“Our piano teacher from Northwest School of Music is wonderful, she goes above and beyond. We highly recommend her! She is very thorough in her teaching and use of time. She is also attentive to the individual’s need.
Her encouragement and enthusiasm is very uplifting as she helps them grow into their talent.”
– Nicole W.
About Northwest School of Music
Northwest School of Music was founded in 2006 to provide quality musical education to both children and adults. Since 2006, our studio in Salem has grown to teach over 130 students each week. We are thrilled to be able to share the joy of music with so many eager students.
Inspiring musical excellence since 2006
Northwest School of Music is the region’s premier institution for the study of the arts. We offer lessons to students of all ages and abilities throughout Salem and surrounding areas. We provide both private lessons and group classes at our downtown studio, as well as in-home private lessons. Whether you are looking for piano lessons, voice lessons, guitar, or instruction on any of numerous band and orchestra instruments, NWSM is the place to come!
At Northwest School of Music, our teachers believe that music is about more than just learning how to read notes on a page. We teach our students the joy of music—for with joy comes true understanding. Music begins inside each of us long before we are able to read it in black and white. Music is a living and breathing thing! Because of that, we show our students how to feel the music before we teach them how to read it. We listen, sing, and do rhythm activities to get our students in-tune with the music!
Music Lessons Enrich Our Lives
Music lessons make our lives richer by expanding horizons, developing creativity and imagination, and providing a lifetime of enjoyment. Whether you or your child are pursuing music instruction as a hobby or on a competitive or professional level, learning to play the piano or other instrument will help to create a sense of self-worth, a joy of learning, and a love for music.
At Northwest School of Music, our ambition is to develop the full creative potential of each and every student who walks through our doors.
The Northwest School of Music Difference
Northwest School of Music understands that you have many choices when looking at music studios. Here are just a few of the differences you’ll experience at NWSM:
- Qualified music instruction by trained and experience teachers
- Parents are welcome and encouraged to attend music classes
- Private and group lessons available
- Optimum music class sizes – maximum 10 students per class
- Age appropriate programs available for all ages – infants through adults
- Specialists in piano, guitar, voice, strings, and woodwinds—all located in one place!
- Convenient class schedules – classes are available weekdays, evenings, Saturdays
- Performance opportunities (low-pressure recitals) offered several times each year
- Desk staff available to assist you during the week
Highest Quality Music Lessons in Salem, Oregon
Northwest School of Music currently offers both in-home and studio lessons for piano, voice, guitar, violin and woodwinds. Our teachers travel throughout Marion, Polk, and Linn counties, teaching students in many cities, including Salem, Dallas, Woodburn, Keizer, Stayton, Aumsville, Scio, Turner, Jefferson, and Silverton. Private music lessons are available to students from ages 3 – adult, whether beginner or advanced. We also offer group classes for piano, guitar, and young children.
Music Lesson Openings
Meet Our Instructors
Salem’s Best Music Teachers
Instructor of Violin & Piano
Michelle Reed began studying the violin fifteen years ago in elementary school orchestra. After quickly falling in love with the voice of this instrument, she pursued private instruction, and constantly sought out more opportunities to play.
Over the years this led to her involvement in several string quartets and trios, performance in the Klamath Symphony, the Ross Ragland Theatre Pit Orchestra, the Western Oregon Symphony, as well as Yaquina Bay (a touring orchestral-rock band). After finishing her Bachelor of Arts from Western Oregon University in 2015, Ms. Reed moved to Salem and most recently began playing with the Salem Philharmonia.
After instructing a variety of violin classes at the Klamath Symphony Summer String Camp for a few consecutive summers, Ms. Reed went on to direct the entire camp in 2013, and quickly developed a deep passion for teaching. She gained most of her experience assistant teaching in orchestra classrooms of 5 th -12 th graders, while teaching small ensembles and private lessons to students outside of school.
Above all else, Ms. Reed believes in exploring the range and power of the violin, and strives to understand each student’s individual strengths and struggles with this instrument. In her lessons she prioritizes helping each student develop a personal sense of musicality through exposure to a generous variety of styles and sounds. Ms. Reed intends to inspire dedication through meaningful practice, helping students establish essential technical foundations, a well-rounded understanding of musical concepts, and a passion to reach new goals each week, month, and year!
Instructor of Piano & Voice
Mrs. Mallory Huerta began taking private music lessons at the age of 8, and continued training through her elementary school and high school careers. This eventually led to a Bachelor of Music at Eastern Oregon University, majoring in music and minoring in theatre. She has always been musically inclined with structured training in both Voice and Piano. Ms. Livingston has also had the pleasure of dabbling in violin, cello, baritone, clarinet, bass clarinet, alto, tenor and baritone saxophone, guitar, and various African drums such as the djembe and dunun.
Ms. Livingston studied privately with multiple different music instructors, including Debra Stentzel Pankaski, Kristen Vining, Matt Cooper, Leandro Espinosa, Julie Jones, Jamie Jacobson and Nichole Riggs. She has received training in vocal and piano performance, technique, music theory, music history, and pedagogy. Having over 7 years of teaching experience, she brings skill and expertise to every music lesson. She enjoys working with all ages, having much experience with children, adults, and seniors, furthering their skills of voice, piano, and theory. Ms. Livingston teaches with a classical focus, and incorporating solid music theory training, technique, classical repertoire, performance, and music history into training with each student. Ms. Livingston considers tailored teaching to each student’s learning style of utmost importance– for every individual is different. She ensures to explain and demonstrates each concept in a variety of ways that each specific student can connect with and understand.
Instructor of Piano
Haley Mayer begged her parents to let her begin piano lessons at the ripe old age of four – after all, her bigger brother got to play! Ever since her first lesson, she has had a passion for music, enjoying both the challenges and rewards of mastering her instrument. Her greatest success yet was graduating from Corban University with a degree in Piano Performance in 2016. She is eager to learn more about being a musician and a music educator. Throughout her secondary and college education, Haley has also been involved in various percussion ensembles, concert bands, jazz bands, worship teams, choirs, and musicals.
Haley believes anyone can benefit a great deal by learning an instrument! Music is an aesthetic and artistic expression of the world around us. It is more than the notes on the page; it is using sound in a particular, intentional fashion as a means of communicating without words. It expands the mind by inspiring creativity while demanding discipline. When music is taught, sought, and performed with excellence, it can reveal deep truths about life. Being its own, unique language, music is capable of conveying all facets of human expression. Music is logical and creative, fun and serious, historical and cultural, physical and spiritual. Whether one is a performer or listener of music, one’s horizons are broadened because music stimulates the mind, body, and soul in a unique and unified way.
Haley’s teaching objectives are to inspire and cultivate musical and cultural perspectives through exposure and instruction of music history, theory, and literature: develop technique and confidence at the piano through lessons and performances: nurture communication, expression, discipline, and self-esteem through practice, performance, and personal achievement: and develop a life-long love and appreciation of music.
Instructor of Clarinet, Flute, Piano, and Guitar
A very experienced elementary school music teacher and life-long musician, Mrs. Clara Keith has performed and taught many instruments, ages, and classes in quite a few settings. Mrs. Keith’s passion for music-making started when she was quite little through singing along to the radio and Disney tunes. However, her specialty is clarinet and she plays locally with the Salem Concert Band as well as freelances for other organizations. She has been performing clarinet for over 20 years because she started when she was in fourth grade. Her interest in performing music in public was revived when she started taking lessons while she was in middle school in addition to participating in festivals, concerts and competitions recommended by her school and private instructors. Her favorite memories of high school were the times she played in Louisiana All-State bands as well as when she was accepted into Tri-State Concert Band (TX-LA-AR). She also cherished teaching music for her church’s Vacation Bible School summer after summer. Mrs. Keith found performing, teaching and building community so fulfilling that she chose to attend college for music education.
Instructor of Guitar, Bass, and Piano
John Savage has been performing and teaching on the West Coast for over 40 years. At the Anacortes Jazz Festival in 2007, Clarence Acox Jr., Director of the Seattle Jazz Philharmonic, proclaimed John to be, “The real deal”.
A musical powerhouse, John originally taught himself upright bass, electric bass and piano. He later studied at Oregon State University and with such greats as, Herb Ellis, Howard Roberts, Tal Farlow and Jamie Finley of the Guitar Institute. John is also a singer and prolific song writer. He has extensive experience in studio recording.
John taught at Skagit Valley College for 21 years, before returning to Oregon in 2015. He teaches guitar, piano, bass (electric and acoustic) and voice and has just joined the teaching faculty at the Northwest School of Music of Salem.
In his tenure at Skagit Valley College, John worked with jazz choirs, individual artists and directed Jazz Big Bands. He enjoys public speaking and has taught numerous workshops and group-focused events. In addition, he has been the musical director and played in the pit for several theater productions in the northwest and has coached several praise team musicians in the Northwest.
On the West Coast, John has performed with many prestigious musicians in a variety of venues including; The Jim Cutler Jazz Orchestra, John Hodgkins, Robert Cray, Chuck Berry, Tom Anastasio, John Anderson, Trish Hatley, Louise Rose and Josh Cook. In the 1970s, he performed at the Pioneer Club in Los Angeles’ Watts District with such R&B luminaries as Smokey Wilson, Etta James, Otis Rush, Jr. Walker, Luther Alison and Jr. Wells among others.
Instructor of Violin
Violinist Brooke Jacobsen began her musical studies sixteen years ago. Brooke graduated from Corban University in 2015 with a degree in Music Performance with a Concentration in Violin (which included courses in music theory, music history, and violin pedagogy). She was the concertmaster for the Corban Chamber Orchestra for three years and has experience performing in chamber groups as well as in solo recitals. She has played in the Port Angeles Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Adam Stern, been a part of the Port Angeles Light Opera Association Orchestra, and the Port Angeles Ballet Workshop Orchestra. In addition, Brooke has been privately hired to play in various weddings, dinners, university functions, and special events. While violin is her primary instrument, she has some experience in piano as well. Brooke studied violin under Helena Emery and Casey Bozell, and has had eight years of experience teaching private violin lessons.
As a teacher, Brooke’s goal is for each lesson to be a positive experience for her students. She strives to create a comfortable and enjoyable learning atmosphere. She encourages her students as well as has clear, achievable expectations. She expects her students to practice the appropriate amount of hours throughout the week. Brooke believes that building a relationship with her students is important, and she wants her teaching to inspire her students to achieve excellence in both their playing and practicing. Intonation, note reading, technique, rhythm accuracy, and expression, are all playing qualities that she views as important and will actively teach them to her students. At the end of each lesson, Brooke hopes that her students will leave with the motivation to practice diligently, and that they will have a desire to reach higher levels of musical skill in order to meet their individual goals.
Meet Our Director
Instructor of Piano, Flute, and Voice
Mrs. Gillian Perkins, the executive director of Northwest School of Music, has studied music for 16 years and has over 10 years experience teaching piano, flute, voice, and music theory. She is pleased to have taught hundreds of students during her career as a music instructor.
Our Students LOVE Their Teachers
“Our teacher from Northwest School of Music is very patient; my daughter loves having her as a piano teacher. It is very convenient to have her come to the house for a reasonable fee. She is prompt and flexible, and easy to get ahold of. I can’t wait for my son to start lessons with her as well.”
– Denise Basilan