"I restarted my piano lessons last year (after a 25+ year break) with Ramona and she has already helped me enormously. I wanted to improve my abilities in classical, blues and jazz piano, including improvisation, composition and performance skills, and Ramona fit the bill. Her specialty is jazz composition and performance but she also has an impressive musical pedigree and a strong background in classical music. Her teaching style is flexible and responsive - for example, during a lesson we can spend time discussing jazz chord voicings, move on to technique practice, then on to performance practice for a classical piece. I also enjoy the periodic "salons" that Ramona holds with her adult students where we practice our performing skills in a relaxed atmosphere while also enjoying good food, drink and conversation. Because of her musical abilities and knowledge, her teaching techniques, her enthusiasm for music and her upbeat energy, I think Ramona is an excellent teacher and I recommend her highly."
"Ramona obviously loves playing jazz piano and loves teaching it as well. A highly competent and instinctive player herself, she has nonetheless an unusual ability to see the music and the musical challenge from the perspective of the student. In my case, I had already done quite a lot of classical piano. She quickly understood where I was coming from and where I wanted to go, and she had an arsenal of strategies to help me get there. She was generous both with her time and her ideas, obviously committed to her students and taking personal satisfaction in their progress. Her explanations were thoughtful and clearly articulated. I was surprised that the Skype arrangement turned out so well. I suppose sound quality is inevitably inferior to real life but frankly it was hardly noticeable. While that issue may be a drawback of Skype, I found it to be more than offset by the fact that we were both seated at our own pianos at all times, greatly facilitating demonstrations and even quasi-jamming."
David (student via Skype)
"I came to Ramona as an atypical student - a semi-pro trumpet player of 40 years who wanted to buckle down and learn piano. After realizing that I didn't really want to
work the piano, I asked Ramona about working with me on a broader set of musical skills based around ear training and dictation studies.
Ramona has been wonderful at devising an interesting, logical and productive approach to our work together. As well as being prepared and having some specific work and goals in mind, she has remained flexible and open to my opinions and needs. After several weeks my ears started to really 'open up' and I feel like we're on to something. Soon I'll be applying our work to the trumpet directly, and then perhaps I"ll learn to play the piano! I can't thank Ramona enough for her attention, patience, and excellent advice during our time working together."
|"I can't recommend Ramona Borthwick enough as a teacher. I could go on and on about her attributes (and I *do*, to friends), but here are just a few, in my view: her prodigious musical, technical and pedagogical abilities, her fantastic positive spirit and sense of fun (and great sense of humor!), her persistence and insistence that things be learned and done the right way, her incredible knowledge of a host of classical and jazz styles, her flexibility, and ability & willingness to listen, her ability to find a workable solution to technical/learning issues, and yes, her stubbornness in insisting that things not be dropped, but pursued and become polished over time. Ramona also is a great teacher of theory and rhythm. I am just with her for a year at this point, and I feel that I've learned so much (and suddenly I'm getting compliments on my playing from friends and neighbors and family) but I'm even more excited about what I can do in the next few years with Ramona. If you are serious about becoming a much better pianist *and* musician, she can be an awesome resource."
"I have been taking online lessons with Ramona for the last three months.
Its been a great way to learn Jazz Piano (my first instrument was the saxophone, which I continue to play). I love the Skype lessons for the ease of being in my home.
We are presently learning ii-V-I's with bass lines through all the keys, standards with bass lines, melody and comping.
She has hand outs that explain and reinforce the concepts of the lessons.
Ramona is a great teacher and a wonderful person. You won't go wrong taking lessons with her."
Steve (student via Skype)
|I played piano as a child for seven years, and then again as an adult for seven years. I started with Ramona a year and a half ago. Since then, my understanding of the music, my interpretation of it, and my application of technique have all improved a great deal!
Ramona pushes you to that next level. She’ll see your capabilities and do whatever it takes to reach past your comfort zone. She takes her time when you venture into a new piece and carefully talks to you about the nuances of the piece, when it was written, what music was like at the time. All that context gives you ideas on how to interpret the piece. When you get a compliment from Ramona, you know you did something well. She won't say 'bravo' just for the sake of saying it. That means that when she does, you feel as though you've mastered something new. Each lesson will be different. She expects a lot, but makes you want to deliver. Studying with Ramona makes –making each note and each rest mean something. Each phrase becomes alive. It doesn't come easily at times. But when it does, it’s so rewarding.
The other great thing about Ramona is her versatility. She will teach you classical and jazz at the same time! Ramona is truly a gifted teacher!
"I came to Ramona a little bit more than one year ago with rusty piano playing techniques. I learned piano when I was a child for about four years with a teacher in my home country. I like to play piano but I stopped learning after I became extremely busy with school work for entering high school and college exams. After I moved to US (first for school; now my life is here), I always want to start playing piano again. I was frustrated by my rusty fingers and thought I will never improve because of my age. Finally, I found Ramona (from Google search ^_^).
After just a little bit more than one year, my piano playing has much improved. Most importantly, I had found my love for piano back. The truth is that I have not learned how to play piano correctly. I had many great teachers in my life and she is now one of them. I believe when you meet a good teacher you would know immediately. A good teacher must be passionate about what she/he teaches. Ramona is a musician herself so no doubt that she loves music. I believe it is what makes her an excellent teacher. What she has taught me will stay with me forever. I would recommend her to anyone, irrespective of the levels of piano playing."
"I've had several piano teachers over the years, beginning in childhood and later in adulthood,
but none of them were able to explain things in ways I could always fully understand as I am
very serious student and looking to acheive my musical goals as soon as possible.
I ultimately found the right teacher who could understand my needs and help me develop my skills in playing and composition. I have learnt a lot with Ramona within a very short period of time because the knowledge she shares is incredible & useful. The amount of homework I get is a lot and at the same time its so much fun & challenging. It has taken my playing to another level. The way she makes you understand the concepts in a very simple manner which at one point for me used to be difficult to understand and now nothing seems to be difficult.
Thanks a lot for helping me in achieving my musical goals & creating a new hope in me. And not to forget the internet era, thanks to internet for breaking all the barriers and making the world small. Without that there would have been no access to your teaching and my growth as an artist."
Abraham (student via Skype)
"Our daughter has been taking piano lessons for the last six years and started studying piano with Ramona a year ago.
We immediately recognized Ramona's natural gift for teaching - she teaches piano with artistry, energy, enthusiasm, and
extreme focus on technical skills, theory and rhythm. She is friendly, encouraging, committed, serious and is able to be
challenging and strict, while maintaining kindness and good sense of humor. Ramona's ability to bring out the best in her
students shone during our first Summer Salon at her studio: her students performed classical, jazz and pop music, some of
them even offered their own improvisations and compositions! Ramona is an immensely talented pianist and musician, dedicated
to sharing her love of music with her students and we feel so fortunate to have 'found' her.
Our daughter looks forward to her lessons every week!"
Nonna & Peter Tilke
|"Ramona is an insightful and inspiring teacher whose
enthusiasm and humor make lessons a joy. My nine-year-old daughter has
studied piano with her for the past year and a half, and has made great
progress both in practice and in music theory. She has even learned some
historical context for the music she's playing. It's a great educational
experience for her, but we'd drop it if she weren't having fun as well.
After her weekly hour-long lesson, my daughter routinely says, "Is it
|Ramona is an inspiring, patient and very caring teacher. Being an adult beginner, I really admire her patience and persistent nature of making sure I not only master every piece I play on the piano but also understand and learn the music theory. She makes my one hour class not only fully enjoyable, but makes me believe that with continuous practice and determination I will master every piece of the song. Not many teachers would go out of their way to take extra efforts to explain things in a way that you fully understand. She is not only my teacher but also a good friend who’s taken me step closer to my belief that very soon I will play the piano well. Thank you for your patience and motivation!
|"As an adult who is new to the piano, I find Ramona to be both patient and knowledgeable about about the strengths and challenges of the adult learner. She seeks to really meet my goals for piano rather than following a preconceived one-size-fits-all paedagogy. She has worked hard to improve my technique with an eye always towards my continual progress. Her cheerful enthusiasm makes each lesson a looked forward to pleasure. I'd strongly recommend Ramona to any adult pursuing their dream on the piano."
|"I have known Ramona for several years, initially starting out as being
one of her piano students for a period of three years. Some of the many things that lead me to
say today, without hesitation, is that she has been the most mature and influential teacher I
have ever studied with. (I have had three years of serious jazz education at the Humber College
in Toronto, Canada).
Ramona’s approach is to inspire her students, get them very involved in what they are learning. She made sure to cover all aspects of jazz and classical piano training with me, including theory, technique, repertoire, improvisation, harmony, history, listening skills and composition. She communicated her thoughts and ideas with a natural enthusiasm that was such a great motivational factor for me.
I believe that in order to be a truly successful teacher, one needs to possess an extraordinary love for the subject being taught and a keen desire to impress the same on others. I can sincerely say that Ramona fits the description."
|"It is rich, fun and rewarding to study piano with
Ramona. She is a patient and creative teacher, clearly a master of her
subject. One feels immediately confident in her guidance. Even if I fall
behind in my practice, Ramona makes our lessons productive: we work on ear
training or music theory. In learning to play piano there is plenty of work
to do; with Ramona’s teaching, the work is light and laced with laughter."
|"I really enjoy taking lessons from Ramona.
Combining her preexisting aptitude for music, and her creativity and boundless energy,
she is able to make learning, refining, and practicing my piano skills fun!"
|"Ramona is an inspiring, professional teacher who has
not only taught me piano, but music. I had always felt a oneness with
music, but studying with her has brought out the music in me. I enjoy learning
theory, history and
form with her. She makes every lesson that I attend immensely enjoyable."
|"I am continually amazed at the technical and theoretical progress I have
achieved while studying with Ramona. As a forty-something with no prior musical training and an
occasional aversion to hard work, I was apprehensive about the wisdom of pursuing my childhood
dream of playing the piano. Now, three years later, it seems it was a wise decision since I had
the great fortune of finding a wonderful teacher.
Ramona's remarkable musical gifts combined with her boundless enthusiasm for teaching have given that childhood dream wings and enough sky to last a lifetime."
|"Ramona taught piano to two of my children; Billy who is eight and Katie
who is nine. Not only did she inspire and motivate my children to play their best but she was
also very personable and was flexible in her approach. My children miss her very much. In fact
it was very difficult to find a replacement for her. Every potential music teacher was
scrutinized in light of her. Although I found this somewhat frustrating, it indicates how
greatly Katie & Billy appreciated Ramona's efforts.
I would like to say that in my view what is most important to me in terms of my children taking piano lessons is that it is a positive learning experience. This was indeed the case with Ramona. I would highly recommend her."
Kathleen La Forest
|"I had not touched a piano for over 10 years when I started taking lessons
with Ramona. What I remembered from my childhood piano lessons was very rusty. Under Ramona's
guidance and with her encouragement, it did not take me long to get my confidence back and to
start to love playing the piano again. Her enthusiasm, her dedication and her impressive
knowledge and love of music are inspiring. She is an exceptional person and a first-rate music
I am just sorry she had to move away from me."
|At the age of thirteen, my daughter decided that
she wanted piano lessons. I agreed on the condition that she practice as
required, and that this endeavour had to be something that she wanted for
herself alone. I do not have fond memories of my own childhood piano
lessons. I felt that any love of music and piano playing would have to be
developed on her own with her teacher. I stayed out of it. I thought the
more imporetant relationship should be between the student and teacher.
We were very fortunate to have found Ramona. She has been a great teacher, role model and mentor. My now fifteen year old daughter enjoys playing for relaxation. Her development and improvement over the past two years under Ramona's skill, care, guidance and direction has been a joy to watch and to listen. Ramona instilled in her what I expect to be a lifelong love of music and piano playing.
|"As an aspiring jazz piano/keyboard player, the experience of studying
with Ramona Borthwick proved to be the turning point in my musical journey. She brings about a
quick rate of progress toward proficiency on the instrument in the shortest time, and is able
to discern where the students' weaknesses and shortcomings lie. Her teaching enabled
impediments and stumbling blocks (technical, theoretical and creative), to be quickly overcome,
and obstacles along the way, to be surmounted. She seeks to equip the student with a solid
well-rounded foundation- to strengthen the 'basics' so to speak (for example: concentrating on
the development of technical ability, music theory, the study of western classical music etc.)
- thereby aiding the student to develop into a 'complete' musician - over and above the
ultimate direction the student wishes to take - whether classical or jazz music, being a
keyboard professional, or a hobby pianist ...
I deeply treasure the time that I spent learning music with her, and have gained much - both musically and personally in my life."
|"The piano learning experience with Ramona is wonderful. I thought I am
going to learn piano only, but I end up learning music instead. She make everything so full of life and spirit. She is good in explaining every details and
particulars. She make things simple and easy. And most wonderful thing is she treat me as a
friend more than a student.
And I really miss her as both an excellent piano teacher and also as a friend."
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
|"Besides being a knowledgeable musician, Ramona has over a decade of
teaching experience, which enables her to be a very effective teacher for beginner as well as
advanced students. I've studied piano (technique & music theory) as well as Jazz bass theory
with her, and have thoroughly enjoyed every music session with her since she is very organized
and enthusiastic about every class she conducts.
I've positively improved my music skills after my sessions with her."
|"My piano lessons with Ramona were a wonderful experience. I am very
grateful to her for her guidance, patience and understanding; and for giving me the initiative
to appreciate music in a unique way."
|"Even with my very erratic practicing habits, I have made more progress
over the past months with Ramona, than I ever imagined would be possible. Her enthusiasm and
love for the piano, has impacted on my relationship with the instrument. I feel that I now
approach my piano playing in much more of a "relational" way; meaning that I am much more aware
of how my body and mind (and indeed spirit) are all important in making a full and true
connection with the music. All these facets are inextricably important in uniting the student
with his/her instrument and the beautiful creations of the composers whose gifts of music we
bring to life.
Ramona is a teacher who challenges me. Growing up, I took many years of unstructured piano lessons from an aunt of mine, who although a very good teacher, never truly challenged me to excel and grow. Ramona opens up a piece of music as to its musical form, phraseology, and interpretive exploration that challenges me and excites me to "connect" with my homework. This has made a great difference in my relation to the music I play, and indeed all the music I hear around me.
I also appreciate her approach to teaching piano theory, especially the monthly 2-hour sessions that focus on theory. Her use of the 30-minute class is excellent. I find it very hard NOT to want to prepare well for my piano lessons; since Ramona's love of music is infectious and "rubs off" on me in a way that I really WANT to get to know my music well. When I come to my lesson not having practiced much (which is unfortunately more the norm than the exception recently), Ramona will often adjust my class to work on my sight reading or ear recognition of a tune.
I always leave my lesson with some new and exciting understanding of the piano, even when my practicing has been absent in between classes. Its a testimonial to Ramona's excellent teaching that I'm still sticking with the piano these past six months, considering all the stressful happenings in my life (including divorce, two big moves, restructuring of my job, and giving birth to five kittens!).
I'll end by saying that I am very lucky to have recently inherited a beautiful grand piano from my aunt who used this piano to teach hundreds of students during a career spanning 50 years. Whenever I sit down to practice, I'm conscious of the wonderful gift of music that all these students have enjoyed over these years; and I'm excited that I too am enjoying the gift of music on this instrument.
My present relation with my piano is absolutely due to the inspiration and excitement of the instruction I am receiving from Ramona. I am convinced that the dust would be gathering on my piano if it were not for the excellent teaching I am currently receiving. Needless to say I want this to continue!"
|"Ramona has a very special way to convey her enthusiasm for music. I think
one of the essential qualities of a great teacher resides in being so effectively contagious!
Like placing a seed in fertile soil, my interest for piano, latent until now, is blossoming
with Ramona's patient & energetic guidance."
|"Testimonials are usually written by successful students. If this is the
norm, then I'm least qualified to do this. However, if I don't write a few words on my
experience with classical music - I would be disappointing a dedicated music teacher like
For a student in pursuit of a parallel career in cricket 20 years ago, I had little to do with music. My interest in music was limited to avidly listening to the groups of the seventies like the Bee Gees, Eagles and solo artistes like Cliff Richard, John Denver and Billy Joel.
For a person who could not strike a right note, let alone sing, I allowed myself to be persuaded by one of the choir members to join the Wilson College Choir, Bombay, in 1980 as a tenor. Once the initial anxiety dissipated, I started liking the practice sessions and enjoyed the learning process, difficult as it seemed. I was with the choir for three years and I picked up music from scratch. Sometimes I wonder how Ramona could tolerate me and a couple of others who, like me, were least qualified to be there. This, I think, is the key to Ramona's teaching - that anybody can learn music if he/she takes the first step.
I never took any piano lessons or appeared for any exams. However, I'm grateful to my friend who forced me to join the choir because music is one of the vital elements for wholesome development of a person. It widens ones perspective in life besides triggering the creative processes. If music can do this a person who did not take formal lessons, imagine what it can do to people who persist with their piano lessons, particularly with a teacher as gifted as Ramona."
|"I have found Ramona to be an excellent instructor of music, who takes a
personal interest in her student's progress. She is keen on imparting her expertise and
knowledge to her students, thus helping them achieve the same high standards she sets for