Hello. My name is Rudolph Gartner, and I have played the piano for over 40 years, on and off, since I was 9 years old. I didn't become very diligent in my piano practicing until I was in my late 30s and early 40s, although I always loved piano and music in general. I guess it takes some of us longer to settle down and become serious about the things we love and care for. I have now taught private piano lessons for 12 years in the Chicago area, again on and off, but definitely on for the last 5 years. I have taught piano lessons to children as young as 4 years old and to adult students who are parents. Classical music is my foundation, but I have branched out to teaching blues and rock chords to students, as well as beginning jazz harmony and even Latino-style music. I am passionate about teaching music, and I take an active and enthusiastic interest in my students. I am flexible in my approach, and I strive to see the best and work to bring out the best in the people I work with. I have a bachelor's degree in music theory, a minor in organ performance, and an associate's degree in accounting. I played church organ in churches for over 20 years, and I earned a colleague's certificate in organ playing and accompaniment from the American Guild of Organists. I myself, when practicing, work on accompaniment music for the Merit School of Music for whom I am a staff accompanist, and I work on jazz and rock harmonies, as well as now Afro-Cuban piano playing. I also practice contemporary Christian music and gospel songs since I now play piano for the Salvation Army church service on Sunday mornings. I have composed several musical pieces in my time, and I would like to find time to try and compose some new pieces. Rudolph Gartner
I enjoy the interaction between student and teacher, getting to know the students I work with, and their parents. I enjoy communicating with the students and instructing them in the art of piano playing. I am very happy when I see the students make progess in their learning.
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It depends on the age of the new student. If she or he is quite young, as in 5 to 8 years of age, I like to begin with the student and I exploring the keyboard, learning to hear high and low pitches, discovering the black keys of the keyboard, then the white keys, and trying to learn a very simple song by rote for the first lesson. I believe that enabling the beginning student to acquire a more intuitive, sensory-based understanding of the piano keyboard and its sounds is a good approach to establishing a beginning foundation for the student from which he or she can progress to discovering more patterns of notes and sounds on the piano and then to reading music notes and their rhythmic values.
I hold a bachelor's degree in music theory from Roosevelt University here in Chicago. I have a good foundation in principles of written harmony and keyboard harmony and aural skills. I was previously a piano major for my first undergrad year and played two piano juries at the end of each semester. I accompanied choirs and various vocal and instrumental soloists since high school and throughout my years at Roosevelt University, as well as afterward during my many years as a church organist.
At the present time, I charge $30 for a 30-minute lesson, $35 for a 45-minute lesson, and $40 for a 60-minute lesson.
When I was still in college, I began to teach a few students whom I had met, or had met their parents, in a circumstantial manner. That continued for some while, and I had gained a few other students through references and recommendations from the first students and their families.
The youngest student I worked with was 4 years old, and I have worked with full-aged adults. I work with students who have had some prior music experience and those who have not had the opportunity to do so. I feel that students at the age of 4 years old are a special group to try and teach piano and music to. For my purposes, I need to see that those students have reached a certain level of cognitive development and understanding in order for me to work with them. That is not always the case which is why I sometimes recommend that students be at least 5 or 6 years old before their parents start them up with music and piano lessons.
I worked with a high-school student who is a member of the high-school chorus I accompany for. I worked with her to try and identify which pitch she was attempting to sing as she was having difficulties in matching her sung pitch with that of the music. I gave her some pattern exercises to do with me at the piano and after just two sessions, she made some impressive and audible improvement.
Well, I would say to that student that music lessons should be enjoyable and fun and rewarding, but in order to be rewarding the student should be willing to commit to some diligent, consistent work and to commit to acquiring a style of discipline that is needed to make real progress with music and piano.
I would say to take some time out yourself to think about, to visualize even, what you want to say about your needs. It is part of the teacher's job to try and understand what the student is going through, what issues the student is dealing with. However, the student can aid in these situations by trying to explain the problem or issue clearly and with examples.