Teaching

EXPERIENCE | TESTIMONIALS

With 12 years of professional teaching experience in a variety of subjects, levels, and settings, Cahill is committed to sharing music through education. Cahill currently serves on the faculty at Lee University School of Music, where he works with a full studio of graduate and undergraduate piano students. At Lee, Cahill also teaches piano literature and chamber music.

Before coming to Lee, he held four separate graduate teaching positions at the Eastman School of Music, and was honored with the 2011-2012 Prize for Excellence in Teaching.

“His devotion to his students’ improvement is genuine, strong, and enthusiastic. He has demonstrated remarkable creative skills in addressing each student’s individual needs, often altering the curriculum in subtle and musical ways to accomplish a specific goal.” – Selection Committee for the Prize for Excellence in Teaching at Eastman School of Music

Dr. Smith is an absolutely fantastic teacher! His personal interest in his students and their progress is quite amazing. He is always energetic and positive in our lessons, and he genuinely cares about those under his instruction. He challenges me but in a very encouraging way, and he’s never harsh. If I wasn’t already a student at Lee, I would come here for his teaching. – Piano Major, Anonymous Student Evaluation

I’m so blessed and thankful to have an instructor who cares SO much for his students, believes in my future, and finds a way to make me walk out of his studio loving piano more each time. – Piano Major, Anonymous Student Evaluation

His passion for piano is so powerful that I can’t help but join in. He knows how to communicate what he wants me to change in a way that makes sense. – Piano Major, Anonymous Student Evaluation

Dr. Smith has shown me that the notes on the page are only a blueprint of the music. He has given me insight on the personality and emotion found in the music, along with equipping me with ways of improving my technique. – Anonymous Student Evaluation

I have greatly progressed in my technical abilities, and my musicality has grown immensely. The more I study with Dr. Smith the more I see and understand the beauty of truly great music. – Piano Major, Anonymous Student Evaluation

Dr. Smith goes beyond the requirements of just a teacher. He is a mentor and a friend and his genuine interest and care for his students is so very evident. He challenges his students toward excellence in a manner that is extremely encouraging. His enthusiasm for his art is amazing! – Piano Major, Anonymous Student Evaluation

Helping me to think more critically about why we play piano, techniques, and musical aspects I didn’t even know existed. Sharing insight, knowledge, critique as well as encouragement. Always willing to put in as much time into helping me, while also showing how to be more successful independently. – Piano Major, Anonymous Student Evaluation

Dr. Smith is a great educator. He helps me know how to practice, how to listen, what to listen for. He also makes as much time as I need as long as I put in my part. He encourages me, but will also tell me if he expects more. He also cares about my future and how piano relates to that. – Piano Major, Anonymous Student Evaluation

I have grown so much as a pianist over just two semesters. I have not only grown in the level of music I am able to play, but I’ve also grown in my love for piano and music in general. – Piano Major, Anonymous Student Evaluation

Cahill is an excellent teacher. He really goes out of his way to help his students. Even though he is an incredible pianist, he knows how to help beginners. – Secondar Piano Student

Cahill is a patient and abundantly qualified teacher, and a truly gifted player. As my piano teacher, he explained why it is important for all musicians to have basic keyboard skills, and made me aware of many technical elements of the instrument that have been very helpful as a cellist during all my collaborations with piano. I’d take his class again if I could! – Jake Hanegan

Cahill is quite a remarkable, growing educator. He is absolutely impeccable at teaching good technique, both in methods and ways of thinking, and in identifying problems with easy ways to fix them. Cahill has a very strong sense of how music should feel and sound, and very adeptly leads students to play with the musicality. As he continues to grow, he will continue to improve on what is already an exceptional assortment of educational talents. – Brian White

An amazing teacher! Cahill allowed me to draw on my own motivation and passion, which made all the difference in how well I learned, and how much I enjoyed learning it! – Tait Madsen

I had quit piano 8 years ago, when I signed up for Cahill’s beginner class. He made me fall in love with piano and remember how much fun it is to play! I was an exchange student in Rochester, but I probably practiced the piano more than studying for other classes. I liked it when I could really notice that my playing was improving after each lesson. His praise encouraged me if I practiced a lot or played well. – Yuri Ozaki

I had the great pleasure to study with Cahill Smith in his section of Piano Method while completing my undergraduate degree at the Eastman School of Music. Cahill’s unparalleled enthusiasm for teaching allowed us to “buy into” the very high standards he set for our progress. At the start of (and throughout) the semester, he explained how each piano skill would enable our development and opportunities as musicians on other instruments. Cahill worked to understand each student’s motivations and challenges in order to be a helpful resource for his or her development. – Peter Ferry

I met Cahill in 2011 when I registered for Piano classes at Eastman school of Music. I was a freshman at the University of Rochester and I dreamed that I might be able to play the piano one day. When I met Cahill, I saw real passion for music and piano-playing. He is a very elegant, professional person and I have never met someone so talented. He pushes his students to their highest limits, limits that he sees. He always gave us his best: he was never late, never tired, and never lost patience. His playing was sensational. He plays with the kind of happiness you see only in the eyes of children when they get candy. He is a person with a story to tell with his music. – Sarah Ahmed

As my piano technique instructor, Cahill Smith has always been willing to take extra time to delve to the core of my technical issues and afterward to help me become accustomed to changes in my technique. He possesses not only the ability to break concepts down into their most understandable forms, but also a wide breadth of technical knowledge and experience that has allowed him to diagnose many different technical issues for me. – Student

Cahill is a truly gifted teacher and performer. Before studying with him, I had next to zero ability to play piano. He provided me fundamental keyboard knowledge which continues to help me grow as a pianist and musician today, all after only one semester of studying with him. By the end of his class, I was working on a Mozart sonata! – Keegan Donlon

He really knows how to teach and communicate well, and if the student doesn’t understand something, he’ll have a plan B or different ways to get through to them. – Student

Cahill did a great job teaching this class. He was very knowledgeable, willing to help students learn, and made the course interesting. – Student

Cahill is excellent. I almost feel guilty I don’t have any good constructive criticism for him, but I really just love everything about how he ran class. He maintained a great balance that kept things interesting but practical. I love the assignments the most! Cahill had us playing REAL repertoire! To sum up: Cahill is the man. – Student

Cahill is an awesome teacher! At the beginning of the semester I thought the pace was too fast because my piano skills weren’t great, but he encouraged us to work hard, and influenced us to want to succeed. So, by the end of the semester the pace was still the same, but it didn’t seem too hard because we wanted to get better at piano and wanted to do the work. Cahill is also awesome because he treats everybody like they can inherently play piano well, even if they are just uncovering their talent. He is demanding but encouraging. – Student