Andrew Focks




4 - 5:30pm


begins March 7th

To act in a foreign language a great actor would not only need to memorize a script, but take lessons in that language to gain a sense of fluency over the many subtleties of pronunciation, dialect, and expression. A language is truly mastered only when the words one chooses and the way in which one says them perfectly mirrors the intent of the expression.


As musicians, the same is true for the many languages of music that we study. For J.S. Bach, Mozart, and countless others, improvisation was a standard skill set that was part of the complete musician training. A fluency in musical dialects gave them complete control and freedom of their creative output.


Journey into the world of improvisation and discover a deeper understanding of the historical piano repertoire, heightened creativity, deeper security and improved spontaneity in your music. This course merges the worlds of music history, music theory, repertoire, technique, and ear training to explore improvisation in a way that brings freshness and creativity to the performer.


The course provides:


  • Personalized curriculum based on the repertoire students are studying

  • Deeper understanding of the Baroque, Classical, Romantic, and Modern repertoire

  • Learn to improvise within various musical structures and languages, including how to embellish repeats in Baroque and Classical music

  • Insights into improvisation and the role it played in the syntax of the great composers

  • Improved security in the memorization and performance of standard repertoire 

  • Improved spontaneity to your performances of prepared repertoire

  • A deepening of your personal expression and interpretations at the piano

  • Sharpening of critical listening abilities


The class culminates in a recital during the final class which will include creative improvisation.

Maximum Number of Students: 4

Cost: $350

Class Schedule

  • March 7th

  • March 14th

  • March 21st

  • March 28th

  • April 11th

Audition Information

**No prior experience with improvisation required. A basic working knowledge of fundamental music theory is required. Please submit a performance of solo piano repertoire, and a brief supplement in music theory.


Andrew Focks, DMA

Cleveland Institute of Music


An award-winning pianist, Andrew Focks has performed as a solo recitalist, concerto soloist and chamber musician in venues throughout the United States, Hungary, Italy, Austria, Germany, England, and China. He has made successful solo debuts in concert halls around the world, including Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall, and has been broadcasted on television and radio. Within the United States he has appeared on artist series and performed in Cleveland, Houston, Chicago, New York, Interlochen, Ft. Myers, Boston, San Francisco, San Jose, Tallahassee, Columbus, Tampa, and Albuquerque, among others.


Greatly in demand as a teacher, Dr. Focks’ students have performed in venues including Millennium Park (Chicago), Severance Hall (Cleveland), Carnegie Hall (New York), Hollywood Bowl (Los Angeles), Olympiahalle (Munich), Sportpaleis (Antwerp), The Kennedy Center (Washington D.C.), the White House, and more. They continue to be frequent scholarship recipients and competition prizewinners at the regional, national, and international levels and further their studies at some of the world’s most distinguished music institutions.


Focks gives frequent masterclasses and lectures throughout the United States and Europe, including at the National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy (Chicago) and multiple state music teacher association conferences. His articles have been published by Piano Magazine as cover stories and online content, and he is routinely asked to sit on the jury of competitions and festivals. He is the current President of the Ohio Music Teachers Association after previously serving as President of the Northeast Ohio Music Teachers Association and Vice President of Student Activities on the OhioMTA State Executive Committee. He has also been an advising member of multiple arts committees and chair for music conferences. 


Born in Germany, Focks received his early music training at the New England Conservatory’s Preparatory School. He holds degrees in piano performance from Florida State University (BM ’11), Rice University (MM ’13), and the Cleveland Institute of Music (DMA ’16) and was awarded numerous scholarships and awards throughout his studies. His education was further supplemented at numerous summer festivals, including seven years at the Mozarteum Sommerakademie in Salzburg. His list of teachers and mentors include Arnaldo Cohen, Jon Kimura Parker, Ya-Fei Chuang, and Daniel Shapiro.


Focks has served on the faculty of several music schools, universities, and summer academies, including annual engagements at festivals in both the United States and Europe. He is currently a member of the piano and music theory faculties of the Cleveland Institute of Music Preparatory & Continuing Education Division. Working with teachers and students from around the world, he is also an independent teacher and coach.