Mark Westcott Artist, Piano Teacher, Lecturer, Author

Teaching Philosophy

With the high level of competition and limited resources, talented students and their parents alike are rightfully concerned about admission and scholarship assistance to excellent schools of music. Along with top prizes in local, regional, national and even international competitions the Mark Westcott studio boasts a fine record of placing students in first-rate schools with hefty scholarships. In the five years preceding Covid no less than seven of my students gained admission with full-ride scholarships at schools including University of Miami, University of Texas, and the University of Oregon.

My experience as a performer has provided a special understanding of good work habits, preparing to perform under pressure and improving sight-reading, memory and general musical literacy, helping students to move smoothly ahead with a minimum of difficulty and frustration.

Accepting students of all ages, I have a comfortable studio on Portland's Eastside and sometimes commute in special cases. I recently received the Steinway "Top Teachers Award".

Student Testimonials

Anne Denis

Mark is an outstanding pianist and teacher. In his prime, he was one of the best pianists in the world. His playing is really the best and I highly encourage anybody interested in studying with him to listen to his recordings on YouTube. He has really helped me refine my technique and taught me a lot about detailed interpretation. The knowledge he has was passed down from a rich tradition of the great pianists/teachers of the golden age, it is very rare to find this today. I am a professional pianist and teacher myself and my work with Mark has really brought my playing and teaching to the next level. I only wish I could’ve met him years ago.

Dimitri Zhgenti

Mark is a phenomenal pianist and a teacher. Studying with him was one of the most rewarding and enlightening experiences for me. He has a remarkable ability to bring meaning and depth to music. I have seen him teach students of different levels, and it is wonderful to witness how he transforms their playing and the way they feel about their playing in matter of minutes. He is uncompromising in the integrity and quality of teaching and playing. I highly recommend studying with Mark for those who really want to study music they the way it should be studied.

Blake Marble

Mark Westcott completely transformed the way I think about, perform, and teach music. I started taking lessons with Mark when I was in high school. Before lessons with Mark it took me years to learn a single piece and I had so many gaps in my fundamentals. Mark filled in the gaps quickly and then proceeded to focus on details within in the music in the most specific, most clear, and most informed way. He made learning music possible for me. Mark has my highest recommendation for anyone wanting to learn or improve their piano playing.

Nicholaus Poelwijk

I started studying with Mark in high school and he has remained a guiding force in my piano playing ever since. Not only was Mark a world-class pianist, but he is a dedicated and caring teacher. Very few possess his ability to combine a high level of knowledge and artistry with a successful pedagogical approach. I consider myself lucky to have studied with him!

Anastasia Moro

I was lucky enough to start lessons with Mark in April 2022. My friends and other musicians are amazed at the progress I've made thus far, and all of this is due to Mark's brilliant teaching. I highly recommend him

Nicholas Fontana

I was lucky enough to start lessons with Mark in April 2022. My friends and other musicians are amazed at the progress I've made thus far, and all of this is due to Mark's brilliant teaching. I highly recommend him

I was struck by his ability to watch a student struggle with a passage of music and immediately diagnose the issue, whether it be technical, musical, or even mental.

I have never found in any other teacher the ability to address musicality at the level he does. He will go as deep as you are willing to go and push you to go deeper. As a result he makes even his youngest students sound like budding professionals.

Perhaps most impressive to me in his teaching is his ability to help students of any age to develop a vision of what they want for themselves musically, to mold that vision in a way that is appropriate for them personally, and to do this in such a way that they can also learn how to self-generate motivation to make that vision a reality.

He has a treasure trove of recordings on YouTube that I highly recommend perusing with a decent set of speakers or headphones to get a sense of the musicianship that is the basis of his teaching.

Many musicians revere the pianists of the golden age as being among the best players the world has ever known, and there are few alive today who are so well steeped in that tradition that they are capable of passing on the knowledge of how to achieve what made them so great. Mark is one of these rare birds.

It is for all of these reasons and more that I owe a great deal of my own success to his wisdom and mentorship.

As an additional perk, it is inspiring to listen to stories of his friendships, collaborations, and brushing shoulders with famed musicians like Samuel Barber, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Van Cliburn, Leonard Bernstein and more. I only regret that I didn't find him sooner in my piano journey.

Student Performances