My Teaching Philosophy…
I believe the study of music is important for all children and is an important part of everyone’s life. There are many studies supporting the benefits in early childhood development for children who have taken music lessons, particularly piano lessons. There are also studies that show that adults who play piano and continue to do so into their senior years have a lesser percentage of incurring Alzheimer’s or other similar cognitive diseases. (Read More…)
In my studio, I emphasize the technical aspects of note reading and eye-to-hand coordination. This increases memory, concentration, mathematical skills and right/left brain integration. I also employ ear training studies. Making music requires that you can hear the sounds you’re making. And it’s always fun to pick out a favorite tune on the piano by ear. That having been said, I will not allow a student to play solely from ear avoiding learning the written notes. This puts students at a great disadvantage and limits what they are able to play. I believe in giving the student everything they can possibly handle. I do not assume that a student is not bright enough or dedicated enough and therefore certain more difficult tasks or material should be withheld. This is not to say that I require all my students to play at the same level. Every student is different, both child and adult. Every student learns at a different pace and does better with specific techniques than others, has certain strengths and weaknesses. My job is to give each student the opportunity to play at the best of their ability, find out what they’re best at and what they’re weak at, and strengthen both.
Being relaxed while playing the piano is vital and I pay a lot of attention to this area. Too many musicians play under great stress and in pain, both emotional and physical. This is not the purpose of music. I employ relaxation techniques in my teaching methods including: discussing what a student may be stressed about and lessening their fear or concern about that stressor, reducing stress during the lesson itself, improving body structuring and posture while playing, teaching proper use of hands, wrist, arms, shoulders, back and neck and the use of breathing to pace the music and to release stress. I also employ meditation and visualization techniques.
Students will be exposed to all different genres of music from classical to jazz as well as historical information about the music they are playing. I will insist on the study of the classics (with some exceptions for adult students) and basic technical drills but will also incorporate music of the student’s choice: blues, jazz, pop tunes, ragtime as well as Disney and movie tunes for kids, ragtime, etc. Music Theory is always included with some beginning composition for all students and advanced composition for those who want it.
I organize one formal recital each year in the fall, held in a formal recital hall. I also generally offer two informal music “salons” during the year. These are very low key, no fancy recital clothes required – just a fun event for the students to come and play for each other, critique each other, and work on their performance skills away from the concert stage.