Robert Laughlin, lead instructor and retreat director

Robert and melodicaIn 1982 California musician Robert Laughlin figured out a way to teach a classroom full of adults how to play piano in a single four hour session. He taught this class at a local university and within a year was presenting his workshop at 12 California State University locations. The popularity of the workshop mushroomed, and to date he has presented it in colleges and universities throughout the country, on both coasts, the Midwest, and the Hawaiian Islands. He has taught nearly 25,000 people to play the piano. No one else can say that. In the early 1990′s he began teaching his method to other piano teachers who have gone on to teach another 100,000 plus students nationwide. In summer of 2011, he presented his first Piano Retreat. Twenty students came from four different states to attend this weekend of classes. The difference between the One Day Piano Workshop and the weekend long Piano Retreat is that in the Retreat the students get to reconnect with Robert Laughlin, the founder of this method, and receive hands-on training and personal instruction in a quiet, tranquil setting, surrounded by the beauties of nature and other piano students.

Pam Laughlin photoPam Laughlin¬†has been a part of the Instant Piano/Pianofun phenomenon since the very beginning almost 30 years ago. Although she is primarily a clarinet player (and a damn good one), she plays other wind instruments and actually learned to play piano from being exposed to Robert’s workshops and courseware.

She demonstrates tremendous empathy and patience and has earned great respect from her students. Pam will be teaching the track for beginners.


Ken Charlson photoKen Charlson¬†started his professional musical career while still in college, becoming the rehearsal/pit pianist and music director with a local small theater group in the early 90′s. He did over 40 productions with them, and accompanied for various vocalists.

He later was hired as pianist for the retro swing band Blue Plate Special. The band played up and down the West Coast from San Diego to Seattle for a few years, playing at well known clubs and hotels, including the famous Claremont Hotel in Berkeley, and headlined a New Year’s Eve at Bimbo’s 365 in San Francisco. The band played regularly at “The Derby” in Hollywood as well as at a number of high profile gigs in LA including the Polygram Records after-party, and BMG Records after-party for the Grammys. Stevie Wonder came up on stage and sat in with the band at the BMG one, which led to a segment on Entertainment Tonight. After securing a record contract, the band played for five weeks at the Desert Inn in Las Vegas. They continued to tour nationwide and got an appearance on “Good Morning America.”

Ken has worked in music editorial on such Emmy nominated shows as House MD and Battlestar Galactica…and the film “Tenacious D and the Pick of Destiny.”

Ken has 14 years experience with private piano tutoring and has worked with recording artist Dr. Dre. He still plays professionally as a solo pianist and works five nights a week at the piano bar of the prestigious Bel Air Hotel in Los Angeles.

kawai logo