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Karen D In HomeHome In StudioStudio Teaches OnlineOnline
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Instruments: Piano, Guitar, Voice, Keyboard, Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar
Styles: Classical, Pop, Rock, Blues, Folk, Punk

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Karen D In Home In Studio Teaches Online
Instruments: Piano, Guitar, Voice, Keyboard, Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar
Styles: Classical, Pop, Rock, Blues, Folk, Punk

Where I Teach:
In Your Home My Studio Online
Ages Taught: 10-80
Levels Taught:

EMAIL US OR CALL 877-687-4524

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ABOUT
Degrees / Training / Special Info:
BFA New York University, Theater, Second Major in Psychology
Overview:
Teaching piano is a great joy. My goal is to help students develop the skill to make playing music fun and satisfying, whether their goal is to become a professional or to simply enjoy playing for its own sake. I've worked for several arts agencies (Arts Horizons, Healing Arts Initiative, CREATE) so I've had the privilege to teach music in a variety of settings. While teaching in a classroom setting is immensely satisfying, seeing individual students grow in proficiency, dexterity. concentration, is an even bigger thrill. Another goal of mine is to help students develop the skills to play with others. I've been in several rock bands, and know firsthand the value of speaking a common musical language. Through this one not only creates joyful experiences for oneself, but for fellow musicians and audiences. This is the greatest gift of all.
EXPERIENCE
My teaching experience began almost 20 years ago. I was teaching kindergarten, and one of the parents mentioned that she was considering getting piano lessons for her son. I mentioned that I had studied piano, loved it and was getting back into playing. She asked me, since I had experience working with young children, if I would consider teaching her son. I thought if over for about 5 minutes, agreed, and never looked back. That teaching job led to work teaching general music in a pre-K afterschool program at Academic Day Care in Jersey City. From there, I was able to garner a few more private piano students. Success there led me to expand my free-lance class-room music teaching to include two more Jersey City schools for general music teaching (The River School and Mount Pisgah Academy) and A Child's World Day Care Center in Bayonne. My students ranged in age from 5 to 23, for both piano and guitar. A few years later, I began teaching general music to children aged 3 to 8 at Jersey City Montessori School. After a few months, the parents and the proprietor asked me to teach piano privately to some of the students. I was more than happy to oblige. I continue to teach in Jersey City and Manhattan, and look forward to adding new students to my roster.
METHODS USED
I love the John Thompson series for young children beginning their study of music. For 3 and 4 year olds, I start out with John Thompson's Easiest Piano Book. We also work on keyboard orientation, understanding and mastery of the musical alphabet, note values, and rhythm. I've found for very young children, drawing notes with crayons, clapping, singing, keep lessons fun and engaging. My 5 and 6 year old students respond well to Thompsons's Teaching Little Fingers to Play. We also begin work on scales and cadences. Since dexterity and interest in exploring the keyboard usually exceeds note-reading ability. I use a chart to spell out scales and chords instead of a scale book at this point. Students enjoy progressing through the songs and ask for new scales. By the time they've completed "Teaching Little Fingers...." and have learned single-octave C major, A minor, G major and E minor scales, we're ready to move on to John Thompson's First Grade Book. I supplement this work with flash-cards to help with note recognition, sight-singing to aid understanding of how bass and treble complement each other. I also use composition to help students develop ownership of the skills they're acquiring. Nothing says "I know how to do this" like writing your own song. Thompson's First Grade is also the starting point for my 7, 8 and 9 year old students. They enjoy the melodies, and the challenge of combining hands. For older or more advanced students, I find the Guild Series to be quite effective and interesting. With these students, following their interest, we continue with sight singing, composition and improvisation. With adults, we work on what they're interested in (classical, rock, blues, gospel), but with a firm grounding in fundamentals: scales, cadences, etc. For all my students if they don't respond to one set of materials, we switch to another until we can find a good match. I've used Bastien, Schaum, Bartok as supplemental or primary materials.
LESSON STYLE
My goal is for students to become independent, joyful musicians, who reach the height of their ability. For some students, that may involve performing at a high level - studying at the university level, competing, or working as a professional musician in some other capacity. For others, playing for their own enjoyment and edification is enough. I follow the students' leads, and allow them to learn at their own pace. We set goals based on aspirations and ability. That said, my lessons are structured, but flexible, rigorous, but fun. I encourage regular practice times, include practice plans, and talk with students about how to practice. Frequently, students determine the flow of the lessons - what we emphasize or de-emphasize. We also talk quite a bit about what the student finds interesting. Whenever possible, I use this to fine-tune my teaching to keep student progress steady and satisfying.
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