Sylvia Chambless, pianist


Words of parents, students and former students...

Ms. Chambless was my son's piano teacher for over eight years (2003-2012), beginning when he was 9.  She is an absolutely incredible teacher -- she taught him not only how to play the piano, but also how to appreciate and understand the music.  Furthermore, she is very patient with her students and always considerate of their needs.  Perhaps more importantly, Ms. Chambless has a way of inspiring her students, so that they truly want to play the music.  I greatly appreciate the impact she has had on my son and I treasure all the advice she has given me over the years on various topics related to my son's piano studies and beyond.  -- Jenny Jin, parent

Ms. Chambless is truly an extraordinary teacher.  In the eight years that I studied with her (from the age of 9 to 17), I saw both my proficiency and my appreciation of the piano grow in leaps and bounds.  Her passionate lessons inspired me to progress.  Mixing equally an emphasis on technique and expression, she has taught me more than just how to play piano.  I have developed a love for classical music and the piano that has become part of me. She has enriched my life in irreplaceable ways, and I will be forever grateful and glad that I studied piano with her.   -- Justin, age 17

I have known Ms. Chambless for over twenty years, as a teacher and then as a friend.  [Ms. Chambless to her students, Sylvia to me].  She taught my daughter Alicia starting when she was seven.  We were thrilled to find a teacher with such an impressive background (as we were told by New England Conservatory “She’s one of our very best teachers.”), but importantly, we were also happy to find that she was wonderful with young students.  Each student was treated as the individual they were, and there was no “star” system in her studio.  Ms. Chambless laid the foundation for technique and musicality from the very beginning.   Alicia particularly liked the choice of music, that could be fun and appealing yet advance her skills.  She also knew she had to do her part by practicing, and she continued up until graduation from high school. Ms. Chambless has a positive, warm, encouraging style, and I think this inspired Alicia.  It was always such a joy to see at the recitals the accomplishments of the students from the very youngest to the seniors. I can’t say enough about how good a teacher Ms. Chambless is.   With guidance from Ms. Chambless, my youngest daughter was able to prepare a CD for her college admission application, and she is convinced it helped her get her first choice (Brown University).  She is now a second year law student at Penn and she has said often how glad and proud she is to have been given the gift of being able to play the piano, something she will always have. She is very fond of Ms. Chambless and certainly so grateful for everything she learned from her.  -- Loa Bliss, parent

My wife and I decided to ask Ms. Chambless to be our daughter’s piano teacher during her high school years.  Ms. Chambless helped my daughter make a CD, which we sent to universities with her applications.  My daughter was accepted into the music departments of Brown University and Wellesley College, and ultimately attended Harvard.  My wife and I were not surprised, as she had been trained by Ms.Chambless, one of the finest pianists and teacher in the Boston area!  A year out of college, after working in New York City in her first job, my daughter told us one of things that she learned from Ms. Chambless is the importance of patience.  Of course, as she continues to become more mature, she will realize more and more from her piano training!!!   -- Fan Li, pianist and parent

Ms. Chambless is my first and best piano teacher! I like the way that she taught me piano. I like her dog Zoe.  I like her stickers too.    -- Eloise, age 6   

Studying with Ms. Chambless completely changed how I felt about playing the piano.  Through taking lessons with her from when I was 14 until I graduated high school, I learned to truly appreciate and understand the music that I was playing.  Ms. Chambless is a teacher who actually cares, and if you practice and work hard, she'll make sure that she can teach you as much as she can.  She showed me that working hard really does pay off!  I learned so much about playing the piano from her, but she also taught me how to have a great work ethic that I will continue to have for the rest of my life.  I currently attend Columbia University, and I'm studying Computer Science and Economics there! -- Shensi Ding, former student

My daughter began piano lessons with Ms. Chambless when she was in eighth grade, through a recommendation of a friend. Before starting the lessons with Ms. Chambless, she had learned playing piano for almost 8 years but could not make the jump to a new level.  After starting with Ms. Chambless, things improved dramatically.  Ms. Chambless is an accomplished pianist.  She demonstrates the piano at such a high level that inspires not only the students but also the parents.  She develops a system for each student based on their levels, and encourages music understanding and emotional expression.  Ms. Chambless is also an educator.  She understands the mutual beneficial relationship between music and academics. From time to time, she advised my daughter to have good time management skills and balance piano playing and other activities.  We think our daughter had grown tremendously in piano playing, music understanding and school studies since she studied from Ms. Chambless.  She is currently a student at Columbia University and continuously enjoying her music and academic endeavor. --Yong Ding, parent

What I've learned first and foremost from Ms. Chambless during my studies with her was the passion of receiving and sharing music with others. Her teaching style is most concerned with the immediate message of the music: the message that will have an immediate impact of the listener's heart.  As a former student who is graduating with a Master's degree from the Peabody Institute of Music and about to go on to teach, I will look up to her as a model for dedication to the students and music.  She is both a teacher and a friend to me; she was tirelessly available for her students no regardless of music or personal support.  -- Ta-Wei Tsai, former student

Sylvia Chambless is a gifted piano teacher and pianist.  My son studied piano with Ms. Chambless when he was a student at New England Conservatory.  He was a high school student when he studied with her and his musicianship reached new levels of expertise under her guidance.  My only regret is that we did not have the opportunity to meet Ms. Chambless sooner in my sons musical development!  However, the few years he did spend studying with her made all the difference in his abilities as gifted pianist. My son is presently a sophomore at Brown University. He writes scores of music and practices piano on a daily basis.   We owe much to Sylvia Chambless. Do not hesitate if you have the opportunity to study piano with her.  Praise and gratitude!   -- Catherine Chaisson, parent

I was Ms. Chambless’ student for ten years, all of them worthwhile!  Throughout my wonderful piano experience with her, I can definitely say that she is one of the best out there.  Most certainly, any student of hers will not only gain all the necessary skills to become a great pianist, but also an emotional bond and appreciation for the music itself, which is sometimes harder to bring out. In addition to her profession, Ms. Chambless is also caring and patient with students, and I know from past experiences that her determination at every lesson always prompted and motivated me to continue to try my best.  Without her help and advice, I would have never been able to win several piano competitions.  Anyone who is willing to work with Ms. Chambless will not regret a single second!    -- Yinian, age 16

Sylvia Chambless is a charm, both as a piano teacher and as a person!  I came back to taking lessons as an adult after many decades away from the piano, and I was quite rusty, to say the least!  Sylvia helped me along the path in a skillful, encouraging and gentle manner, and made it fun. Her patience is enormous, her knowledge of teaching is superb, and she will certainly be missed in the Boston area!  If only Connecticut were closer.  -- Dr. Susan Noonan, adult student

Sylvia Chambless’s passion for music and dedication to her students was very apparent in the three years I studied under her.  Her teaching style meshes well with students wishing to take piano study to a higher level.  Ms. Chambless allows students to develop their own styles; for example, my interpretation of the Chopin Ballade no. 2 was completely different from her other student’s interpretation. While she has expectations for students, she always provides the guidance necessary to get there.  Studying with her prepared me very well for piano study at the collegiate level. Because of her training I was able to obtain a minor in music at the University of Rochester studying under a professor at the Eastman School of Music, all the while pursuing my major in biomedical engineering.  I now work in a laboratory researching neurological disorders.  Though it has been six years since my last lesson, Ms. Chambless continues to offer her guidance and support throughout the process. I enjoyed studying under her very much, and would highly recommend seeking Sylvia Chambless as a piano instructor.   -- Stephen Sullivan, former student

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