What is your Teaching Philosophy?
It’s never too late to learn music! It’s my goal to develop a well rounded understanding of music in each of my students and help them achieve their musical goals. It is important to know where the music we play comes from… music is about expressing our feelings and emotions and sharing them with others through our craft. I approach each student as an individual and do my best to cater to each student’s needs. I teach a wide range of levels from beginners with no previous experience in piano to advanced students who perform regularly. As a studio we have at least one recital a year where all of my students have the opportunity to perform.
In late 2019, soon after I learned that we have to switch to remote learning, I was able to figure out the most efficient way of teaching all my students online. I incorporate a unique set up from my home teaching studio to ensure students are getting the most out of online learning. No matter where you are, if you have a piano and an internet connection – we can have piano lessons! I now have students across the states and internationally too! Remote learning has also allowed my students to successfully perform annual virtual recitals with their relatives and friends viewing the concerts globally.
Anyone can take piano lessons, but for younger students I recommend that they be at least 5 years old. Physically they need to be ready to play- their little fingers have to be strong enough! Also, it is important that students are able to read and identify the letters of the alphabet before they start taking piano lessons. Although it is great that parents want their children to start as soon as possible, it is important that we wait until they are ready. In my experience I also find that very young students benefit a great deal from taking group piano lessons with other kids.
What do you cover in a typical lesson?
I focus a great deal on musical foundation. I would like my students to know how to read notes, be aware of different rhythms and also know the many musical terms we encounter. It’s like building a house, you need to have a good foundation! I also emphasize learning strategies for practicing and the importance of consistency. Practicing with efficiency and clear goals is very important- the quality of practice is greater than the quantity. Many of my students participate in regional piano exams, which I help them prepare for. I recommend participate in these exams because they are a great way for students to work towards a goal and it is also an opportunity for students to see how far they’ve come!
There are lots of method books out there for piano lessons. Throughout my years of teaching, I have found that the Piano Adventures books by Nancy and Randall Faber are well structured and the colorful design is great for younger students. In addition to method books I supplement various materials for different levels of experience. Each student benefits differently from the material we work with so I make it a point to customize each lesson.
How long should I practice during the week?
I require students to practice CONSISTENTLY daily, or at least every other day. I understand how busy student schedules can be at times. However, the discipline students learn through practicing piano often directly influences their school studies in a positive way. Practicing is good for us! In general, if our lesson time is 30 minutes, I require students to practice at least 10-15 minutes a day. If our lesson time is 45-60 minutes, I require students to practice at least 30 minutes to 45 minutes. I set small goals for each student, helping them understand the importance of taking small steps towards conquering big challenges. In order to help students, I also video record pieces that have been assigned to them. They are available to all of my students under the “resources” page. (currently updating!) These videos are for my students use and access to the video library is password protected. The video recordings on my website have been very helpful for students and are great for independent practice throughout the week. If students have any questions about a piece these videos are an excellent tool.