What comes to mind when you think of piano lessons? Hours of scales and arpeggios? Sitting in a room practicing boring music by yourself? Well there is none of that here!
Yes, my aim is for every student to increasingly become a well-rounded musician. But more importantly that they will enjoy the process of music making and be able to transfer these skills to other areas of life!
I do teach people how to read music, how to sit at the piano correctly. But there is so much more on offer! Have you ever wanted to capture that tune that you thought up? Have you ever wondered how people could just sit at a piano and make something up? Do you want to be able play music with your friends? Then you have come to the right place.
I want students to love playing the piano and show up to lessons with a smile on their face. See below for how I make that happen.
I provide my students with the opportunity to play a variety of music. My lessons include solo and duet work, ensembles, and assisting students with school band repertoire.
In addition to using a range of method books, I like to teach students how to read full scores and enjoy the flexibility of using chords and lead sheets. The music I teach is not limited to ‘Classical’ music or the latest pop songs, but takes into account each student’s interests. I aim to give my students the opportunity to play a bit of everything so that as they progress they can decide what they like to play.
Because playing a musical instrument is not always a solo activity I train my students to be able to play with other musicians. I choose method books that offer backing tracks or teacher duet parts, as this not only develops students’ ability to play along with other music, but exposes them to a vast array of musical styles.
I often spend time with students listening to music they know and like and teaching them how to play by ear. For beginner students, I teach pieces by rote which helps the student to play correctly without the added demands of reading the music. However, as students mature as musicians (and their aural training kicks in) I teach them the principles of learning pieces by ear rather than by rote.
In addition to playing music off-the-score, I often improvise with students, equipping them with the tools they require to create musical ideas against the accompaniment I provide. I also offer a beginner’s course in composition for any interested students as part of regular lessons. The course is in comic-book format, and by completion the students are able to compose and perform well-constructed, aurally-pleasing pieces.
To see some of the improvisations and compositions my students have produced, check out the studio’s Facebook page.
A key ingredient to my lessons (and many students’ practice) is the use of Piano Maestro, an iPad app that develops music-reading and ensemble-playing technique. The app has all the features of a classic video game – students earn points based on how well they play a piece and level up appropriately. With a library of thousands of musical pieces, as well as a range of scales and technical exercises (clever, right?), students are always excited to start a new piece or practice their scales with the backing music. I spend a portion of lesson time using the app, and if students have access to an iPad at home they can continue practicing and progressing throughout the week.
I would like every student to have a solid foundation of theory skills (understanding how music works) and aural skills (being able to hear it working). I teach this from the first lesson using an ever-expanding library of games and activities that make learning interactive, kinesthetic and, most importantly, enjoyable!
It sounds like a lot, but I am dedicated to providing fun piano lessons that engage all students as they improve their skills.