Alex Ayala – Piano Teachers


Alex Ayala

He/ Him/ His

B.M. in performance from University of the Arts

Jazz, Rock, Pop & Blues

“I am a piano teacher. I graduated from the University of the Arts with a BM in music performance.  While at UArts, I studied under piano teachers Don Glanden, Tom Lawton and Trudy Pitts.  I also received guidance from some of Philly’s finest musicians.  I am currently a freelance musician performing in a wide range of diverse bands and ensembles. As an educator, I teach intermediate/advanced piano with an emphasis on jazz, rock, blues and contemporary music.  My methods involve the basics of note-reading and technique, as well as ear training and theory to provide a fun musical experience that goes beyond the notes on a page.  It is my goal to share my passion of music with my students and to help them find their musical passion.” 

When did you begin playing piano, and why?

Trumpet was my first instrument. Through trumpet, I was able teach myself piano. There was something about it that just came naturally to me…I could do things on the keyboard that I could not on the trumpet.  I got serious and started piano lessons when I was in 8th grade and stuck with it since.

What are your personal goals as a musician?

My goal is to constantly learn and constantly grow.  There’s no endgame in music, and when you hit that next milestone there’s always a new challenge that awaits. 

Do you have a memory of a time when a musical concept or technique really clicked?  Something you’ll remember forever?

When I was a sophomore at UArts, one of my teachers made us improvise over a tune using only quarter notes and with no accompaniment.  That concept forces you to really be able to hear the harmony as you are soloing and helps with memorization.  That was a big milestone in my development.

What is your favorite piece of advice from one of your past (or current) teachers?

Knowing the tune is one thing, but you don’t have complete mastery over it until you internalize it and make it a part of you.

What was your most challenging moment learning an instrument?

Understanding that sometimes one has to take a step backward before they can take a few steps forward.

What is your biggest musical achievement?

Majority of my career involves being a touring musician.  One of my favorite moments was when I got the call to sub for a band which led to my first show with them in Kalamazoo, MI.  It was very surreal:  I traveled miles away from home with people I’ve met for the first time to perform music I’ve only recently learned with no rehearsal. A year later I became their full time keyboardist.  

Favorite thing about teaching music?

Being able to teach my students about how to live a fulfilling life, in addition to music.

What is a piece of advice you would like to share with anyone learning music?

Listening is just as important as practicing, and always listen with an open mind.

Personal music projects:

Since 2019 I’ve been the keyboardist for Start Making Sense: A Tribute to Talking Heads.  I tour with them nationally and sometimes internationally.  In addition to SMS, I freelance within the Philadelphia area, performing with various groups such as: Hoppin’ John Orchestra, Bachelor Boys Band, Ardvark Felon, Featherbird and more. 


Philly Music Lessons specializes in connecting students of all ages and skill levels with great teachers in the Philadelphia and Main Line areas.