult student

    "When I arrive at Miss Tess' Studio I feel happy because she is going to teach me something interesting and challenging at the same time."

    Elke, age 9

    "Our two daughters have been working with Miss Tess for the last six years and we appreciate Tess's ability to relate to our girls on multiple levels. While providing a strong background in music theory, Miss Tess has also encouraged the girls to step out of their comfort zones and explore other creative and educational avenues such as Art and Latin. Miss Tess's deep understanding of and ability to relate to young people across multiple disciplines is truly amazing. Tess has instilled in our girls a strong work ethic and the knowledge that hard work is fulfilling and rewarding. Tess's subtle yet consistent instruction in self-worth and empowerment has provided a great foundation from which our girls can navigate the waters of life. Miss Tess is so much more than a piano teacher and we can't thank her enough."

    Todd and Claire, studio parents

    "Tess has a magical ability to match a student's creativity with the appropriate structure to develop a young persons piano technique and positive practice habits. Our daughter always looks forward to her weekly lesson and often expresses her excitement during the car ride to Tess' studio. Tess channels that excitement into making music."

    Doug, studio parent

    "I've been at Miss Tess' studio since I was seven-years-old, and I am now a freshman in high school. During this time I've taken over 300 lessons from her, mostly in piano, but also including guitar, singing, and Latin. One of my favorite things about my lessons with Miss Tess is the way she works fun into the session. She is able to make even the most difficult music theory seem enjoyable. Her knowledge of music theory is immense and she is able to explain it in a way that I can understand easily. Through our years together we've gotten to know each other well. I've found the student/teacher relationship to be the very best part of taking lessons with Miss Tess. We've come a long way together and I'm looking forward to many more years!"

    Natalie, age 15

    About Miss Tess

    Miss Tess is a piano instructor, voice coach, choral conductor, Latin scholar, and visual artist. She graduated with a Bachelor of Music in piano performance from Cornish College of the Arts where she studied with Dr. Peter Mack. Though her studio's current incarnation began in 2003, Miss Tess has taught students since she was in the eighth grade. While in high school at the Nova Project, she received credit for teaching peer students in piano and music theory. She continued private tutoring through college, and this naturally evolved into her own teaching studio.

    Miss Tess earned a minor in Classics at Pacific Lutheran University. She won a gold medal in the National Latin Exam her senior year of high school, and in college she was hired as a peer tutor for Latin at the PLU Academic Assistance Center. Her students have shared their original Latin poetry at the studio's piano recitals.

    Miss Tess' singing experience began at age eight with the Seattle Girls' Choir founded by Dr. Jerome Wright. She started her choral journey in its preparatory choir and continued through all the levels until she graduated from the advanced choir in Rome, Italy. Durning college she continued working with SGC as an accompanist and theory assistant, and soon after became the conductor of its two youngest choirs, and later, its fourth level. She was also the music theory instructor for all six choir levels. Miss Tess studied voice privately with Nancy Zylstra and Sue Erikson. She also sang with Choral Arts Northwest under the direction of Dr. Richard Sparks, and was the alto section leader at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Seattle under Gary James.

    Miss Tess is currently the artistic director of Ancora, a Seattle-based women's choir. In her nine seasons with Ancora she has crafted many unique programs, including Incantations: A Celebration of Spells and Apocalypse: A Lifting of the Veil, a truly grand undertaking which explored the message of the Mayan Calendar in 2012.

    In addition to piano and voice, Miss Tess plays the flute, harp, and guitar. She has always loved to draw (mermaids and faeries especially), and although she has had no formal art training, she guides her students' drawings intuitively - with many exceptional results. Miss Tess and her studio continue to develop and grow with each new year. Her studio is in Ballard near Golden Gardens.

    For information about Ancora, please visit

    Studio Hours

    Mondays: noon to 9pm
    Tuesdays: noon to 9pm
    Wednesdays: noon to 9pm
    Thursdays: noon to 5:30pm
    Fridays: noon to 6:30pm
    Saturdays: studio closed
    Sundays: 1:30pm to 7:30pm

    Studio Prices

    Single half-hour lesson - $35
    Single one-hour lesson - $45
    Half-hour weekly lessons - $140/month
    Forty-five-minutes weekly lessons - $160/month
    One-hour weekly lessons - $180/month
    Ninety-minute weekly lessons - $270/month
    Two-hour weekly lessons - $360/month

    Studio Policies

    Please keep in mind that the monthly check reserves a time slot for you in the studio (e.g., Tuesdays at 5 pm) -- it is not an hourly fee for services rendered.
    Since the time passes whether a student uses it or not, a lesson missed is time lost.
    Your scheduled time belongs to you, and how you use that time is up to you.

    Payments are due by the first lesson of the month.
    There will be a $15 late fee for payments received after the first lesson.

    There are no individual make-up lessons. The only exception is if I need to cancel a lesson, in which case the make-up is my responsibility.
    Students are sent a studio roster of all the families' email addresses which can be used to swap times in order to avoid conflicts.
    The flat rate per month means that in months with five weeks you will receive a lesson for free, and this will serve to cushion any missed lessons.
    Each year, I schedule several group lessons in December and June, and students are welcome to attend as many as they like for no additional cost.

    If I need to cancel a large group of students for a concert, dress rehearsal, or illness, there will be a group lesson soon after.

    One month advance notice is required for stopping lessons. Refunds from monthly checks are not given, and the logical time to stop lessons is at the end of the month.

    Miss Tess' Teaching Philosophy

    Homines, dum docent, discunt.
    Humans, while they teach, learn.

    Music is a room with many doors. The number of possible routes for learning often intersect and overlap before arriving at a place of understanding. We musicians may pursue a new piece by way of intervals, solfege, imitation, interpretation, counting, reading, hearing, watching, feeling, responding, repeating. Music is learned not only through the ears, but through the eyes and hands and mouth and mind and, most especially, through the heart. There is no single set way which works for everyone, and a good teacher must have enough flexibility and imagination to navigate new ideas in different ways with different students. Together, student and teacher may open many doors. After teaching more than eight-thousand lessons, I know there are thousands of paths still left to explore.

    The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity.
    Dorothy Parker

    Young and old, people need creative, fantastic experiences as a part of everyday living. Children deserve to be exposed to masterful teachers from the start. The fundamental principles set in a child's first few years lays the groundwork for their definition of 'normal.' Expecting, and being expected of, wonderful work is normal. There is no reason to hoard the good stuff for grad school. Children recognize authentic interactions, and I aim to allow the studio to be a space for things genuine and true. By consistently returning to challenging artistry in a supportive atmosphere, students become comfortable working at that level. This creates a strong foundation for future endeavors.

    Adults deserve creative dreams and artistic events as well. It is so easy to fall into a pattern of work and bills. Dreams can lead to wakefulness and, humbling though it might be, it is provoking to remember what it's like to be a beginner again. Adult students are inspiring, finding time to practice in their busy lives and making a financial pledge to music and to themselves. I have worked with students up through age seventy-seven, and I hope to be as lucid and adventurous when I reach those years. One of my own teachers used to say, "The day you stop learning is the day you die."

    The creative adult is the child who has survived.
    Ursula Le Guin

    Music teaches much more than music. Whether it is piano, voice, or Latin, or visual art, these mediums fluidly translate into life lessons. Time spent practicing is time spent in front of a mirror. Faced with weekly assignments, students learn to be honest with themselves, with their efforts and investments. If there is a trouble spot in the music, I ask my students, on a scale of 1 to 10, what level of work they gave to solve it on their own. Though the answer might be only a 3 or 4, I am proud to hear them admit the number. My next words are usually, "So you know what you need to do." Music is empowering. Music is language. The piano teaches the left and right sides of the brain to speak to each other. Logical music theory, technique of muscle memory, and abstract artistry all must communicate simultaneously. Often, students will understand a passage in their heads, but it is time spent at the keys which moves understanding into the fingers. Responsibility is simply a person's ability to respond. Music offers much responsibility in how to set goals, make a plan, follow through, be accountable, and be upfront about where we are and what we've done. Music also offers much responsibility in how we listen, both inwardly and outwardly, how we feel, how others feel, how we create and interact, how we find the courage to try, and how we play. Practicing reveals our ability to achieve great things through small, daily tasks. The word 'procrastinate' comes from the Latin pro meaning 'for' and cras meaning 'tomorrow.' In the studio, each student keeps a journal full of specific goals, and in it tasks both met and missed are clearly illustrated. We move forward by appreciating where we've been. All I ask is that students give their best, whatever their best might be each day. Lesson by lesson, week by week, students steadily cultivate both depth and breadth of skills to carry into the world.

    Children have to be educated, but they have also to be left to educate themselves.
    Abbe Dimnet

    I am not a distant, removed observer. I go on the journey with my students. Benjamin Franklin states, "Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn." My ultimate goal is this: a teacher's greatest purpose is to make themselves unnecessary. Whenever possible, I provide my students with a chance to teach, to become leaders in turn. People who are awake have an ability to touch the lives of people they have never even met. The studio is a very human place. In here, it's about being present and being real. Navigating paths familiar and unknown, through daily mindful practice, both students and teacher experience the transformative power of music and art.

    I think that all artists, regardless of degree of talent, are a painful, paradoxical combination of certainty and uncertainty, of arrogance and humility, constantly in need of reassurance, and yet with a stubborn streak of faith in their validity, no matter what.
    Madeleine L'Engle