I teach primarily through classical instruction but that does not mean that I do not include popular music in my instruction and my performances. I love tango music and folk music from other countries. I am open and enthusiastic to teach other styles of music as a complement to more classical standard repertoire. I also love jazz music but it is a whole different language to teach and learn. Although I include in my teaching some basic improvisation and a great deal of theory and harmony necessary for approaching jazz style, I cannot offer expertise in that area, so if you wish to study jazz piano, you will find better options elsewhere.
My teaching offers a well-rounded musical training which includes different areas of music studies:
A clear understanding of how the piece is constructed helps us learn faster, makes the piece easier to memorize and enable us to better appreciate music. I use methods that includes pre-reading process, which supports learning through experience first, then learn the name or definition for what is experienced. This approach is especially valuable for children process of learning, who use visual, tactile, and aural experiences to understand concepts that will be identify and named later.
I persist on the importance of acquiring a proper technique for sake of the quality of sound production (good tone) and for avoid injuries. Good technique allows to play at the performer full potential. I encourage awareness on body behaviors while playing piano and body control. For adults, I stimulate the study and interest on techniques that promotes healthy movements and good posture, such as Alexander Technique.
Through sight reading books and method books (quick study pieces), students learn and improve note reading.
These exercises help students develop concentration, musical memory, aural skills and awareness and recognition of patterns and musical elements. This area is an important topic to develop musicianship.
Improvisation helps students find connections between musical elements like harmony, chord progressions, structures, and rhythms. Exercises which include improvisation involves exploration, spontaneity and creativity, turning lessons into an exciting experience.
Memory gives the student fluency and freedom and allows to focus more on musicality and technique. I encourage memorizing the pieces, especially to children, who have a great potential for developing their memory.
A great tool for understanding a piece is illustrating the time, place and events in which it was composed and the personality and musical characteristics of the composer. This area includes teaching stylistic aspects of the pieces in order to perform faithful interpretations of composers’ works and period, without losing the student’s personal artistic contribution.
ENSEMBLE AND ACCOMPANIMENT TRAINING
Opportunities are provided for students to play with other students, a parent, or the teacher. Accompany is an important part of piano instruction I encourage pair students of similar levels to explore the piano duet literature. We try to coordinate between parts discussing possibilities to rehearse, take lessons, and perform (if wish) together.
DALCROZE METHOD APPROACH
Within these areas of studies I incorporate lot of activities in the style of Dalcroze Method. This method, also known as Dalcroze Eurhythmics, incorporates the basic elements of music (rhythm, melody, harmony) with body movement, to provide a multi-dimensional approach to music learning. I use activities that focus on rhythm and dynamics, ear training and improvisation.
Body movement exercises are a great tool for feeling internal rhythm as well as to communicate and develop sensitivity in the students. With beginner students, I emphasize that every rhythm should be sung, danced and/or tapped before it is played on the piano.
Singing is very much encouraged for understanding musical notions, such as rhythm, phrasing and articulations. There is absolutely no need to be a good singer or to sing perfectly in tune, just to give it a try is important and I will help you to get there. It can also be very fun! Especially for children who usually love to learn their songs singing the lyrics.
Currently, I am mainly using “Piano Adventures”, but I have experience teaching many other methods, which are part of my piano studio library collection. The methods I use more frequently are listed below. With transfer students (children or adults), I can adapt to the methods they are using, always considering switching methods at some point if results are not satisfactory.
Children (from 4 to 6-7)
“My First Piano Adventure” by Randall Faber. It is a lot of fun for the little ones. Five delightful “friends at the piano” engage the student with fun songs in many genres — folk, classical, blues, and originals. The books offer plenty of different activities and games providing a holistic learning approach. Each Lesson Book includes audio recordings that offer a unique listening experience with outstanding orchestrations and vocals.
“Tales of Musical Journey”’ by Irina Gorin – great for the very little ones. It uses a fairy tale setting and characters to introduce and expand on musical concepts.
Children (from around 7)
“Piano Adventures” by Nancy and Randall Faber. I mainly use four books from all the levels (Primer to level 5): Lesson book, Theory, Performance, and Technique and Artistry. I may complement with some songs from other books from the series like Disney, Popular repertoire, Christmas books, etc.
“Rhythm Cup Explorations and Rhythm Menageries” by Wendy Stevens. As part of the Rhythm curriculum, I use these books which provide a supplement program that combines the fun of cup tapping with carefully composed rhythms to teach and reinforce rhythm. We also use their accompaniment tracks to add even more fun and to improve the learning process. These are created with all styles of music, so there is a great mix for students of all ages. If you want to learn more about these rhythm methods visit: composecreate.com
I frequently complement these methods with some games, flashcards, worksheets, theory exercises and material, or appropriate songs or pieces from other methods like “Piano Safari”, “Wunderkeys”, “Bastien Piano Method”, “The Music Tree” or “Teaching little fingers to play” by John Thompsons.
“Adult Piano Adventures” by Nancy and Randall Faber
Alfred’s Basic Adult Piano Course
Choosing repertoire for Advanced and Intermediate students:
Students may have the possibility to be involved in the process of choosing the repertoire, seeking to assign music that they enjoy learning as well as appropriate for their level and for building on their strengths and improving their difficulties. Usually, students pick from different pieces that are suggested but it is also possible that students propose a piece that catches their attention and is suitable for working at the lessons.
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