My goal as a teacher is to teach piano lessons that give students opportunity. Music opens so many doors and truly is the universal language that overcomes all language barriers. I want my students to leave my studio with the skills and knowledge to be able to take a piece of music, know how to successfully practice it, and be self-learners. I want to empower students to find their love of music and open up any opportunities I can for them.
I hear parents say all the time, “We’re not looking for our child to be a virtuoso pianist. We want them to enjoy piano. If they choose to be a virtuoso pianist, then that’s great, but we want it to be their choice.”
Do all my students need to be virtuoso pianists? NO! Absolutely not. I personally have been down the college track, so if students want to pursue music at a college level, I can get them there. However, I realize that is not everyone’s goal.
My teaching focuses on classical repertoire, technique, theory, playing by ear, and improvisation – the building blocks for all music. I want students to enjoy their journey and start on a path that allows them to choose what they want to do with music…whether that’s playing in a jazz band, playing for church, pursuing a music degree, or just playing for self-enjoyment.
I want piano to be a lifelong skill that students take into adulthood, not just a childhood pastime.
There are five things I do as a teacher to guarantee a successful piano experience:
1) I focus on correct technique. I want students to avoid injury and have an easier experience playing. Poor technique usually leads to frustration and inability to play the music that students dream of playing.
2) I teach students how to practice. I only see the students for 45 minutes a week, so it’s my job to teach students how to successfully work on their own during the rest of the week. I show students how to be more productive with their practice time so daily practice doesn’t feel like a waste and take more time than it needs to.
3) I expand students’ horizons. It’s my responsibility to show students the immense variety of music available to them. Similar to trying new foods for the first time, new music can seem confusing or strange but as students are introduced to it, they might find they enjoy genres they didn’t initially like!
4) I create a customized curriculum for each student. I’ve taught students of all ages, from 5 to 65, and I help each one set goals that are attainable based individual level and capability. I do not move quickly through music just to ‘pass it off,’ but help students truly master each piece they work on and reach their top potential.
5) I am (along with parents!) each student’s #1 cheerleader! There is nothing more exciting to me than seeing a student master that one skill that they’ve struggled with for months. Or seeing a student try something new for the first time and realize it makes playing so much easier. I want students to feel successful and feel like piano lessons are something they can do.
During my years of lessons, I never thought I would pursue piano as a career. I enjoyed playing and performing, but some days I confess I disliked practicing. I didn’t know when I was 10 or 12 or even 16 that piano was what I wanted to do. Fortunately, I had parents that were very encouraging (parents are key!) and a teacher that pushed me and believed in me.
Without them, I would have not had the opportunity to choose to be where I am today. That is the gift I want to give students: the opportunity to explore their potential and find talents they may not even know they have.