About Us

Our Story

Tiffani Smith and Nicklas Carmody, both experienced teachers in the Phoenix Valley, came together to create Key Box Studio in the summer of 2017.

Wanting to increase the number of individuals they could bring the joy of music to, they created a studio which could accommodate multiple teachers and hundreds of students.

Key Box Studio has welcomed over 180 students thus far, and we look forward to continued growth as students join our Key Box family!

Our Approach

Key Box will support parents and students:

During our weekly 60-minute lessons, teachers make the most of our time together. Students leave lessons each week with greater confidence, a sense of accomplishment and a love for music!

We take the fight out of practice at home! We find it most effective to focus on progress during the lesson while keeping a positive relationship with music at home. Therefore, we do not have a set practice requirement but will work with each student to develop a routine that fits their needs and skill level. We recognize some students are regimented and enjoy daily practice, others use music as a weekly recreational or exploratory activity. Where ever you are, we can’t wait to see what YOU can do! Lessons at Key Box are time friendly for busy families! Do you have multiple kids ready for lessons? Bring your family of 2, 3, 4 or more! Drop them off together, then read a book or run some errands and we will see you back in an hour. It’s the BEST! At Key Box, four hours worth of learning can be done in one 60-minute time slot.

Years Experience

Students Influenced

Notes Played

Years Experience

Students Influenced

Notes PLayed

Tiffani Smith, Co-Owner & Instructor

Tiffani Strong Smith was born and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah, where she began studying piano at the age of 5, with Norene Emerson. In the sixth grade she found her passion as a collaborative pianist when she was asked to accompany the 5th and 6th grade choir. She went on to accompany Junior High, High School and collegiate choirs, instrumentalists and vocalists and continues to do so today.

Tiffani began teaching at a young age and has enjoyed teaching students of all ages for over 30 years. Tiffani is passionate about teaching students with varying skill and commitment levels. She has a niche for meeting students where they are, giving them encouragement to move forward, and ultimately helping them to reach their musical goals and individual skill levels. She is patient, kind, encouraging and never surprised, when after years of minimal progress and results a reluctant student, like the switch of a light, turns it on and music takes over their life. She was one of those students.

Tiffani currently lives in Gilbert, Arizona. She is married to Timothy Smith and they have two beautiful daughters, Jezzica and Mikayla, and a wonderful new son-in-law, Jordan. Her dogs, Higley and Tilly, miss greeting students at their home each day, but Tiffani is happy to be at the Key Box Studio!

Tiffani Smith

Co-Owner & Instructor

Nicklas Carmody, Co-Owner & Instructor

Nicklas began taking piano lessons when he was six years old. His teacher, Caroline Riggins (who still teaches in Tempe), tells the story that the very first time Nick came for lessons, he had a huge smile on his face and looked like a little professor. So, that became his nickname: Little Professor.

He went on to graduate with a bachelors in music education from Azusa Pacific University in 1999. Before taking on the adventure of starting Key Box Studio, Nicklas taught piano out of his home to just over fifty students, also working with two other teachers to provide piano lessons throughout the East Valley. Nicklas has been married to Andrea for just over 11 years and has 7 year old twins, Emma and Greyson. Oh yeah, he also has a hyper dog, named Emmett.

"While the art and skill of learning piano is important and beneficial, I also believe the relationship between teacher and student is hugely important. My goal as a piano teacher is to not only teach the skills necessary for playing, but to also have a positive influence on each of my students. I love the fact that opening the Key Box Studio allows us to achieve this goal as a community!"

Nicklas Carmody

Co-Owner & Instructor

Susan Bertino Instructor

Susan Bertino is a Mother of two, Pianist and Artist born and raised on the North Shore of Long Island New York.  She began piano lessons at age 2 and quickly learned to read music with the help of her two older sisters. By age 4 she started private piano lessons and was entertaining her family and friends with mini piano recitals.   She came from a family of Artists and Musicians who frequently went to Classical, Broadway, Pops, and Jazz concerts in NYC. This gave her a broad appreciation of the Arts at a very young age which has enriched her life. Going to the Met, the Guggenheim Museum, etc. was a normal part of life for Susan.

At the age of 16 she started performing and teaching piano and organ lessons on Long Island.  She also performed Bb, Eb, and Bass Clarinets with a Baroque Quartet.

She possesses a B.S. in Textiles & Business from Arizona State University and a B.M. in Theory & Composition/Piano from the University of Nebraska.  Her studies were further expanded in Music when she attended the Aspen School of Music, studying piano with Mary Norris. Later, she studied Music Composition at the Conservatoire Americain de Fontainebleau in France with Gilbert Amy.  Studying with Phillip Manoury at I.R.C.A.M. in Paris France also enhanced her appreciation of contemporary studies in acoustics.

Susan has been a Piano Teacher, Performer, Composer/Arranger and a member of the National Music Teachers Association for many years in Omaha Nebraska.  Her experience teaching has passed on a legacy of music appreciation and piano performance to countless students. In addition, Susan is an accomplished Artist and Interior Designer.  

Susan Bertino

Instructor

Sara Rollins Instructor

Sara Rollins is a passionate pianist, vocalist and music teacher. Her love for music began at the young age of 6, when she began to take private piano and voice lessons. This love increased through high school and eventually inspired her to pursue music as a career at Southern Utah University, where she is currently finishing up a Bachelors of Arts degree in Music. At SUU, Sara participated in many regional and state competitions where she consistently received superior scores. Sara looks forward to sharing her love for music and inspiriting others to follow their dreams.

Sara Rollins

Instructor

Milan Bhattacharya Instructor

Milan was born in Chandler, Arizona, and has lived in Chandler his entire life. He’s been playing piano for about 13 years and now enjoys teaching.

Milan currently attends ASU and is a junior in the medicinal biochemistry program. As you may have guessed from his major, Milan plans to go to medical school after he finishes at ASU, and eventually become a doctor.

Outside of practicing and teaching piano he is also in the ASU Philharmonic, where he plays the violin, and is an officer for the ASU Wing Chun Kung Fu Club. As an Eagle Scout, he also spends a lot of time in the outdoors, and likes to go on hikes (especially at night), along with fishing, and backpacking, when he has the chance. 

Milan Bhattacharya

Instructor

Susan Bertino

Instructor

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Susan Bertino is a Mother of two, Pianist and Artist born and raised on the North Shore of Long Island New York.  She began piano lessons at age 2 and quickly learned to read music with the help of her two older sisters. By age 4 she started private piano lessons and was entertaining her family and friends with mini piano recitals.   She came from a family of Artists and Musicians who frequently went to Classical, Broadway, Pops, and Jazz concerts in NYC. This gave her a broad appreciation of the Arts at a very young age which has enriched her life. Going to the Met, the Guggenheim Museum, etc. was a normal part of life for Susan.

At the age of 16 she started performing and teaching piano and organ lessons on Long Island.  She also performed Bb, Eb, and Bass Clarinets with a Baroque Quartet.

She possesses a B.S. in Textiles & Business from Arizona State University and a B.M. in Theory & Composition/Piano from the University of Nebraska.  Her studies were further expanded in Music when she attended the Aspen School of Music, studying piano with Mary Norris. Later, she studied Music Composition at the Conservatoire Americain de Fontainebleau in France with Gilbert Amy.  Studying with Phillip Manoury at I.R.C.A.M. in Paris France also enhanced her appreciation of contemporary studies in acoustics.

Susan has been a Piano Teacher, Performer, Composer/Arranger and a member of the National Music Teachers Association for many years in Omaha Nebraska.  Her experience teaching has passed on a legacy of music appreciation and piano performance to countless students. In addition, Susan is an accomplished Artist and Interior Designer.  

Sara Rollins

Instructor

Read More

Sara Rollins is a passionate pianist, vocalist and music teacher. Her love for music began at the young age of 6, when she began to take private piano and voice lessons. This love increased through high school and eventually inspired her to pursue music as a career at Southern Utah University, where she is currently finishing up a Bachelors of Arts degree in Music. At SUU, Sara participated in many regional and state competitions where she consistently received superior scores. Sara looks forward to sharing her love for music and inspiriting others to follow their dreams.

Milan Bhattacharya

Instructor

Read More

Milan was born in Chandler, Arizona, and has lived in Chandler his entire life. He’s been playing piano for about 13 years and now enjoys teaching.

Milan currently attends ASU and is a junior in the medicinal biochemistry program. As you may have guessed from his major, Milan plans to go to medical school after he finishes at ASU, and eventually become a doctor.

Outside of practicing and teaching piano he is also in the ASU Philharmonic, where he plays the violin, and is an officer for the ASU Wing Chun Kung Fu Club. As an Eagle Scout, he also spends a lot of time in the outdoors, and likes to go on hikes (especially at night), along with fishing, and backpacking, when he has the chance.