About My Teaching
Learning a musical instrument is a valuable and fun skill.
My goal as a teacher is to teach students to play the piano well and with confidence. If students develop their own natural abilities to play an instrument, they will also develop a love of music and music making that they will carry with them throughout their lives.
My approach includes teaching a group of basic skills that are important to acquire in order to attain this goal. These skills include developing an understanding of the music language (music theory), technical skills, reading at sight, training and refining the musical ear, music memorization and developing a repertoire for performance. Once a student acquires these skills at an advanced level it is my hope that they will become self teachers and have the ability to learn and enjoy new pieces on their own.
I give careful consideration to the stage of musical development each student has already attained and assign appropriate repertoire and materials to help further his/her musical development. In the beginning stages, I use a combination of primers and music theory books that teach note reading, basic rhythm concepts and aural training. I view learning music akin to the early stages of learning one's native language, some aspects of which are acquired through listening to and imitating speakers around us. I take a similar approach in teaching, introducing and demonstrating at the piano, music concepts and correct piano technique.
As a student advances, I use a variety of level-appropriate repertoire carefully chosen for him/her. I concentrate on teaching the works of the great classical masters, but also include popular selections if the student is interested in playing them. I encourage students to share their ideas about what they would like to learn and like to include pieces of their choice.
It is also very important for students to practice technical pieces and exercises. These assignments help develop finger strength and coordination which is essential to playing any musical instrument. I make a point of choosing technical pieces that focus on solving particular pianistic problems a student may have and that are fun to play.
Listening to music on a regular basis is of paramount importance in developing a fine musical ear and sensibility. Students need to listen to music in order to develop a feel for correct musical phrasing, learning how to feel and play rhythms correctly, memorization, and knowledge of repertoire. Listening to music also improves note reading skills and reading at sight. I always include a listening assignment.
My students participate in recitals, music festivals, music assessments, and competitions. I feel these events give students practical goals to attain and help to push them to be their best. These activities are not strictly required, but I highly encourage student participation.
I strongly recommend that students enroll in yearly piano and theory assessments. These provide an opportunity for students to measure their progress through a series of performance and music theory exams. Students are given grades and constructive advice about their progress by professional music examiners. The standards are high and I feel they give students a sense of accomplishment upon completion.
Daily practice is essential! Without practice there is no progress on a musical instrument. Students must leave time in their schedules for daily practice.