What Kind of Piano Teacher are You Anyway?

What Kind of Piano Teacher am I?

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I my last blog post “Still Trying to Please Everyone? Stop it! You Can’t” I describe an incident with the parent of a prospective student. This particular parent questioned how and why I teach the way I do. This got me to thinking, why do I teach scales and arpeggios after my students have learned to read music? Should I include more technique? Are my music theory books good enough? Am I strict enough? 

Something New Every Week

It seems as though every week I come across some new teaching idea. Some way of doing things I hadn’t thought of before. Just last Friday I went to a lecture on piano technique given by Nancy Bachus, whoa!! I thought I knew a lot about piano technique. After hearing her, I think to myself there’s definitely room for me to up my game on that front. I wonder what else I can improve.

Then there’s Facebook. So many cool things, great music, and awesome opinions. It literally makes my head spin (OK not literally). But it can be overwhelming, and at times I find myself questioning my teaching. What kind of piano teacher am I anyway?

What Kind of Piano Teacher am I?

Continue reading “What Kind of Piano Teacher are You Anyway?”

Still Trying to Please Everyone? Stop it, You Can’t!

I had almost forgotten.

It’s been a little while since I’ve been hit with a dose of negativity. Things have been going pretty well lately. I got a job at a studio I love and I’ve picked up quite a few students in my home studio too. All of them happy. Parents, students, everyone’s been really great! Full of compliments and tidings of goodwill.

Until yesterday.

Yesterday…I got the worst email I have ever received from a parent, ever! (and for me ever is over 30 years).

Here’s what happened.

Continue reading “Still Trying to Please Everyone? Stop it, You Can’t!”

The Best Piano Teacher in Town

We would all like to be THAT teacher. The best piano teacher. The fun one that everybody talks about. The teacher who’s got great students that are awesome players. The one who doesn’t need to advertise because she gets referrals galore from happy parents. I know some teachers like that, I had at least two teachers like that, and I certainly hope to be THAT teacher myself. Here are some things I notice about awesome piano teachers:

a teacher

Awesome teachers want to be teachers. Great teachers love teaching and sharing music as much as, or more than, performing music.

Continue reading “The Best Piano Teacher in Town”

Little Kids on the Keys

Little Kids on the Keys

Imagine having a great time teaching preschoolers. Imagine those lessons are so much fun that you could teach eight three-and-a-half and four-year-olds back to back and feel energized and inspired. Imagine that you are really teaching them music, they love it and their parents are not just happy but thrilled. Imagine you can’t wait to get to work because it’s so much fun and the time flies by.

This isn’t only possible, this is my life. I left my well-established studio of beginning through advanced students behind. I said goodbye to West Palm Beach Florida and came to Cleveland Ohio ready to start teaching. I have a home studio but I also teach three days a week an arts center that is famous for Kindermusik, as a result, I have 25 students (so far) 19 of whom are four years old or younger. I love it and here’s why.

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Why and How to Teach Folk Music.

 

Folk Music, by definition, is the music of the people. It is simple enough that the average person can perform it and it reflects the lives and concerns of its people. Every culture has its own folk music; Music that has been handed down through generations and has endured the test of time.

Intriguing and mysterious, folk music is rich with historical references and imagery. Though we rarely know who composed a particular song, there is almost always a story that goes along with it. Folk music can tell us so much about a historical period and the people of that time.

Because of its singable, melodic lines and its basic harmonic structure, folk music lends itself to endless compositional and improvisational possibilities. Many (if not all) of the greatest composers were influenced by folk music. Most notably, Brahms who was fascinated with folk music and Bartok, who together with Zoltan Kodaly, (pictured above) tracked down and cataloged thousands of folk songs of Hungary and Romania.

Folk music is wonderful in so many ways! I believe it is a treasure that should continue to be passed along to our children. Here are some of the ways I make folk music a part of my studio. Continue reading “Why and How to Teach Folk Music.”