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I am a fun-spirited teacher that maintains structure to every lesson and I have a passion for teaching students of all ages how to play the piano. I started playing the piano about 25 years ago and I began teaching about 12 years ago. I performed in many recitals and guild auditions as a student, and in college I began to perform at Open Mics, at weddings and then dinner music at restaurants. I was a National Guild of Piano Teachers Member from 2006 to 2008 and prepared several students to perform in guild auditions. I have recorded songs that I have written in different studios and enjoy the performance aspect of learning songs. I encourage students to perform in recitals too if they so desire.
I have 18 years of experience in the Music and Education. My time has been combined and/or divided between performance, classroom instructing, supervision and project management. Upon graduation from Central State University I continued to study with the professors there to gain more musical knowledge. I have received credit in over 170 music classes. I studied with some of the greatest musicians there are, for ten years as I pursued my musical destiny. The combination of classroom, administration and performance has proven most beneficial to me and my students.
For beginning students who are children, I usually use the Alfred Music Piano Methods series, and include music theory and ear training as a part of the curriculum. Once students have grasped the fundamentals, I will introduce solo repertoire appropriate for receital performances to encourage and motivate their learning. For adult students, I love to spend time to figure out the students musical interests, and use the types of music they enjoy to guide my instruction so the lessons can be engaging and fun.
The most satisfying moment as a teacher is when a student finally "gets it", and for students, I find that lessons are the most fun when the student feels capable and not overwhelmed. I like to challenge my students and encourage them to exceed even their own expectations of their abilities. With this in mind, my overall teaching philosophy emphasizes gaining technical mastery over the student's chosen instrument, strong music reading and theory skills, along with creativity and improvisation to turn them into well rounded players who can hold their own in just about any music setting from the stage to the studio.
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Whether you have an interest in learning to play contemporary, jazz, blues, or classical piano, piano teachers in the Musika network can help develop your playing through one-on-one lessons. Throughout your piano lessons, you will cover a wide range of skills ranging from basic playing, to music theory, all the way through more advanced piano study. For those just starting out, the essential elements of piano such as hand position and fingering technique are generally taught before moving on and applying these skills to playing major and minor scales and simple songs using one hand. Students then typically progress to learning chords, such as major chords, and start to put these into practice by learning simple songs. Lessons may also cover the theory side of piano, such as reading music, sight reading, and chord charts. Experienced players can work on certain aspects of their playing, such as improvisational skills, genre-specific playing such as jazz, or developing their repertoire.
Musika deals primarily with home lessons for students. The location is the only difference between our in-home lessons and our studio lessons. As they do not have to travel to their lessons, home piano lessons can be highly convenient for those parents and students with a busy schedule. Students will need a keyboard to practice on, however. For younger students in particular, having piano lessons in the comfort of their own home can be of great benefit. They will feel more safe and relaxed in familiar surroundings, allowing them to focus on learning and enjoying playing the piano.
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.
We recommend that students get either a full size piano, or an 88-key, weighted hammer action keyboard for their lessons and practice. A real acoustic piano will provide the most satisfying learning experience, however, due to the cost and size of the instrument, a keyboard is often the more convenient option. Weighted keys will respond most like those of an acoustic piano, and keyboards have the added bonus of being portable and compatible with headphones. The most popular brands of keyboard or digital piano are Yamaha, Casio, Korg and Roland.
Our recommended starting age for piano is 4 or 5, when students are capable of playing the keys properly and have sufficient strength in the fingers and hands. Young students also should have begun learning to count and to read. No matter what your age may be, the piano is an excellent introduction to the fundamentals of music, including music theory and basic composition techniques.
Review by Nancy Fritsch
I honestly cannot say enough positive things about Rachel. We met her through CYT where my daughter took theater classes from Rachel and was directed by Rachel in several musicals. Because Rachel was so wonderful to work with and so clearly talented at teaching and directing, several years ago, my daughter started private vocal lesson with her and I have seen my daughter's vocal abilities grow in leaps and bounds. Rachel is an ace at picking music to work on that stretches abilities while at the same time, keeps vocal lessons fun. I highly recommend her as a voice and theater coach.
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 Chad H.
"Mr. Richard has been absolutely perfect for our very active two boys. He has been an excellent fit for gauging and keeping their interest far beyond what we had imagined. Our boys actually argue over who gets to go first. Mr. Richard knocks it out of the park when it comes to exceeding our expectations"
Review by Kate Thomas
My son enjoys his viola lesson each week with Martina. She is disciplined in her approach to teaching but always makes my son's learning experience enjoyable. She knows how to challenge him and develop excellent form. Martina is always punctual and professional. We both highly recommend her as an instructor.
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 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 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 Jennifer
Lindsey has been coming to our house to give saxophone lessons to our 12 year old daughter for about a month. She is an absolute joy. She is extremely knowledgeable, flexible with her schedule, and my daughter thinks she is "fun" and "cool". We would highly recommend her to anyone wanting music lessons. A+
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.
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