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As a teacher, I completed a year-long vocal pedagogy course with Cynthia Bess which provided me with a thorough understanding of the anatomy and psychology of singing, as well as a systematic approach to the correction of vocal faults. In the spring of 2010, one of my students, a teen-aged boy, was selected to attend Eastman's summer program for high school students. Other students have successfully auditioned for admission as music majors and minors at local universities. Many of my students have performed leading roles in school, community, and university musical productions throughout the tri-state area.
For clarinet and saxophone students enrolled in school programs, I generally teach from their school method books, supplementing with standard methods like Rose, Baermann, and Rubank. I encourage interested students to study solo or chamber repertoire of their choice, allowing them to explore the music that interests them most. For beginning piano students, I generally use the Faber method books for younger students, and the Bastien methods for older students.
My teaching experience began in Pittsburgh in 2008, when I began my graduate studies. I emphasize consistent practice time that fit the modern student's schedule. Whether the student is in elementary school through high school, or resuming lessons after some time away, it is essential to make practice an integral part of the student's week. Not only does regular practice promote good habits, it will go a long way towards the student making more rapid and enjoyable progress! I integrate fundamental studies such as scales and etudes with other music such as school band, recital repetoire and just about anything the student would like to learn within their abilities! The goal is to reinforce that music is first and foremost about having fun, and regular lessons and practice will make it happen!
I listen the music which the student has been practicing. Then, I guide him/her to make corrections and enhancements. I use positive reinforcement to strengthen those parts of the performance, and suggest and demonstrate correct concepts. Then, after hearing the piece again, decide whether review the assignment or move on. Playing duets with the student is often part of the process. Doing that helps them feel the true meaning of the music; and also helps make up for a pianist's ordinarily lack of group playing because he usually practices alone. He does not have as much opportunity to feel the give and take of performing with other musicians.
I will use whichever book students are using for their band class in addition to Rubank books. I will begin by teaching fundamentals using these books, then I continue to teach solo repertoire.
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For adults who are looking to learn to play the piano, we recommend that they do so with some clear goals in mind. Maybe you want to learn to play some of your favorite songs, pass an exam, or write your own music. Whatever the aim, the experienced teachers in our network can help unlock the skills necessary to make those goals a reality. It can take time to develop the techniques and co-ordination required to play the piano to a competent level. However, playing the piano is a great stress reliever, keeps you mentally active, and can help with your hearing and fine-motor skills.
The content of each lesson is determined by the ability and experience level of each individual student. For students just starting off, the foundations of piano playing will start to be laid. This includes learning to read music and chord charts, learning their way around the piano, and learning simple scales and chords. Students can put these new skills to use through simple, entry level compositions. For intermediate pianists, they will develop some of the finer arts to piano playing, such as modulation, developing speed, and combining a wider array of chords, such as augmented and slash chords. They will also get to work on their sight reading and playing more challenging songs. Advanced students may wish to work on their improvisational skills, develop their repertoire, or study a specific genre or style of playing, such as Jazz, Baroque, or Blues. Regardless, all students will experience the joys of piano playing.
We recommend that students get either a full size piano, or a weighted keyboard for their lessons. It is very important to set up a practice schedule every day. You can purchase a basic keyboard at a local music store or online. Some students may also wish to rent a piano if they do not wish to invest in buying one right away. Digital keyboards are good choice for the beginning student because they are portable and easily stored in your home. Keyboards will start at 61 keys and increase to a full size keyboard of 88 keys. The most common brands of keyboard are Casio, Yamaha, and Korg.
Piano lessons for children generally focus on learning the fundamentals of the technique of the instrument and learning to read music and rhythms. We suggest beginning piano lessons no earlier than age 4, due to the attention span of the child, as well as the strength they have in their hands for playing. Piano Lessons will offer an excellent introduction to learning music for a child. Music theory and musicianship skills will also be taught during the lessons. Piano lessons are a great choice for introducing the art of music to your child!
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.
Review by Kaleen Todoroff
Noel is amazing. She is helping me to work toward my vocal goals for auditions to several musical theaters. She has helped me choose strong audition pieces and is teaching excellent ways to get the sound I need in a safe and healthy way. She works outside our lessons on new warm ups and new music pieces. She is the best.
Review by Alamu Vinai
Usually I don't write reviews. I am compelled to write for Feng. I've experience finding/working with many music teachers over the years for different instruments (piano, flute, sax) for kids. I think Feng is the best, he is so passionate about music, he encourages the kids. He teaches thoroughly - you can tell he knows lot about saxophone. I would definitely recommend Feng!!
Review by Thomas Pickens
"I've been taking lessons with Richard for just a little over six months now and all I can say is that he is an amazing instructor. He hasn't followed a set one size fits all script in his lessons but has instead worked with my musical interests and at my pace in a way that is truly valuable. He has also kept things fun, interesting, and engaging even at times when I've felt overwhelmed and discouraged. This is an instructor that is truly adaptable to his students and will make sure that they get the most out of their lessons. I would definitely recommend him to anybody that truly wants to unlock their musical potential."
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 Brad Schimmer
I have been playing the drums for about 5 years and I have to say that Alvaro is very patient. He has opened me up to new styles of music and I can now play a Songo groove! What I liked most was that he was flexible in what I wanted him to teach me and would also bring in new material specifically to what I wanted him to show me. Overall, great patient teacher and would highly recommend! Thanks Alvaro!
Review by Teri Romano
Being I'm a woman, I was a little apprehensive having a male teacher (he knew this), however, after my trial lesson I realized he knows what he's doing and I had nothing to worry about!! He is very knowledgable on the piano and vocal techniques. He has a big vocal range so he is able to hit the high notes to be able to show me how I need to sing it. He is also phenomenal on the piano. I would highly recommend him for vocal and piano. Also, I don't know how to sight read music and he is teaching how to. I've been taking lessons with him for a month (my trial lesson was on 1/11) and I have already seen a huge improvement. I am an intermediate level singer looking to improve my vocal technique, breathing and improve my confidence in my singing abilities, Alex is definitely helping me do that.
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 Lucinda
Melissa is very encouraging, positive, supportive and patient. She knows how to explain the technical details of flute and music notation to kids in a way that makes sense to them. She has been reliable so far turning up on time and calling if there is a need to reschedule. I would definitely recommend her to others.
Review by Brenda Duffey-jepsen
Omar is a great teacher as he provides expert instruction AND the right amount of encouragement. He is a professional musician on several instruments, yet he is patient with beginners! He also has gone out of his way to purchase an appropriate book for me, strings to re-string the cello, and extra attention to tuning. I appreciate how he explains and demonstrates exactly what a beginning cello student needs to know.
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