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2019 - UCM Music Department Outstanding Senior Award
2017 - UCM Music Department Outstanding Sophomore Award
Hi, I'm Ahafia! I'm a musician and teacher from Kansas City, I use they/them pronouns, and I am deeply passionate about music and have been since I was born. I have studied piano since age 5 and violin since age 7, and recently graduated from the University of Central Missouri with my Bachelor of Arts in Piano Performance. My instruction focuses highly on the expressive possibilities of music, and I encourage my students to find their own individual style by learning how theory, technique, and genre influence their stylistic and artistic decisions. I have a strong background in piano technique: I myself sustained serious injuries from overpracticing and incorrect technique in my first year of college, and over the past four years have studied different technical styles to be able to play healthily and comfortably again. This healthy technical work is heavily emphasized in my studio, as I am unwilling to let anyone experience the pain and frustration I went through from these piano injuries. I perform regularly, and have worked at theaters all across my home city of Kansas City as a musician/music director in musical theater pit orchestras. My favorite styles to play and teach are classical, musical theater, 20th century classical, and new music!
I have been teaching since my junior year of high school. I construct my lessons to best fit the student's passions and interests, as well as their strengths and weakness. If the student has a good ear and is interested in learning how to play pop piano, we work on aural skills and learning how to play a song by ear only. If the student likes a particular classical era, we dive deeply into that and learn the minutiae of the style. Piano lessons should feel challenging, but never like a chore; music is expression and passion, and lessons should cultivate those feelings. I strongly believe that breadth of genre familiarity is what makes a good and flexible musician of any age, so I am willing to work with a student on any style of music they would like to pursue. Music theory, aural skills, and healthy technique are emphasized at each and every lesson, and regular practice, even if for only a short time every day, is required.
For intermediate students, I may still use a series of method books, but with most students I prefer to emphasize learning through repertoire. I have specific technique and theory books I use with students to provide structure to the beginning of lessons and practice sessions, but I find that most expressive and technical lessons are taught through music itself. By talking through healthy practice habits and jointly constructing daily or weekly practice plans with my students, I encourage them to take responsibility for how they use their time at the piano, and how to get things learned healthily and efficiently.
My goal for each of my students is that they are truly learning things that make them want to play, pieces and techniques that make them want to learn more and ask questions for themselves. I am not here to tell a student what they can and cannot do in music (though of course I am in technical ways) - I am here to enable students to make the music they want to make, to perform the sounds they hear in their head. My learning and practice goals are realistic, but I will push students to learn and grow as musicians. Each student is different and learns differently; thus I always do my best to tailor lessons to each individual's musical desires and needs.
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