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Playing the Piano

Piano Garden Studio

510 Anglewood Dr Lenoir City Tennessee 37772

Creative repertoire-driven approach to Piano, Music Theory, Audio/Music Technology

Private lessons with Katia Karkkainen, MFA

I teach:
- Classical piano (mainly using Piano Safari method, which is a mix of traditional and Suzuki methods)
- Pop/rock contemporary chord-based approach, improvisation - play your favorite songs (try this is you want to take a break from classical!), learn to make your own arrangements of your favorite music
- COMBO classical + contemporary - chef's choice! My favorite approach that combines the fun of contemporary with technical and sonic foundations of classical.

I have two pianos in my studio:
Kawai 506N Acoustic Upright and Yamaha P-515B Digital Piano​.
Kawai is great for classical and jazz music, digital Yamaha is great for more contemporary music and jazz. We play 4 hands ensembles and experiment with instruments on a digital piano.

Flexible and easy scheduling with Fons software.

Choose the length of the lesson:

30 mins, 40 mins, or 1 hour.

Kids and adults, ages 5 - 99!

One-on-one piano lessons for beginning and intermediate students and fun small group lessons for beginners (2-3 students)

Celebrating student achievements: certificates at the end of the semester, student recitals

Separate music theory course for very young beginners to help them read music notation easily: Wilbeck Easy Notes.
Designed for beginners and students who struggle to read music. 

Chord chart reading and improvisation course for mid-late beginners.

Choose your favorite repertoire:



Easy Jazz

Movie Soundtracks, Musicals

Kids songs



Christian songs

and more!

Play along with a pre-recorded band or orchestra!

Play the melody - sound like an orchestra!

Katia Piano Portfolio

Katia Piano Portfolio

Katia Piano Portfolio
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Piano Garden Studio. Interview with the teacher. Anderson, South Carolina

Piano Garden Studio. Interview with the teacher. Anderson, South Carolina

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Bach Keyboard Concerto D minor Katia Karkkainen

Bach Keyboard Concerto D minor Katia Karkkainen

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Forrest Gump Theme

Forrest Gump Theme

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Rachmaninoff rehearsal

Rachmaninoff rehearsal

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Wilbeck method to learn music notation through fun stories and games for kids 4+

Most beginning students struggle learning sight reading, and although I tried many method books and workbooks, they were not very effective. They were all based on mechanical memorization and repetition, and I was looking for something based on associations and a fun story. Wilbeck method is just perfect and fits even very young kids! Together we are creating a story on a magnetic board where each note of 4 octaves is a character and lives in a specific place on the staff and on the keyboard. Two workbooks have fun drawing and writing activities based on the same story.

I am starting all beginners with this method at the same time with playing by rote, and in few lessons they are ready to start reading music. After Wilbeck Easy Notes any piano method goes way easier and faster since students are already very familiar with notation.

Another cool thing about this method is that parents can also read these stories with their kids at home and help them to progress faster. And... it is very CUTE!

About your teacher:
Katia Karkkainen

My education:

  • Gnesins College of Music (Moscow, Russia) - Music Education/Music Theory with a strong minor in Piano

  • Gnesins Academy of Music (Moscow, Russia) - Music Recording and Production with a strong minor in Piano

  • Middle Tennessee State University (Murfreesboro, TN) - M.F.A. in Recording Arts and Technologies

8 years of experience teaching private lessons to students ages 5-64 (beginners and intermediates).

10 years experience working as a recording/mixing engineer in the recording studio, TV live broadcast including Winter Olympic Games in Sochi in 2014, and six theaters in Miami, FL.

2 years teaching in Performance Arts programs at community colleges (Miami Dade College and Broward College).

In Summer 2023 I moved to Knoxville, TN area where my husband started a new job at Oak Ridge National Labs. 

I started asking my parents to teach me piano at the age of 3, and at the age of 5 I started my music journey that never ends.

katia studio portrait site_edited.jpg

Are you a Star Wars fan?

I am definitely a John Williams' music fan. Here are top3 fun projects we've done recently with my students:

1. Star Wars Play Along with pre-recored orchestra (track from Easy Piano Play Along book, and my own easy arrangement - even easier than in the book!) - for a 9 y.o. beginner student.

2. Carol of the Bells - 4-hands piano duet I arranged for two brothers (7 and 8 y.o.) who had a LOT of fun playing that together and with pre-recorded track full of magic sounds of Christmas! The track was from Christmas Classics book.

3. Pink Panther theme - for an 8 y.o. student who is a big fan of this catchy song. I did not find any play-along tracks for this one, but if you have a digital piano with built-in jazz drum rhythm -- this will add even more spice to this music!

Piano on Dim Stage

Six benefits of playing the piano

The most abstract art of all

Music is the most abstract art. You can't see it, you can't touch it, but it is very powerful. If you can master music, you will understand other abstract and complex things in life. For example, people who understand music theory are usually good at math. I learned fractions at the age of 5 through music (apples and chocolates were also involved).

Brain exercise

Playing an instrument recruits almost every part of the brain, including regions that process vision, sound, movement, and memory. It adds new neural connections, enhances communication between the left and right hemispheres of the brain, resulting in positive effects on learning, memory, fine motor skills, coordination, verbal and non-verbal reasoning. Practicing music at an early age can make structural changes to the brain that stay with you for the rest of your life.

The easiest instrument

There is no physical pain involved with learning to play the piano. When new to the guitar, one must build up calluses on the fingers, and when learning to play a brass or woodwind instrument, one must learn how to use your facial muscles and lips to produce sound. One can spend months and years learning just how to extract sound on string or brass instruments. To play the piano, all you have to do is sit, and press down a key.



Polyphonic instrument

Piano is a polyphonic instrument, meaning that you can play multiple melodies and chords at the same time. It is like having the whole orchestra under your fingers! In addition, you can sing while playing.

Boost your confidence

Playing a musical instrument helps to overcome an anxiety of public performances. After playing music in public, tasks like public speaking will be a piece of cake!



College admissions

Create your video piano portfolio and win college scholarships, no matter which major you chose!

Owning a piano

A useful piece of furniture that can help you to get rid of unwanted guests