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It is a privilege to guide an individual in their quest for musical learning. I believe in helping students progress at their pace. We set appropriate practice goals and assignments accordingly. If after a reasonable amount of effort the student finds a piece difficult, we set it aside to revisit it after other pieces. My goal is to motivate a student to feel passionate about music. When critiquing, I believe in positive compliments and gentle re-direction as needed. My ultimate satisfaction is to see a student accomplish a challenge that he/she choose!
My teaching experience began as a young adult teaching children of family and friends. I had the opportunity to make my dream of teaching a reality when I left the business world to study piano. The last 15 years have been spent teaching at a conservatory, a college, private music academies, traveling to students' homes as well as a home studio. I maintained an average studio of 35+ students that studied about 5+ years with me. I enjoy teaching all ages and levels, but my primary work is with children, beginners and adult leisure students. I also have experience in pre-school groups. My job as a piano teacher is to teach the student how to practice at home. The goal is that any student should be able to pick up a piece of music and be able to play it on their own by using solid reading and rhythm skills, reinforced with written theory. I have a lot of experience preparing students for festivals and friendly competitions offered by local teacher associations. There is nothing more rewarding than watching students get excited, having fun and being motivated by their own success and progress!
I have a very good balance in my lessons of nurturing the student, but also pushing the student to his or her highest potential. I always remain encouraging and supportive. I want everyone to leave feeling good about themselves and I like to keep my lessons very open and warm. I will push you where you need to go, but I will always be on your side and will never make you feel bad about yourself in any way.
For beginning students, I usually start with The Rusian School of playing, book 1, combined with some easy traditional songs. When the student has progressed, I will begin to introduce classical repertoire. I'm always trying to choose the right compositions for my students, depending on their interests.
I do not use any textbooks or piano method books in my teaching. I am almost completely self taught, but have had success with my own methods of teaching piano. I have my own musical examples written out, which I can easily print or email for students. For beginners, I generally focus on basic technique and practice routine. Once the student has mastered some fundamentals (scales, chords, etc.), I introduce beginning level repetoire and start with basic sight-reading techniques. For intermediate and advanced students, I like to figure out what kind of popular music (rock, blues, jazz, pop) that they would like to play and learn more about, and then learn repetoire or basic techniques in that particular genre. Again, I specialize mainly in popular styles, and am not much of a classical player. My hope is to give intermediate and advanced classically trained students a good foundation in popular styles, and once the foundation is there, start working on repetoire. One of my specialites is arranging pop songs for solo piano performance, so that will also be a part of advanced lessons.
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Piano lessons are usually structured around a series of method books, which are recommended by the teacher and can be purchased at a local music store or online. Lessons for beginners usually start with learning the notes of the piano, and progress to learning to sight read using songs the student is familiar with. As the lessons progress, more focus is placed upon proper technique, fingering, and posture. Basic music theory is also introduced. However, whatever direction a student decides to go towards, the instructor will work to make lessons fun and enjoyable!
An upright or grand piano is often too expensive or large for the home. For lessons and practice, keyboards are a great alternative. Many keyboards can be powered via battery, making them portable, and can also be played with headphones which makes late night practice possible. Many keyboards also have built-in lessons that students can play along to, as well as having many sounds available, such as violin, cello, viola, horn sounds, and percussive sounds. This makes keyboards more diverse than a piano, and a fun alternative for practicing on. Many keyboards are also compatible with home computers, which is great for uploading recordings.
At Musika, we highly recommend that students looking to learn to play the piano do so with a clear goal in mind. Whether your goal is to learn to play your favorite tunes, reacquaint yourself with the piano, or just to play for fun, the experienced teachers in our network can help you make those goals a reality. Learning, developing, and improving technique, co-ordination, and theory can actually be quicker during adulthood as the complex thought processes and theory are easier to understand. Adults can also help maintain their fine-motor skills, concentration, and listening skills into later life.
Children are recommended to start piano lessons no earlier than age 4 or 5. The attention span and personality of the child are factors to consider when thinking of taking lessons. Even if your child has no evident musical inclinations, piano lessons offer a great option for introducing your child to music. During their lessons children will learn sight reading, music theory techniques, ear training as well as fundamentals of music.
Piano lessons in your home offer a convenient option for learning to play an instrument. 90% of our students take their lessons in their home, and this is a practical and time-saving way to learn the technique of the instrument. Think of all the time you can save by not having to transport your student to a class every week! In-home lessons are structured the same way as in-studio lessons are, and in addition, a younger student may feel more comfortable at an in-home lesson, as they are already familiar with the surroundings.
Review by Marlo
Danette is a delightful instructor. She always brings a wealth of knowledge, excitement, and enthusiasm to piano lessons with my daughter. She is not only skilled at piano, but she has a wonderful voice quality that she uses to help convey certain techniques and to highlight various points where she intends to draw the students attention.
Review by Jennifer
Dave is a fantastic teacher. He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to students that I think is invaluable. At the same time, this does not limit him from working with beginning students. He is very communicative with the parents as far as schedule changes. We are so grateful to have found him!!
Review by Angie Ignazzitto
Stephanie is an excellent voice teacher! Our 10-year-old daughter enjoys her lessons with Stephanie each week. She has an amazing way of connecting with our daughter through music. Stephanie knows how to offer constructive feedback in a positive way that keeps our daughter interested and wanting to learn more. I would recommend Stephanie without hesitation.
Review by Justin
I've been taking lessons from Michael once a week for eight weeks now, and with his help I have made dramatic improvements with my sax. Michael is a funny, nice, patient and all around great instructor. I'd recommend Michael, as an instructor, to anyone who wants to improve their skills and have fun while doing it.
Review by Leslyn
Steve is an excellent instructor. My son has really connected with him and he is learning the guitar quickly. Steve is patient and never rushes through a lesson in order to make it fit within the session time limit. In addition, before he leaves, he writes notes and instructions for my son to follow. By the next lesson, my son is confident in what Steve has taught him. Most importantly, Steve builds my son's confidence in his own own ability and progress after each lesson.
Review by Jane A.
I started taking voice lessons from Ali when I was 19 and a sophomore in college. Though I was hesitant to be starting "late", I felt very comfortable with Ali and her teaching style. We identified several key issues that really made a difference and improved my voice technique. It was fun to sing popular, beautiful songs in our recital! If only I lived in Los Angeles, I would still be a student. Highly recommended!
Review by Blaine Vaz
“I took drum lessons from Mark for about 7 months. I have been playing for 38 years but always thrive to learn more. He was able to provide me alternative exercises and help me gain a better understanding of my opportunities. I have been able to take my playing to another level. His approach to teaching is perfect for any level of student, beginner or advanced. He is a true professional and an outstanding person. You won't go wrong with Mark!” Blaine Vaz
Review by Timothyfullard
We've only had a few lessons with Elisa, but so far we really like her. She has a lot of great suggestions for solo pieces as well as orchestral music that involves all 3 of my boys, while also including some Christian music that we can play at church. She is very patient in explaining the lessons and encouraging!
Review by Ruslan
She is the most amazing teacher ever. She is not only w great teacher but she's so fun to work with. She has taught me so many things in such little amount of time things I didn't even know I could do. I recommend Andrea to everyone. She is an amazing singer and cares a lot about her students. She's the best!!
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