Leila J Viss MA

Teacher  Pianist  Organist  Author  Presenter

Hi, I’m Leila Viss and enjoy teaching piano to around 25 students ranging in age from 6 to 89. I am drawn to discovering innovative teaching tools and successful practice strategies to encourage the average player to stick to the bench for a lifetime. Customizing lessons to suit each student is a priority and therefore I offer blended instruction in classical, jazz, pop, improvisation and composition. The ever-changing tools of technology assist me in my daily teaching. Every student not only has a private lesson but a lab session as well. Lab assignments include activities using the latest music software, MIDI, iPad apps, a Clavinova and more.

After receiving a BA degree in Piano and Organ from Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa, I married my husband (of 26 years), moved to Denver and received a masters in Piano Performance and Pedagogy from the University of Denver.

While maintaining a studio, I ventured into teaching keyboard classes in a nearby school district for 2nd-8th grade students for four years. Although those were the most challenging years of teaching I ever experienced, it was pleasing to know that the federally funded program brought the piano (keyboard) to many kiddos who would have never even met Middle C without this opportunity.

I’ve settled back into building a larger studio and continue to diligently plan effective ways to make piano playing and creative music making a reality for any student. In 2012, I decided to try my hand at blogging and have found a new “love” at 88pianokeys.me.

My fascination with the iPad and apps resulted in the book The iPad Piano Studio: Keys to Unlocking the Power of Apps. What began as an idea, a nudge and then a reality is now serving as required reading for SMU graduate pedagogy students.

Invited by Pete Jutras, the editor of Clavier Companion, I now pen a column for the piano magazine called “Apps for Teaching.”

I’ve served on planning committees for the MNTA (Music Teachers National Association) 2013 Jazz/Pop Track, the MNTA 2014 Improvisation Track.  I was recently appointed chair of the NCKP (National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy) Creative Pianist Track by Dr. Samuel Holland, Dean, Meadows School of the Arts, Southern Methodist University.

Much of the above activities in the previous paragraph has to do with my good friend and colleague Bradley Sowash–a dynamic jazz pianist, author and educator. He contacted me in 2012 to help him plan the 2013 Jazz/Pop track. Things haven’t stopped since then as we have co-founded  88 Creative Keys. This joint venture features a camp for students and teachers to promote creativity cliquez sur ce lien. Our efforts have been coined “The Eye/Ear Revolution.”

In 2017, I accepted the position as the coordinator of the Piano Preparatory Program at the University of Denver. I arrange and teach class and private piano instruction for the Lamont School of Music which serves as a training ground for graduate pedagogy students.

When not teaching, blogging, planning…I am usually practicing the organ and piano for my church position, adjudicating piano and composition competitions, presenting at conferences, exercising, and if there’s any time left, reading a good book (on my iPad, of course). While one son is earning his Ph.D in Math, another is a marine biologist and the youngest son is a business major at Chapman University.


Visit LeilaViss.com to check out my presentation schedule and more. I’d love to meet you in your area!


Professional Details


South Suburban Christian Church


See LeilaViss.com for session descriptions, schedule and availability


Local and state piano festivals for Colorado Federation of Music Clubs

United States International Piano Duo Competition

State, Regional and National composition competition for Federation of Music Clubs

Composition competition for Texas Music Teachers Association

Professional Membership


Colorado Music Teachers Association

South Suburban Music Teachers Association

American Guild of Organists

Colorado Federation of Music Clubs

Studio Website

88 Piano Keys Studio

88Creative Keys

88 Creative Keys Workshops balance eye skills with ear skills so you can enjoy making music in a variety of styles without limitation.

If you wish to hear the latest about the 88 Creative Keys Workshops and Webinars  and registration details,  please click here to subscribe to the Newsletter.

15 CommentsLeave a comment

  • Hi Leila
    Great blog – I’m still working my way through your articles, but I’ve added a link to your blog from mine which I hope you might reciprocate if you like my site! You can check out my blog at timtopham.com.

    • Hi Tim,

      Honestly, I’ve been following you for quite some time and have read great, inspiring articles from you. Apparently, I thought you were on my list of blogs I follow. You are now on the list.
      I greatly appreciate your support. Thank you!


  • That’s great news Leila – glad you like it. In fact I was just going through your list of ipad recommendations when I saw the link to my blog. I’m actually presenting some PD about this later in the year so trying to get in my research. Saw “tenuto” listed on your page and pretty impressed now that I’ve downloded it.

    • I’ve got some ideas cooking about rounding up the “top” apps for curriculum planning. Would love your help. The app world is overwhelming but addicting, isn’t? Get back to you shortly. Hope you will share your research!

  • Hi Leila! I’ve just discovered your blog. I’m Leia, a music teacher who now lives in India! I’ve just started my private studio and can’t wait to browse your tips and implement some of your ideas!

    • Hi Leia–looks just like Leila without the “L”. I’m so glad you introduced yourself. How fun to connect even though we are oceans apart.
      Best wishes with your new studio. It’s good to hear that my blog might be helpful. However, never hesitate to ask questions if you can’t find the answer you’re looking for.
      Again, happy to meet you and thanks for stopping by and browsing.

  • Leila,
    Just found your site and just wanted to say that we miss you. Madeline and Andrea are still taking lessons and dong well in TX. Gave your info to a friend of ours. Don’t knos if you have positions open, but they are a really nice family. Miss you! Susan

    • Hi Suzanne,

      So good to hear from you and that the girls are back in lessons.
      Thanks for checking out my site, is yours mycreativeneighbor.com? Thank you also for sharing my name. I’ll let you know if the family gets in touch with me. Big hugs to the girls, please! -Leila

  • Hi, Leila!
    Did not find an email, where I can write to you, so decided to write it here.
    First of all, you have great blog, thanks for that!
    And i have 2 questions, first one, I see you have a list of blogs which you do follow, may be you can check mine, and if you like it add it to your list 🙂
    And the second one, I have found out, that you are writing for other blogs, is it possible to ask you to write for my blog too?
    In any way, wanna again sat thanks for your blog and your job here.

    Best wishes,

    • Hi, Mark.

      Thanks for sharing your website with me. It is a great resource for those looking for digital keyboards. I’ll pass this along to my readers.
      At this point, I’m too busy to keep up with my own posts and am holding off on writing for anyone except for those who have hired me to write for them.
      Again, thanks for your interest and for your efforts to keep us informed of the digital keyboard world!

  • Hi Leila,

    I discovered your book, The iPad Piano Studio, while searching Sheet Music Plus and became very excited! I too have been bitten by the iPad bug! I composed a piano book for the iPad, Medieval Melodies – A Fairy Tale Suite which can be downloaded in the IBookstore. The sister arts of music and painting are coupled into one through a storybook format. The compositions come to life through vivid illustrations and audio performances. I would love for you to check it out. I’m kind of new on the blog scene – Lauraswagerty.com. The direct link can be found under my composition page. Thank you for all the time and creativity you put into your blog!

    Laura Swagerty

  • Hi Leila, thank you for your interest. I am looking forward to utilizing the helps and ideas from your iPad Piano Studio Book into my own studio. I think we should always be looking for new and innovative ways in which we can grow ourselves, and our students in music and in life.

    Laura Swagerty