Student Testimonials

Mr. Sutz has been my piano teacher for the past 10 years, and I can say that I truly enjoyed every moment with him. Mr. Sutz has an incredibly unique approach to teaching — unlike others who drill technical studies into students, he instead focuses on the bigger picture of appreciating music itself to guide students toward self-sufficiency and independence by helping them recognize and learn how to improve their own playing. As a musician who also plays other instruments, I must say that the skills I learned with Mr. Sutz, such as transposition, improvisation, and sight-reading, have helped me tremendously in my other pursuits. What I really loved about Mr. Sutz’s teaching style is his emphasis on non-classical repertoire and other varieties of music. His musical acumen spans not just the standard pieces by Bach or Beethoven that every student plays, but he is also adept at teaching newer, contemporary styles, such as jazz or blues, that require a more in-depth knowledge of the intimate workings of music itself. One of the most important takeaways during my time of study with Mr. Sutz is my mastery of Music Theory. While to many students this aspect of music is perhaps one of the most strenuous and unappealing, contrarily I find it fascinating the way the language of music has been recorded for others to enjoy and the process in which it is created. After passing Level 12 of the Achievement in Music theory and performance program for piano, I registered for the AP Music Theory exam and earned a 5 even without taking the class. As my mentor for such a large time during my childhood, his lessons allowed me to not only grow as a person, but also develop a deep appreciation for music that will last a lifetime. I am so fortunate to have had Mr. Sutz as my piano teacher, and I would recommend him to anyone who wants to study piano and increase their love for such a beautiful art form.
Erin Y.


 

Mr. Sutz has been my piano instructor for nearly three years. During this
time he has helped me grow more as a musician than I ever have before.
Not only is he talented and engaging, but Mr. Sutz inspires me to find
joy in both jazz improvisation and classical music.
When I was a sophomore in high school, I sustained an injury that left
me unable to play the trumpet. I wanted to continue music but was
feeling hopeless. Mr. Sutz gave me the confidence I needed to continue
in band by finding my musical voice through the piano. He teaches me
music theory, rhythm studies, classical pieces, jazz improv and ear
training. I am continuously challenged while also having fun. I always
look forward to each lesson.
His lessons not only improved my piano playing, but also allowed me to
play percussion in band and orchestra. Without his guidance, I wouldn’t
have understood how to play chords on the marimba or count out tricky
rhythms on the snare drum. This was a huge breakthrough for me as a
musician!
Mr. Sutz allows me to see the beauty in classical music such as when he
showed me classical improvisation, something I’d never heard before.
He shows me cool licks on the piano and ways I can start expressing
myself in jazz. Mr. Sutz embodies a remarkable creative energy that
motivates me to generate new ideas and continue to be my best. When I
leave for college soon, I will remember Mr. Sutz and how he has
influenced me as a musician. He inspires me to study music in college,
continue the piano and always find my own spirit and uniqueness.
Thank you for pushing me to be a better musician and giving me the
confidence to grow as a person.

Emma R.


I have been working with Eric for the past thirteen years. During that time, I have come to know Eric as both a teacher and a friend. He is a very kind and knowledgeable person; both in respect to music and, generally speaking, other topics.

When I first started piano, I had no real concept of technical skill, rhythm, or musicality. Granted, I was five, so no surprise there. My ability to play the piano was definitely increased under his influence, but you could get that from any teacher.
What Eric did, which I now see as the most important lesson, is that he enables you to develop your own style of playing and musicianship. It’s one thing to hear a pianist play a famously complex piece with the accuracy of a machine, but that’s not really what makes music the thing that it is.
Having your own style is important and Eric contours his lessons to the needs of his students well so that they fit each person individually. Personally, I bounced around from classical, to jazz, to classical again, and to more 20th century “classical” music during my thirteen years.
Eric was willing to do what I was willing and excited to practice and even was able to build off of what I had expressed interest in and recommended me other things that I was both able to enjoy and continue building skill with.
I am confident in my ability to apply myself to a musical task, whether it be playing or theory based, and know that I have a holistic background to be successful in said task.

If you desire a piano teacher who has an affinity for personalized learning, a vast knowledge base in his field, a visible passion for what he does, and an endearing personality, I would recommend Eric in the highest regard.

-Cathal O


I started taking lessons with Eric back in 1981 (at age 11) after having spent my first 6 years of piano lessons learning to play classical piano only. Once i started lessons with Eric, I was quickly exposed to a new world of music. For the first time I was learning how music actually works; scales, cords, improvisation, blues, jazz, and my favorite, ragtime! The fact is though that Eric was willing and able to teach me anything I was willing to put the effort into learning, and that included classical piano too.
As an adult, my son spent many years with Eric learning piano too. He’s off to college now and he has stopped taking lessons, however the music still plays strong in his heart.
I cannot recommenced Eric enough as an outstanding musician, educator, and teacher for anyone interested in adding music to their lives or furthering their musical abilities. His involvement in the music activities and causes beyond his teaching, speaks volumes to the passions he brings to the music world.

Glenn G.


When I first started taking lessons with Eric, I was a classically trained pianist for 10 years who wanted to join my high school’s jazz band. What Eric brings to his teaching is truly unique and amazing: he is able to take each student’s strengths, weaknesses and interests and incorporate them into an organic lesson and musical path. Under Eric’s guidance, Jazz music became an extension of classical music and I loved it.Eric will teach you what you want to play. And if you don’t have anything in mind, Eric will open your horizons to the countless possibilities.

Every time I’ve approached Eric with a new sound from a song I’ve been listening to, I’ve been greeted with heartwarming enthusiasm and a million ways of playing and altering that sound into something that is truly unique. His extensive knowledge of music isn’t just limited to the keys, as he will point you into the direction of countless songs, albums and artists across all different musical genres.

In the end, Eric has given me a passion for music. His constant dedication to his craft and his students shows through in his unique lesson plans, charisma and amazing chops. I’m currently first piano chair for Emory University’s Jazz Big Band on a music scholarship and I can say with absolute conviction that Eric’s teaching put me in that chair.

Jian L.


I’m Riccardo..aka Bo Ricketts… I have just won the 2016, Central Illinois Blues Challenge…I’ll be on my way to Memphis Tn.,where competitors throughout the Unites States and Canada will compete in the finals…. I couldn’t have never have done it without Eric’s help. I’ve only been studying with Eric for about 9 months. He’s taught me more in this limited amount of time than my 40 or more other teachers. I’ve been studying for over 30 yrs., and I always knew a lot was missing. I just kept looking.. and I finally struck Gold with Eric. I’ve been a professional, making money, and always felt that things were lacking.

Eric should be called ‘Doctor Eric’…he did an complete assessment and he diagnosed my playing and knowledge of music, technique ,theory, ear and styles. What he didn’t do compared to the others is say ok lets just play songs… some even said oh it’s too late to learn this or that…. Eric’s philosophy is it’s never too late if the student is willing to study and put in the time, still while having lots of fun. When I leave his lesson I always feel like I’ve learned and accomplished something. I drive all the way from Chicago and it is well worth it.
 
I’m so Happy that I didn’t give up and kept looking, until I discovered the ‘Best Teacher Ever’…. Well I could go on …. keep studying and practicing  and you’ll really be satisfied !!!!!
Riccardo

Eric greatly expanded my musical knowledge and appreciation of all music through the many years of piano lessons. I’m a goal-oriented person. I wanted to learn and learn fast. I thought a couple of years of lessons and I’d be done. I’d have mastered the piano. Eric showed me how to put my goals in perspective. That learning never really ends. You can always add to your knowledge, get better. It’s been a long journey, but I enjoy playing and have a real feeling of accomplishment.
 
Eric may not be for everyone. He’s a stickler for learning music theory, for being in time (rhythm!), and being on time for lessons. But I’ve come to love his discipline and his passion for music. He knows you can’t teach everyone the same way. As an a adult, I know my lessons are very different from young children.
Along the way, we have become good friends. Something I hope will continue as I continue to play piano.
Jack S.

From age 5 to age 18 Eric would come over to my parents’ house and spend 30 to 45 minutes with me, pushing me to dedicate myself to the piano.  Eric strove to not only teach me the fundamental skills, complex theory, and musical instincts necessary to be a great musician, but also to instill in me the dedication, self-motivation, and maturity necessary to achieve expertise in any of my life’s pursuits.  I was not the most willing student, but Eric saw potential in me and would do whatever it took to try and encourage me to not give up on the piano.  I developed a discerning musical ear with Eric.  I believe taking piano lessons has influenced my musical taste, expanding my appreciation for classical, jazz, and complicated music.  I can now thank Eric for pushing me so hard because playing the piano has continued to be a huge part of who I am and will be for the rest of my life.

-Evan K.


If it wasn’t for Eric not only would I not be the musical person I am today, I probably wouldn’t have truly learned patience and dedication and how to balance that with passion until much later in life (if at all).

I didn’t want to play piano when I was a young child of eight or nine (I’m 26-years-old as of this writing).
I didn’t even want to play music, but my mom insisted and you don’t really have a choice at that age.
Eric wasn’t my first piano teacher. Others instructed me before and I took to the instrument well, but I wasn’t passionate.
However, it wasn’t until I was about ten or eleven that my mother hired Eric and that’s when things changed.
First, Eric came to our home so I was infinitely more comfortable. Second, he had this way of communicating with me that wasn’t overly critical (I was very sensitive to criticism) even when he told me I had a rhythm problem (which I wouldn’t admit, but I did).
I remember when I fell in love with the instrument, and playing music in general – he assigned me to learn to play a version of The Ventures’ instrumental “Walk, Don’t Run.”
I learned the song, then memorized it, then learned how to play it with “feel” (with Eric’s help), and then I absolutely had to play it every time I saw a piano for the next year. Eric ended up giving me a lot more “classic rock” songs to play after that, and my love of music ballooned.
When I reached adolescence, I decided that piano wasn’t cool anymore (this was a dumb decision in retrospect).
I wanted to focus on guitar, which I had just picked up.
Eric ended up coming over once a week and we switched the focus to the axe. Looking back, I was probably hard to deal with as I only wanted to learn rock songs, play fast, and look cool – but Eric put up with my indignation and encouraged me to focus on the fundamentals.
Using these lessons, I formed my own band in high school, recorded an album, played around 100 shows (and made some money!). We brought the house down more than once at our high school talent show.
We even opened for Ted Nugent in Milwaukee at The Rave in 2006, thanks Eric!
I took this background, combined it with a college education, and now work in the live music industry as a Junior Talent Buyer (I book bands, DJs, performance artists) for the concert promoter, React Presents.
It’s safe to say I wouldn’t have gotten there without Eric – he taught me to pay attention to detail, to not give up, and to love what you do no matter what.
What else could you possibly want in a teacher?

Daniel D.


Mr. Sutz became our youngest son’s piano teacher after he was initially taught for 3 years by a couple of college music students. Having no music background ourselves, we were initially surprised why Mr. Sutz had our son go through his piano lessons as if he was starting from scratch. We now know that it is very important for our son to have a very good foundation, both in theory and practice. He has been very patient and encouraging in teaching our son, helping him unlearn some incorrect habits he had picked up earlier.
 
After 2+ years with Mr. Sutz, we can certainly say that our son is developing a greater love and appreciation for music which goes beyond his weekly piano lessons and his daily practice sessions. Our son is learning dedication and discipline, and other valuable life skills through his interactions with Mr. Sutz. He is not only becoming a better piano player, but his interest and passion for music has grown remarkably as well. We have also observed that Mr. Sutz customizes his approach on teaching our son based on his interests, progress, and any challenges he encounters. This has helped our son be motivated to continually improve.
In the past year, we recommended a friend to Mr. Sutz to teach her 2 daughters in piano. They are now enjoying the same positive experience we’ve had, and that they’re “highly satisfied” (her words). My son regularly claims that Mr. Sutz is his best music teacher. He looks forward to learning from him for many more years to come.
– Juan and Beverly B

As I have gotten older, I have come to appreciate the musical education I received from Eric more and more. Even though my last piano lesson was over seven years ago, I can still hold meaningful musical conversations with fellow musicians, find joy in playing the piano in my downtime, and hear his voice correcting my technique, giving me pointers on how to play with more emotion, or advice on how to best tackle difficult pieces. Eric has shown me patience as an educator, given me access to a world of musical history, and has had a lasting impact on my life. His lessons have shaped me into a person who is interested in complex musical pieces, who has learned the virtue of diligent practice, and who has learned to listen with a critical ear. Eric always made sure to challenge me musically- pushing me to explore many genres of music, and encouraging me to pursue a piece I didn’t think I could play. This continued encouragement has built my self-confidence as a teenager and has transferred into my attitude as an adult. I cannot express my gratitude and appreciation for not only the subject he teaches, but also the life lessons he has taught me along the way.

Sarah K.


Eric was my piano teacher from when I was 5 years old all the way through high school. My weekly piano lessons with him were a huge part of my life growing up. Eric instilled in me a love and appreciation for many genres of piano music including classical, jazz, pop, and contemporary. He also helped me to develop discipline and to aspire for excellence. Eric is an excellent and methodical player and teacher and always expected excellence from me. He always stressed developing solid fundamentals, which paid dividends for me as I improved. With Eric I didn’t just learn to play the notes, but also to really understand the music on a technical and artistic level. Eric effortlessly blended lessons in musicality, expression, theory, and technique to help me become a complete musician in all genres and styles. His training opened up many doors for me as I have had many opportunities to play piano in orchestras, bands, and other groups. I can now thank Eric for what I know will be a lifetime of music enjoyment thanks to the solid foundation Eric helped me build.
Sincerely,
Greg K.


My past year and a half of jazz piano study with Eric has been a period of terrific musical growth. I was introduced to Eric when he helped direct a jazz combo in which I was playing and I enjoyed the kind of “here, try it this way” guidance he offered that brought such quick results to the group. He breaks down complex concepts into ideas that can readily be grasped and has since in private lessons guided me through a study of jazz harmony, scale theory, voicing, and improvisation techniques that has tremendously widened my musical vocabulary.

Studying with Eric is a musical and intellectual adventure. Fun, inspiring, and highly recommended!

Carter C.


Mr. Sutz,

First of all I want to thank you for being an amazing piano teacher. But you do more than that, you teach us life lessons and have a great sense of humor!

Raghav G.


I had Eric as a teacher for nearly 10 years of my childhood.  Throughout those years he helped me develop a thorough understanding of music theory and cultivate my own creative abilities.  He is personable, witty, and one of the most proficient musicians I have ever known.  I am very grateful for the time he has spent with me, and cant recommend him enough to piano players of all ages and abilities.
Michael S.
Aplysia Laboratory Technician
University of Miami RSMAS


When I first started lessons with Mr. Sutz, I was a classically trained pianist who simply wanted to join my high school’s jazz band. Although I didn’t realize it at the time, I was just beginning a challenging and meaningful journey to improving my playing and learning and appreciating jazz music. Mr. Sutz taught me great technique, practice methods, theory, and charts – and much more – and I was able to join and play in the New Trier Jazz Band as a result of this. He is very passionate about music and dedicated to his students and over the years has helped me to become a stronger pianist by both guiding and challenging me. Through my lessons with Mr. Sutz I have learned how to become a better pianist and person and know that I will continue to use his teachings throughout my life both within and outside of my piano career.

Rukshana G.


Dear Mr. Sutz,

Happy new years! As 2010 draws to a close, I would like to thank you for all the effort, time, patience, and frustration that you’ve put into teaching me. Although it may not seem like it (as my practice ethic is… less than one would want), I am ever grateful for your teaching. I hope that the 2011 year holds lots of new adventures and lots of fun for you and your family!

Happy 2011,
Daniel S.


Hi Eric,

This is my new email address, in case you don’t have it. I’m writing a short-answer college essay on piano, and I thought maybe you’d like to read it (since you’re mentioned).

Eyes closed, I sway into the haunting melodies and suspenseful crescendos of Grieg’s Nocturne Op.54. And then- “Wrong note!” my mom yells from the kitchen, “but still beautiful!” As the one part of my life without competition and stress, piano is its own reward and respite. No time is set for practice; despite the hours spent strengthening my double-jointed fingers, I play to take a break from life. Piano is a perfect mix of formula and abstraction: I must mimic the composer’s exact rhythm and also recreate the emotion of the piece. I look forward to seeing my teacher each week- with his karate black-belt and sarcastic sense of humor that I have known since eight years old- who has taught me music history and theory, good posture, to remember to breathe, even tips on raising turtles and birds. While learning to communicate through piano has helped me with Hebrew, French, and violin, the real value to me has been trying to master the masters. As the last chord of Nocturne resonates through the pedal, I feel a sense of accomplishment and control. When I put in the practice, I inevitably improve.

I know you don’t do karate and also I don’t think you have a black belt, but I put it in for dramatic effect 🙂

-Hanna E.


Hi Eric,

It’s great to hear from you. I think of you often as you were a great inspiration to me in playing piano. Now that I perform for a living, I can’t thank you enough for your training & guidance (even though I know I wasn’t the best student 😉

I saw a YouTube video of you playing for a public television show. It brought back a lot of memories. I’ll certainly tell mom and the family you said hello. I hope you’re doing well and wish you the best. Would love to see you again sometime. I’ll be keeping your email with hopes to stay in touch.

Cheers,
Michael S.


I began taking piano lessons with Eric in first grade and continued through my senior year of high school. Not only did Eric teach me strong theory and technical skills, but he also imparted his passion for music to me. As a result of my work with Eric, I’ve been able to pursue my love of music through numerous high school activities, including the competitive high school jazz band, and am currently in a jazz combo at Cornell University. Thanks for all of your support throughout the years, Eric!

Jordan B.


“Mr. Sutz made learning piano a truly fun and educational experience. He brought a sense of humor and a fun approach into every lesson which made it a joy to sit down with him and play. The way he taught piano motivated me to keep playing and keep learning.”
Lucas K.


5/7/2014

I took piano lessons for three or four years with Eric starting when I was 11 years old (if my memory serves me correctly), and now here I am 20yrs later in New York City fronting Brooklyn based rock band Big Volcano!  I am so grateful for all I learned from Eric during my early years.  It has seriously stuck!  His talent for teaching beyond reading sheet music to really delving into music’s essential building blocks is invaluable.  It was with Eric that I really learned how to build chords, add in melodies, and compose or improvise on my own.  I still jam out on the same blues chord progressions Eric introduced me to so many years ago.  I was so young then, but Eric knew the right seeds to plant that I still call upon today.  I’m very grateful for Eric’s attentiveness to what I needed in my toolbox as a creative young person.  I give EWS Piano and Guitar Academy 5 big stars!

Jessica B.

10/3/2014

Eric has been my piano teacher for the past three years. Prior to his instruction, I was taking lessons and concentrating on classical music at a local music school for twelve years.  I never felt confident playing, and was lacking in a true understanding of theory and how it is applied to the music. Since studying with Eric, I have a much greater sense of chord formation, rhythm, melody and syncopation.  I am enjoying playing a variety of music, including ballads, bossa nova and swing, all of which allow me to interject the many styles of play he has taught me.  Eric is a very dedicated teacher, who cares about the well-being of his students, as well as their progress.  Studying with Eric is fun, challenging and inspirational.  I think he is a wonderful instructor and would recommend him to anyone interested in piano.


Eric is an absolutely fabulous piano teacher.  Our older son previously worked with an “old school European” style teacher and we had a miserable experience.  Not only did our son quit playing but he lost all interest in music for a while.  A few years later we were lucky enough to have Eric recommended to us by a family of a previous student (who is now a very successful musician).  Eric started teaching our younger son, and when our older son could observe his easy going style and great sense of humor, he decided that he wanted to play piano/ take lessons again.  The boys have now been studying with him for over 3 years and they love it.  Many of my friends force their children to play “because it is good for them.”  We give our children the option of playing with each school year, and they enthusiastically continue-  this is completely due to Eric!  Honestly, no matter what your goals- whether you want a professional musician or just a child that can appreciate music- this is the right teacher.

 Alex B.

 Glenview, Il


Eric has taught my 11 year old for about 2 years now. He is very patient, and will work to find music that my daughter enjoys to play.  She has made fantastic progress and really looks forward to her lessons!  When conflicts come up with scheduling, he can be flexible.  I love having a teacher who comes to your house, although my daughter also loves the birds and turtles in his studio.

 Catherine C.

Julia K.
  • Julia K.
  • Deerfield, IL
11/17/2014

Eric came to our house every week for 16 years!!  I don’t think he ever canceled or came late!!  He is a very intelligent and disciplined person who has a nice sense of humor and is fun to chat with.  My husband and I became good friends with him over the years.  He taught piano to all 3 of my sons, two of whom took lessons for over 10 years.    Music is very important to all of my sons and Eric helped them to build a wonderful foundation of musical skill, understanding, and appreciation which will carry them throughout their lives.  Eric is very versatile musically and can play and teach all types of music.  While he had a specific program to teach, he personalized the program to the musical interests of each child.  We are thankful to Eric for the influence he had on our boys’ lives.


Eric has been teaching guitar for my 4.5 yr old son, Sid. Sid is really enjoying his guitar classes and has motivated him to continue his practice at home.

Eric is a fabulous teacher and very systematic in his approach. It’s always important to choose the right teacher, especially given my son’s age. My wife and I are very confident that my son is in great hands.

He is very flexible and patient.

We highly recommend and thank Eric for what he is doing for Sid.

Aum P.
Arlington Heights, Il


We are very fortunate to be able to have Eric as a teacher.  He has helped our son reach new heights in piano to the extent that he was able to secure a position in the highest Jazz group in High School as a freshmen.  Now he is paving the way for our two 8 year-old daughters to be well-rounded musicians and maintaining their enthusiasm at the same time.  It is through his unselfish dedication to his students and extreme attention to detail that has exceeded our expectations in the progression our children.  I too, take lessons, and despite the limited time I have been able to dedicate, I have progressed beautifully as well.  I don’t say it lightly that we are privileged to have Mr Sutz guide us down our musical path.


Eric is a fantastic teacher who has great patience and skill in teaching piano.  We started our son with him as a 5.5 year old and he has gradually progressed through more advanced pieces thanks to Eric’s guidance.  Having worked with him for 3 years now, it is obvious he has extensive experience not only in teaching the material, but also diagnosing and finding unique exercises to combat a variety of typical problems.  He also excels at working with young children, like our son – mixing the right amount of discipline and fun into each lesson.  We have really enjoyed Eric’s tutelage and feel our son is making significant progress through his lessons.

Michael H.
Lake Zurich,Il


Eric is a very patient and methodical teacher. My daughter made very good progress in the time that she studied learning to play piano and read music.  Eric has high expectations for his students and has a fun sense of humor that keeps kids motivated. He really focuses on the fundamentals which is key to success. My daughter is now able to read music and has chosen to concentrate on violin but still enjoys playing piano. I highly recommend Eric to anyone looking for a structured teacher who also encourages creativity.
Lisa A.
Northbrook,Il


We have been going to EWSP Academy for about three months now.  One of the things that I really like is that Mr. S tries to help my son play music in the genres that interest him.  Many teachers we have had in the past encourage jazz or some other type of music.  This guy is very personable though, he tries to show students how to play the basics (of course) and supplements based on your preference.

The studio is a peaceful and welcoming place to enjoy music.  My 13 year old enjoys going.  He enjoys looking at the busy birds and not-so-busy turtles in Mr. S’s terrarium.  There are a variety of interesting pictures and artifacts in the studio; even the waiting area is pleasant.  It is pretty clear that Eric enjoys teaching and is passionate about art (and music).

Mr. S is funny, and even though I can tell he is a highly skilled and serious musician, he shows patience with the children.   He uses humor to keep the kids on their toes, and my son likes that.  I like knowing that my son is learning the instrument, the music, the vocabulary, and some music history.
Cheri S.
Wheeling,Il