Piano Instruction

Corey McVicar teaching a student.Corey McVicar teaches at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and offers private piano lessons to a select number of aspiring piano students in his studio in Nob Hill. With more than 30 years of experience as a piano teacher, he is known for his supportive teaching style, ability to identify strengths and weaknesses in order to facilitate improvement, clarity of instruction, and skill in tailoring lessons and his teaching style to meet each student’s individual needs.

He was able to guide me in a way that has really allowed me to grow technically and musically.

Mr. McVicar taught at the Peabody Conservatory of Music from 1988 and joined the San Francisco Conservatory of Music in 2011. He has also served as adjunct faculty member at Columbia University in New York. During the course of his teaching career, he has prepared many students for college undergraduate and graduate auditions and competitions; his students have gone on to attain scholarships to institutions such as The Juilliard School, Eastman School of Music, the Cleveland Institute of Music and the Jacobs School of Music Bloomington, Indiana.  Mr. McVicar has taught winners of the Missouri Southern International Piano Competition, The Virginia Waring International Piano Competition,  the Stecher and Horowitz New York Piano Competition, the San Jose International Piano Competition and the Los Angeles Liszt Competition.

His sensitivity and musicality … inspire me to become a better and more detailed pianist.


Corey McVicar是一位非常了不起的老師. 他能夠鼓舞學琴的人有興趣更有向上的精神。他有一雙非常敏銳的耳朵,能夠正確的和詳細的解釋錯誤的地方,讓我不僅理解,而且幫助我夠改變按键的手法,或是手臂和手的力道。在鋼琴演奏時, 幫助我放鬆的演奏,達到更高的精度和技巧。他總是支持我,激勵我努力的去學習,揮發更大的能力, 彈出美好, 漂亮的音樂。他的鋼琴課不但改變了我鋼琴的演奏技巧更上一層樓. 事實上,他是我學鋼琴的十五年裡, 我最喜歡和最好的老師。

Corey McVicar is a terrific and inspiring piano teacher. He has a very keen ear and was able to explain what he heard in my playing so that I not only understood, but was able to change my attack on the key, or move the weight in my arm or hand. He loosened up my playing which allowed me to achieve greater accuracy and speed, and he was endlessly supportive, always motivating me to work harder, and play more beautifully. My studies with him have been absolutely transformational, he was by far the best piano teacher I have had in my 15 years of piano studies and I cannot imagine a better teacher than he.

– Aliyah Sanders

코리는 삼년 전부터 제 피아노 선생님 이셨습니다.
저는 코리에게 테크닉도 많이 배웠고, 코리는 항상 열정적으로 학생들을 가르켰습니다.
하지만 무엇보다도, 코리에게 감사한점은, 저희에게 항상 일방적으로 가르키려고 했던것이 아니라, 코리는 저희의 음악을 항상 먼저 들어주었고, 저희에게 음악으로 소통하는 법을 가르켜 주었다는 점입니다.
저는 삼년동안 뮤지션으로 참 많이 자랐고, 항상 너무 제가 좋은 음악 멘토 였던 코리에게 감사합니다!

Corey has been my teacher for three years.
Over the years he taught me various techniques and has always been a passionate teacher who cares for his students.
But most importantly, his teaching has never been one-way. He listened for what we have to say in our music and taught us how to communicate through music to audience.
I have grown so much as a musician while working with him and I am very thankful for having Corey as my music mentor!

– Chorong Song

From taking lessons with Corey this past year, I learned a lot about letting go. For a large part of my pre-college musical career, I struggled with insecurities regarding my technical abilities, especially in light of disappointing performances and competitions. People would tell me I was talented, but compared to some of my peers, I definitely did not feel particularly talented. From the very beginning of my lessons with him, Corey spent a lot of time adjusting my technique, greatly emphasizing looseness in the arms as well as the use of body weight and finger approach to create a variety of sounds. At first, it was strange changing so much about how I physically played the piano. It felt like there was no way I would ever be able to gain control and accurately play something if I was focusing on something other than the location of my fingers on the keys. I remember the concept of throwing my arm forward into the piano, even during fast, accuracy-dependent chordal passages, was especially counter-intuitive, since I had always been used to carefully feeling the keys beneath my fingers before playing a chord. Over time, however, I realized–just as Corey said I would–that I was able to gain so much more control by letting go. But more important than control, letting go allowed me to attain an immensely more extensive sound palette and to discover and achieve a new freedom of musical expression. I truly appreciate the two semesters that I spent taking lessons with Corey because of the confidence and new appreciation for music that he fostered in me. These experiences will certainly be a highlight of my college years.

– Charlotte Lin

The two years I spent studying under Dr. McVicar taught me more about my playing than I would have expected. With ten years of lessons already behind me, I wasn’t sure how to further improve my technique and musicianship; however, Dr. McVicar quickly identified my strengths and weaknesses, and worked with me to overcome those weaknesses. His passion for teaching and performing served as an important source of encouragement for me during my studies, and I am unlikely to forget the unique (and simple!) approaches Dr. McVicar taught.

– Linda Yue

Professor McVicar has taught me invaluable lessons as a piano teacher and a mentor. Since four years ago when I first started lessons with Professor McVicar, I have grown to be a compassionate and honest learner, which speaks to Professor McVicar’s character. As a musician, I have learned to communicate more expressively and confidently. I learned something new in every lesson, and I am absolutely sure that Professor McVicar has helped me to grow into the individual and the artist I am today.

– Hyun SunSeo

멕비카 선생님께 피아노를 배우고 부쩍 많이 늘었음을 느낍니다. 자유분방하게 손가락 가는데로 쳤었던 저는 선생님과 함께 공부하며 재미있는 방식으로 여러가지 기교, 몸동작, 기본기등을 닦으며 전문적인 음악들을 레퍼토리에 하나둘씩 채워가기 시작했습니다. 일주일에 한시간 짧은 레슨일 수 있지만, 거기에서 배울 수 있는건 매주매주 새로웠습니다. 그리고 귀가 정말 밝으신 선생님 덕분에 작은 실수라도 놓지지 않고 고쳐나가면서 완성해 나가는 과정이 정말 좋았습니다! 그리고 단순히 레슨만이 아닌 학생을 진심으로 대해주는 모습역시 대단히 감명 깊었습니다.

I have improved so much studying under Mr. Mcvicar. We worked again from the fundamentals such as posture, techniques, and expressions. Through his lessons, I could play and perform some of the repertoire that I would have never imagined that I could even touch on. One hour per week may have been a short time, but every single week, I learned something new. Also, he cared about every single student with deep sincerity.

– Kunwoo Kim

저는 한국에서 온 유학생으로 현재 Johns Hopkins University에서 공부하고 있습니다. Johns Hopkins에 있는 학생들은 Peabody Conservatory에서 악기 레슨을 받을 수 있는데요, 그 프로그램을 통해서 저는 Mr. McVicar와 처음 만났습니다. McVicar교수님은 제가 레슨 받았던 피아노 선생님들 중에서 몇 안되는 정말 좋은 교수님입니다. 가르치실 때 설명을 이해가 가기 쉽게 하셔서 제가 어떤 점을 연습해야 하는지 알 수 있고요, 예전에는 몰랐던 새로운 테크닉도 많이 배웠습니다. 비록 다른학교로 가셔서 제가 McVicar교수님께 레슨을 받을수 없게 되어 많이 섭섭하지만, 항상 기억에 남을 교수님이라는건 분명합니다.

I’m an international student from South Korea and am currently studying at Johns Hopkins University. Students at Johns Hopkins can take music lessons at Peabody, and that’s how I met Mr. McVicar for the first time. Mr. McVicar is one of the best music teachers I’ve ever had. His explanations are very clear so that I know what to practice, and I learned many new techniques that I didn’t know before. Although I’m very sad that Mr. McVicar is leaving, He will undounbtedly remain in my memory.

– Hyunsup Kim

I was Corey McVicar’s student for four years. Each week when I went to my lesson, Corey would always give me new and fresh advice with the music I was practicing, both from a technical and an interpretive standpoint. He would explain difficult techniques so clearly that I could play the same passage again immediately with far more fruitful results. But most importantly Corey helped me to understand my own form of musical expression. I can now look at written music with much more depth and understanding of what the composer desires and also what I desire in it. I consider it rare being able to find a teacher who can impact one’s musicality to such a degree, but Corey undoubtedly caters to each student in this special way. He is polite, professional, knowledgeable, friendly, and a fantastic teacher.

– Ryan Fay