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1953 to 1969: Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, Canada, in harmony, theory, piano performance, composition, choir, violin and other subjects. Received certificate Grade 10 in piano performance
I fell in love with music at the young age of four years old. I began taking lessons then and studied music formally until I was twenty years old. I went on to play in several bands, compose songs and musical scores and make recordings. I have a lot of experience teaching classical and pop music styles and I have a lot of patience. After high school, I began setting my poems to music which led to a reenactment of the well-known songwriter fable, moving from Toronto, Ontario, to California to follow my dream of becoming a successful songwriter. My wife Chappell and I collaborate on composing, recording, and performance. After a full time music adventure, I followed the muse of story-telling and poetry to San Francisco State University’s Creative Writing program (B.A. ‘93, M.A. ‘95). My goal as a teacher is to help the student achieve what they desire in their piano playing, to grow their love of music, to awaken the joy of creative expression and appreciation for beauty.
I began instructing young adults in harmony, theory and piano when I was nineteen in Oakville, Ontario, Canada. After high school, I began putting my poetry to music and this led to a move to California to try and make it as a songwriter. I played with several music acts in the Bay Area, toured the east coast and Midwest, and wrote music for the theater, notably an original score for Bertolt Brecht's Caucasian Chalk Circle. When I left “the road,” I continued teaching adult beginners in the city of Santa Rosa and was keyboardist/vocalist for a club/hotel band in the area for ten years. Currently I teach adult non-beginners piano and music theory, and also young beginners. Currently I accompany singer Chappell in club performances and studio recordings of their original and traditional songs. We have released 2 CDs.
I have started piano students off with Piano Adventures Primer Lessons and Theory, and have taught adults using the Alfred Basic Adult Piano Course. I do have students learning from John Thompson's Teaching Little Fingers How to Play method (moves more quickly than Piano Adventures), and have a Blues Piano student learning from various sources including How to Play Boogie Woogie (Hal Leonard/Wise). I teach beginning guitar using the Hal Leonard Guitar Method, also Mel Bay's Modern Guitar Method, and Mel Bay's Fun With Strums.
I like to use supplementary materials if a method book isn't covering musical territory that the student wants to explore. Although I insist a student learn to read music, I encourage learning by ear and have helped students find a melody on the piano by ear rather than reading notes. Patience is my watchword but I will always encourage and document practice times. I tell the student, you can't achieve your music goals without practice, preferably every day. I have had recitals for my students the last few years and a group of them have also performed in retirement homes for people that can't get out to hear music.
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