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My goal is to provide the environment, resources, and suitable instruction for my students to get the most out of learning piano. I have a wide range of techniques to make the process of discovering a new instrument easier and more fun for my students. Having worked as both a nanny and a piano teacher for many years, I bring to the table a breadth of experience, versatility, and insight.
Philosophy on Music- There is imitation and creation, but to truly create one must first learn the established forms before one can break them. Eventually through discipline to these forms, one will see these forms not as absolutes governors, but instead a variety of tools that aid us in our artistic expression and enjoyment. Philosophy as an Educator- To be an effective educator I believe that one must not only create a curriculum and pay attention to the individual needs of their students, but one must also provide an environment that fosters growth. That is why I am a firm believer in being extremely kind, providing positive feedback and maintaining a safe environment.
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.
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.
Every musician has some strength which can be developed and built upon. In some students it can be recognized as talent. In others it is enthusiasm and dedication to study and improve. It can also be curiosity and the joy in discovering new ways to express oneself. I love finding my students where they are and helping them toward mastery of their craft. A good music teacher listens. And listens. And listens. From the first lesson I am very interested to hear where the student is in their own practice. (Not even complete beginners are the same; everybody has a unique perspective and personality that informs how they "speak" in music.) The next task is to hear where the student wants to go. How much, how fast, and how far are they are willing and able to work toward their personal goal? These questions are the starting point of every relationship. It is also the starting point of every session. In lessons, I listen to the student progress through warm ups, exercises, and repertoire. Each of these three elements - warm ups, exercises, and repertoire - can be used for instruction and encouragement.
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In many ways adult learners have an advantage over young students. Adults have better self-discipline with regards to practice, are more patient, and have higher levels of concentration. This allows them to develop the basic skills at a reasonably quick rate. Learning the piano is also a great way of remaining mentally active during adulthood, and helps students to improve their hand-eye co-ordination and develop a critical ear. Learning to play the piano in adulthood can be beneficial health-wise, is a great way of harnessing creativity and stimulating the brain and it can be immensely satisfying when achieving set goals.
We suggest students purchase a piano or keyboard for their lessons, as they will need to practice every day in order to develop their skills on the instrument. We recommend a keyboard with weighted keys, as this will feel most similar to an actual piano. An actual piano will have 88 keys, but most keyboards start from 61 keys and go up from there. Common keyboard brands found at music stores are Yamaha, Casio, and Korg. Many keyboard sets will come with a case, stand, headphones, and may even offer recording features for recording your own playing.
Learning to play the piano as a child is fun, rewarding, and vastly beneficial to their overall development. Children can develop their motor-skills, dexterity, and coordination through technical piano playing such as learning scales, chords, and correct fingering. Young students can also develop their concentration, listening skills, and ability to master complex thought processes through theory, repertoire, and student-teacher feedback. Learning to play the piano can also be character building by instilling a hard-working attitude, developing self-discipline and confidence through practice, taking exams, entering competitions or performing recitals.
All students start their lessons at different levels of experience and with different aims and goals in mind. For beginner students who are new to the piano, lessons will be devised to give students the fundamentals of good piano playing. Students will learn the correct posture, hand position, and fingering techniques for playing scales and chords. Students can develop these skills through practicing scales, arpeggios, and simple melodies using both hands. For advanced students, topics that may be covered include more intricate skills, such as creating runs and fills to add interest and variation to their playing, to develop their repertoire of pieces they can play, and to develop their sight reading. Some students may have a specific genre that they are interested in learning, such as jazz piano. Students will learn the musical theory and techniques that underlay a host of musical genres. The teachers in Musika's network are able to recommend books or specific areas of additional study that they feel will advance each individual student and help to achieve their goals.
Taking piano lessons from the comfort of your own home is the most convenient way of learning to the play the instrument. All you need for your lessons is a piano or keyboard to play on! Home lessons remove the hassle of transporting your child to and from their lessons, and can be fitted around busy work schedules more readily. Whether the lesson takes place in-home or in the studio, the content remains the same. Home piano lessons are a particularly good option for younger students. It is a big advantage for young students to learn in a familiar, comfortable, and supportive environment.
Review by Lauren Segal
Ed is THE best instructor I've ever had and I've had many instructors over the years in various fields of study. Ed met us at a music store to help choose a guitar, this is after he first called and asked all the right questions. He's supplied my daughter with just the right amount of paper work and just the right amount of new techniques. By this I mean to say that Ed connects with the pace my daughter learns at. I highly recommend Ed AND Musika.
Review by Vanessa
Eduard is an amazing teacher. (Coming from someone who previously knew the basics of playing and music.) He is not to harsh with his words and is extremely nice. Eduard has a great amout of experience and displays it through his teachings. Specifically by making it easy to follow along with his words to actions. As a person with a wondering mind whom is distracted easily, it is easy to pay attention.
Review by Alex A.
Travis rocks. My 7-year-old son and I both take lessons with him. Travis has moved me off the plateau I was on with lessons that focus on theory and technique. And for my son, he's been able to instill a desire and interest that were missing when he previously took piano lessons. With Travis teaching us, the limits are the ones we impose on ourselves. Needless to say, Travis himself plays a mean guitar to boot!
Review by Nancy
Darrell is A-Maz-Ing! He demands results from his students and therefore results come quickly. The time he spends teaching is intense and packed with great instruction. He is a tough teacher but offers lots of valuable instruction that is applicable for music as well as life in general. I highly recommend Darrell if you are ready for results!
Review by Bradford Putt
Angela has been a perfect match-up for me. She is warm and welcoming, and also serious about teaching - she keeps our time focused and on track. What I truly appreciate, as a new singer anxiously preparing for an event, is the confidence she gives me. Angela is very encouraging. I enjoy coming to class.
Review by Yury
I would like to thank Polina for the series of classical piano lessons I've taken recently. Polina is a fantastic teacher and a high class performer, and I'm really happy I had a chance to meet her! I believe anyone can benefit from the teaching method Polina is practicing regardless of the student proficiency - from beginners to advanced performers. It was a pleasure for me to study classical piano courses under the guidance of such an intelligent & professional teacher! Without doubt, my playing technique has improved a lot and I have signed up for the new classes online already.
Review by Gisellesoldati
Cory is simply the greatest instructor ever! His 30 year plus teaching experience along with his knowledge of ever longer in music composition and performance make a real difference if you're in for learning the right way. Thank you Cory for teaching me not only the chords but also the history behind it and awesome tricks on getting better faster ;)
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 Terri
Caitlyn is friendly, helpful and still holds my high-school aged daughter accountable for practicing. She also makes sure the music technique is mastered correctly during the lessons - they work hard and still have a good time together. I can highly recommend her as a flute teacher. My daughter is very happy & grateful to have found Caitlyn as a teacher.
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