Piano Lessons

A description of my philosophy and lessons


I am constantly working to be the best teacher I can be.  I will work with you and your student to create the best course of study for your needs.  I don’t use method books that have the student play in only three positions.     Instead, I prefer to use the Celebrate Piano! series that has the student moving around and exploring the whole piano from the very beginning.  I will add in other pieces and books as the student shows an understanding of the basic keyboard geography and note reading.  Students are allowed to learn at their own pace.  This results in a highly individualized and flexible program.  Theory and technique are included in the lesson books including transposing so they learn to be flexible.  Other resources for study are provided as needed.  I have two grand pianos so we can play duets and two piano repertoire.  

At the lesson, the student plays and I make comments to teach and improve their presentation.  I evaluate on the basis of right notes, fingering, rhythm, steadiness, dynamics, markings in the music and musical style.  I try to incorporate both musicality and good technique.  Often left brain dominant children are good at reading music but don’t play beautifully.  Right brain children are good at memorizing and play beautifully, but struggle with reading the notes.  We will try to bring balance as much as possible so that the music is both beautiful and accurate. 

My teacher never taught me how to practice.  I just went home and played thru the piece over and over again.  I have recently done some study in practicing models and techniques and I am incorporating that into the lesson as well as providing a practice journal.  Unlike most you will do more than just record how long you have sat at the piano.  This journal includes a breakthrough journal where you keep a log of your accomplishments, a page of goals for each piece and how to accomplish them during the week, a list of what to listen for and how to evaluate, exercises, practice techniques to experiment with, and any special exercises or pieces either the student or I would like to include.

At home, parents should be helping their student remember that there are goals for each piece.  Set up a practice of rereading the goal every time you play.  If all you hear is the same piece over and over make sure that is actually the goal for that piece for that day.  If there is a section that needs more work, work on that section in the "bootcamp" style before playing the whole piece again.  It is not a matter of how much time you spend at the piano but the quality of practice and working toward the goal.  When you accomplish the goal record it in your breakthrough journal so you can look back over your victories.  Practicing correctly leads to efficient and more rewarding practice.

I have a system of awards that takes each music "superpower", such as sight reading, expressive playing, composing, scales bootcamp, memorizing, etc and allows the student to accomplish a set number of tasks in order to reach the next level.  Each level has increasing difficulty and increasing rewards.  When you reach "ninja" level you will receive a special award and recognition.