Teaching

Member of …
Music Teachers National Association
Georgia Music Teachers Association
Decatur Music Teachers Association
American Harp Society

Teaching Artist – Piano and Harp

A teaching artist is a practicing professional artist with the complementary skills, curiosities and sensibilities of an educator, who can effectively engage a wide range of people in learning experiences in, through, and about the arts.   – Eric Booth

Susan has been teaching for 19 years. Her speciality is working with beginning to advanced students, children and adults on the harp or the piano. Her private studio is equally split between adult students and children. The children range in age from 7 to 17 years old, the adults 25 to 70. She especially enjoys teaching mature students. She teaches classical, ensemble (duets), blues, jazz and improvisation.

Her students perform at group lessons during the year and attend piano camp and harp camp in the summer. They also perform each year at Fall Fest held at Agnes Scott College, sponsored by Decatur Music Teachers Association, where they memorize pieces, play scales and cadences for a judge.

Covid-Safe Piano and Harp lessons
Virtually and In-Person

In person lesson with Adriana and Clara
Virtual piano lesson with Sandra
Virtual lesson with Scott

Testimonials

My son took piano lessons for 3 years with Ms. Susan.  In those three years he not only made great strides in piano, but he also learned to love music and the study of music.  With Ms. Susan his confidence in music grew leading him to participate in musicals and pick up other instruments.  We will always be grateful to Ms. Susan for passing on her love and knowledge of music to our son.  – Alison LeBlanc 8/3/2020

Susan is a true professional and makes every minute count in each lesson by teaching not just music but also motivation and theory through fun games and challenges like 100 days of practice. She offers periodic group lessons, where students can play for each other and learn the art of performing, speaking in public, and listening to our musicians. Most importantly, she has shown great care for my daughters through the years, asking questions about their school day and even coming to see them perform in a Shakespeare play completely unrelated to music lessons. Thanks Susan!  –  Janet Conley May 26, 2019

My daughter started lessons with Susan Ottzen when she was in elementary school and has progressed with her all the way though high school. From the beginning Susan had a unique way of teaching that brought out the most in my young daughter musically and Susan’s musical nurturing has made my daughter a better musician and thus overall a better person. – Tom Reed 12/15/2016

Thank you so much Ms. Susan for teaching me to play beautiful music and being patient and just an all around great teacher. I have had the best time being your student and hope to have many more great times with you. You are creative, straight to the point, talented, beautiful person, I really do appreciate all your work and wisdom as a music teacher.

 – Thank You! Asha May 2014

It was wild seeing the harp on stage (at the Family Dog restaurant/bar). If I had the room, I would book you today.

– Steve T, manager at the Family Dog

just wanted you to know what a pleasure it was to hear you play while I was packing up my harp. It is so easy to forget what how harp music is so relaxing and calming when we’re the ones behind the instrument. It was simply delightful to hear you and wish I could have stayed longer. Thought I’d send you this little note to tell you how much I enjoyed it and how beautiful your playing was.

– Nella Rigell (Atlanta harpist)

Hiring Susan for our retirement party was the icing on the cake of a wonderful evening. Everyone enjoyed her music and talent.

– Marietta 2/7/08

I really enjoyed our piano lessons

– Cora Simpson 2/16/13

To play (jazz harp) like that you really have to feel it

– John Clayton, Sugarloaf Country Club, Valentines 2013

My daughter used to just play notes, studying with Susan, she plays music now

– Janet Hazzelgo

My son’s note reading went from 0 to 60

– Bo Emerson

Just wanted to thank you for the beautiful music today.  You are so amazing and you really made all the difference in the world!  Everyone was raving about your performance.  Thanks so very much for all of your help, especially since I didn’t have a wedding coordinator.  I really appreciate it.  If you ever need a reference for your business, I would be happy to do it.

– Wedding 12/30/07 Monroe, Georgia

Susan and her associate added immensely to the success of our wedding reception. They helped to provide the perfect atmosphere for all to enjoy the evening.

– Jazz Harp and Bass  8/4/07 Country Club of the South

Susan was great! Everything was beautiful! She was so helpful with music selections, would respond to emails/phone calls so promptly … just a great stress-free experience. Thanks Susan!!!

– Wedding and Reception 7/28/07

Private lessons for children and adults

These adult students, Sandra, Natalie, Glenda and Jonus, attended my Site Reading Instantly workshop June 4, 2017, learning how to site read faster, recognize pitch and improve playing by ear. This is a brand new system built on the book, Site-Sing Any Melody Instantly, by Mark Phillips.
Susan's students celebrating after Group Recital, Columbia Presbyterian Church, May 21, 2015
Susan’s students celebrating after Group Recital, Columbia Presbyterian Church, May 21, 2015
4 Harps
Susan Ottzen’s Student Harp Ensemble
Druid Hills United Methodist Church

What students and parents say:

Camp 2009
Carson
Carson

Susan’s piano instruction and her skill at accommodating the ever-changing stages and moods of childhood have been invaluable. These gifts have helped my daughter to grow in so many ways that reach beyond the piano. My daughter started with Susan at age 6. She was headstrong and afraid of strangers and somewhat unforgiving of even the gentlest of criticisms.

Susan forged ahead with great insight and delicacy and, as a result, our child learned to love music and to play an instrument, and to appreciate the more elusive gift of allowing someone to help her. The security that Susan imparted helped her to become a confident performer as well. Many, many thanks.

Julia, 11 y/o:

Julia and Haley
Julia and Haley

My favorite things and moments about being taught piano by Susan is when we would laugh and make jokes about her toys. The thing I didn’t like was doing my theory. I wouldn’t ever do it. But very rarely I would surprise Susan by coming to lesson and having finished my theory. I had a great time.

Haley 13 y/o:

The most challenging thing about piano lessons with Susan was getting every measure, note and song absolutely correct, without the slightest wrong note.