The Goal of Piano Instruction

It is my goal that, regardless of what brings a student to piano lessons, each has fun with the experience and leaves with a new appreciation for music. From the beginning, I work with students and their families to establish attainable goals to help focus the instruction. I tailor the lessons to each student's goals and abilities to ensure they have the most positive, enjoyable experience while gaining essential skills that will support them throughout life. When talent is discovered, I seek new opportunities for the student to advance in skill and grow into his or her potential. Students are consistently challenged to aim high but never forced to excel beyond their own interests or desires.

What happens in a piano lesson?

During lessons, I work individually with students using proven strategies in order to develop the following skills:

  • Dexterity of fingers, wrists, and arms
  • Fluidity, accuracy and ease of movement
  • A firm grasp and appreciation for musical style and artistry
  • A thorough understanding of underlying musical theory and notation

My general approach is to model good performance techniques and invite students to observe and then imitate. This allows students to apply their knowledge and gain greater independence in using the piano to produce beautiful, musically rich sounds.  It is my goal that each student develop a series of good habits that will enable them to play efficiently and healthily for the rest of their lives.

Adjustable seats and other tools within my studio help students of varying heights access the pedals and keys more comfortably for better results. A cozy sitting area allows parents to sit back and enjoy the sounds of their child's progress during lessons.

For Zoom or online lessons, multiple camera angles are used so that students can clearly see the movements being modeled by the instructor.


Dr. Joshua Hillmann has entertained audiences for years as both a solo and collaborative artist with his energetic and colorful musical interpretations and outstanding technical ability. He is currently an Adjunct Professor of Piano at Grand Canyon University, and earned the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Piano Performance at Arizona State University, where he also earned the Master of Music degree in Piano Performance.  His Bachelor of Music degree in Piano Performance was earned at the University of Kansas, studying with Dr. Jack Winerock.  His earlier musical training came from the St. Louis Symphony Music School, studying with internationally renowned artist/teacher Jane Allen.

Dr. Hillmann has been the recipient of numerous awards in national and international competitions.  Most recently he was awarded the special prize from the National Society for Arts and Letters for the “Most Outstanding Arizona Pianist” in the 4 th BösendorferUSASU International Piano Competition in Tempe, AZ, and was awarded 1st Place in October 2006 at the 1st WPPCPIANOvision Most Wanted Piano Competition: Etude Invitational in Atlanta, GA, was an Alternate Winner of Arizona State University's Concert of Soloists Piano Concerto Competition in 2005 in Tempe, AZ, was Winner of the 2003 Kansas City Musical Club Collegiate Piano Competition in Kansas City, MO, and was awarded 1st Place in the Kansas Music Teachers Association Collegiate Piano Competition in 2002 in Kansas City, MO, and also 1 st  Runner Up in 2001. He has also performed in master classes with renowned pianists Jeremy Denk, Anne Schein, Robert Hamilton, Hugh Sung, Philip Kawin, and ArboValdma among others. He has also performed in chamber master classes and received coaching from the internationally acclaimed Brentano String Quartet, currently Quartet-in-Residence at Yale School of Music.  

He is a Nationally Certified Teacher of Music (NCTM) and is a member of the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA), Arizona State Music Teachers Association (ASMTA), and East Valley Music Teachers Association (EVMTA).

He has performed solo recitals in St. Louis, Lawrence, KS, Kansas City, and Phoenix, and has performed as collaborative artist in South Korea with the Kansas City Chorale, and in the USA with the University of Kansas Symphony Orchestra and Wind Ensemble, and as soloist with the Arizona State University Sinfonietta.

He has also been very active as a professional singer as well. He was a member of KU Jazz Singers and Chamber Choir, as well as Music Director and singer in the college a cappella group Genuine Imitation. At ASU he has been a long-time member of their choirs. He sang with the Chamber Singers and Symphonic Chorale, the Herberger Singers and Heatwave Vocal Jazz.  He has appeared as bass soloist with the Phoenix Symphony with Michael Christie conducting the opera in concert "Ainadamar".  He has appeared with professional choirs around the country including the Grammy-winning Phoenix Chorale, Grammy-winning Kansas City Chorale, Grammy-nominated Seraphic Fire, Grammy-nominated Tucson Chamber Artists, and Spire Chamber Ensemble, and has shared the stage with such great artists as Kitty Carlisle, Dawn Upshawand Kelley O'Connor.  He has also appeared internationally with Ireland's National Choir, Anúna, in an extensive tour of China that culminated in a performance at the National Center for the Performing Arts in Beijing. He is currently a bass singer with the Phoenix Choralethe True Concord, and currently serves as worship pianist at Paradise Valley United Methodist Church.

His performances have been popular on Youtube.  Here is one recent performance of Beethoven's final piano sonata:


Dr. Hillmann brings a great tradition from great teachers! 


There are now currently openings for new or transfer students for summer online and in-person lessons. Please fill out the registration form to get started!  


We are excited to announce that we are beginning to open the studio up for in-person lessons. We are continuing to offer online Zoom lessons for those that are not yet ready for in-person lesson due to the pandemic. For those that are able and willing to have their lesson in person, we have hand sanitizer at the enterance and we sanitize the instruments and other high-traffic areas between lessons. Masks are mandatory.

Click here to order books and materials for lessons.


If you're a current student of Hillmann Piano Studio, refer a friend and get 20% off the next month's tuition when they enroll for their first month!