Cheri Sykes • Minneapolis - St. Paul Twin Cities Pianist
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“How fortunate our girls are to have such an amazing and versatile teacher!!” M.E.

Contact Cheri today for a FREE introductory lesson!

Also enquire about duo beginner lessons, an affordable and fun way to learn.

Maybe you're an adult who wants to enjoy piano as a fun hobby.  Maybe you want music to enrich your child's life. Maybe you want to play your favorite pop song. Maybe you want to play keys in your church band. Maybe you want to improvise!

At the Sykes Piano Studio in Osseo, Minnesota, you can learn everything piano, from classical technique to jazz improvisation. Lessons are custom-tailored to YOU.

Beginners of all ages are welcome! We'll lay a solid foundation, while helping you discover and play the music you love.

Student mp3 samples
        “La Caroline” performed by Katie E.
        "Tonight, Tonight” performed by Nicholas B.
               (recorded on studio Garageband software)
        “Up on the Housetop” performed by Andrew H.
               (recorded on studio Garageband software)
These are not your mother’s piano lessons (no offense to your mother!). Our studio makes full use of today’s technology, from iPad theory apps and backing tracks to Garageband multi-track recording. We also offer frequent group experiences, where students can informally perform, learn, and be inspired by each other, while building peer musician relationships.  Numerous performing opportunities are available throughout the year.  Maybe your student will enjoy the achievement challenges of the Minnesota Music Teachers Association (MMTA).

Cheri is abreast of the most progressive approaches in piano instruction, with a substantial toolbox to fast-track your learning.  Pop hits are generously employed for understanding theory, improvisation, rhythm reading, ear-training, and motivating practice (especially for teens!).

The ideal is to nurture a well-rounded pianist, flexible in any number of settings,  such as a rock band, pit orchestra for a musical, leading worship, accompanying a choir, or even becoming a college music major.

This requires a balanced approach including theory, reading, technique, ear-training, improvisation, and sight-reading.

However, she’s always pleased to help you focus on your specific goals.

If you want to play your favorite pop song, we’ll apply chord progressions and scales, plus accompaniment styles.

If you’re interested in playing in a church band, she brings twenty years experience playing keys and leading bands.  You’ll learn to read a lead sheet, chord, improvise, and play in the style.

Maybe you’re an adult returning to piano after many years.  We’ll focus on your specific goals in an flexible, low-stress environment.

If you want to learn jazz improvisation, we’ll cover jazz theory, chord voicings, application of scales, how to read a lead sheet, and improvisational tips.

Let’s get you started towards your musical dreams!

BONUS: Cheri is a longtime instructor in folk-rock guitar, including for Schmitt Music. Learn to play your favorite songs, employing fingerpicking, blues, and rock techniques. Learn to play by ear and understand guitar theory.  It's fun!
Cheri earned her B.A. in piano, 1979, from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, where she was steeped in Bach and Chopin. Her Masters work at Emory University in Atlanta further deepened her knowledge of classical performance practice and music history. Regarding contemporary styles, Cheri was involved in UW-EC’s jazz program, and subsequently refined her improvisational skills with jazz pianists Laura Caviani  of Minneapolis and Sean Turner of the McNally School of Music in St. Paul. Today she is an active solo party pianist in the Twin Cities, and also leader, arranger, keyboardist for her own five-piece r&b band, Wild Honey.

Cheri has received statewide air-play performing Bach on Minnesota Public Radio. At the other end of the spectrum, her band Wild Honey has been featured on KBEM Jazz 88 FM’s program, “Jazz and the Spirit,” as well as KARE-11 Television’s morning program, “Minnesota Showcase.”

Master Certified with the Minnesota Music Teachers Association (MMTA), she serves as an exam judge and on the committee for the ground-breaking Popular Styles Exam Syllabus.   She is a 2012 recipient of the Maureen Conway Award for Inspiring Teaching, from the Keys 4/4 Kids non-profit in St. Paul.

Cheri began as a music instructor in the 1970s. Before establishing the Sykes Piano Studio in 2009, she was a private instructor at Schmitt Music.

Please inquire further for rates.

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"A. is certainly enjoying his lessons and, I think, playing musically which is so cool because I know how hard that is to teach. He really enjoys you as a teacher. Well worth the drive!"

"I love that you have expertise with both classical and jazz/improv styles and are so willing to work with S. on what most interests her. I loved the recital; it was great to hear so many styles of music performed."

"My daughters and I have been taking lessons with Cheri for almost five years and are amazed at both the breadth and the depth of her ability. The things she has taught us have ranged from classical fare to jazz, improvisation skills (in a variety of musical styles), theory and ear training and lead sheet reading.

"We have participated in the MMTA contests and both my daughters have received "high distinction" as their result. I love that she is so willing to work with each student on their own musical priorities. My 14 year old daughter was asked to be on the worship team at church as the piano player. Cheri spent lots of time each lesson working on the specific songs that my daughter needed and helped her get the confidence she needed. My other daughter loved the fact that Cheri also taught guitar skills. And she's wonderful for nervous adults!“  M.E.

"From the beginning books to learning pieces by ear, from playing solo pieces to being part of a band, she has always been patient and fun and very knowledgeable. Being an adult student is challenging and Cheri has been very supportive every step of the way. She even helped me write a song that included guitar and vocals, that we performed with some fellow students at a recent recital.” B.R.

"You’re very good with N. (guitar) and we love your style and approach to teaching—Thanks!” S.Z.

"I just wanted to say thank you for the great recital experience.  S. was very nervous, but ecstatic on the way home.  She was bubbling over with enthusiasm for music again.  Thank you so much for the gift you are giving her!"  J.J.

"Thanks for your willingness to work with Erica on an individualized basis.  We appreciate it!” S.M.

"The ear-training computer programs have helped me excel in my choir class.  I can really understand what I need to be singing.”  A.T.

"A. before studio class: 'Do I hafta go? I don't want to.' A. after studio class: 'That was fun! I wonder when we get to do it again?' He had a good time. Thanks!" A.H.

Minnesota Music Teachers Association          Best Piano Teachers in Minneapolis
Music Teachers National Association

The Sykes Piano Studio is located in downtown Osseo, near Highways 169 and 81, on the eastern edge of Maple Grove and the northwestern edge of Brooklyn Park.

Directions to Cheri's Studio
204 Central Ave, Osseo, MN  55369

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Cheri Sykes - • 651-335-0048
Performer and Teacher: Jazz / Classical / Pop • Available for Parties, Weddings, Senior Programs