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Currently working on a Major in Music
I was eight years old when seemingly out of nowhere I told my mother and father that I wanted a piano. Their wise response was "well you will have to take some lesson's first!" Fortunately, the very first instructor they found me was a wonderful teacher named Gordon Adams who not only stressed the importance of theory but also taught me how to play with great passion. He would pick one piece for me to work on, which was usually classical, and then he would let me choose another piece of my own desire. Most of the pieces I chose on my own were movie scores or television theme songs such as The Wizard Of Oz, Star Wars, Titanic, and the Simpson's theme. It took a great deal of time and patience learning the classical pieces my teacher would choose for me but over the years I have grown exceptionally grateful for the classical, romantic and impressionistic era’s of music and art that my teacher exposed me to. When it comes to teaching my students it’s essential to cover music theory but just as crucial and probably more important is to help them learn how to put emotion into their technique, unleash their brains limitless creativity and discover how powerful music can be.
I began teaching piano when I was 16 years old and I am very fortunate to be able to share the passion that my teacher shared with me. It's crucial to me that students are learning the pieces that they wish to learn and support each students personality so they are progressing while having fun. I also make a point of sharing little anecdotes and facts from world history, literature and science as music is embedded in all of those things. Singing and/or composing their own pieces I highly encourage because I believe it is something even a beginner can do if they have the desire and it sets loose each persons creativity and lets their personalities shine. When I was in grade school I recall a lot of the teachers being quite dull and boring and thus it was nearly impossible to find interest in what they were talking about. I have recently come to the conclusion that those teachers probably didn't sincerely love what they were teaching and if one's not passionate about what they're teaching then the subject at hand will be just as dull as the teacher!
For all students from beginners to adults I use Alfred's Piano books as they are very transparent and easy to follow. I also strongly believe that even beginner students as early as 4 can learn scales and chords even though many teachers don't introduce such things until they reach an older age and have more experience. It is very apparent to me that many teachers under estimate how truly brilliant children are and how they can soak up material much more quickly at a younger age. Getting someone to understand something is a small challenge, but getting their attention in the first place is a whole other task in itself! A big part of my lessons is being positive, patient, and highly encouraging so that students are happy and successful in not only music but life itself.
One of the first questions I ask a new student is what music they are currently listening to and what piece they would like to learn. Usually they are shy and I don't really get an answer out of them but after they become comfortable with me I get an idea of what they want to learn. To my shocking surprise many kids from this modern era have no clue who John Lennon or Bob Dylan are and it is essential for me to expose them to all sorts of music from Bach to The Beatles to Chopin and The Cure! Of course while I always support what they ultimately desire to learn I find it my inalienable duty to inform them of the brilliant artists from the past.
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