Dr. Elliott Hayes is a pianist, composer, improviser and music educator who was born in Silver Spring, Maryland.
He grew up in a family of musicians and started piano lessons at the age of 5 with Frances Cheng-Koors as a scholarship student at the Peabody Institute in Baltimore, Maryland. He studied under renowned concert pianist Santiago Rodriguez between 2001 and 2009 while earning both his BM and MM in piano performance from the University of Maryland, College Park. In 2012, he graduated from the University of Maryland with his DMA in Composition after submitting a dissertation on musical improvisation and its role in the creative process.
Elliott has performed in all capacities imaginable as a musician. Outside of the classical music world, Elliott has experience playing many different forms of rock, jazz, church music, musical theater and improvised music. He has experience with virtually all styles at the keyboard and as an interdisciplinary collaborative artist, he has performed and recorded with other musicians, chamber groups, bands, choirs, dancers, actors, filmmakers and visual artists.
Elliott´s teaching method is an extension of the improvisatory, passion-driven methods developed by cutting-edge pedagogues such as Émile Jaques-Dalcroze, Carl Orff, and Zoltán Kodály. In his lessons, technique is taught through repertoire and exercises as a matter of necessity, while movement, vocalizing and improvisation are what lead to real music making and the development of the student´s true musical voice.