Forte Logo

Forte Featured Teacher: Glafkos Kontemeniotis

Forte Glafkos Kontemeniotis

Katie Hone Wiltgen, Chief Education Officer

April 10, 2024

Next up in our Forte Featured Teachers series is piano teacher Glafkos Kontemeniotis. Glafkos teaches all styles of music to learners of all levels and is particularly strong with jazz piano. We’re celebrating our fabulous jazz-focused teachers (like Glafkos!) during Jazz Appreciation Month this April.

About Glafkos

Glafkos has been teaching piano for over 30 years and has loved every minute of it! For him, teaching is about sharing his love and passion for music and encouraging his students to explore and discover the many benefits of music for themselves. Aside from teaching, Glafkos also enjoys composing, performing, and recording. He is constantly composing jazz pieces, as well as compositions for his students.

Glafkos’ Forte teacher profile

Forte Glafkos Kontemeniotis

Glafkos’s Teaching Style and Approach

Glafkos describes his teaching style as supportive and flexible. He makes an effort to explore music and piano playing with his students in ways that each student can relate to on a personal level, and he truly wants his students to enjoy the experience.

He teaches all styles of music and all ability levels, always focusing on the learning process and not just the product. He sums it up in this quote: “Often students ask, “How long would it take me to learn how to play the piano?” I always find the question amusing, and I answer: “It would take about a minute as well as a lifetime.” It’s about the process, the journey, the enjoyment of constantly exploring, searching and discovering.”

Glafkos’s Unique Specializations

As a jazz musician, Glafkos encourages his students to explore the piano in a creative and comprehensive way. He likes to use a holistic approach to teaching piano that involves improvisation, sight reading, technique, composition, memorizing, and full understanding of musical concepts. 

He also intentionally teaches his students how to be efficient and effective in learning and practice. Says Glafkos, “In other words, I try to help my students learn how to teach themselves.”

Student Success and Feedback

Can you share a success story of a student you've taught?

I have many students who start with me at an early age and stay with me for many years, sometimes until they go to college. One of them ended up composing her own pieces for a college ensemble. Another student who is among the brightest I ever had is going to college next year with enough college credits from high school that he would be finishing his undergraduate degree in only two years. He has reached a very high level in piano playing in classical music.

What feedback do you often receive from your students (or your students' parents) about their lesson experience with you?

Parents and students are always thankful and appreciative when they see improvement, and most importantly, when they enjoy learning.

Glafkos’s student Sue G. gave a glowing review: 

I never thought I could ever learn to play piano, but with Glafkos's help, I am! With his immense knowledge, kindness, and patience, he got me there. He is the greatest! I highly recommend him no matter what kind of music you want to play. Jazz, pop, or classical, he is your teacher! Thanks, Glafkos!

Forte Glafkos Kontemeniotis

Getting to Know You… Getting to Know All About You

Other than being a musician/music teacher, what is your forte?

Making my own Jun Kombucha. (Does that count?)

What are your hobbies or interests outside of music?

Nature and swimming

If you could collaborate with any musician or composer (living or dead), who would you choose, and why?

Rachmaninov: There’s an incredible depth in his music that I would love to experience first hand.

Chick Corea: I would love to jam and improvise along with him at the piano. He is one of the most natural improvisers of all time.

What is the best musical advice anyone ever gave you?

I would like to share an experience from my first lesson with my jazz piano teacher, the famous jazz educator Mike Longo. He asked me what 4/4 was. I proudly answered the way a college educated musician would answer, by stating that there were 4 quarter notes, strong and weak beats etc, etc. He looked at me and said, “That’s school stuff, man!” And then he went to explain that it’s a rhythm.

That experience had a profound effect on me, and since then, I place more importance on the experience of music itself, rather than the intellectual understanding of it.

As musicians, we are always learning and growing. What's something you're currently working on?

To always remember that no matter how much we learn, the things that we don’t know would always be more than the things we know. I find that humbling and inspiring at the same time.

If you could learn any other instrument, what would you choose, and why?

Percussion, because I’m fascinated with rhythm and its ramifications.

What music are you listening to lately and really loving?

Anything that I feel is created from a deep and honest experience.

Forte Glafkos Kontemeniotis