An Adaptive, Holistic Approach To Teaching Music
After many years of teaching piano, theory and composition in a variety of situations, I have come to rely on an adaptive approach to teaching which recognizes that regardless of age or experience level, music students are individuals who have different styles of learning, different gifts, different interests, different goals, and different challenges. I have learned to be as creative in teaching as I am creative in composing and performing. Indeed, I have always felt that performing, composing and teaching are inseparable, and therefore I approach each leg of this “holy trinity” with the same care, dedication, and joy.
A Composer’s Perspective:
My holistic approach to teaching piano insists on “intelligent” performance grounded in a deep and thorough understanding of how the composition is put together and what makes it work “under the hood”.
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When new prospective students contact me, I follow a fairly typical process to ensure that the student and I are well matched before engaging in regular lessons:
1. First there is a period of initial discussion or series of conversations during which I gather student information and background, learn more about their interests, and offer suggestions as to how I can best help them reach their goals.
2. Next I give a trial lesson. The trial lesson gives me a chance to assess abilities, and allows the student to see if my approach works for him or her.
3. Finally, I follow up and assess the trial lesson, and if we are mutually agreed, begin regular lessons.
I am a trained professional with the following college degrees:
Ph. D., Music Composition (University of California, Berkeley)
M.A., Music Composition (University of California, Berkeley)
B.A., Piano (solo, ensemble, accompanying, and collaborative) (California State University, Hayward)
My standard rate schedule is based on 30, 45, and 60 minute weekly lessons:
30 minute lessons: $40
45 minute lessons: $50
60 minute lessons: $60
I started teaching young students when I was in college as means to share my love of music with them.
I have worked with students as young as four years old and as old as 80. I have also taught undergraduate and graduate students during my tenure as a Visiting Lecturer at the University of California Davis. My current studio consists of students in elementary and middle school, as well as adults who have had more music experience and training. I also mentor students who want to pursue the Certificate of Merit course of study offered by the Music Teachers' Association of California, of which I am an active member.
The last recital of my studio was very succesful, and I was especially pleased at how all the students stepped up to the challenge of playing in front of an audience. Families and friends alike were thrilled!
Students looking for a new piano teacher will want to consider the following:
1. If the student is elementary school age and/or a young beginner, then the parents need to be assured that the teacher will address the following disciplines concurrently and in a way that is age appropriate:
2. Adult students will want to be comfortable with the style of teaching. Chemistry between student and teacher is always critical, and this is no less true for older students than it is for young beginners. Adult students will also have specific goals and needs in mind; these goals and needs should be clearly articulated during initial contact, and a study plan should be mapped out in collaboratioin with the teacher to assure that those goals and needs are met.
1. What do I want to get out of the lessons?
2. How commited am I in putting in the practice time to achieve those goals?
3. What is my budget?
4. What styles of music do I want to study and play?