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My teaching style is always focused on having fun while playing music. My lessons are relaxed, but very informative. Often times I have been told that my lessons can also be inspirational in talking about music and how to approach it.
I believe in providing a well rounded education for you or your child. My approach entails a 50/50 split between doing the hard work necessary to excel and learning to enjoy music. Therefore, their will be and allotment of standard scales, chords, sight-reading and music theory education. However, one must also learn how to use these elements to find there own stylized expression, creative abilities and improvisational voice, which I believe to be necessary if one is to really enjoy music. Although all of these elements seem necessary to me, I do understand that everyone has their own particular agenda. Therefore, I curtail my curriculum to accommodate the goals and abilities of my students.
I have developed a semi-structured method for beginning students, taking material from different books and then combining them. For more advanced students, I trust they know more about what and how they want to learn than I, and can certainly help them work out their kinks!
I am an eager and energetic teacher who takes pride in maintaining a busy musical schedule, both actively performing and teaching, and being able to use my wide range of experience to be a more effective instructor in my personal studio. I moved here to Chicago in 2008 from my hometown of Wichita, KS to study with Matt Lee and Tage Larsen at DePaul, and later graduated with a bachelor's degree in trumpet performance in 2012. Since then I have have many opportunies to play a truly wide variety of music all over the city, from swing music at the Green Mill, countless streetfests playing hip-hop, salsa, soul, and R&B, performing at Chicago Blackhawks hockey games at the United Center, a symphony orchestra at symphony center, big band music at the Jazz Showcase, and many other shows at venues like Lincoln hall and the Double Door. I believe that having a background in classical music, but having a wealth of experience in as many other styles of music as possible make me uniquely qualified as a music teacher, especially one that can get students of all ages excited about playing music.
One of the most valuable things I learned from Jim Campbell, my main professor/teacher/mentor during my undergraduate career at the University of Kentucky, is that a great teacher does not necessarily need to have already mastered the art form themselves - in fact, as it is said that the best leaders are great followers, I strongly believe that the best teachers are great students, even in a private lesson setting. I have been fortunate to learn more than I ever thought I could by this point in my life, but I am still eager to learn more, and I strongly believe that giving my students the chance to teach back what they learn helps them understand information and skills significantly better than they would otherwise, boosts self-confidence, encourages independent study, and ultimately helps them retain what they have learned better than many other approaches. I also strongly believe in the power of performance and having the opportunity to share what you learn and enjoy with others, so depending on the age I always strongly encourage finding performance opportunities of any kind, playing/practicing with friends, studying abroad, etc. However, as I said, every student is different, so these approaches have to be flexible in order to successfully accommodate my instruction to each individual student.
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Modern day keyboards have a wide range of functions that make them perfect for learning to play the piano. Many keyboards have in-built lessons and songs of varying difficulties to play along to, which can act as a great supplement to lessons. Keyboards also come with a range of different instrument sounds and FX, such as percussive sounds, string sounds, synthesizer-type sounds and brass and horn sections, which can be fun to play with. They also usually have a record function and can be synchronized to a personal computer, which is great for hearing your progress or writing your own music!
As piano lessons are customized to the needs of each individual student, we are able to better help you to achieve your goals. Beginning students may just want to learn an instrument out of interest and for fun, so the basics will be covered to get you up and running. This tends to include music theory and technical exercises, such as hand position, fingering, and playing scales and chords. Intermediate students may be working towards an exam, recital or performance, so will cover playing, performance and stylistic techniques such as legato, staccato, glissando, sight reading, working on speed, runs, fills, and solos. Other topics that may be covered in your piano lessons are things like expanding your repertoire, developing improvisation and jamming skills, and studying the various types of genre-based playing techniques and styles, such as Jazz, Ragtime, Blues, Rock, or Classical piano.
Piano is a great starting instrument for children who have never studied music before. The instructors in our network specialize in teaching younger children, and will develop an individual lesson plan for your child. The youngest age we recommend starting on piano lessons is age 4. The instructor will be able to teach your child how to read music and develop a love of playing piano, as well as beginning music theory.
In home lessons are what 90% of our students request. Not only is it a convenient means to study music, but we also notice no difference in the quality of lessons done in-home or in-studio since they are typically structured the same. The main benefit of in-home lessons is the reduction in travel time to another location. Additionally, the student may be able to focus better in their own home since they are familiar with it. Piano lessons in the home offer a practical choice for your family for learning the skill of playing a musical instrument.
Learning a new musical skill as an adult is a great way to keep your brain fresh! We have many adult students actively taking lessons with us. In fact, adult students represent around 50% of our student base. The instructors in our network generally offer an individually tailored lesson plan to the needs of an adult student. You will learn the technique of the instrument, specific repertoire suited to your skill level, as well as learning how to read music and sight read.
Review by Shelonda
Henry is teaching my daughter how to play piano. Henry is an excellent teacher, we really like and appreciate him. His teaching style works very well for my daughter, she is comfortable which makes learning enjoyable. Henry is very patient and I can see that he is passionate about teaching music. Great teacher for sure.
Review by Emily
Steve gets you started right away with songs but also goes into music theory and reading music which adds to understanding and appreciation of the music. He is very approachable and you can tell that he absolutely loves music and teaching. It is hard not to be excited about the process of learning with Steve. If you are considering lessons I highly recommend Steve for any level of student.
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 Kristin
Ted S. is teaching clarinet to one of my children, and piano to two others. He is extremely knowledgeable, and very encouraging. His teaching methods are keeping my children enthused about their lessons, and without that, you have nothing. Two of my children were taking piano lesson from another teacher for the past year, and not progressing. Ted has been able to evaluate their skills individually, determine what was missing in their music education, and begin again with some early basics they seem to have missed. I am convinced we are finally moving forward, and am very happy about that. I wish I would have made this change much earlier.
Review by Roberta
My 4 year old son is quite energetic. Another piano teacher tried to teach him before Peter and could not get my son to listen to him at all. That teacher told me that my son had no interest and that we needed to wait before having my son take lessons. Peter started teaching my son a few weeks later. He quickly developed a great rapport with my son. I was astounded when my son sat down and listened to Peter during the first lesson. Peter has remarkable patience and is a natural working with children. He knows when to follow the child's lead. My son is very interested in how the piano works, so Peter takes the time to teach him about this. He is able to use my son's interests (superheroes, Lego, Star Wars, etc.) to refocus him back to playing the piano. Between lessons, he brainstorms on how he can teach my son better. For example, my son was playing the notes, but not understanding rhythm, so Peter looked into it and came back the next week with a new plan which helped. My son looks forward to his lesson every week. When he hears the doorbell ring on lesson day, he exclaims, "Yay! Peter's here!"
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 Wilma
Gina is very supportive and encouraging. Even though I get frustrated with my progress, she can tell that I've been practicing and reminds me of how far I've come. She challenges me to learn new skills without giving me a piece that I cannot master (with practice). I'm happy that she is my music teacher and look forward to many more lessons in the future.
Review by Shilpa
"Richard is a very talented and a patient teacher. He teaches my 6 year old daughter in the comfort of our home and he is very regular. He follows a learning book and mixes his lessons to bring difficulty and technicality while keeping it interesting for my daughter. My daughter was difficult to work with at the beginning but he was able motivate her in every possible way. As a parent I make an effort to learn with my daughter so that when my daughter practices I am able to guide and correct her and Richard is very generous to take the time to give provide me concepts. I am extremely happy with Richard and his ability to teach children."
Review by Jacob Solomon
Ileen is a very attentive instuctor. she is patient and works hard to see her student succeed. if a concept is unclear she expains it in other ways to ensure understanding. I would highly recommend ileen to students of all levels who want to learn guitar and music theory to thoroughly enjoy the instrument and music
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