David Cutter: A Biography

David Cutter comes from a lineage of great teachers and brings the artistry of playing the piano to his students. After years of formal instruction, performance experience and hard work, he has learned many of the secrets to playing the piano and he shares this rich oral tradition with his students.

David Cutter

Throughout forty years of performing and thirty years of classroom and private teaching, David Cutter has brought the joy of music to thousands of people. As a child, he had only six months of piano lessons, some drum lessons and a year playing second trumpet in elementary orchestra. The unusual part of David’s path began at age eighteen when he started learning songs by ear without any lessons.

After graduating college he enrolled in the Music Department at California State University, Northridge, one of the top music schools in the country at the time. Majoring in piano performance, he studied classical theory, counterpoint and music history as well as the standard piano repertoire with Dr. Sandra Bostrom. This is where David did eight hours of practice each day.

“I remember my record for most hours in one day…..
eleven and a half.”

He also studied jazz improvisation and big band arranging with Ladd Mcintosh. David left Northridge to go on tour with a working band. Upon returning to Los Angeles, he continued to work with a variety of ensembles in southern California for many years. David became a classroom teacher at the high school level while continuing his jazz education, He went on to spend the next two decades studying jazz with Terry Trotter.

David has performed both classical music and jazz regularly at many venues around Los Angeles, accompanied dinner theater and improvisational comedy groups. He has been a solo pianist at many hotels including the Los Angeles Biltmore and the Westin in Pasadena.



“I have found much joy,
comtemplation, mystery and satisfaction
from the piano.
It is truly an amazing instrument.”





David’s twenty years of classroom teaching gives him the experience to know how to listen to a student, how to assess what is needed and how to quickly respond to the learning opportunity. He has also written educational courses during his career, most recently, a piano appreciation course for the Pasadena Senior Center. In his private piano teaching practice, David uses his creative problem solving skills to motivate students, particularly when they hit road blocks. He is open and flexible about how to work with each person, always starting with where the student is at. That way he discovers what works for a particular student and customizes lessons accordingly. David teaches out of his studio in Pasadena and is a member of the Pasadena Branch of the Music Teachers Association of California.

David Cutter PianoOver the last seven years David has gone back to studying classical music, working from the Well Prepared Pianist Curriculum. For almost three years he studied privately with Well Prepared Pianist author, composer and Steinway Artist, N. Jane Tan.

“Returning to classical study felt like I got a second childhood. I was able to wipe the slate  clean, losing old habits and learning how to move my wrists and body to match my breath,  producing a range of tone and an economy of motion that works like magic.”

After concluding study with Professor Tan, David has been practicing to assimilate and perfect the techniques learned. Performing, teaching and directing multi piano ensembles, David is dedicated to preserving the knowledge of how to play the piano and the oral tradition that’s come down from many teachers to the present.

“I’m having so much fun playing and teaching the piano.
Even after forty years, I still practice everyday.”