About Us

Our Story

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

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

KeyBox Studio now welcomes more than 220 students each week!

Our Approach

Student growth and success is our top priority!

  • At KeyBox, we recognize the benefits of learning an instrument go far beyond just the notes they will play.  Our teachers are focused on:
  • Building confidence and self-esteem
  • Helping students overcome anxiety
  • Helping students overcome perfectionism
  • Teaching perseverance and hard work

Music should bring joy! (For PARENTS and students.)

  • We take the fight out of practice. 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 set practice requirements 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. Wherever you are, we can’t wait to see what YOU can do!

Our Approach

Student growth and success is our top priority!

  • At KeyBox, we recognize the benefits of learning an instrument go far beyond just the notes they will play.  Our teachers are focused on:
  • Building confidence and self-esteem
  • Helping students overcome anxiety
  • Helping students overcome perfectionism
  • Teaching perseverance and hard work

Music should bring joy! (For PARENTS and students.)

  • We take the fight out of practice. 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 set practice requirements 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. Wherever you are, we can’t wait to see what YOU can do!

Years Experience

Students Influenced

Notes Played

Years Experience

Students Influenced

Notes Played

Tiffani Smith

Instructor

 

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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.

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!

Nicklas Carmody

Instructor

 

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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!”

Tiffani Smith

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.

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!

Nicklas Carmody

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!”

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

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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

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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.

Alex

Instructor

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Alex is a fingerstyle guitar player with experience performing and teaching a unique blend of blues, rock, country, jazz and classical guitar. Alex graduated with a bachelor’s degree in music from San Francisco State University in 2018. A new resident of Arizona, you can expect to find Alex performing at a local mic near you!

Julie

Instructor

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Julie was raised in southern San Diego and attended a Performing Arts High School. Her musical education continued at Brigham Young University, where she studied dance and music. While at BYU,
Julie started her 30-year teaching career to help pay for college expenses. Through multiple moves with her family, Julie has since influenced students in Austin, Denver and now Gilbert. Julie loves teaching
children and adults of varying skill levels and continues to share her talents with many school, church and community choirs and performers. Students say that her favorite quote is “Playing slow and right is better than playing fast and wrong”.

Chrisitne

Instructor

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Christine is the fabulous creator and instructor of Little Keys! Here’s a little more about her:

Christine Jardine has loved music for as long as she can remember. Growing up in the Seattle area, her father was a piano technician and she loved seeing the gorgeous pianos coming in and out of their garage for work. At 6 years old she began taking piano lessons from Debbie Dean who taught her until she was 13. In 2000 she began attending BYU-Idaho as a music education major and received her Bachelors Degree in 2004.

Teaching music is one of her joys in life and she loves seeing students become aware of their own abilities and develop a love for music as well.

Christine is very excited to be teaching Little Keys and hopes that this program will help get little fingers excited to learn the piano someday!