Peter Dickson Lopez


  • Not only is he enormously talented and endlessly patient but also and above all contagiously enthusiastic when it comes to music.
  • Dr. Lopez is wonderfully friendly, witty, sincere and a caring human being. His personality is delightful. He is sensitive, flexible, respectful and admired by parents, students, and peers.
  • He developed a great rapport with the students and with the parents. The students showed excellent progress under his direction.
  • He is a very progressive, patient, and effective teacher that the kids enjoy.
  • [Peter] has been extremely patient with [our daughter]. She only has access to practice on a piano every other week and Peter has modified his teachings to accommodate her limitations.
  • My daughter has developed her skills both playing the piano and in terms of the theory side and thoroughly enjoys her lessons with Peter. He goes above and beyond.
  • Peter does not only have an extensive knowledge of music but he also knows how to integrate the theoretical aspect with the practical one.
  • [Peter] is enthusiastic and can pick out the needs of each child quickly. My husband was very impressed with how positive he is with the kids.
  • Mr. Lopez is ... a very accomplished pianist who knows how to translate talent into educating his students. He is also a very understanding and approachable person.
  • Peter really knows how to relate to children, recognize their individual strengths/weaknesses and motivate them in their piano study.
  • Peter is a GREAT TUTOR. He is very patient and knowledgeable.
  • He is a great mentor and really cares and thinks from my perspective.
  • Great Tutor for Finale Keyboard Interfacing and Recording ... (September, 2013)
  • Thank you for all your patience ...
  • We are truly fortunate to have met you ... You are the best!
  • Thank you for being such a supportive teacher ...


Thoughts about teaching, aesthetics, art and the responsible citizen which the composer has grown into over many years of composing, performing and teaching.
From the time I was very young, I somehow knew that my life's work was in music. I had envisioned myself ultimately as being a member of the teaching academy in some university or institution of "higher" learning. As much as I tried to pursue that path, the vicissitudes of life guided me along a different way. Being shut out of jobs, passed over by others, trivialized for not fitting into any "school of composition", disrespected because my foundational aesthetic challenged accepted dogma, or simply not taken seriously because of my gentle nature, has liberated me from the misguided notion that teaching in colleges, universities or any school of music for that matter, is the ultimate talisman of achievement. I share my thoughts on teaching here to describe the path not taken that I actually took!

Published on Sunday, August 31, 2014

Beginning On the Path Not Taken

How my journey as a pianist and composer began.

I began studying piano at the age of six.  However, after several lessons I complained to my mother that I wasn’t learning anything.  About a year later I took up piano lessons, this time with Theodore Gorbacheff, a Russian choral director and piano teacher living in Berkeley.  Mr. Gorbacheff guided my musical development for the next ten years, introducing me to Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, Chopin, and of course Russian composers like Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff and Scriabin.  My passion for composition emerged early when as a child I began to write pieces emulating the style of Bach whom I was studying at the time.  For me, performance and composition merged into one as I continued my studies in piano and composition in college.  During those early formative years prior to college I already was performing regularly for church. In addition Mr. Gorbacheff would often have me accompany his vocal men’s quartet and vocal soloists, as well as have me perform as piano soloist.  Thus, even before college I was not only a student of music but also a practicing performer.  Indeed, during my senior year in high school I formed a jazz trio (piano, drums, bass), and together we played a few paying “gigs”.

I developed a great interest in and love for music from this early training, and as I entered college, it just seemed like the right thing to pursue.  As a result, I now find great pleasure in sharing this joy of music with others.  Teaching music for me is not a "job", it is a passion!
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