In Home Music Teachers
Washington, DC: 202-568-6546
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Darrell Payne is an accomplished musician teaching private in-home voice and piano lessons in the greater Washington, D.C. area.
The New School: School of Jazz and Contemporary Music
Major: Vocal Studies
Music Teaching Experience:
15+ Years
Darrell Payne
Voice, Piano


Darrell Payne began singing at the age of three and has continued to follow his passion for music throughout his entire life. As a young child, he was motivated extrinsically by his grandmother, who was fond of suggesting that he "do what grandma says," but over time, his motivation became intrinsic as he realized that he possessed an innate curiosity for the science of sound. Throughout his school years, Darrell sang with several groups at various churches, but it wasn't until he attended LaGuardia High School of Music and Art that he truly began to study music in depth. As a vocal major, he studied various genres of music, while also taking courses in piano, percussion, and music engineering. After graduating, he went on to attend the New School University for his undergraduate studies, focusing on Jazz and Contemporary Music as a vocal major. 

After numerous lesson requests from classmates, colleagues, and fellow church members, Darrell came to realize that he could not escape his calling to teach the Science of Sound. Throughout his studies, he learned from many teachers and professors, each of whom has contributed in small and large ways to Darrell becoming the educator and performer he is today. One college professor, after Darrell expressed some uncertainty in himself as a music teacher, told him that "a teacher never feels that they know enough to teach." These words empowered and comforted Darrell, and he remembers them each time he takes a new student under his wing.

Darrell helps his students to learn by seeking to understand the way they process information, and then helping to rewire their musical minds for greater efficiency. He uses a strong foundation in music theory, ear training, performance technique, creativity, practicality, humor, and the joy of exploration to help his students be the best musicians they can be. Mr. Payne wants all of his students to discover how sound has the power to move life. He wants them to learn all the rules of sound - and then learn to break those rules intentionally and creatively. 

Darrell is an active performing musician as well as an educator, and has performed as a singer and as a choral ensemble director for many years. He has performed with several notable artists including Josh Groban, the Barenaked Ladies, Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, Chrisette Michele, Richard Smallwood, and Melanie Daniels. The highlight of his musical career was a season in 2018 during which he worked as a music educator in multiple schools, served as a master of ceremony in two wedding bands, and was music director for three churches; all of which he managed simultaneously!

With extensive experience in both teaching and performing, Mr. Payne is an excellent fit for a wide variety of students of all ages, skill levels, interests, and musical goals. He looks forward to helping you or your child to grow in your skills, knowledge and love of music!

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