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I began teaching private lessons in Chicago in 2002, and quickly discovered the gratification that comes from teaching music. I've taught students of all ages and abilities and enjoy the variation in the lessons within this scope. I continue to teach private lessons on several instruments, but also work with Jefferson County School District as a music instructor for the Home School Connection (HSC), a free fine arts and enrichment program for homeschoolers in kindergarten through 6th grade. With HSC, I provide small group classes in guitar, piano, music theory, music appreciation and ear training.
I employ traditional technique and pedagogy for the first few lessons. For piano I generally use Thompson or Piano Adventures for younger students. For voice I use breath work, sight reading and introduction to aural recall for introductory lessons. Once we hace progressed a few lessons I begin to introduce the style that the student is interested in.
I tailor lessons to students' interests, but don't neglect the fundamental building blocks of playing. I encourage creativity and experimentation, touching on a variety of musical elements in each lesson.
It is my desire and duty as an educator to create an environment that you feel comfortable in, and one that supports risk-taking, a sharing of ideas, and questioning. It is also my responsibility to make sure you are practicing with proper technique and practicing things that are essential for your growth. You will learn to solve new problems using the tools you have acquired. You will be using your creative mind and not just regurgitating information told to you. I want you to share ownership of the curriculum. I am merely a guide that will make sure you stay on the path. Even though I will be assigning you work to do that is essential, I think you will feel a stronger sense of purpose, and will be motivated to work harder once you begin to feel confident within our lesson environment.
From 2004 - 2014 I taught all Band Instruments, Piano, Violin, and coached singing lessons at the McCord Gallery and Cultural Center in Palos Park, Illinois. I got start teaching lessons as 6th Grade Saxophonist. I was selected to tutor two students from the 5th Grade Beginning Band. When I began attending summer camp after 7th Grade, I loved learning enough to perform a concert by the end of each week of camp. In High School, my music practice skills carried over to my academic studies and I was able to graduate with Honors, a 4.00, and earn 14 scholarships to attend college to become a music teacher. Since then, I have had the privilege of teaching1000's of students, and mentoring several college students. One of my favorite examples is a student I started teaching in 4th Grade who later added lessons for 3 other instruments and accomplished his dream of making it into the Chicago Symphony Youth Orchestra. Last year, one of my 2nd Grade Chicago Public School Band students performed the National Anthem for memory on the Alto Saxophone in front of 1000's of people at a race. One of my 1st Grade Violin Students impressed the president of Columbia College of Music so much that my students were offered life-time scholarships to attend Blues Kid's Camp, held annually at Columbia College in Chicago. Taking an active role in supporting people of all ages accomplish their goals and enjoy life is why I teach music.
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One-on-one piano lessons straight from the comfort of your own home is a great way to learn to play the piano. 90% of our students choose to take lessons from home, mostly due to the convenience of not having to make travel arrangements both to and from their lessons. This is great for parents and students with busy schedules. The content of home lessons is exactly the same as studio lessons, however, you will need to have a keyboard or piano at your home. Home lessons provide the best learning environment, as it is a comfortable, familiar surrounding for students to learn in.
Most students start out by learning to play on a keyboard or digital piano. The most reputable keyboards brands are Yamaha, Roland and Casio, and can be purchased from most good music instrument retailers. Students should look to buy a keyboard with 88 weighted keys, as this will most resemble the playability of a real piano. At a minimum, 61 keys will suffice for most songs and practice. Keyboards are portable and can be played with headphones, making them highly convenient for practice. That said, if it is within your means to buy an acoustic piano, it will provide the best learning experience.
Piano lessons are usually structured around a series of method books which are recommended by the teacher, and can be purchased at a local music store or online. Lessons for a beginner usually start with familiarizing the student with the piano as well as beginner level technique. This can include learning the notes on the piano, and learning basic scales, like major and minor scales. Beginners may start by learning how to play scales using the correct finger techniques with both hands until they develop their speed and co-ordination. Eventually students will start playing simple melodies, often nursery rhymes, that put the fingering techniques into practice. Students will also learn the various types of chord, from simple major and minor chords, through to 7th chords, slash chords, and diminished chords. Students will also develop their sight reading and music theory knowledge throughout their lessons.
Musika recommends that children start piano lessons no earlier than age 4 or 5. The attention span and personality of the child are something to consider when thinking of taking lessons. Even if your child has no evident musical inclinations, piano lessons offer a great option for introducing your child to music. During their lessons children generally learn how to read music, the fundamentals of musicianship and sight reading, music theory techniques, and ear training.
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.
Review by Heather Berest
I started my 5 yr old daughter with Karleen this Fall. Karleen has a calm and honest disposition. My daughter adores her and cannot wait for her arrival. I was concerned because my daughter is not so willing to "practice" during the week. Karleen advised me to allow her habits of practicing to evolve naturally as her love and understanding of piano increases. She emphasized how nurturing my daughter's love of music is most important. This was music to my ears :)
Review by Sarah M
Dan gave private clarinet lessons to my daughter, Annie, for two years. During that time, she excelled as a member of the middle school band, and maintained first-chair. Dan is an excellent teacher, and Annie looked forward to having one-on-one time with him. In addition to practicing pieces with her, he helped her with scales and greatly improved her tone quality.
Review by Pat
Henry has been a great piano teacher since I started lessons about a month ago, and he is helping me realize a lifelong dream. He is patient, plays beautifully, is easy to learn from and a very nice person. I took lessons as a child for a year or so, but never followed up over the years. I always said that I would once I retired and found the right instructor. That time is now. Thank you Henry and Musika!
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 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 La from Issaquah
thank you musika and ed. I never thought of looking for an in-home lesson until I found musika. I have absolutely no hesitation that Ed is beyond capable. He's even offered to meet us at a music store to purchase the correct fitting instrument. how fabulous is that! We've also decided to extend the lesson time from 30 to 45 minutes. All this and just one lesson under our belt. He quickly understood where my daughter is at in level and her style of music. I'm thrilled as can be.
Review by Linda
I am a beginning guitar player that has now taken five lessons with Jeff. I cannot speak highly enough of Jeff has a guitar teacher! I have learned more in five lessons than the months I spent trying to learn on my own. Jeff has introduced me to music apps that I can use during my practice sessions, followed up our lessons with comments and/or music, is very encouraging - yet holds high standards. During my lessons I feel that Jeff is very observant and tuned in to your positioning when playing - whether it be your wrist, your arm, or your fingers. He always offers recommendations on ways to try to fix something that I might be struggling with. He really pays attention. As an aside, Jeff is a very talented songwriter and musician. Check him out on YouTube. His songs are very beautiful and inspirational. I'm honored to be his student! - Linda
Review by James F.
After my first piano lesson, Polina is easily the best teacher I could have hoped for. Extremely charismatic and excited to help YOU learn the piano. She puts a lot of effort into evaluation your learning style and will no doubt help you make tremendous strides! I'm stoked to continue taking lessons!
Review by Wendy
Bill has been great with my 2 young children (age 3 & 6). He has integrated games into the lessons - they have enjoyed showing us how to play the games when it is time to practice piano. Bill has been easy to contact and rescheduling has not been a problem if we have a conflict at our regular lesson time.
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