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Classical Piano study in high school. No college degree
Member of Oklahoma Music Teachers Assn. Member of Tulsa Accredited Music Teachers Assn.
My name is Debra and I am 52 years old. I have spent most of my life in music. I learned piano at a music school here in Tulsa starting at the age of 4 years old until graduating from high school. I went into teaching music at an early learning school which I thoroughly enjoyed and probably inspired me to be the teacher I am today. I have been teaching private piano for the last 15 years at my home and in a music studio and have watched some of my students grow up and still are musicians today. I grew up learning classical piano but I took great pride in playing for the church I attended and still to this day play gospel piano. I come from a very musical family and love playing music by myself or with friends and my family. I tell my students I believe music is a gift from God and I very much enjoy teaching and playing.
I started teaching private piano lessons back in 2002. Although, I have been teaching in some form since I was 15 years old. When I graduated from high school I started teaching music in a preschool. I found this to be so much fun. I taught young students rhythm using different instruments. I still today focus on the different rhythm patterns in music when learning a new song. I want my students to enjoy every song they learn so they will excel in their learning. I want my students to have a list of repertoire songs that they are always working on. The more piano playing, the better they are. Of course this varies with age. I enjoy playing the great classics and strive to teach each student to do their very best. But I am a very patient teacher and cautious not overwhelm my student during their learning. I want my students to always remember their piano teacher as someone who truly cares about them and their learning.
I take all of my students through the leveled piano curriculum, whether it would be Faber and Faber Piano Adventures or Alfred Piano. My adult students I take through the adult method books. A lot of my adult students want to learn gospel piano and so we learn some of the easy hymns out of the hymn book. I start teaching right at the very beginning how to write music. Each lesson they take home a blank staff paper in which they write specific notes and rhythm patterns on during the week. They learn to write and read their music very well, and it is fun to do. They of course are rewarded at their lesson for bringing back their papers. I have just started opening up to the whole new world of music out there on you tube. My students find a song they want to learn and hopefully we can find the music to it. If not, we try and learn it by ear. Of course I want them to have a knowledge of note reading before they play by ear. I do try and encourage my students to learn the classics after they have completed their lesson books, but I am also conscious of their desire to learn new music out there.
I have always strived to bring out the best in each one of my students. So I teach my student to enjoy the instrument they play. I do that by making their lesson fun so they enjoy coming. I try and have fun and exciting music for them to learn and use lots of praise when a lesson is accomplished. I also have a reward system. They get stickers in their book as they complete each song or exercise, and for paying attention they get to get in the candy basket at the end of each lesson. When they finish their level books, they receive a composer statue. And at each recital they receive a special certificate. We have a recital in the Fall and Spring and play at a nursing home for Christmas. I am a member of OMTA and so we play a memorized piece in the Fall festival and for junior and state auditions in the Spring. Playing for these are not a requirement, but I try and encourage my students to participate. No matter if I teach a student for 6 months or 6 years, I treat each one with special care, because I am training a musician.
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