Hi! I'm Hannah Christianson. I am an award winning songwriter, performer, music therapist, producer, and music lesson teacher. I graduated from Berklee College of Music in 2013, with a dual degree in Music Therapy and Songwriting. Since then, I have toured in the East Coast and Midwest United States, as well as Ireland and Scotland, and have received numerous songwriting awards, including Winner of the Great American Song Contest in the Pop Category, Finalist in the John Lennon Songwriting Contest, and Finalist in the Great American Song Contest in the Adult Contemporary Category. I have taught songwriting workshops at MIT, South Shore Conservatory, in Kenya, and in Ireland. I've worked as a music therapy intern at Boston Children's Hospital, where I learned how to work with people from many different cultural backgrounds as well as with children who have special needs. I've also self-released two albums, collaborated in many different musical groups, and have licensed my music to several licensing companies. Throughout all of my experiences in my performance and artist career, I have always been a teacher of music. Most recently, I have been teaching songwriting to students all over the world, as well as private lesson students in my own home. I love being able to share the joy and love that I have for music with others, and to teach not only the musical skills, but also the appreciation for how music can bring more beauty, joy, and expression into one's life.
Quotes from previous students:
"Hannah's songwriting lessons helped me a lot as she set a supportive atmosphere which uplifted my belief in my songwriting abilities. She is genuinely keen on giving you help and bringing out your best to my mind. Thank you Hannah!"
-Polina, a songwriting student from Russia via Skype lessons
Taking piano lessons with Hannah has been a life changing experience for my 2 kids, Luc (10) and Jackie (8). They have taken piano lessons for almost one year with Hannah and thanks to her inspiring, creative and fun lessons, both have learned to appreciate and play music. They have learned how to read and write notes and have even composed their own songs. They can play an assortment of songs ranging from the blues to classical. The lessons are fun, relaxed and very educational. She has inspired them to explore to play on their own even when nobody is pushing them. I would highly recommend her to anyone interested in learning how to play.
-Vincent, father of two beginner piano students
"I previously tried to learn guitar with another teacher and eventually gave up because I found it incredibly frustrating. But I have finally learned, thanks to lessons with Hannah! Hannah is knowledgeable, enthusiastic and supportive. Her love of music is contagious. She makes her lessons easy to follow and tailors them to suit her students’ needs and goals. I highly recommend music lessons with Hannah!"
-Joanna, a mom learning guitar/voice for her kids
I blend my experiences as a performer, songwriter, and music therapist to create a unique lesson experience for each student, specifically tailored to his or her needs. My lessons are fun, upbeat, and informative. I like to focus on creating a positive relationship with music, as a tool for processing and expressing yourself, as well as on learning musical goals. If you want to experience the joy of music and develop new musical skills at the same time, I'm the right teacher for you.
I especially love to teach songwriting, voice, improvisation, and piano. I also enjoy teaching beginning guitar and ukulele. I'm happy to teach multiple instruments /skills in my lessons to students. My favorite genres are pop, jazz, and singer-songwriter, as well as some musical theater. Mostly, I enjoy creating a space for students to explore and experience the beauty of music :)
In addition to the one-on-one lessons that can be booked from this page, Hannah is offering a group class titled "Songwriter Workshop" this Winter 2020. This class will meet for four live sessions on Wednesdays at 1/22, 1/29, 2/5, 2/12, from 8-9 pm ET / 5-6 pm PT. -- Learn more and sign up here.
In my first lesson with students, I like to take an assessment of where they are musically, and what their musical goals might be. From there, I create a unique curriculum designed to their needs and abilities. Some examples of topics we may cover are listed below...
-Analyzing your favorite songs. We look at the melody, the chord structure, and the lyrics. We break it down to see what specifically makes this song something you love.
-How to get over the critic in your head / writer's block.
-Tuning into creativity using improvisation, meditation, and other techniques.
-Commonly used Chord Structures, Lyric Structures, and Song Forms
-Weekly Songwriting Exercises... Ex: This week, try writing a song in AABA format. (Don't worry if you don't know what that means yet!)
-Prosody -> how to make the music of the song accurately reflects the lyrics and vise versa
How to Breathe
Warming Up / Taking Care of the Voice
Posture - How Posture Can Affect Your Singing
Tone - Belting, Whistle Tone, Experimenting with Tone
Pitch - Singing on key
Emotional Expression - Singing to convey the meaning of the song
Finding Your Unique Voice - Finding what sounds the most like ‘you’ and sharing that with others!
How to be a Performer - Ways to be in front of others on stage, to keep the audience’s attention, to work with a band etc…
-Working on all Major Scales, using the formula WWH WWWH (W - whole step, H - half step) • Learn the BluesScale(1-b3-4-#4-5-b7-1,i.e.CEbFF#GBbC)
-Chord inversions of the I chord from major scales
-Building chords from the major scales, I ii ii IV V vi viidim
-Learning the Relative Minor, Harmonic Minor Scales
-Learning about Modal Scales (Ionian, Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian, Mixolydian, Aeolian, Locrian)
-Learning about chords in these different modes and their inversions
-Applying these scales to improvisation techniques
-Sight-reading 3 new pieces of music a week, especially short ones, just to get used to sight-reading music. Remembering to look at what key you’re in.
-Going VERY slowly, and as “in time” as possible.
-Counting out loud or playing with metronome.
-Trying to sight read both hands at the same time, and if it’s not possible, then one hand at a
-Using the Blues Scale in improvisation, Improvising over the 12 bar blues
-Ear training / learning new phrases by repeating phrases that I play
-Using other scales to improvise, major, minor, modal..
-Adding chords in the left hand to support improvising in the right hand
-Listen to a favorite song on the radio and play along with it, play anything that sounds good to you.
-Find a bluesy song to listen to, try out some of the bluesy licks, the blues scale alongside the song.
-Make something up completely from scratch! Play something that tries to reflect how you feel. Noodle around on the piano and play/have fun making different sounds.
-How to Tune Your Ukulele
-Strumming Patterns and Rhythm
-Playing and Singing at the Same Time
Acoustic Guitar Lessons
-How to Tune Your Guitar / Learning the names of the strings
-Strumming Patterns and Rhythm
-Standard Chords and Bar Chords - How to play and read them
-Playing and Singing at the same time
-Playing with Open Tunings
-Musical Notation - Learning names of notes, being able to play them on instrument of choice
-Time Signatures - What does each number mean, getting used to playing in the more standard time signatures, working our way up to playing in odd time signatures
-Clefs, Sharps, and Flats - Learning how flats and sharps work, and being able to read notes in different clefs.
-Key Signatures - Being able to tell what key you’re playing in, which keys have sharps/flats
-Scales - Major, Minor, Modes
-Chords and chord structures - learning how they’re built, how to play and read them
-Ear Training and Intervals - learning about intervals, being able to tell what they sound like