Karl Goldstein


"Karl is a truly great piano teacher"
Steven Rosenfeld, San Francisco, CA

Karl has been teaching my niece for several years. He is outstanding in so many ways. Karl has a patient, clear and deeply knowledgeable approach that has not only helped to make music a big part of her life - she would absolutely say that - but has helped her to acquire real musical skill and emotional expression. This is about more than just music, from my  perspective, although it is through a deepening knowledge of music that other positive ripple effects result.​

Karl seeks students that will become dedicated to piano and music. This is more about their commitment and level of interest than age or ability. Students who stick with Karl become accomplished for their age and abilities. My niece, who is now 12, is not even aware how much she has learned. But on her own, she now can find music that she likes on YouTube, find the sheet music online, and play it. This is outside of the assignments from Karl, but speaks to the passion and skills he has fostered.


Karl's curriculum is mostly classically based. This is not to say that he will not venture into other idioms (ragtime, modern, romantic, concert) to keep her motivated. However, the finesse and theory that stems from the classical works is the best foundation for playing anything else. My niece really trusts him, and feels that he is guiding her towards musical goals that are accessible and rewarding.


Karl expects his students to work at home with regularity and diligence. He is not a hard taskmaster, but rather pushes students along by assuming they will take on challenges and bring him the results. At the lessons, he helps students fine-tune pieces. His mood is always light and makes what could be arduous work fun.


Over the years, I have seen and heard how much his students have grown musically. It is not an exaggeration to say that by high school, his students are simply extraordinary musicians. Whether they choose to pursue music at college or not, he has given them a lifelong gift.

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"Karl encouraged me to challenge myself"
Annell Kocher, Piano Teacher, Richmond, CA

I returned to the piano after a twenty five year "break." Karl was recommended to me by another teacher. What luck! I came to him a tense and fearful player, but Karl encouraged me to challenge myself and gradually built my confidence to the point that I actually played a recital and am now preparing another one. His quarterly adult workshops are a wonderful way to get used to playing for others. He goes out of his way to make sure that his students are well prepared for every performance.


Karl is a sensitive and expressive pianist himself and instills those qualities in his students. He demands "musical" playing and seems to know just what to say to inspire his students to achieve that. Every lesson is an "upper."

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"Maestro, Mentor and Friend"
Bethany, San Francisco, CA

I have had the pleasure and privilege of being Karl's student for over twenty years, beginning when I was six years old. He is fantastic with kids- his piano is surrounded by drums and beanbags for games with rhythm, he wears groucho marx glasses to assume the character of a bass line, he teaches mnemonics and songs, and he radiates the perfect blend of fun and seriousness. In short, the male music teacher version of Mary Poppins. 


Not only does he patiently and persistently teach children the technical side of playing the piano (reading music, sightreading, counting time, understanding musical theory, etc.), but he strives to impart a love for music and, ultimately, musicianship in every student. It would be an understatement to say that he improved my study habits and my work ethic- I have used the techniques he taught me as a child in all areas of my life. He taught me how to teach myself. He is highly aware of the attention and practice that performing requires, so he has his students, children and adults, gather regularly to play for each other. He has extensive training in ergonomically oriented methods for playing the piano (the Taubman method in particular), which I have used to reshape the way I type and which have very likely saved me from painful carpal tunnel in my computer-heavy job.


As an adult student of Karl's, I am a testament to his flexibility with adults who only wish they had more time to play. He truly maximizes every minute of each lesson, giving me plenty of material to work on and allowing me to take as much time as I need between our meetings. I have gotten to know his other adult students, who humble me greatly with their talent and accomplishments. I recommend him highly to any adult who wants to take their piano skills to another level. And while it may not be completely relevant to the reader seeking a good piano teacher, I cannot describe Karl without saying that he is a wonderful person and an enduring friend.

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"The best piano teacher I can imagine."

Sean, age 14

Karl is the best piano teacher I can imagine because he knows how to balance his teaching. He pushes me hard to do well, but not too hard. He gives me very challenging pieces, but not so challenging that I can't learn them with practice. He makes lessons intense and demanding, but fun and casual too. He gives me lots of opportunities to perform and excel, and makes it extremely enjoyable to do so.

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"Karl is a musical mentor!"

Wendy Kiniris, Oakland, CA

My 12 year old daughter has been studying with Karl for 3 years. Her connection with him was immediate. Karl has a very unassuming, warm, upbeat, humorous & playful demeanor. He also has another complementary side that is direct, diligent & wholly dedicated to his craft. For us, it's been the perfect balance!


He's managed to not only teach my daughter, but to inspire, motivate & challenge her while modeling a strong work ethic- how to practice consistently & efficiently while actually enjoying the learning process as well as the music!


Monthly workshops have also been integral to her development. They're an opportunity for his students to come together & play for each other in a non-competitive, supportive setting. My daughter savors these & loves playing duets with another 12 year old girl (Steven's niece). A couple of times a year, parents are invited to attend- I too anticipate these. At the end of the school year there's a final recital, which is always a festive occasion with truly extraordinary playing. It's inspiring to see the artistic progression of each student, knowing all the hard work that went into it!


I should also mention that Karl is incredibly intuitive. He always seems to sense when my daughter is in a musical growth mode and raises the bar a little more. She seems to enjoy the challenge & rises to the occasion.


While I've been amazed at the complexity of many of the pieces he's assigned to her, true to his word, he's never given her a piece that was too difficult. She does struggle at times, but has learned to use the tools that he's given her- patience and perseverance to deal with new challenges, trust & confidence in herself & pride in her work- tools that she'll carry with her forever.


Thank you Karl!    4 thumbs up from us for Karl !!!

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"Karl's the Best!"

A parent, Berkeley, CA

This is what my 16-year-old daughter often says when I pick her up from piano. She has been taking piano lessons with him for 5 years after studying Suzuki piano for six years with two different teachers. Karl has inspired her and made lessons something she looks forward to. He has worked with her when her schedule was crazy and greatly improved her technical ability and her reading ability. He pays attention to detail without being a tyrant and most important, he really loves music. End of year recitals are always a pleasure, because his students play so well and there is such camaraderie.

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"I enjoy piano now more than ever."

Noah Johnson, Berkeley, CA

As an adult pianist, I've progressed more in the past year under Karl's instruction than in eight years of lessons as a child. That I enjoy piano now more than ever is a testament to his teaching. Karl's passion for teaching combined with his profound knowledge of the piano have helped me develop not just technical playing skills but also a broader understanding and appreciation of music in general.


He has high ambitions for his students and a friendly, patient teaching style. Karl's workshops have helped me build confidence in playing for others (much to the delight of my family). He uses his impeccable ear and meticulous attention to detail to guide and challenge you. Karl's enthusiasm makes lessons as fun as they are satisfying. For example, he's not afraid to pull from his arsenal of children's teaching tricks if he thinks it might get a point across. (Watch out for "snail fingers"!)


KARL'S Performance Reviews


"An Idealistic Pianist Makes His Points in Concert"

San Francisco Chronicle

There is a fine line separating high ideals from commonplace elitism. On Friday in Old First Church (S.F.), pianist Karl Goldstein played a serious noble program without ever hinting at snobbishness.The three movements of Debussy's "Images", Book 1 were spellbinding. It was the kind of playing that would make spiders cease their spinning lest they make too much noise. Nothing jarred the ear; contrasts abounded. Both the Berg and the Barber sonatas aimed at emphasizing their tortured sensuality. Goldstein took up the modest but worthy Beethoven Sonata (Op.14, No.2) and then played with the seriousness of a grand master. He could give lessons to the average traveling hack.

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"Pianists of today who can play Mendelssohn are rare. "

Palo Alto Times

The difficulty is not as much in the decorative flow....as in finding the style, never patronizing or sentimentalizing. Goldstein knew exactly how to put in the eager rush, the fire, yet keep everything in the bounds of good taste.

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"Special praise is deserved by Karl Goldstein ... "

"La Nazione", Florence, Italy

... who confronted the demanding technical and interpretive difficulties of the Sonata by Alban Berg with full mastery of the keyboard and with a truly remarkable involvement in the expressive climate of the work.

STUDENT REVIEWS

​"Karl took me to a new level"
Katie Triest, piano teacher


 In middle age, after years as an orchestral player and teacher, I returned to piano and piano teaching, and quickly learned that I need help to regain my college-age ability. Karl excelled at re-making my piano technique in terms of advancing ability and of healthy movement. In addition, he has multiple methods for improving memorization and reaching a secure performance, and a real talent for communicating how to coax a warm sound from the piano.  All with imagination and a great sense of humor!

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