I firmly believe that piano teaching should encompass not only technical ability at the keyboard, but also a strong understanding of music itself. Thus, I focus on a holistic approach to music-making, including music theory, piano technique, ear training, aural skills, and harmony. However, I also do my best to tailor instruction to individual student needs, because everyone has different inclinations and intentions with music-learning. Regardless, I encourage creativity and enjoyment of music through understanding and goal-setting, and do my best to give my students the tools they need to efficiently and happily pursue music.
Specific aspects of my teaching philosophy include the following:
I include in my lessons both score-reading and aural-based skills in order to develop a more well-rounded musician.
Sight-reading is especially important in order to facilitate quick learning, and so every lesson includes practice reading excerpts.
All expectations for what is to be practiced until the next lesson are made clear by the end of each lesson, and students will keep track of what was discussed using a physical notebook.
While my students will practice the concepts learned during the lessons, I require that all my students make an effort to regularly practice on their own. Without constant reinforcement, it is difficult to retain the knowledge and skills.
Piano technique requires a great deal of physical effort, and finding the most efficient ways of playing the piano is heavily focused on during lessons. Students are also made aware of practicing self-care when playing, since there can be risk of injury if carelessly done.
Fostering interpretative and creative thinking in music is just as important as building up technical skills at the keyboard. I encourage my students to develop their own interpretations of the repertoire we work on, and include segments on improvisation, harmony, and composition to help develop an understanding of musical structure.
While students often develop preferences for specific styles and genres of music, I assign repertoire from a wide variety of time periods and styles. A well-rounded musical education opens up many options for students, and repertoire choice is a large part of it.
All of my students are required to take an annual assessment of some kind, either through programs such as the RCM Certificate Program or through the internal exams at the Golden Key Piano School. These exams are important for setting goals for students, and are a great way to provide third-party feedback.
Most of my teaching currently occurs online, and so I require that my students have a strong, stable internet connection, a working webcam, and a good quality microphone.