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DonRocks

Dasha Gabay, Dasha Gabay Piano Studio - Caring, Patient Teacher for Serious, Ambitious Piano Students, Children and Adult Lessons

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A long time ago, I began this forum by recommending Peggy Newhall as a teacher for beginning to intermediate piano students, and that thread comes up #1 on Google when you search her name, having nearly 1,000 views for that one, single post.

I hope to achieve the same result with Dasha Gabay, who runs Dasha Gabay Piano Studio out of her home in Fairfax Station (it's North on 123 from Occoquan, and is only a 30-40-minute drive from the Pentagon).

I began taking piano lessons again, and Dasha was the first person I called - she is the daughter-in-law of Dr. Anna Balakerskaia, a Professor of Piano Performance at George Mason University, and my son Matt has taken lessons from both Anna and Dasha (they're both interchangeable as teachers, but Dasha has more free time since she isn't working at the University).

While Peggy is wonderful for young children just starting out, once you get past a beginning level, you must step up, and Dasha is the person I advise you to call (she's the person *I* called). She is an *outstanding* pianist, and an even better teacher - if you, or your child, is serious about learning to become not just a "pianist," but also a *musician*, then Dasha is the person to become acquainted with. She is kind and patient with children, but she also lets her students get away with *nothing*: You must be a serious student of music - not "great," but *serious* - in order to take lessons from Dasha. I've never seen anyone who can be so polite as they're tearing your insides out - any accomplished classical musician will know exactly what I'm talking about here: There's no "faking it" with Dasha. You *will* learn the pieces you're working on, because she will pin your feet to the fire until you do. And I mean *learn* them, inside-and-out.

I encourage everyone to visit the website of Dasha Gabay Piano Studio, and read her biography. Sometimes she's referred to as "Darya," and "Dasha" is a diminutive of Darya - similar to "Bob" being a diminutive of "Robert."

I've seen Dasha perform in a concert hall once, playing the Schubert Piano Sonata for Four Hands with Anna, and it was the finest live performance of that piece I've ever seen - just as good as this recording with Lupu and Perahia.

I had a lesson with Dasha today, and I'm approaching the end stages of learning my first-ever Bach Sinfonia (Three-Part Invention). I asked her if, maybe, I could move on to a Partita, or maybe some of the more advanced Fugues. Instead, I was told to listen to all the Sinfonias, and pick out a second one to learn - it's not yet time to move one. She somehow told me this without even telling me that.

Whenever I have a musical idea, she listens to what I have to say, and considers it carefully - often before gently explaining why it might not be the best approach. A gentle assassin, this one, and darn it, she's always right.

If you, or your children, wish to become a *great pianist* - not just tinker around, but actually have some ambition, and are willing to put in the work, Dasha charges $80 an hour, and should probably be charging $100 (part of me hopes she doesn't read this).

Piano is one of the only things in life that I consider myself to be something of an expert in, and Dasha is a gift to the Washington, DC area, especially if you and your family live in Northern Virginia. She is actively looking to take on additional students, and doesn't know I'm writing this - there should be a waiting list to get into her studio, but right now, there isn't.

Highest recommendation. Matt thinks so, too, and he's now a clarinet performance major at Indiana University - he placed out of all three years of piano, which is required of all music majors. This, because of studying with Dasha once Peggy got him to a certain level. 

If you're lacking a piano to practice on (and you must have access to one on a daily basis), may I suggest this one? I'm looking to buy *up*; not merely to get rid of this Yamaha, which is an excellent instrument. It's like I want to trade in a Porsche for a Lamborghini - there's nothing wrong with a Porsche.

Don Rockwell

PS - Dasha on left, Anna on right:

 

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