While my primary focus is on classical instruction, it doesn’t exclude the incorporation of popular music in both my lessons and performances. I have a particular fondness for tango. I also like folk music from various countries, and I’m open and enthusiastic about exploring other music styles to complement the classical standard repertoire. Though I have a deep appreciation for jazz music, teaching it involves a distinct language that goes beyond my expertise. While I introduce basic improvisation and cover essential theory and harmony relevant to jazz, for in-depth jazz piano studies, I recommend seeking more specialized options elsewhere.
My teaching philosophy aims to provide a comprehensive musical education, encompassing various areas of music studies:
A clear understanding of how the piece is constructed accelerates our learning process, facilitates memorization, and enhances our overall appreciation of music. For beginners, I use method books that include pre-reading process, emphasizing experiential learning before associating names or definitions with the encountered elements. This approach is especially effective for young learners, allowing them to absorb musical concepts through a blend of visual, auditory, and tactile experiences.
I emphasize the importance of acquiring proper technique for the sake of quality sound production (achieving a beautiful tone) and to prevent injuries. A good technique enables the performer to reach their full potential. I promote awareness of body behaviors and body control while playing the piano. Specially for adults, I encourage the study and interest in techniques that promote healthy movements and good posture, such as the Alexander Technique.
Sightreading proficiency is crucial for musicians. I offer guidance and tools to improve this skill, focusing on visual, aural, and analytical abilities. Enhancing students' tactile sense and coordinating their eyes, ears, and hands are also key. My aim is to help students become confident sight-readers.
Engaging in these exercises helps students cultivate concentration, musical memory, aural skills, and develop the ability to recognize patterns and musical elements. This aspect of music training plays an important role in enhancing musicianship.
The teaching method books I use incorporate improvisation into their curriculum. Improvisation serves as a tool for students to discover connections among musical elements such as harmony, chord progressions, structures, and rhythms. The exercises involving improvisation encourage exploration, spontaneity, and creativity, offering fun and special experiences during the lessons.
Memory enhances a student's fluency and freedom, enabling them to focus more on musicality and technique. Following a similar approach used for sight-reading guidance, I may encourage the memorization of pieces, particularly for children, who possess great potential for developing their memory skills.
An invaluable tool for understanding a musical piece involves exploring the time, place, and events surrounding its composition, as well as delving into the personality and musical features of the composer. This area encompasses teaching the stylistic distinctions of the pieces, aiming for faithful interpretations of the composer’s works and the era, all while allowing room for the student’s personal artistic expression and contribution. I particularly discuss about music history with my advanced or intermediate students, but I also encourage young students and beginners who are open to exploring this area to inquire into the subject.
ENSEMBLE AND ACCOMPANIMENT TRAINING
Students have the chance to engage in collaborative play, either with fellow students, a parent, or the teacher. Throughout lessons, students are trained to play along with the teacher's duet accompaniment. During at-home practice, they can utilize the accompaniment tracks provided in the books. I also foster an environment that encourages paired students with similar skill levels or siblings to explore piano duet literature. Collaborative playing is an important aspect of music instruction. We actively coordinate between parts, exploring options for rehearsals, lessons, and, if desired, joint performances.
My main resource is "Piano Adventures", and I also have experience with various other methods from my piano studio library collection. The methods I frequently use are listed below. For transfer students, whether children or adults, I am flexible and can adapt to the methods they prefer, always considering the possibility of transitioning to different methods if the results are not satisfactory.
Children (from 4 to 6-7)
“My First Piano Adventure” by Nancy and Randall Faber: Designed for the little ones, this series features five delightful “friends at the piano” who engage students with fun songs in many genres — folk, classical, blues, and originals. The books offer a wide range of activities and games, providing a holistic learning approach. Each Lesson Book includes audio recordings, offering a unique listening experience with outstanding orchestrations and vocals.
Children (from around 7)
“Piano Adventures” by Nancy and Randall Faber. I mainly incorporate four key books across all levels (Primer to level 5): Lesson book, Theory, Performance, and Technique and Artistry. Additionally, I may enhance the curriculum with selected pieces from other books in the series, such as Disney, Popular Repertoire, Gold Performance, Christmas books, duet books, etc.
To further enrich the learning experience, I often complement these methods with games, flashcards, worksheets, theory exercises, and additional material from various sources, including methods like “Tales of Musical Journey” by Irina Gorin, “Wunderkeys,” “Piano Safari,” ‘Alfred’s Basic Piano Library,” “Bastien Piano Method,” and “The Music Tree.” Additionally, I may include suitable songs or pieces from these alternative methods mentioned.
I primarily utilize “Adult Piano Adventures” All-in-One Piano Course, Books 1 and 2 by Nancy and Randall Faber, incorporating the “Popular,” “Classics,” and “Christmas” books as complementary repertoire.
I may use “Alfred´s Basic Piano Course” as the primary method if preferred by the student, or as supplementary material.
Choosing repertoire for Advanced and Intermediate students:
Students have the opportunity to be actively involved in the repertoire selection process. The goal is to choose music that not only aligns with their learning preferences but is also suitable for their skill level, allowing them to build on strengths and address challenges. Typically, students select from suggested pieces, but there´s also the option for them to propose a piece that captures their interest and is appropriate for lesson work.
“First Steps to Superstar Scales” by Melody Payne: This resource focuses on five-finger patterns, encompassing scales, chords, and arpeggios in all keys (without using key signatures yet). Each key is accompanied by an activity page in the book.
Compose Create resources:
“Smart Scale” by Diane Hidy: This resource facilitates the transition from five-finger patterns to one-octave scales within a musical context, making scales musical and beautiful. Students play along with teacher accompaniments that provide rhythmic support and harmonic context.
“Rhythm Cup Explorations and Rhythm Menageries” by Wendy Stevens: As part of the Rhythm curriculum, these books combine the fun of cup tapping with carefully composed rhythms to teach and reinforce rhythm. Accompaniment tracks enhance the learning process, offering a great mix of styles suitable for students of all ages.
Compositions by Wendy Stevens, Diane Hidy, and Jason Sifford: Whether expanding the student’s repertoire or learning new pieces for special occasions, this site features unique and creative music designed for kids, teens, and adults. It includes pedagogical tools such as rote pieces, offering a variety of options for performance songs or seasonal tunes (Halloween, Christmas, etc.).
(If you want to learn more about these resources visit: composecreate.com)
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