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Throughout my studies of music education I was exposed to several different pedogies. I have incorporated parts of these pedogies to develop my own teaching style. My method includes focusing on the student's specific needs and learning style to foster the best environment for learning.
I began teaching while at the Hartt School; where, after taking a number of courses in vocal pedagogy, I gave voice lessons to music students majoring in other instruments. I also tutored beginner and intermediate ear training while at the Hartt School. Following graduation, I taught private voice at a music and dance center in central Connecticut. For the last several years, I have been teaching at a number of community-based schools around Connecticut, including the Community Music School of Essex, Middlesex Music Academy, and Charles' Music Center. I find that teaching has been one of the most rewarding experiences I have had while in music, and I often feel that I have learned as much from teaching as from my own study. I firmly believe that it is as important that students learn basic musicianship skills such as sight-singing and music theory as learning their instrument of choice, and I try to incorporate these elements, among others, in voice lessons.
For Voice Students: I start each lesson with 10-15 minutes of vocal warm-ups and scales. The remainder of the lesson revolves around vocal pieces that either I think would be a good match for the voice, age, maturity, and ability of the student, or preparing a student for an audition or performance that they would like to perform a specific piece for. I also like to incorporate sight reading and ear training into my lessons, especially as the student grows into their voice. For Piano Students: I usually use the Alfred Piano Course book series, unless a student has already established themselves in a different lesson book series, are familiar with it, and wish to stay with that series. There is an adult series of Alfred Piano Course lesson books as well, so I am able to gear lessons for adults towards their teaching series as well. I usually teach beginning to intermediate level piano students, so these books are extremely helpful to those students because they teach proper fundamentals of piano playing, as well as theory, ear training, and technique. For older and more advanced students, I also try to teach them pieces that they are familiar with and / or like from pop culture.
I love seeing a student gain an understanding of a concpet that had been challenging. In order to accomplish this "aha" moment, I try to learn how the student learns best (visual aids, explainations, listening examples) and use that to help the student. I use popular songs that the student knows to explain concpts that can be challenging. I use stickers for younger students to help mark progress and practice journals for older students to help see how much was accomplished. I never teach two students the same and tailor all my lessons to the student's needs and ability.
In my teaching, I aim to bring out the best musicianship in each student, but I also believe it's not just up to me. Up front, I let the student know that they can't get much out of the lessons if they don't practice! That being said, I do my best to encourage the student by pointing out all their strengths. I'm not there to intimidate, but to cultivate a love for the instrument. I let the students pick out some of their own repertoire for learning important techniques. Also, my current and former students have really enjoyed ear-training pop quizzes.
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Most students start out with a keyboard or digital piano. We recommend a full size keyboard with 88 weighted keys - weighted keyboards will have a touch response similar to a real piano. However, if purchasing a real piano is in your budget, we think that an acoustic piano provides students with the higher level of satisfaction during practice time.
Musika offers one-on-one, in-home guitar lessons that are designed specifically for each individual student. Whether your lesson takes place in the studio or at home, students will get the exact same lesson content, with the only difference being the location. Parents will find home guitar lessons a much more convenient option for their child, as it saves the time and costs of transporting their children to and from the studio. Younger students will find that learning to play the guitar in the comfort of their own homes greatly benefits their development as they are learning in a supportive, secure and familiar environment.
Musika's piano lessons take place in a one-on-one setting and are customized to the requirements of each individual student. Students vary in ability from beginner to advanced, and naturally have different lesson requirements for each stage of their development. Put broadly, beginners will cover aspects of piano playing such as posture, hand positions, fingering technique, scales, chords, and applying these things to simple songs. They will also start to develop their knowledge of music theory, reading chord charts, and sheet music. Intermediate players will start to take these concepts further, by learning different chord variations, such as diminished, augments, slash, and 7th chords, as well as improving their speed and playing more complex compositions. Advanced students can develop playing skills such as glissando, improvisation, and virtuosic playing. They may also like to study a specific genre like Jazz or Blues piano.
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.
Piano is a great first instrument for children who have never studied music before. The instructors in our network specialize in teaching younger children, and can develop an individual lesson plan for your child. The youngest age that we recommend starting piano lessons is age 4. The instructor will be able to teach your child to read music, beginning music theory and musicianship skills, and how to develop a love for playing the instrument.
Review by Stevengournay
There are only a handful of people I count in my life who were great teachers, and Laura is one of them. Her musicianship is so secure as are her technique and personality that she zeros in on my weaknesses and devises exercises to strengthen them, and during the lesson it is not "Do this, no, do that" which is unnerving to a novice. She understands the most important part of study is relaxation, so that is easy to achieve with such a confident and compassionate human. Music is her life and she is eager to share her talent with everyone. A rare find, indeed!
Review by Anita
Our daughter has only been playing the piano since March. Tony replaced our other teacher who had a job transfer and could no longer teach. Tony is fun and encouraging. My daughter is playing Taylor Swift and Christmas songs and is playing the piano more than ever before. Very happy so far with Mr Tony
Review by Suzette
She is amazing! My daughter, Isabella (7 yrs) is totally engaged in the lesson. Lilly's definitely has a gift with teaching young children!!! A great talent of hers is making the content interesting, current to today's music and most of all fun! She has a knack for taking the material and translating it in a way that is relatable to Isabella. My daughter really enjoys her lesson's and has moved along rather quickly with the material. Thanks Lilly!
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.
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 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 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 Olivia
Andrew is very encouraging and uplifting, but also isn't afraid to tell you your weaknesses. Andrew also is super awesome with scheduling. Fits around your schedule all the time. He really knows what he is doing and can help you reach your goal in the time you would like to. Couldn't have gotten a better teacher, who continually helps me grow and pushes me.
Review by Susan
My daughter is extremely happy and comfortable with Rachel, and looks forward to her piano lessons every week. She is a very kind and patient teacher, always using positive reenforcement with my daughter, which makes all the difference in the world to children. We definitely are looking forward to continued piano lessons with her. So glad we found her.
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