Piano lessons are a big investment of time and money and you deserve the highest quality of teaching possible. With so many piano teachers out there, it can be difficult to discern which one is the best fit for you or your child. Here’s a list of 11 qualities I infuse my lessons with. May it be helpful as you make your decision!
Flexibility – My passion as a piano teacher is to find that special thing that makes lessons joyful for you. This means that what we do in a lesson, what you play, and what goals we set will depend on your personality and interests. I am a facilitator who is there to work with you to craft an approach to the piano that best suits your needs. This may mean that we work towards a goal like a Royal Conservatory exam, or it may simply mean that you learn the basics of chording so you can accompany yourself on your favourite Adele song.
Friendliness – Over the years I’ve learned how to make people feel comfortable. To feel safe to learn and be themselves is of paramount importance.
Understanding – I love to listen; not only to your music but to what’s going on for you each week. I know that life happens and I understand if you or your child didn’t get enough time to practice. At the same time I will help you get back on track by hashing out a practice plan.
Patience – Both of us need to cultivate patience as we work together. Truly learning an art form like the piano can at times be gruelling. Know that, however long it may take you to learn ‘When the Saints Go Marching In’, I will always have your back. I teach my students not to compare themselves with other people, but instead compare themselves with themselves. Everyone learns at a different pace and in a different way and that’s completely fine.
Humour – What are music lessons without music jokes??? What happens if you drop a piano down a mine shaft? A-flat minor 😉 Be prepared for puns!
Experience – By working with someone who has professional experience in the music world you or your child receive a high quality education. As a lifelong musician I tap into years of experience at the university level as well as employment as a professional pianist. I take what I’ve learned professionally and distill it down so you can quickly develop practical skills. As someone who has performed as a soloist, chamber musician and accompanist I teach students all the tips and tricks I’ve picked up over the years. I also help students cultivate a natural sense of musicality, showing them what I learned through my own studies with world class musicians. As an experienced piano teacher I’ve studied piano pedagogy (how to teach piano) and have had the pleasure of teaching students from beginner through advanced both in Ontario and Newfoundland starting while in my undergrad in 2004.
Creativity – What is learning without creativity? As someone who loves working with children (including the adult kind!), I design our lessons to be fun and memorable. You will get your creative juices flowing through things like improvisation – that means making music up right on the spot – among many other activities. All activities are structured and move at a pace that is comfortable for you.
Perspective – When I was younger I wanted to be a career concert pianist. Over the years I learned that it wasn’t my path and instead I realized that my real passion is teaching. Students can be hard on themselves, especially when they see YouTube videos of young children playing at a high level, for example. I encourage all my students to see things differently and to realize that they can find joy in music at any level at any time. It’s about discovering your way of making music. Also, while music can be a big part of life, it’s important that it’s balanced with other activities.
Drive – I’m a proud, lifelong musician. I aim to inspire you to see the awesomeness of learning an instrument and to appreciate the wonderful phenomenon of music making.
Dedication – I will work as hard as my students work. For those students who take their learning seriously and work regularly I will be there for them all the way offering any knowledge and assistance I can.
Healthy Movement* – Lastly, one of the more unique skills I can offer is teaching healthy movement. Piano playing is like any other kind of repetitive activity, when done correctly it can lead to endless hours of joy. However, without proper guidance about how to move your body and hands, injury has the possibility of developing over time. From my own first hand experience I’ve discovered what unhealthy movement can lead to. The good news is after having spent years relearning and rebuilding by working with many professionals in the music and medical community, not only am I playing much better, I am teaching better too. But I wish I didn’t have to take that difficult route. My mission now is to provide a good technical foundation for beginner as well as experienced students. I’ve learned along the way that although there may be many fantastic teachers and performers out there, many of them may not provide a student with a good foundation in healthy technique. This is one element that is very important to consider when choosing the proper teacher and I would be happy to go into more detail with you via email or in person.
Please take time to consider what you are looking for in a teacher. If you have any questions or would like to set up a free trial lesson then feel free to contact me. I’d be happy to chat. 🙂
*Disclaimer: While I can share many techniques that have helped me personally recover from injury, any physical problems should be assessed and treated by a qualified medical professional before working with me.