My personal experience with Ann Tappan, as a teacher of my own children, is very positive. Ann has an incredible gift for teaching improvisation. She is very knowledgeable and excellent with children of all ages. I have learned many things from her simply by watching her.
Russ Newberry, former Band Director, Bozeman High School; current Music Superintendent, Tri-Cities, WA
Ann is currently accepting students at her studio in the Bozeman Music Lessons building near the intersection of 19th and Durston, and at her home studio in Manhattan.
Ann has been teaching classical piano and improvisation for many years and is dedicated to spreading her love for music to students of all ages and experience. Her goal is to encourage those who appreciate and want to learn about music by guiding with insight, joy and thoughtfulness. She can tailor a program of study and practice that links many small goals iinto a long arc of progress.
Students interested in improvisation are shown basic theory and harmony, modal improvisation and the blues. Ann teaches stylistic characteristics of jazz, blues, pop and rock. Many students, after being exposed to improvisation, become interested in composing.
She also coaches voice students and any instrumentalists who are interested in jazz and pop. She has had great success showing vocalists how to accompany themselves on piano.
Ann began studying piano at age 4 and soon found an interest in playing boogie woogie and radio hits she learned by ear, much to the dismay of her grandmother who was a classical concert pianist. She attended Essex County Summer Music School in New Jersey throughout her childhood, learning clarinet, flute, violin and cello as well as studying ear training and harmony. She taught herself folk guitar as a teenager and first heard jazz at a friend’s house when she was 13. Listening to Thelonious Monk opened a new world to her ears. After high school, a 2-year experiment of living in Europe resulted in a real desire to study music and make it her life. She returned to the US and entered Berklee College of Music majoring in composition and arranging.
After completing her studies, Ann moved to New York in the 70’s to play in the experimental loft jazz scene. A West Coast move found her in Berkeley CA where she met her long time teacher, mentor and friend, Art Lande. She studied in Art’s Jazz School for several years and then became a teacher in it.
Ann began private studio teaching in 1975 in Berkeley and San Francisco and has kept her studio door open ever since. During this time she also studied composition with Allaudin Mathieu and classical piano with Parisian pianist, Annie Devise-Nalezny. Berkeley during the late 70’s was a great “graduate school” in music.
After almost 20 years in the Bay Area, Ann moved with her husband to Montana. She was amazed to find the wealth of talent that exists in this rural state and began forming recording and concert groups. She started Private Studio teaching in Bozeman and Manhattan and her Montana students have included Adam Platt, 3-time winner, Downbeat Magazine’s “Best Student Instrumentalist” and many other children who have entered college or conservatory as either a music major or minor.
She returned to the Bay Area to co-coordinate 5 day jazz seminars for the Union Institute PHD program, taught improvisation class for the Bozeman Piano Teacher’s Association Festival and wrote and administered a MAC/NEA/Jazz Montana grant, a year-long creative music program linking national and local professional musicians to statewide audiences and K-12 students.
She was the Director of the Bozeman High School’s Jazz Combo Program for almost 10 years. This group achieved many awards at local and national high school jazz festivals. The participants were consistently singled out as being excellent solo improvisers and won Jazz Montana Scholarships each year of the group’s existence.