Teaching Philosophy

I don’t believe there is a piano teaching “system” that can be applied to every person. Student taking piano lessons are as individual as snowflakes, each with his or her own needs and learning trajectory.

Having said that, there are some fundamental skills that everyone who wants to play the piano needs to master.

  • Pain-free technic. The traditional definition of piano technic seems to signify endless hours practicing scales and etudes. For me, it’s more important to understand the principles of healthy movement, and how to use your body in a natural, efficient way. All my students cover the basic movements in depth and learn how to combine them for a satisfying artistic performance. Because, actually, that’s the best definition of technic: the ability to use your hands, arms and body to make the sounds you want at the piano.
  • Knowledge of how to learn and practice. Practice is an essential component of learning piano. A lot of it, if you want to be good. But there’s a right way and a wrong way to go about it, and it starts at the very first time you begin playing a piece. I have a specific learning method (including repetition schemes) that increases the likelihood of success.
  • Problem solving ability. I tell students that there is no such thing as a difficult piece, there are just works that have more problems to be solved. How does one do this successfully? Note the problem; analyze its cause; devise a solution—and drill! There is no pianistic obstacle that cannot be solved with enough knowledge and practice know-how.
  • Functional skills. Research about music learning is clear about the importance of sightreading, improvising and theoretical knowledge to becoming a fine pianist. Aural skills, in particular, are crucial. I tell students “if you can’t hear it, you can’t play it”.
  • Repertoire selection. Choosing pieces that students like, and that suit them (not necessarily the same thing) is an art and a science all its own. If a piece is too easy, students achieve success too soon and don’t learn basic skills—and become bored. A too-difficult work can cause students to lose confidence and give up. I have an in-depth knowledge of the piano literature, and can always find works that build success, from the beloved classics to less familiar gems, in all styles.
  • Performance ability. Sharing music with others is an important component of piano study. But it’s not the same as playing the piece for your own pleasure, at home alone. Many are scared to play in public, but it’s a skill that can be learned like any other, with the right psychological preparation and plentiful performance opportunities.
  • Competitions and auditions. I am proud of my students’ record of success in adjudicated performances and consider preparation for these events an important part of my teaching.
Share on FacebookShare on LinkedInTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+