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Band director for 15 years, Prarie Central HS
My approach to teaching is very "person-centered"- in that I will adapt to the needs of the student. I do not have one stuanch approach in teaching music. I want to help students engage early on in "Music Experiences"- not just learning scales, but truly playing music with me, improvising, and enjoying themsevles. This sort of music work really formsm the bedrock of my music lesson and music therapy practice.
Because I teach piano, flute, viola, violin, and guitar, my curriculum varies upon instrument and level. Using piano as an example, for beginning students, I typically start with Bastien's Primer series. This series teaches correct hand posture, technique, and the beginning elements of reading music. Once in the intermediate stage, I am comfortable teaching Alfred, Bastien, Faber & Faber, or Suzuki method books. The intermediate studies chosen depends on the student, student needs, goals, and musical interests. In addition to an intermiediate curriculum, I introduce solo repertoire. Following the intermediate stage, advanced players will begin prestigious soloist works such as sonatas and concertos.
I began teaching people how to play instruments when I was in high school, by teaching new students to the band how to play percussion. I then continued teaching once in college by volunteering at local high schools helping new students to the band programs learn brass and percussion. From there I worked with the Rich South high school band director and the Jack Hille middle school band directors. Once I graduated college I taught choir and instrumental music for the catholic school system for two years. Then I received my current job with Chicago Public Schools as the music director starting the schools first music program.
Helping a student become passionate about music is the most rewarding thing I can get from teaching. I set realistic goals that help the student progress at a rate geared towards the student's own pace. Positive feedback helps instill a desire to continue working and practicing regularly. This also pushes the student to wish to learn and work on more challenging materials. By learning where each student draws his/her own inspiration, I tailor our lessons to their goals while opening up their possibilities to go even further than what the student thought possible.
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At the beginning level, renting a flute is the best option. For younger, smaller flutists, the student might consider using a curved head joint to make to the flute easier to hold. As the student progresses, consider purchasing a more advanced model with open hole keys and B foot joint.
We recommend beginning flute lessons around age 8 or 9. Most school music programs usually begin flute students in the 3rd or 4th grade. The student needs to be big enough to be able to appropriately hold the instrument, including having the minimum hand/finger length to reach the flute keys/holes comfortably, and have the lung capacity to play properly without running out of breath.
Flute lessons can occur in your home for the same price as in-studio lessons. The student lets Musika know what days and times work best, and we arrange for an instructor to come to your home, at no extra cost to you!
There is no age limit to learning the flute! The flute is a fairly easy instrument to hold for young and old players. Our network of teachers will work with any age or skill level.
Each lesson is personalized to the student. The teacher will concentrate on the needs and goals of the individual. However, general topics will be covered, such as: how to clean, put together, and hold the flute; how to blow correctly into the instrument to develop a nice tone in all register;, how to finger the notes; slurring and tonguing; and how to read music!
Review by John
When I started with Darrell, I didn't know anything bout music. Nothing. We started with basic music theory & moved into scales and reading. It hasn't been very long at all, but my confidence is growing quickly. He does ask a lot from you and he expects you to keep up. But I can honestly say that if you are willing to work hard and spend the time at home doing what he asks, you will see the results. He wants you to succeed and takes pride in watching you grow. If you want it as bad as he does, you will see the result very quickly.
Review by Scott
David is not only a great musician and educator but also a delightful human. We began using David six years ago as a piano teacher for my two boys. Since then my eldest moved on to acoustic and electric guitar and my youngest electric and stand up bass. Somewhere along the way I began to take guitar lessons also (I was David's most bearded student at age 48). David always came prepared to lead but also to follow, he often asked what we were listening to and taught us how to play it. His ability to listen to a piece of music and transcribe it always left me amazed, we have several notebooks full of songs we learned individually or played as a group. After a shoulder injury David continued to impress by teaching me music theory instead of our usual lesson. I could go on forever, David made a positive impact on my family and feel fortunate to have met him.
Review by Lea G
Kevin was such a fun, smart and innovative voice teacher to work with. I had the pleasure of taking lessons with him for over a year and I couldn’t have been more pleased with my time under his training. In just a few weeks I noticed my voice was stronger and I was able to apply his teaching and see the results. He explains his techniques in a way that the student is able to actually hear and feel the changes he is referring to. This allows the student to efficiently practice outside of lessons. Even further, he believed in me and truly cared about my progress. He was always energetic and focused in lessons and was continually surprised how far a song could come in just one hour of his time. Under his teaching I developed a stronger belt in my higher range, learned how to color my voice for different sounds and improved my stage presence. I wholeheartedly trust Kevin’s musical insight and was grateful that he challenged me with a wide variety of songs and styles that I hadn’t considered trying before.
Review by Nicole V.
"My daughter is 10 years old and has been taking piano lessons with Mr. Dale J. for almost 4 years now. She is progressing nicely. His kind and gentle way make for a very positive learning experience. Mr. Dale J. is encouraging without being harsh or belittling. He is patient and the ideal instructor for my daughter."
Review by Clinton Poskozim
Martina has been a great teacher. Our son is 8 and had taken some piano lessons before starting with Martina. She came right in and got him to improve. She does a great job of giving him just enough of a challenge to make him work and learn but not any pieces that are so overwhelming he can't get them. She has helped him through a lot of early music theory so that he not only can play the piano but understands the music he is reading in all of its complexity.
Review by Robert Stallone
I am in my 60s and decided to get back into playing my guitar. I thought taking lessons would be a good way to formalize the endeavor. I did have some concern about whether working with a teacher would work out as I've behave only played for my own enjoyment for a long time. Peter and I have had a few lessons together and I am truly enjoying the experience. He is very supportive and flexible. We arrived at a three gold approach that is really working for me. We focus on developing a playlist, learning some of the more iconic tunes from leading artist that I would have a hard time learning on my own and developing some technical skills related to style and music theory. Now I look forward to my next lesson and am already playing better and enjoying the journey. Peter is a great teacher I'm lucky to have the opportunity to work with him.
Review by Svea Bryan
Brett is an accomplished musician, who shared his knowledge at a level that my five year old understands. He is polite and relaxed in his mannerisms but take a serious approach to focusing on the lesson. He is very patient and engaging with the attention span you'd expect from a kindergartener. His motto ever is "sometime you learn faster by going slow"
Review by Steve Newman
My daughter began learning sax in her school band, but she didn't begin PLAYING sax until she started lessons with Debra. From scales and exercises to actual pieces, Debra coached my daughter with real insight, sensitivity, and patience. Her knowledge of the instrument and feeling for music - along with her easy-going,"kid friendly" personality - make Debra the ideal teacher and musical mentor.
Review by Anita
Our daughter has only been playing the piano since March. Tony replaced our other teacher who had a job transfer and could no longer teach. Tony is fun and encouraging. My daughter is playing Taylor Swift and Christmas songs and is playing the piano more than ever before. Very happy so far with Mr Tony
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